Maria watches friday night lights (#12)
Alright y’all, I’m starting season 4! The Michael B. Jordan character has arrived. This is my post for 4x01.
Wait so I’m supposed to believe Landry and Julie were both younger? Why did I think Julie and Landry were the same age as Tyra and Saracen?
Oh heyyyy, young Michael B. Jordan! This is a really interesting time to see a plotline where two black cops bring a kid who “has only nonviolent offenses” and would “be on a bad path” if he was sent to juvie to Eric Taylor instead. (In reality, this kid would be churned into the prison industrial complex likely for the rest of his life and that’s why we’re out in these streets saying abolish the police!)
Weird to see Buddy Garrity on a different side than Eric now...also, boosters, can y’all stop sucking up to Tami when you got her husband fired this is awkward af
“I think it’s really important that we show we’re all in this together” -Joe McCoy literally go fuck yourself!!!
Lol I love how they showed a teacher babbling about specifically the Odyssey for like fifteen seconds before Riggins throws all his books out the literal window and comes home. Same, babe, I was assigned that book WAY too many times.
This town is toxic af if Eric literally can’t hang out with his old co workers without these coaches feeling like their job security would be in question?? JFC.
Poor Eric Taylor is just trying to get something fixed at Best Buy and he’s getting harassed by someone who wants a coaching job. His facial expressions kill me leave this poor man alone
“It’s not a Panther party!”
“Julie, Beth is a cheerleader, Friday is the first game, I think we can acquiesce to the fact it is a Panther party.” Love you Matt Saracen and your new S4 hair
Ew JD is such an asshole. “It sucks you didn’t go to Chicago like you were supposed to, I was totally gonna make a move on Julie. JK.” Dude you’re standing in like, a mansion rn and Matt’s delivering you pizza, kindly understand that you are the “rich” in “ eat the rich”
Why is Best Buy dude an Eric Taylor fan boy like I get it but also chill
Yay Devin is here!!! I missed our one and only Dillon lesbian
Ew JD really has transformed to full douche with his arm around this random girl, being an absolute asshole to Julie and Matt. I miss when he was an awkward freshman.
Did JD really just ask Matt what his problem was after he tried to throw Matt’s girlfriend in the pool while she screamed for him to stop? Also JD just said “this is my Dillon”???? BRO YOU ARE THE WORST I had sympathy for you before bc of your abusive dad but I’m done witchu.
I look away for a second and the Riggins brothers are rolling around on the floor fighting.
Grandma Saracen: You’re just a funny looking creature.
Landry: Okay, good seeing you.
But also oh Grandma Saracen seems like she’s getting worse 🥺
If I woke up after fucking some random girl and her daughter was singing The Star Spangled Banner in the kitchen I’d think I was dead. Also plz tell me Riggins isn’t gonna start fooling around with the daughter of a woman he fucked bc I can’t
The fact that the Eric Taylor Best Buy Guy is actually named Stan when the whole bit is that he’s essentially an Eric Taylor stan is hilarious.
“Will redistricting end football as we know it?” Oh this show.
Awww the first game of Tami and Eric’s relationship Tami has ever missed? So cute! “I’m gonna flip my coin and then I’m gonna sneak out to East Dillon.” My heart.
Lol Julie making Tami put her money where her mouth is by declaring she’s going to East Dillon is such a classic 17 year old girl move.
I love how Landry is like, translating football decorum for the rest of the East Dillon team. “take a knee!”
Oh I love the contrast between the crowded, overfunded panthers stadium versus the ragtag East Dillon field. These parallel shots showing class difference? Sign me tf up.
And having the daughter of the woman Riggins fucked sing the East Dillon anthem was a nice touch. This show really shows all the intricate ways football is weaved into the town’s culture!
Tami’s fuck you to Wade Aikmen/Joe McCoy with the coin toss YESSSS we love to see it
Did one of the East Dillon players just say he can’t feel his arms???
This East Dillon huddle dialogue is so hilariously accurate with them not remembering all the plays.
It is such a testament to Eric Taylor valuing the players themselves over anything else that he spends half time after a 45-0 half checking in with his injured players, then wordlessly leaves to tell the ref to forfeit.
Very intrigued to see where this season goes with this team!
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» Two Hearts on a Cold Street ; T!he O!ffice ; J’im/P’am [4(a)/?]
A/N: As much as I love the Jim and Pam “will they/won’t they” pining, angsty era with lots of juicy character growth and different dynamics and motivations to delve into, their S4-S6 ‘honeymoon’ era is unapologetically my sweet spot. Therefore, for no other narrative reason other than that, I’ll probably divide the next couple of chapters into two parts each as well. Here’s 4A! Takes part sometime after 3x23 “The Job” but before 4x01 “Fun Run”. Very early dating life shenanigans. Hope you enjoy!
part 1 [x]
part 2 [x]
part 3(a) [x]
part 3(b) [x]
Season 4(A) - (June 2007)
Pam awakens with a jerk.
She glances up curiously from where her head is pillowed on Jim’s chest, eyes still bleary with sleep. His head is tilted off to the side, a clenched fist pressed hard under flaring nostrils. His expression wavers for a second, and she knows she’s caught him in an awkward moment but Pam can’t help but appreciate how the mid-morning light’s hitting him just right. He looks like he’s glowing a little.
Her head shifts a little as his chest seizes under it, and it may have taken a drowsy moment but she suddenly realises exactly why she’s now awake.
Her eyebrows furrow, and her fingertips, with a mind of their own, start drawing faint lines up and down his bare side. “Bless you…”. She’s barely said it however, before he’s shaking his head, eyes narrowing and mouth falling open again. “hhh-hH’NXGTS’uh!”
“Bless you, are you-”
“No, s’hh-...sorry, I-” he manages out, switching his fist for his forearm and leaning as far as he could away from Pam without completing displacing her. Her fingers still at his side.
That one seems to do it, rough and clearing as it was, and he settles back into the mattress. “See, that’s why you shouldn’t hold them in like that. Just makes things worse” she says, shaking her head.
He sniffles and exhales heavily. “Believe it or not, I was trying not to wake you”
Pam smirks, and briefly presses her lips to his skin. “Mission accomplished. Next time I’d say the possibility of a burst blood vessel isn’t worth it”
They both laugh easily, and a comfortable quiet settles between them.
“Seriously though, are you okay? You did that the last time too”.
Last week marked the first they’d slept over at one another’s place. Like all the best things that happened in Pam’s life, it wasn’t necessarily planned out or completely thought through either. It had actually been pretty simple, come to think. They’d had a super nice date; every little bit, from the dumb impressions they’d exchanged over the basket of breadsticks (he was way better at them than she was, but you’d never know by look in his eyes when he laughed at her attempts), to the doodle she quickly sketched on the napkin to illustrate her story about the bird funeral from when he’d been away - it was so them. Just with a little bit more. By the time it was over and he was dropping her off at home Pam just really hadn’t wanted it to end. She could feel herself missing him when he wasn’t even gone yet.
It had already been getting kind of late, but in an impulsive moment that in the moment felt sort of like taking a running jump off a cliff’s edge, she blurted out if he wanted to stay awhile and maybe watch a movie. He smiled immediately, which gave him away despite putting up some display of half-hearted argument along the lines of “I never took you for a night owl, Beesly - isn’t it kind of late? What about those REM cycles...”, but at the same time was already scanning through the stack of DVDs on her bookshelf.
For the record, they watched ‘Dirty Dancing’. And did not do that. Yes, Jim ended up staying over but it was most likely because Pam had fallen asleep on him half-way through the movie and he was too polite to move her. And by the time it was over it really was too late to expect him to leave and drive home, especially with the wine they’d had at dinner and the couple of leftover beers they’d had out of her fridge.
Waking up beside him was something she’d admittedly fantasised about more than once, especially over the course of the last year or so with so many empty nights and quiet moments proceeding days full of trying to keep her mind busy and herself ‘moving forward’ in her ‘new life’. She’d wonder indulgent, surface-level stuff - like how she was sure he must be prone to the most untameable bedhead, she could just tell. Or if she were to, hypothetically, turn away from him to get more comfortable, would he follow her and tuck himself around her? Would he get up to go make the coffee or jump in the shower first and give her five more minutes, or would she be the one having to trail him out of bed?
They knew each other so well in so many respects, back-to-front like yesterday’s newspaper in some cases, but things like this were a whole new hidden, inner world waiting to be discovered now that they were together for real. Things they had no way of being able to know before within the confines of platonic friendship conducted predominantly between the hours of 8:30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. She was just excited at the prospect of knowing even more about him.
For example, like how Jim has habitual sneezing fits first thing in the morning when he wakes up.
“Nah, I’m good…” he assures from above her, scrubbing his nose hard with a knuckle. “I honestly don’t know why I do it. Apparently it is a ‘thing’, though. It started when I was in high school, I think”.
Pam nods, then looks up at him, seemingly contemplative. Her hand finds his hair (and man she’d been right about the bedhead, even with the neater, ‘corporate’ cut), and she threads her fingers through the pleasurably soft but unfamiliarly too-short strands, as if the affectionate stroking would will it to grow back quicker. “So that would be around the time you had your nose broken by a basketball to the face those two separate times?”
He chuckles, delightfully caught off-guard that she’d remembered him telling her about both instances. Or maybe it was the stroking. “Yeah, probably. To be fair to the people I played basketball with back then though, it is pretty hard to miss”.
She swats his arm with a scoff, “You’re so mean about your own nose!”.
Jim shrugs, but couldn’t help but smile at how offended she sounded on his behalf. “Well, with you to defend it, who needs me?” he replies, pausing for a second as their eyes meet just to properly look at her, before tilting his head down to kiss away her indignation. She submits to happily, the incredulous expression melting away in the happiness of the moment.
No, that’s definitely Vanessa. Pam remembered the day she was born a few years ago and Jim got the text about it at work. He’d been so psyched, and so genuine about it she couldn’t help but feel psyched for him. She even remembered sneaking onto his computer while he was in the bathroom and changing his IM name to ‘UncleJim’. It was like second-hand happiness, and it carried them both through right to the end of the day so effectively it completely clouded any memory she may have had about whatever Michael or Dwight had been doing.
Later, after briefly falling back to sleep wrapped up in each other for a little while longer (because why not? It’s Saturday), Pam eventually manages to untangle herself from his sleepy hold and pull herself out of bed, despite his groan of disapproval. She potters lazily around Jim’s kitchen for a bit, with the intention of making them some coffee in his fancy, schmancy coffee machine she admittedly has no idea how to work.
Pam’s not snooping, definitely not; but she’d be lying if she said she didn’t find some enjoyment in picking out little pieces of Jim’s life, and his personality, dotted around the space in a way that came together to form a collage of Jim's 'inner world'. An Eagles mug on the draining board, a University of Scranton charity calendar on the wall, a dog-eared, beat-up looking copy of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ sitting off to the side on his island. She pauses for an extra long second in front of the fridge, looking at the picture of Jim and his brothers with one of his little newborn nieces or nephews, a warm smile tugging at the corners of her lips.
Though she puts it off for as long as possible, Pam eventually decides that the coffee machine must be tackled. Surprisingly, after a bit of trial and error in the ‘random button-pushing’ department it certainly sounds like it’s working, and so she’s on her tiptoes, triumphantly hunting in the cupboards for mugs when she hears Jim before she necessarily see’s him entering the room behind her.
She whips around in surprise at the harsh, throaty sound. He’s thrown an old hoodie on and is holding a handful of tissues to his face, a wavering expression telling her he’s not quite done yet.
Pam’s eyebrows furrow and she sets the mugs down on the counter. “Bless y-”
Jim shakes his head as he twists away, before pitching forward once more into steepled hands, the oncoming sneeze shuddering out of him “huH’EHGSSSCH’uh!”.
“Bless you; are they always that bad?” she says with mild concern, busying herself with the coffee preparation while he sheepishly wipes at his nose and crosses the room towards her.
“I guess not… the grass pollen must be high today, or something”
Jim reaches for the counter above her head, pulling down a packet of Claritin from the top shelf. There’s something about his demeanour that strikes her as odd though and Pam’s about to question him further, only is distracted for a second by how close his body is to hers, a little bare strip of his belly just visible as he strains to reach, and she easily gives into the urge to loop her arms around his waist as he fiddles with the box. Just purely because she can. He smiles to himself at the feeling, and knocks the pill back quickly with a mouthful of the oh-so-considerately prepared coffee so that he could pull her in closer to his side.
Like some sort of mind reader, Jim must sense she was about to speak up, because he jumps in quickly with “I gotta ask - how did you get that coffee machine working on the first attempt, with no instructions? It took me at least three weeks to figure it out”.
Pam humours him for a minute, shrugging but with a look of pride. “Intuition and talent, Halpert. Also, maybe, leftover knowledge from having to fix the copier so much at work”. Her eyes glance up towards his face, shining with mirth as they catch his own. “How did you get along without me, again?”
Jim’s momentarily overwhelmed in the moment, feeling a sudden weight in the wording of the playful teasing. “No idea…” he states genuinely, before meeting her as she moves upwards to kiss him, coffee and the earlier nagging uncertainty briefly forgotten as his hand finds her cheek effortlessly.
It wasn’t her fault, okay? Physical touch was one of the biggest, shiniest new elements to what they had now, and it was like now that they could act upon the urges to be physically close to one another, with no fiance’s or girlfriends muddying the waters, it made them realise just how desperate and touch-starved they’d been before.
Lost in this sudden haze of intimacy, he walks her back a bit so that she’s pressed against the counter, both his hands now holding her face as the kiss deepens. Her hands are inquisitive as they skim across the broad planes of his shoulders and settle on either side of his neck, almost subconsciously trying to bring him in closer and closer to her.
He sniffs once, shortly, then in what feels like an instant, stops completely and the pressure of his mouth against hers is gone. She feels him exhale briefly and she lets out a little, involuntary whimper, her lips instinctively chasing his before she can catch herself. He turns fully away though, stepping to the side and dipping his face into his elbow, expressing dropping to irritation once more.
“S’hh- sorry...hhe’H?...hhuh’EDTSSSCH’uh!”. God, they were really starting to scrape at his throat. He clears his throat and sniffles, trying to recover quickly but with a certain degree of nonchalance.
“Bless you…” She shakes her head with a hint of a chuckle, the daze begins to clear. Suddenly, Pam’s previous line of thought comes rushing back to her.
“I never knew you had allergies” she challenges, crossing her arms in a way that would look combative if a teasing smirk didn’t seem to be playing at the corner of her lips. “How, after all these years, would I have never noticed you have summer allergies?”.
Now that he’s asserted to her that this is definitely just his allergies playing up (and he’s actually pretty sure that it is - it’s what it feels like, anyway, with the way the itch is burning more than ‘tickling’ necessarily and making his eyes water) he decides there’s nowhere to go but doubling down. He was fine yesterday, and definitely would have felt himself getting sick before right this second. Jim’s watery gaze meets her own, the opposition in hers now mirrored in his, and he grabs the packet of Claritin where it was forgotten on the bench, holding it up to her.
“They only really bother me when the pollen count’s high, and on the days that it is I take two of these before work” he argues, raising an eyebrow in Pam’s direction. Her eyes narrow and she studies him for giveaways, the playful skepticism still rolling off of her in droves.
Changing gears, Jim’s expression softens. “Beesly, do you honestly think I would kiss you if I thought I was getting sick?”. It’s a tone he oftens saves just for her, devoid of teasing or jokes or deflection.
He really didn’t think he was, truly, but the more she made him say it the more he felt the urge to question himself. But no… he would’ve felt it coming on. Also, it’s summer and Scranton’s having an unusually warm season. He’s fine, and she’s teasing, but her doubt is just making him overthink it.
The reassurance appears to assuage her, as she moves forward towards him, though her expression remains deceptively serious. “Are you willing pinky promise me, though?” Pam asks, holding out her hand. Playing along, he immediately twines their pinky fingers together and nods. “Promise”.
“I hope you know that that’s legally binding and I’m holding you to it” she says through a smile, though she’s already snuggling back under his arm and reaching for her own mug of coffee. Jim snorts and leans his cheek against her head, immeasurably content at how she feels there. “So what’s the damage if the terms of said contract are not upheld?”.
Pam suddenly looks up at him, so deadpan he’s kind of impressed how she shifted so quickly. “Oh, you don’t wanna know”.
They move around the kitchen as a team getting breakfast ready, scrambling eggs, toasting bread, and cutting up what little fresh fruit Jim had in. No matter how much he tries to insist Pam go sit down and enjoy her coffee, she wanted to help.
And he never has been able to refuse her anything, so why start now?
They’re finally sitting down to eat when Jim poses the question "So what did you tell Kevin you were doing this weekend?".
When they’d started ‘officially dating’ was kind of hazy to decipher. They’d gone on a few dates in and around the time Jim got back from his interview in New York for the corporate position, before settling into this natural rhythm of companionship quickly after. They spent most of their free time together, but still hadn’t really had the ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ talk yet. Pam had considered broaching it, but she’s just trying to decide how to do so without sounding clunky and weird. Really though, it didn’t actually matter so much at the moment; there was no pressure, and they were in no rush. It had been a long journey getting here, now was the time to just savour and enjoy it. They were seeing each other, they both mutually knew there wasn’t anybody else in the picture, but they were just… enjoying this for what it was right now. The process of learning how to navigate this change in their dynamic, the extra added level.
Unsurprisingly, this was something they wanted to experience without the awkward interference of their nosey co-workers, and so they were keeping it a secret. Which was providing its own set of obstacles, one of which being Kevin’s insistence on uncovering them ever since Karen and Jim’s very loud, very public post-relationship debrief in the kitchen, and the fact that Karen took no time at all transferring the hell out of Scranton after what happened in New York. Throw in what happened at Beach Day and it really didn’t take a genius to put two and two together.
That didn’t mean they weren’t going to still bold-facedly deny it, though.
Pam thinks for a second, spearing a piece of banana with her fork. “Going for coffee with Isabel, then a walk in the park. Since the weather’s been so nice lately. You?”
“Oh, that cool. I’m just catching a movie then going for a drink with some college buddies”.
“Sounds nice” Pam teases “Which do you actually wanna do?”.
Jim’s gaze trails over to the window, taking stock of how gorgeously bright the sun is shining. Maybe it’s how ‘in bloom’ everything looks, but the thought gives him this weird phantom ache in his sinuses and he just feels kind of unenthused. He knows it’d probably be chivalrous to tell her it’s up to her and that he doesn’t mind whichever, and to be fair that is what he instinctively wants to do and ordinarily would do, but… yeah. He makes a subtle ‘eh’ gesture.
“Let’s do the movie. I think there’s a new ‘Oceans…’ out. Sounds kind of cool”
On Monday morning, Jim can’t help but instinctively glance at Pam's desk the minute he enters, though confusion etches into his features when he finds it empty. They hadn’t seen each other since he left her off home on Saturday night after the movie and eventual dinner, something about her having promised to visit her parents all day Sunday and needing an early start. Apart from the odd text here and there, they really hadn’t spoken much in general either.
Is it weird that 36 hours feels like a long time to be without someone? Like, he’s genuinely excited to see her and it hasn’t even been two days. He’s aware of how much of an asshole this makes him sound, and isn’t proud of it in the least, but being with Karen he’d grown used to feeling relieved when he found out she was busy and that he got to be by himself for a while with no need to perform this version of himself that was cool, put-together, ‘evolved’, and happy to be moving on. It was kind of exhausting.
Jim notices Pam’s bag on the floor under the desk, and her coat on the wrack; so she must be around here somewhere. He quickly tosses his stuff down and boots up his computer, fielding a firm back-pack pat from Kevin in greeting with a smile as he passes Jim’s station, before immediately setting off to find her.
Oh, and after a couple of bad allergy days Saturday and Sunday, the whole thing seemed to have blown over. He hadn’t ended up bothering to definitively check the pollen count after all, because who needed it when he had a pretty obvious, built-in indicator, right? The fact that it had all cleared up so quickly only further reassured him in his assumption that-
Jim stops up short when he rounds the corner from the annex into the break room, mouth dropping open in surprise when he sees her, sitting alone at a table right in the far corner. She looks…
Pam just catches sight of him before turning away towards the vending machines, snapping the back of her hand to her (adorably) pink nose. “Hhh-Halpert, you’re a d-dhh’... a dead mban...h’KTSSH’ue! hehh- h’EHKSShh’ue”. If the sneezes hadn’t sounded so heavy and irritated, then the little groan that follows them would’ve told him all he needed to know about how she was feeling.
Jim’s instantly flooded with guilt. “Oh- are you…” he stammers out, and she shoots him a clear ‘what do you think?’ look as she pulls a little ball of tissue out of her skirt pocket to dab away the dampness. His stomach sinks with the realisation as the whole weekend recontextualises itself in his head, and he moves closer to her, wanting to reach out but at the same time painfully aware of where they are. “I’m so sorry, truly, I-I didn’t know…”
Only because of how genuine the remorse shone in his eyes (God he actually looks stricken), Pam takes pity and huffs out a humourless laugh, crossing the room to join him. She glances at the door, then puts a comforting hand on his side. “Don’t worry about it, I believe you” she says genuinely, glancing from where she’s leant against a table beside him. Then out of nowhere, she smiles. “And anyway, like I said. That pinkie contract is legally binding so get ready to make a lot of tea in the next couple of days”.
“Deal” Jim says quickly, wishing he could do more in that moment to help, or just like, do something at least. However, her evident playfulness helps to partly loosen the weight of worry in his chest, and he manages to conjure his own version of her teasing expression. “But wow, is that all you wanted in damages? You’ve got to go big or go home, Beesly”.
Rising to the occasion, she stands up a little straighter opposite him. “Fine. I want soup too, then”
His eyebrows pull downwards, and it takes all she has not to giggle at his exaggerated, goofy little expression. Just like they fall into, well, them.
“Where am I supposed to get soup around here?”.
“Gee, that sure sounds like a ‘you’ problem, and ndot a mbe one”.
He mimes a look of shock at the comeback, then nods in concession, and mimes ticking it off a list mid-air. “Consider it done-”
Her eyes light up as the ideas for requests start rolling in “Ooh - throat candy too”.
“Alright, now you’re gettin’ it. Some gross, blackcurrant flavoured lozenges - no problem”
She squeaked in indignance. “Hey, some people like them!”
“You are the only person I know that likes them”.
There’s challenge in her eyes and she’s about to fire back, only a flurry of coughs swallow her words pitifully as she twists away into her elbow. It cuts through the unlikely fun of the moment, and suddenly Jim’s gaze softens again.
“I’m sorry” He says it with his eyes, and suddenly the break room like it could have been a million miles away from all of their annoying, potentially interfering co-workers that they’re trying to hide from. Giving into an urge, Jim reaches out and tucks an errant lock of hair behind her ear.
“It’s okay” She replies with her own, using his shoulder as support to pull herself up onto her tiptoes, and press a light kiss to his cheek that really kick starts his heart rate. Was it because they were kind of sneaking around? Or maybe something to do with how ‘new’ this all still was? He couldn’t deny the fledgling hope they might always retain even a little bit of this feeling.
Jim feels like some sort of schoolboy, warmth rushing to his face as he’s left with the phantom sensation of her lips on his cheek. His eyes follow Pam as she leaves, and he’s infinitely glad he does when she turns back around just as she reaches the doorframe, one more silent note of communication passing between them in her small, bitten-back smile.
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