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As always, immense thanks to my terrible beta, Yellowberry22, who does actually appear to be getting better at this. Well, baby steps.

Although this fic is set in 2020, Covid doesn't exist. As YB said ‘Nobody wants a reminder of Covid. You can make your own world, why add a pandemic in it?'

I don't own anything here, but boy, do I wish I had their lifestyle.

Thursday, October 1st 2020

Montauk Offices, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 

"Holy shit! You look so freaking hot in that photo," Kelly Kapoor exclaimed, as she grabbed the white Apple Magic Mouse from Pam Beesly's hand. "I can't believe you're a ‘30 under 30'. This is the most exciting thing to ever happen, like oh my god this is going to be so amazing for us." Kelly scrolled down the Forbes website slightly so that she could read out the paragraph next to Pam's photograph. "Pam Beesly, 29, Creative Director, Ordinary Things," she read out. "You know I still think you should have put CEO."

"Kelly, no, we've been over this," Pam protested, her face flushing. "I'm not a CEO."

"Remind me again why not?" Kelly demanded. 

"I have to agree with her," Angela Shrute interjected. 

The other two women turned away from the 24 inch iMac screen to stare at the smaller blonde woman, both of their mouths hanging open slightly in shock. 

"You agree with me?" Kelly exclaimed. 

"Well, she set up the company, got all the first major clients on board single handedly, signs off on all designs that she's not done herself," Angela explained. "You meet with investors, you have the relationships with the media agencies, you make the final decisions."

"Exactly," Kelly replied. "How aren't you the CEO?"

"I, just, I'm not ok," Pam stammered. "There's like 15 people in the company. We don't need a CEO."

"I think we're a little bigger than ‘just 15 people' if you made the ‘30 under 30'," Angela added. 

"Right!" Kelly held up her hand for a high five. 

"No," Angela said, before pushing past Kelly to stand on the other side of Pam's screen. "Continue reading."

"Ugh, fine," Kelly whined. "Pam Beesly, 29, Creative Director, Ordinary Things. After graduating from the Pratt Institute, Beesly started creative agency, Ordinary Things, to bring a different slant to the world of marketing. She has partnered with brands including Sun Chips, Chili's and Jelly Belly, helping them to find the beauty in their products. In her spare time, Beesly extends her creativity to painting murals for community centres and has set up a cultural club encompassing fine art, music and food."

"That sounds very professional," Angela stated.

"Um, thanks Angela," Pam said, a little surprised at the rare compliment. "It felt kinda weird to write something like that and big myself up, you know?" Kelly shook her head, with a slightly confused expression on her face. "Well, anyway," Pam said, trying to get the attention off of herself, "that's the last time I can be in the ‘30 under 30'."

"But there's always 40 under 40!" Kelly exclaimed. "Oooh, let's check out next year's competition," she said, grabbing the mouse back again from Pam. She clicked onto the next list and began scrolling down the page, looking at all the pictures. "Ugly, ugly, old, ugly, the most boring looking woman I have ever seen."

"Kelly!" Pam interjected

"What? I'm just telling it like it is," she argued. "Ugly, ok looking, holy mother of god this guy is so freaking hot," Kelly shouted as she clicked on his image. "Hellooo daddy," she panted. "Jim Halpert, 34, CEO, Athleap. Athleap? What kind of a stupid name is that?"

"What do they do?" Pam asked innocently, as she tried to hide her stares at the picture that was currently filling the screen.

"Halpert founded sports marketing firm, Athleap, in his final year at UPenn. His company works with a significant number of teams from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA and brings a sporting edge to campaigns for brands including Apple, Mastercard and Coca-Cola. Sports dominate Halpert's free time, where he coaches Little League Baseball, participates in charity basketball games and enjoys riding his bike," Kelly read out, as Pam's gaze grew wider at the list of accomplishments from the owner of the green eyes staring at her from the screen.

"That's, um, a pretty impressive resumé," Pam said, as she tried to get the Magic Mouse back from Kelly.

"I bet that's not the only thing about him that's impressive," Kelly said, with a nudge to Angela, who gave a look of disgust and turned to leave.

"Oh, before I forget," Angela said as she paused and turned on her heel, "We've just been sent a new brief. I have forwarded it to both of you, so please read it and we will meet in the conference room in 30 minutes." And with that, she left Pam's office, almost slamming the frosted glass door behind her.

"Glad to see the pregnancy hormones haven't affected her usual chipper demeanour," Kelly said snidely.

"Kelly! Be nice to her, I bet it's not easy being pregnant and working," Pam replied.

"It's not," Kelly said with wide eyes at Pam. It took a few moments, but finally Pam understood what Kelly was insinuating, and jumped out of her seat.

"Oh my god, you're pregnant!?" Pam exclaimed.

"Shhh, but yes!" Kelly said as the two women hugged tightly. "I'm only 8 weeks, so don't tell anyone. I just couldn't not tell you." Pam was beaming at her friend, with a tear threatening to spill from her eye. "Ok pull it together, I don't want people here knowing just yet, especially Angela."

"Come on, she's not that bad, and she's pregnant too, so that will bond you guys a bit more," Pam said, not quite believing herself as the words came out of her mouth. Kelly pursed her lips and shook her head. "Yeah I guess not, but this is so exciting. So how are you feeling?"

"I'm ok, a bit nauseous, but Ryan is being sooo amazing. He was kind of like a bit stressed at first and then a bit mopey, but he said he's ‘come to terms' with it now and he's being super cute and keeps talking about other women we see in the street that are pregnant too and if my boobs will get big like theirs."

"Was um, was it not," Pam struggled to find the words to ask the question. "Was the baby a bit of a surprise?"

"I guess it was for Ryan, but not so much for me. I stopped taking the pill last month, and it just kinda happened I guess," Kelly explained.

"And you didn't tell him?"

"Obviously not. He'd have been all like ‘no Kelly, we've only been dating each other for like four months and it's too soon to have a baby and we're still seeing other people and I don't like committing to things'. This way was much easier, and now we get to have a teeny, little baby. I could scream, I'm so happy!"

"Well, I'm really happy for you Kelly," Pam smiled. She was slightly worried about what her friend was getting herself into, but realised that it wasn't really any of her business, and Kelly really did seem happy.

"I know, me too!" Kelly exploded. The two women hugged again, before pulling apart and composing themselves.

"Ok, we better take a look at this brief that Angela sent us," Pam said. "See you in 20 minutes?" Kelly nodded, before leaving Pam's office and returning to her own.

Finally on her own, Pam leaned back in her chair and took a breath. Before she went to find the brief that Angela had emailed to her, Pam gazed again at the face that was still sitting on her desktop. There was something drawing her to this guy that she couldn't comprehend. It wasn't just an attraction, although she could admit to herself that she was definitely attracted to him. It was more like she knew him, or he was some part of her. The way he looked so familiar, so trusting, just ready to be there completely for her. She just didn't understand it.

"Oh who's the daddy?" Cathy Simms asked as she walked into Pam's office.

"Oh sorry Cathy, I didn't hear you come in," Pam said, as she tried to minimise the browser window but failed. "Are those my messages?"

"Uh, yeah and your mail," Cathy said, as she placed the small pile onto the edge of Pam's desk. "So who's the hotty?"

"Oh, um, some CEO on the ‘40 under 40'. We were, uh, just looking at next year's competition," Pam tried to explain.

"Rich and good looking. Just how I like them," Cathy said, licking her lips.

"Um, thanks for the messages Cathy," Pam said, wanting the other woman to leave. Could you please let Angela and Kelly know I'm running 15 minutes late for our meeting?"

"Sure thing," Cathy said with a forced smile before she turned and left.

Pam looked back at the screen and Jim's photo once more, staring into his eyes. After a few moments, she shook her head, as if to shake this guy out of her head, and pressed back on the browser, taking her to the ‘30 under 30' page again. She looked over her entry once more, simultaneously cringing at what she'd written, but also feeling proud of what she'd accomplished. Angela was right, she did do everything that would make her a CEO, but there was something still holding her back from admitting it. 

She finally closed the Forbes website, and opened up her Mail app to find the brief that Angela had forwarded to her:

Company: Creed's Brats

Activity: Launch

Budget $20 million

Launch date: March 2021

Response required: 13th October 2020

Background: New hotdog brand need a marketing agency to help with their launch. Hotdogs are organic, GMO free, dairy free, kosher & halal. They have a mix of beef, turkey and plant based sausages. No existing online presence at all.

Pam read over the brief. As usual, we get nothing to work with from the client, she thought. Where are the objectives? The goals? The KPIs? What is their brand like? What imagery do they have? Who are their competitors? What is their history? The only remotely creative thing was their logo, which looked like it had been designed by someone who attended Woodstock. I'll need to amend that too. 

Pam sighed, and pushed her chair away from her desk. She spun her chair around to gaze out of her office window. It was one of her favourite places to think in the large room, as it looked out onto Grand Army Plaza and she could get lost in the greenery to help focus her mind. It was one of the main reasons for choosing Montauk Offices when she set up Ordinary Things, aside from the fact it was an old bowling alley and had exposed brickwork. But at the rate they were growing, she'd need to find a much larger office space soon. 

Grabbing her notebook and pen, Pam walked out into the main open plan office and headed towards the conference room. "Hey Clark," she said, as he stopped by a young guy's desk.

"Oh hey Pam, what's up?" Clark asked as he stopped typing.

"We've just got a new brief in that I'm about to discuss with Angela and Kelly, and if we win the account I'd like you to be the exec on it, so do you have some time to come and join us?"

"Oh definitely, thanks," he said, closing his MacBook and standing to follow Pam.

They made their way over to the heavy glass doors of the conference room, which Clark pulled open and signalled for Pam to walk through. She bobbed her head at him in thanks, before they both took their seats at the large white gloss conference table opposite Kelly and Angela.

"So initial thoughts, anyone?" Angela asked. As Head of New Business, it was up to Angela to run the tender and pull the presentation together.

"What about ‘stuff your face' as a concept?" Kelly said, as she raised her hands in front of herself like a rainbow. "We do live hot dog eating competitions, #getstuffed for socials and we encourage people to post pictures of themselves eating the hotdogs, do a couple of Digital Out Of Home boards of stars with their mouths full of hotdogs. We could do like a tease in the lead up to launch of like ‘just eat the tip' before we move to the main phase of ‘get stuffed'?" Kelly looked at the rest of the room expectantly.

"Um," Pam began.

"No," Angela said at the same time.

"Um, it was a great idea Kel," Pam said tactically, "but, um, maybe we could, uh, do something bit, um, less sexual?" Pam was flushing red at the sentence that she was struggling to say.

"Shut up Pam, we know you haven't got laid in like a year, but there's no need to take it out on the rest of us!" Kelly exclaimed.

"Kelly!" Pam shouted. "First of all, that's no one's business, and second, it's just a tacky idea that we're not putting the Ordinary Things name behind." 

"Fine," Kelly shouted back. "But also, we need to get you laid," she added in a quieter, friendly tone.

"Kelly, stop!"

"Ok, fine, I'm sorry. So, what is your idea then?"

Pam took a deep breath to regain her composure before explaining her concept. "So the only thing we really know about these hotdogs is that there's a good range right? There's beef, turkey and plant based, plus they're kosher and halal, so I was thinking we could do something around celebrating diversity, you know?" Pam shyly tucked a loose curl behind her ear as she carried on explaining the idea. "So the campaign would focus around real people, and show how they eat their hotdogs. We could get some influencers on board to show how they would cook with them, to show it can be used as something other than a snack food. Maybe do an event at a couple of the Smorgasburgs to get people tasting the different dogs? I'm still thinking about DOOH ideas, but maybe something interactive like a game to come up with the best hotdog creation?"

"Ok fine, that's much better than my idea. You get to be The Business Bitch today," Kelly relented. "Angela, what do you think? Any ideas?"

"No," she replied. "Pam's idea is superior."

"Ok, so I'll work on some concept art, and Kelly can you come up with a three phased strategy for this? Tease, launch and always on? Across social, digital and print?" Pam asked, and Kelly nodded. "Clark, could you do a little research on this? Just general research on the company, some stuff on hotdog statistics, likely competitors and a little audience research. Or Kelly, do you have any of that already?"

"I'll have some personas. Clark, we can look through those for any eating habits," Kelly replied.

"Great. Angela, can you pull the outline of the presentation together please and get the costs for this?"

"Yes," Angela replied, no more, no less.

"Oh and I'll speak to Nellie about some copywriting for this, she can create some taglines. And I'll put a call in with Sabre Media to see what DOOH spaces they might have available early next year, plus any other media they'd recommend. Anything I've missed?" Everyone shook their heads. "Ok great, thanks everyone," Pam said, as she moved to get up from the table, feeling pleased that the meeting had gone so well.

"And you say you're not a CEO..." Kelly said under her breath, as she followed Pam out of the room.


Penn 1, Midtown, Manhattan, NY

"You ready?" Oscar Martinez said, poking his head around the door to his boss's office. 

"Oh sorry, yeah, was just lost in thought," Jim Halpert replied, as he turned around from the window he'd been staring out of. "I'll be there in a couple of minutes."

"No worries, I'll let everyone know."

"Thanks man," Jim replied. 

As Oscar left Jim's office, closing the solid wood door behind him, Jim sat down at his desk and clicked back to the email on his MacBook that had thrown him.



I think you should take me out to celebrate. 

Call me.


Karen Filippelli

CEO, Filippelli Communications

Jim had already looked at the ‘40 under 40' page to check his entry was all correct, but it hadn't occurred to him to look at the ‘30 under 30' page. He wiped his face in exasperation. Karen just wouldn't take the hint that he wasn't interested in her and he wasn't sure what to do. Sighing, and wondering why the hell he was doing what he was about to do, Jim clicked on the link in Karen's email and started browsing through the entries on this year's list. Before he reached Karen's image, he was drawn to the picture of a young woman, with sea green eyes staring back at him. The waves of her auburn hair framed her face perfectly. Her pink lips were pulled into the most perfect smile he'd ever seen. Involuntarily, Jim traced his finger down the screen over her face, almost hoping that he could reach out and touch her.

The honking of several taxi cabs, some 43 floors below him on West 33rd Street snapped Jim out of his trance. He quickly scrolled down the page to learn as much about the woman on the screen as possible. Pam Beesly. Ordinary Things. Clearly an artist. His first instinct was to Google her and the company, but a quick glance at his Tag Heuer Carrera watch showed that he was more than a couple of minutes late for his meeting. He quickly typed ‘Pam Beesly' into Google to read the results later and deleted the email from Karen before closing his silver MacBook and hurrying to the conference room.

Jim hurried into the glass walled conference room and quickly took his seat at the end of the large table next to the CFO, David Wallace. "Ok, so what's the brief for this one?" Jim asked, slightly out of breath.

"New hot dog company Boss Tuna," Andy Bernard replied, leaning back in his chair as he spoke. "A rich old dude with a whole lot of mah-oney to spend on the launch campaign."

"What's the budget?" Jim asked as he opened his MacBook up. The name ‘Pam Beesly' was staring at him from the Google page he'd left up in his office. He quickly minimised the browser and opened up his notepad.

"Twenty mill," Andy replied.

"Not too bad, I think we can work with that. So what is the plan?"

"Well, the stats speak for themselves," said Oscar, as he clicked to a slide on the projector with various stats on it. "63% of fans have said hot dogs are the one ballpark food they can't live without. 88% of people polled said they had eaten a hotdog at a sporting event in the last year. Between Memorial Day to Labor Day, 7 billion hot dogs get eaten, that's 818 hot dogs a second. I have a lot more stats, do you want me to continue?"

"Um, no that's ok Oscar," Jim said, knowing that his Head of Data & Research  would bore them with stats all day if he could. "So sports and hot dogs is a no-brainer, is what you're saying?"

"Precisely," Oscar replied.

"Ok, so what's the strategy and creative concept here," Jim asked, doing his best to focus and not think about the browser that he'd minimised.

"Well first I was thinking about stuffing hotdogs into your mouth, and maybe other places," giggled Kevin Malone, "but then I thought maybe the client wouldn't like that, so then I started thinking about hotdogging." The rest of the group looked at him in question. "You know, like showboating?" There were several nods and ‘oh yeahs' around the table. We could do a pre-launch of the best hotdoggers of the season from different sports, and then at launch, we could run a competition with user generated content to find the best hotdogger. We can do a live event at Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium to crown a winner during the seventh inning stretch. And for post launch, I'm thinking of sponsored social posts, stories and tweets from athletes about why they love these hotdogs." Kevin looked around the room nervously waiting for a reply. Despite his seven years as Head of Strategy at Athleap, Kevin still felt like he wasn't entirely sure what he was doing.

"Sounds good to me Kev," Jim replied. "Do you want to brief Devon for some mock ups so the client, oh what are they called?"

"Creed's Brats," Kevin confirmed.

"Ok, so do you want to brief Devon? You know how clients get, they can't visualise anything unless it's in front of their faces." Kevin nodded. "And Oscar, do you want to work out the best athletes for this and speak to Darryl about who would do this? I'm not sure how far this budget is going to stretch in terms of talent fees, but we can give them options."

"We need to be making a 27% profit on this project," David interjected, "so make sure we keep those talent fees down please."

"When is the presentation?" Jim asked.

"The 13th" Andy replied.

"And who's going?"

"We were thinking you and Kevin," Andy replied somewhat sheepishly, "you know, after the last pitch, I think it's best for me to sit this one out. But I'll get the presentation together for you and walk you through it."

"Ok, seeing as this is a big one, but Andy, man, you've gotta get back out there. It's not gonna happen again, especially now you keep your keys in your jacket pocket," Jim said sympathetically.

"I know but, I'm still healing and the client doesn't need to see me limping about and I really don't wanna blow another sale."

"Alright, but next one, you're back out there." Andy nodded. "Ok, are we all done here?" Murmurs came from the room and the rest of the men got up to leave the conference table, while Jim stayed to try and research the new client. He pulled up his browser again and was met with the results page that he'd hidden before. His eyes quickly scanned down the page. LinkedIn page. Pinterest board. Ordinary Things website. Twitter profile. Various listings from Pratt. He wanted to read them all. He wanted to learn as much about this woman as possible. In a non-stalkery way, of course. He'd never met her, but from looking at her picture, Jim felt like he'd known Pam Beesly forever.

Twenty minutes of internet stalking later, Jim had learned from the Ordinary Things website that Pam was the Creative Director, although from the way her bio was written, she was clearly the owner of the company too. Her Pinterest boards revealed she was in the process of redecorating her living room, or had maybe completed it. And she really liked to cook. Or at least liked pinning recipes. LinkedIn exposed that she'd grown up in Scranton from the high school she attended and her first job as a receptionist. He smiled at the thought of them both being from Pennsylvania. Twitter showed her wit; sarcastic and incredibly funny. But it was when he clicked on one of the Pratt Institute links that he found her artwork. Although the images were just scanned versions of the real thing and kind of blurry, he was awestruck by her talent. The way the bold colours moved across the page, the differing thicknesses of the brush strokes, the contrast of light and dark. They all spoke to him in a way that no painting, scratch that, in a way that nothing had ever spoken to him before. A knock on the conference room door broke the spell the painting had on him.

"Come in," Jim called.

"Sorry to disturb," Erin Hannon said, "I've got Karen Filippelli on the line for you. Shall I put her through to you in here or your office?"

"For fuck's sake," Jim muttered under his breath. "Um, actually could you tell her I'm not available for the rest of the day please?"

"Sure, no problem," Erin said with a smile, before closing the conference room door behind her.

Jim turned his attention back to Pam's artwork on the screen in front of him. He sighed before closing the tab. That's enough stalking for today, he thought. How am I going to meet this woman? Message her on LinkedIn? Turn up at her office? Follow her on Twitter? Yet another knock on the conference room door pulled Jim from his thoughts.

"Hey, can we talk about projected numbers versus actual for Q4?" David asked.

"Oh yeah, sure," Jim replied as he tried to focus and push Pam Beesly to the back of his mind.

Chapter End Notes:

This is how I imagine Pam looking

This is my Jim

Pam's office (Montauk Offices)

Jim's office (Penn 1)

Jim's watch

Oscar's hotdog stats

Slight confession, when I started this story, I thought there was also a Forbes ‘40 under 40' but turns out there isn't, but I kept it in anyway.

If anyone is confused by any of the Marketing terms, just let me know, I'm happy to add a glossary here if it makes things easier.

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