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Author's Chapter Notes:

Got done with "The Farm"!  It's pretty accurate to the real thing, with a huge divergence with the cupcake plotline; this chapter will pave the way for that divergence, as well as the rest of the JAM plot.


“Fear plays an interesting role in our lives.  How dare we let it motivate us?  How dare we let it into our decision making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships?” — Robert California

The day after David Wallace and Andy’s (and Erin’s) phone conversation, a heated argument occurred in the conference room.  Kevin and Erin were mystified by the reception desk.

“No, you lied to me, Andy!  You pretended to be in this office for three months and you were sailing on your boat!”

“I resent that.  I n— I never lied to you.”

“Really?  ‘Hey David, all is good in Scranton PA.’”

“And all was good in Scranton PA that day—”

“‘By the way, Oscar says hi.’”

Dwight side-eyed on what was happening in the conference room.

“Oscar says ‘hi’ all the time.  He says all kinds of greetings. ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’ ‘Hola’—”


“But you’re calling me a liar.”


“By the way, that reminds me, I want to ask you about some of the lies you’ve been telling lately.”

Kevin was eating the candy at reception, enjoying the show.

“Watch it, Andy!”

“Oh, here we go, January 17th, 2013.  ‘Hey Andy, all’s well.  Been meaning to make it down there but my wife’s sick.’  Well, which is it?  Is all well or is your wife sick?  BUSTED!”

Pam and Nellie looked at each other, nearly laughing in disbelief.

“My wife?”

“Okay, complete transparency, this has been a really tough time.”



Has it?

“Erin and I had a huge fight last night and I can’t remember any of the aha moments I had on the boat, and I know it sounds weird to say but I really miss my beard.”


“It was like a security blan—”

“Shh… I’m not gonna fire you.”

“...You’re not?”


“That’s awesome.”

“I wouldn’t own the company if it wasn’t for you.  So...I owe you that.”

“David, I’ll be there for you.  These five words I swear to you.  When you breathe, I want to be here for you.  I’ll be there for you.  That’s a poem by J.B. Jovi.  I want you to have it.”

“We are even…now.  Understand?  Got it?”


“You are on very— hey, very thin ice.”

“Vanilla. … Vanilla Ice.  He was a band.”


“Morning everyone!” Erin politely greets the office, and they greet her back politely in turn.

“Goood morning!” Andy greets the office, “And how are you all on this fine day?”  Dead silence.  “Euh, tough room,” he says, tugging on his collar and awkwardly walking towards his office.  Erin just looks at him, wanting to fade out of existence.

“Oh, no, things are great!” Andy assures Brent through a wide smile, “Sure, my relationship is rocky, my job is in jeopardy, and everyone in the office hates my guts.  But, on the plus side…” he tries to think of something.  “Oh, there is— no.”  He continues to think.

The office looks at him through the blinds, seeing him visibly upset.

“He looks like a wounded animal,” Pam says, almost feeling sorry for him.

“Should’ve put him out of his misery and just fired him,” Stanley comments.

“I can’t be around sad people,” Phyllis laments, “it makes me sad.”

“I’m the same way with horny people.”

“Okay,” Pam stops that in its tracks.

Later, Andy walks out to see Pam getting her coat.  “Where are you going?”

“Oh, you know, on a boat trip,” Pam replies, “I’ll be sure not to contact you.”

“Ouch!” Andy attempts to shrug off as she leaves, “felt that burn.”  He then notices Dwight and Angela walking out as well.  “Uh, excuse me.  What, everyone can just leave whenever they want now?”

“How dare you,” Dwight curtly responds to that comment as he and Angela walk off.

Andy’s getting annoyed with everyone’s BS.  “I’m the boss!” he emphasizes.  No one cares.

He then faces the entire office, “Thank you!” he announces incredulously, “Thanks, thanks a lot.  Really appreciate it.  You guys are supposed to have my back, okay?  Instead, you guys are shutting me out.”

“Hey boss,” Meredith tells him, “if it’s any consolation, I’m happy you’re back.”

“Why thank you, Meredith,” he responds courteously.

“You can never have too many ding dongs on the dance floor.”

“Okay,” he pinches his nose in frustration.

“Andy,” Phyllis speaks up, “you’ve acted extremely unprofessional and you hurt all of us.”

“I’m hurt too, okay?  Deep hurt inside of me.  Apparently, that doesn’t matter.  Do you know how badly my family is screwed over right now?  I feel like the prodigal son who found peace with God only to come back home to see his dad stealing his inheritance and f***ing a younger woman.  And guess what?  That son… also had feelings.”

“Hey, Andy,” Darryl adds.


“You’ve got a… booger bubble going on there.”

He wipes his nose, “Sorry,” he sniffles.

“It’s okay.”

Andy ends his spiel with “My whole life is a booger bubble!” and slinks back into his office, slamming the door behind him.  His employees slowly begin to realize why he’s acted the way he is for so long.

Soon after, Pete and Clark are talking in the annex when Andy enters with an emergency “bro-zone lair” meeting with him, Italian and Clarker Posey (aka Clarkwork Orange, aka Zero Clark Thirty).  While Clark recommends therapy (which he needed after his absence), Pete advises him that he shouldn’t go that far yet, just be patient with her and she’ll come around (which he doesn’t think will work).

Andy smiles, “May not seem like it, but this really helped.  So, thank you.”  The two “new guys” look at each other.

“Wow,” Pete commends Clark, “You were surprisingly chill in front of him.”

“Oh, believe me, my first instinct was to toss him through the break room window, but I know I shouldn’t hold on to bitterness.”

“Good for you,” Pete nods.

“Besides, I don’t have the upper body strength for that.”

“Wasn’t gonna say anything, but yeah.”


Later, Erin enters Andy’s office with some messages, “I—”

“I love you.”

She pauses.  “Love you too,” she says with a small smile that quickly returns to business, “I just have some messages for you.”

“Are they from you?” he asks.

“Well no, they’re from clients.”

“I can’t focus on them right now,” he says with those big blue eyes, “I want to focus on us.”

“Andy, you need to respond to these messages.”


“Because they are from clients who want to buy paper.” 

“I don’t want to talk about work right now.”

“Well, I only want to talk about work right now.”

“What about us?”

She’s getting fed up, “Us can wait, Andy!”  He’s shaken by her assertiveness.  She sighs, “I’m sorry, Andy, I—”

“Nah, it’s all good, I just…” he sighs, remembering what Pete said, “I gotta be more patient.”

She nods, smiling at his understanding.  “Thank you,” she responds as she sets the messages on the front of his desk and walks off.

After deciding what to do about Erin, he then calls Nellie into his office, “Alright, Doctor Who, got a new special project for ya.”

She’s already annoyed, “And what would that be?”

“I want you to find out what I can do to, you know, reinstate my rule, so to speak.”

“Hm,” she purses her lips and nods slowly, “…And why should I get involved in this?”

He rubs his hands, “Because you are a clever, unintelligible woman,” she keeps from rolling her eyes as he continues, “and if anyone can help me, it’s you.”

She breathes in, she’s not gonna enjoy this.  “…Well, first off, you need to understand where you went wrong before you attempt to fix it.”

“Right.  Do you mind recounting all of that?”

She is shocked, but not surprised, at his obliviousness.  “Are you sure you want me to do that?”

“Yes,” he said like it was obvious.

“Alright,” she accepts, “But I’m warning you, it’s not gonna be pretty.”

“Is there any way you can soften the blow?”

“No.  There isn’t.”

“Can you at least try?”

“No.”  He rolls her eyes as she begins.  

“First off, there’s Dwight, who had to take over for you when you were gone for three months and felt he did a superior job.

Then there’s Pam, who emailed you the fact that one of your top salesmen, Jim, her husband, required medical leave and you were none the wiser because you didn’t bother to check.

Then there’s Clark, who gave up his time and chastity to maintain the White Pages as a client which you single-handedly destroyed.

Then there’s Darryl, who emailed you about him working part-time at Athlead and ended up having that conversation with David himself.

Speaking of which, there’s David, for reasons I don’t even have to explain.

Then there’s pretty much everyone else for having to deal with Dwight taking over for you.

And, last but not least, there’s me, because I’ve had to waste my time recounting s***e you should already know.

And the only person in this entire office that doesn’t hate you is Erin.  And she can’t.  Because she is your girlfriend,” she ends by leaning in with a knowing whisper, “I think that about covers everything.”

“Wow,” he says, taking it all in, “you’re making me sound like a total douche-nozzle.”

Her face remains stoic.  “Here’s an exercise for you, Andy,” she chastises, “Imagine there are consequences to your actions.  Imagine the whole world does not revolve around this,” she emphasizes, waving her pen around, “There are others.”

“Hey,” he defends, “I’ve had it pretty hard myself, all right?”

“I’m sure you have,” she states matter-of-factly.

“My father single-handedly destroyed our entire fortune, okay, what was I supposed to do, not have a mental breakdown?” he says through a humorless laugh.

“Andy, I sympathize with your plight, everyone does.  But you should have handled this much more logically.”  It’s something else when Nellie is explaining logic to someone.  “You just decided to do something on a whim not understanding how it would affect your work or your personal life or… anything.”

He sits back, taking in her words, “Wow, the Nard Dog’s getting neutered today ain’t he?”

“And spayed.”

“…Well, now we gotta fix all this.”

“Nope, that’s your special project,” she says as she gets up, “Have fun with that.”

“Wait, that’s it?” he asks, shocked.  She stops by the door.  “I let you work here, I gave you the Special Projects Manager role, I signed the adoption form and you’re gonna leave me in the dust?”  He sounds legitimately desperate and hurt.

She sighs, “Andy… I will always appreciate everything you’ve done for me.  But you have a lot to atone for.  And I can’t help you with any of it.”  The silence is palpable as Andy just looks at her, not angry or bitter, just… sad.  “I’m sorry,” she whispers with a look of pure sympathy.  She slowly leaves and closes the door behind her.

It’s eventually the end of the day, and Andy has not moved out of his office since he met with Nellie.  “You ready to go, Andy?” Erin drops by, now in a much better mood.

“Yes, muh dear,” he responds, clicking the print button dramatically before he turns off his computer, “just gotta pick something up from the copier first.”

“Oh, I can get it—”

“I got it.  You get the car runnin’.”  He tosses the keys underhand to her.

She catches them with a smile.  “Got it,” she nods casually and walks out of the building.

“Not gonna lie, today’s been kinda painful,” Andy self-reflects to Brent, “the old one-two punch to my scrotum pole, translation: penis, translation: my manhood.  But I think I’m starting to pick up what others are putting down.  When I was growing up, I thought that when life gives you lemons, you’ve just gotta eat them, rinds and all.”

The camera shows him packing a job application for a position at Cornell University in his bag.

“But y’know… I’d much rather make lemonade.”

Andy Bernard is moving on.


After Andy enters his office, Pete arrives, smiling at Erin as he picks up his letters and heads off.  She returns the smile.

“Yes,” Erin confirms to Brent, “Andy and I are still together, and he knows that Pete and I are just friends,” she says with a small smile, “So everything’s patched up, nothing to worry about,” she leans in, “Now my biggest concern is what to do about Darryl.  He’s leaving tomorrow and Bear-yl doesn’t have a lot of milage left.”

After Pete and Clark’s brief discussion with Andy, Pete gets a text.  It’s Alice.

“Wait,” Clark asks, “isn’t she—?”

He looks with uncertainty at his phone screen, “Yup.”

“Apparently,” Pete explains to Brent, “my ex-girlfriend who I ended a toxic relationship with months ago wants to have lunch with me!”  He sighs heavily and makes a choice.  “Can’t believe I’m doing this,” he says as he texts her back.

“Why would you do that?” Erin asks him in the break room.

“I dunno, I just,” he sighs, “I’m sure she just wants to apologize.  I mean, we’re both adults and we’ve both moved on.”

“Pete, I— I don’t wanna see you get hurt.”  He looks down.  “I mean, from what you’ve told me, she’s really toxic.”

“She is, I just… wanted to give her a second chance.”

“I wanna tell you something I saw on brainyquote.com,” she says, “‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time’.”

He purses his lips, “I didn’t know you visit that website.”

Her tone is lighter this time, “How else do you get smarter unless you read stuff said by smart people?”

“You know, I can’t refute that.”  She shrugs knowingly and they smile at each other.

During his lunch break, Pete arrives at the Chinese restaurant.  And there she sits, Alice Walker herself.  The blond hair, the ponytail, the jacket, it’s all her.  She’s beautiful, and he hates her guts.

He sits across from her.  “Hey,” he attempts to break the ice.

“Hi,” she returns with a cordial smile, “It’s uh, been a while, huh?”

“Yeah,” he sighs, wondering how this is going to play out.

Meanwhile, after Nellie closes the Regional Manager’s office door, she suddenly hears the faint sounds of Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’.  She walks into the conference room, looks out the window, and finds… him.

“Oh, God, it’s the Skeleton Man again!”

Of course, this gets everyone’s attention, besides Andy’s.  Erin recalls the last time she heard Nellie say that, and looks at the camera, pure unadulterated fear etched on her face.  “Oh no,” she barely whispers as she walks down the stairs briskly, awaiting a horrifying reunion.

Her worst fears are realized when she reaches the front door, and there stands Gabriel Suzan Lewis, with an iPod speaker, dressed as Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything….

“Hello, beautiful,” he addresses her with that smile.

Erin wants to be literally anywhere else.

The others are staring up from the conference room window, as is a tradition for events such as these.

“Oh, look!” Creed exclaims, “It’s the birdman!”

“Didn’t those two used to do it?” Kevin asks.

Back at the restaurant, Alice instigates the conversation after they order.

“So where do you work now?” she asks.

“Dunder Mifflin,” Pete responds, “Scranton Business Park.”

“Huh,” she replies, “Any marketing jobs available?” she jokes.

“Unfortunately, no,” he replies through a forced smile.  Thank God.  “How have you been?”

“Oh you know, same old.”  There’s an awkward silence before she cuts right to the chase, “I want us to get back together.”

He chokes on his water, “Seriously?” he rasps.

“You know, times were tough,” Gabe explains to Erin, “I was unemployed, I was still heart-broken over you, I’ve lost a good fifty pounds.  But as you can see I put all that weight right back on,” he walks up to her with his butt facing her, “Feel how fat my buttocks are.  Yeah, it’s crazy.  Touch it.  It’s like a warm pumpkin.”

“I will do no such thing,” Erin says as politely as possible.

“I heard from the grapevine that you and Andy broke up.”

“Oh no, he and I are—”

“You must be pretty horny,” Game interrupts.

Erin just looks at him like he’s an alien.

“We were not right for each other,” Pete stresses, “like at all.”

“I don’t get why you’re so opposed to the idea.  I mean, we had a pretty amicable breakup right?” Alice asks.

“Oh,” Pete accuses, “Well as long as we’re rewriting history, you never had a drinking problem.”

“Oh, like you never drank while you were in college.”

“It’s college, that’s what you do.”

“Yeah you’re also supposed to go to classes, so there’s that.”

“I have a bachelor’s, don’t I?”

“Well, you’re clearly putting that to good use.  Moving up in the world, Pete.  By the way, how’s that P.E. degree coming?”

Pete should have known it would come to this.

“Gabe,” Erin stresses, “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you.”

“I still wear your button-downs around the condo sometimes,” Gabe admits, “So it feels to me like we’re still in a relationship—”

“Gabe!” she cringes, disgusted.

“I got a tattoo for you,” he continues, pathetically.

“I didn’t ask you to get that Nike Swoosh,” Erin replies, annoyed, “Nobody did!  You did that for you!”  

“Just do it.  You were the it that I was just doing.”

She looks up exasperated and rolls her eyes, “Gabe, can you stop talking?  Because every word out of your mouth is like the squawk of an ugly pelican.”

Erin longs for death.

“Don’t you get it?” Pete asks Alice, frustrated, “This is what you do, all the time, you pin me to the wall and call me the bad guy for trying to live my life.”

Alice just laughs incredulously, “Well, excuse me for wanting what’s best for you.”

“No, you want what’s best for you!” he emphasizes, “I was always the little project that you wanted to fix and change to suit whatever you wanted!”

“Come on, Pete, there’s a difference between that and trying to make you a little more sophisticated.  I mean, did you even attempt to use chopsticks after we broke up?”

“You say that like using chopsticks is the measure of a man,” he stresses, “It’s so not.”

Alice scoffs, “And here I was hoping that we—”

“You were hoping that we’d get back together?” Pete asks, “No, that was never going to happen.”

Alice doesn’t know where all this assertiveness is coming from.

“Erin,” Gabe implores to her, “I’ve been to Japan.  I know how to use chopsticks so well,”  he gestures her towards him, “Come back.  One night.”

“Gabe,” Erin responds, “I don’t want—”

“Give me one night with you.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I have shaved… everything.”

“I don’t want you to shave everything—”

“I am as smooth as a porpoise for you.”

“GABE!” Erin finally shouts, him flinching back, “What will it take for you to understand?  I don’t want to be with you!  At all!  You are living i-in a world of delusion!  Please, for both of our sakes, leave!”

Gabe looks like he’s about to cry, but then again, that’s what he always looks like.

Pete sighs, “What were you even trying to accomplish here?”

Alice looks guilty, staring at the floor and looks back up at him, “I’m sorry, Pete, I know I’ve been a bitch and you don’t deserve—”

“I know you’re sorry,” he interrupts, “You’re always sorry.  When you’ve heard it enough times, it only goes so far.”  He yanks out a twenty and slams it on the table before the food arrives.  “Keep the change.”  He storms out of the restaurant, leaving a dejected Alice behind him.

It’s ten minutes later when Pete’s car arrives back at the lot and parks at his spot.

“So that’s it, huh?” Gabe asks Erin, “A year’s worth of great memories—”

 “It wasn’t even a year.”

“Fine.”  He looks back at her, loitering as much as he can picking up his iPod speaker.  “Goodbye my love,” he leaves with a gentle air kiss, which makes her cringe once again.  As he walks off, he runs into Pete and, hearing all the stories, just raises his eyebrow and walks past him.  Gabe mutters a “walkaway,bitch” to himself before walking back to his car.

“Hey,” Pete greets Erin.

“Hey,” she greets back as they enter the building, “How was lunch?”

“Terrible.  You were right.  Didn’t even get to the food.”

“I’m sorry,” Erin sadly says, pushing the elevator button.

Coming from her, he knows she’s being genuine.  “Eh, not your fault,” he admits.  The elevator door opens, “So that was Gabe, huh?”

“Ugh, yeah.”

Their conversation continues when they reach their floor.

Pet Cemetery?” Pete asks, “For a first date?”

“I know, right?” Erin says laughing.

“Mm, mm, mm,” he says as they enter the building, “That’s not right.”

“No, it is not.”

Spending time in front of their exes, looking at what they managed to escape from, it put things in a whole new perspective.  Andy’s not perfect, but at least he’s been patient and loving to Erin.  Pete doesn’t need to put himself through the ugliness of the past, learning that some people will never change.

Erin Hannon and Pete Miller are moving on.


Toby H. Flenderson has always been dealt a bad hand.

The man is a complete wreck.  He’s one who longs for affection, purpose, and meaning, but doesn’t know how to obtain or maintain any of them.  His marriage with Cathy was a bust, his crush on Pam was and always had been one-sided, and his former boss just kept bullying him for no reason other than he existed.  And Michael’s grudge was always about him and not HR because when Holly came into the picture, he found the love of his life.  While Toby’s still at the same desk, doing the same thing, enforcing the same rules, and getting carpal tunnel from all the damn relationship forms he’s had to sign and none of them involving him.  Sasha, his beautiful and doting daughter, is the only thing keeping him alive.

And then there’s Jim.  Jim, the one who everybody likes, the one who’s so nice and charming.  He could get away with whatever he wanted and still get the girl and have the picturesque family Toby’s always longed for.  He’s grown to be infuriated with Jim, and he hates it because Jim’s completely unaware of why he can’t stand him.  He and Jim became close at first: they hung out a lot, Jim babysat Sasha for him, and Jim is nice and charming after all.  He should blame Michael for separating them before they even got the chance to really know each other.  But after that, he was just annoyed.  Yeah, he’s not proud of what he’s done to Jim (and Pam for that matter), but the fact that Jim had Pam and he didn’t still kinda made him frustrated.

And then he met the Halperts for Jim’s medical leave.  Jim Halpert, the man who was so perfect and had everything together, just… God, he looked so broken.  At that moment, he saw himself in Jim for the first time, and every little petty thought or grudge he had against Jim immediately disappeared.  And he’s still kicking himself for not trying to stop Jim’s downward spiral before it got so out of hand.  When the two embraced before he left, Jim quietly gave him a “Thank you” and he said, “Of course”, like he would do anything for him.

As much as he wants to follow in Jim’s footsteps, he’s always been hesitant to push himself to actually do something about his situation, so he needed to be pushed by someone else.  And that someone else was Nellie.  He keeps waffling on once again about his notes on the trial — like he has the past damn month — and she’s fed up.

“No,” she insists, “Toby, you cannot keep blathering on about this Scranton Strangler.  Do something about it.  Get it out of your system, whatever it takes.”

“I’ve been drafting a letter.”

“For two years,” she emphasizes, “Then what?  Another year picking out a stamp?  Another six months before you decide to lick it?  Just— I don’t… want… to hear it!”

This gives Toby pause.  This trial was the one thing, the only thing, that defined him.  Hell, he has nothing else going for him, so why should he not move on?  But he should wake up and realize he’s so much more than the trial.  Is that what he wants to be famous for?  Being a juror on some random murder trial?  No.  He wants to be a novelist, and that’s what he should be known for.  So he makes a stand.

“I’m going to the prison,” Toby announces to Darryl and Nellie as he enters the kitchen, “This afternoon.  Gonna talk to the strangler.”

“Probably best to use his real name rather than ‘Strangler’,” Nellie responds.

“Don’t use his real name,” Darryl emphasizes, “George Howard Scubb.  It’s a devil name.”

Toby ignores it and turns back to Nellie.  “Well, I just wanted to say I’m doing it.”  With a smile, he heads back into the annex.

“He’s doing it,” Nellie nods in respect.

Later that day, he walks up to the prison ready to see George Howard Scubb himself.

“This is the prison,” Toby informs the cameras, “Uh, I am not going in there with expectations, per se.  Um, I will meet George Howard Scubb.  I will tell him that I believe he is innocent.  I would understand if he felt motivated to hug me.  I would understand if a friendship began.  How did, how did Bogart put it?  ‘I think thish ish the shtart of my firsht friendship’.”

…And this visit results in him being strangled, wearing a neck brace provided by first responders, not being able to speak, and needing to be picked up by Nellie.

“Well, the good news is, no more guilty conscience,” Nellie reassures on their ride back to the office, “At least you know he is the Strangler.  The proof is in the grip,” she smiles, “Did they say when the vocal cords would heal?”  He barely nods.  “One week?”  He shakes his body, signifying no.  “M’kay, two weeks?”  He barely nods again.  “’Kay.  You offered your neck in search of the truth,” she chuckles, “The proud neck of justice, isn’t that the expression?  No, well— Anyway, it was… it was very brave,” she commends, “It really was quite brave.”

He wanted Nellie.  But after the whole leg debacle, he figured he couldn’t have her.  (He knows how well that went the last time.)  But hearing those words from her?  It was reassurance.  Reassurance that he did the right thing.  Despite his vocal cords being shattered like glass and the cumbersome neck brace, he’s still here, and he’ll be able to make more things right in his life.

And this reassurance puts a smile on his face.

Toby Flenderson is moving on.


Dwight meets Angela in the break room (popping from the side of the vending machine), informing her that his Aunt Shirley is on her last legs.  Mose keeps complaining and the nurse they had left (apparently she was ‘poisoned’), so he recruits her to help him take care of Shirley.  She’s sympathetic but doesn’t see how this is her problem.

“Angela,” Dwight stresses, “You owe me one, remember?”  She remembers she does.  “Now please, she’s an old woman Angela.  She needs a woman’s touch.  It’s all hanging out—”


“And there’s parts of her I don’t even recognize.”


“There’s this one hanging part, in particular, that’s some sort of flap.” 

“It’s fine.”

“It’s like a prehensile wing or something, you know?”

“Ugh!  God, alright, I can’t— okay, I’ll—”

“It’s a divet…”

“I’ll help you!”

“…where it was and it needs, it needs a…”


Aunt Shirley wakes up to find “Big City Dwight” and “Kitchen Witch” enter her home, ready to take care of her.  Dwight has to calm her down with “a nice, crisp liter of schnapps” after she slaps Angela in the face.

“Gosh, she drank so much,” Angela says, genuinely shocked, “And so quickly.”

“In her prime, Shirles could put away homemade schnapps morning, noon, and night,” Dwight responds as the aunt coughs and laughs in her sleep, “Now all it takes is half a liter.  She’s dreaming.  Alright, let’s get her out to the yard so you can spray her down.”

“Spray her down?” Angela asks, perplexed.

“No, it’s a lot better than it sounds,” Dwight reassures, “There’s a private shower area.  Very tasteful, very rustic.”

Angela refuses to hose Shirley down, but Dwight tries to get her to, and Angela accidentally hoses him in the process.

And, as the one human being that can stand up to a Schrute, Angela puts her foot down, “I’m gonna give your aunt a proper bath and a haircut like a lady!  And you two are gonna shut up about it!” she turns to Dwight, “Do you have a bathtub?”

“Yes ma’am,” he responds, intimidated.


Angela’s way seems to be the best method, even though Shirley feels like a show pony.  Dwight looks on, seeing the woman he fell in love with.  A natural mother, a natural caretaker, a natural breeder.  But still with the intensity and vengefulness to wrangle even the most stubborn of his family.

She notices his looking and doesn’t know how to feel.

During dinner, Shirley looks on at the adorable couple, the man giving his woman the stink sack because she’s the prettiest girl.

“So, when’s the wedding?” Shirley asks sweetly.

They pause.  Little do they know, fifteen months later…

“Oh,” Angela awkwardly corrects, “um actually uh, we are just friends.”

“That’s what Mose said about his lady scarecrow, and look what he did to that poor thing.”  Angela decided to not ask any more questions.

The day has reached its conclusion, and Dwight walks Angela out to the porch.  He thanks her, for her perspective was very useful, and she says that it wasn’t an unpleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Feelings intensify… and kisses are shared.  She stops him; he brings up the horseflies, but that’s not why she stops him.

“No, Dwight.  The Senator.”

He’s in love with her.  “Leave him.  He probably won’t even notice that you’re gone.  Be with me, Monkey.”

She… she can’t.  “I can’t be your Monkey, Dwight.” 

“I’m not talking about some frisky romp in the warehouse.”  He doesn’t want to do that.  He wants to be more than that.  “We have wasted too much of our lives ignoring the fact that we belong together.  The eighty or ninety years that I have left in this life… I want to spend with you.”

“I made a vow.  I gave my word.”  She’s sorry that he misinterpreted things.  It’s probably her fault.

“Stand by your man,” he advises, “It’s what I would want if you were mine.”  It’s not her fault.  He’s sorry he misinterpreted their friendship.

A forlorn and remorseful Angela willingly walks away.  “Good night, D.”

Dwight accepts that the woman of his dreams is staying with someone who treats her horribly because it’s comfortable.

Angela accepts that she has a comfortable lie to live, knowing that she’s allowing herself to be unhappy.

This is their Casino Night.

Dwight Schrute and Angela Lipton are moving on.


At around 9:30 am, Pam is gathering her things.

“On your way down?” Jim says through the phone.

“Yup,” she says.

“Jim has to be in Philly for a huge investor meeting with Athlead tomorrow,” Pam tells Brent with a smile, “so we decided to just spend a couple of days there and make a little vacation out of it.  And yeah, he told me he was done with Athlead, but I dunno.  After everything he’s done for us, he deserves a trip to Philly.  Besides, it gives me the chance to meet his Second Life avatar in person.  Jim Samtanko, Sportswriter.”

She gets in the car and she and Jim greet each other with a loving kiss, not unlike the one the cameras caught before they revealed they were dating.

“So, what’s on the agenda?” she asks.

“Well,” he begins, “Mark called, and they want us to meet with one of their customers after we check into the hotel.”

“What?” she asks, perplexed.

“Yeah,” he adds, just as confused, “Apparently someone’s gonna pick us up at around one.”

“Wait… isn’t Athlead’s clientele famous sports stars?”

“Yup, he didn’t tell me who.  He was all cryptic about it.”

She looks at him, surprised at how nonchalantly he’s treating this.  “I mean, you’ve gotta be excited, right?” she asks knowingly, “It’s not every day you meet a celebrity.”

“I mean, sure, but I’m not gonna be a fanboy about it,” he responds, “They’re a person, like us.”  A beat.  “I’m really excited!”

“I knew it!”

After the two check into the hotel and get in their room, they walk outside to see a large limo and its driver, holding a handwritten sign that says ‘Halpert’.

“...Oh my God,” is the only thing Jim can bring himself to say.

“Come on!” Pam says excitedly as he gets him to join her.  He just mouths ‘A limo!’ to the camera.

As they get in, she asks the limo driver, “So, who are we meeting with?”

“Oh, they didn’t tell you?” the driver informed, “Mr. Erving requested a meeting with you.”

Jim’s eyes widened, “Wait, Mr. Julius Erving?”


Pam couldn’t help but be elated by the pure shock etched on his face.

They had an enjoyable ride with freshly-squeezed OJ.  “Hey, are the snacks complimentary?” Pam asks as they reach their destination.

“Oh, yeah,” the driver said, “Take some home if you want.”

“Oh, no, no, no, that’s okay,” Jim responds.  As he’s saying this, Pam is already stashing some in her purse.  Once they get out, they see their destination, but he’s confused, “Um I’m sorry, is this the conference center?” he asks.

“No, Mr. Erving called,” the driver answered, “Said he’d rather meet you at his private court.”

Jim looked shell-shocked as Pam had to drag him with a “Well, come on!”

Jim just shakes his head and says “You gotta be kidding me!” to the camera.

And the Halperts come face to face with Dr. J himself.

“I hope you two don’t mind me bringing you out here,” Julius says, “I can’t get my knees under a desk.”

“Are you kidding me?” Jim says, taking everything in, “I can literally scalp tickets to this.”

“Well, Jim, do you think you can sink one from deep?”

“Listen,” Jim jokes, “I don’t mean to intimidate you, but I did play a little high school ball.”

“Okay,” Julius nods with a smile.  Jim effortlessly manages to impress his personal hero with a single shot.  “Wow, Halpert’s got game!”

Pam can’t help but smile.  This is everything he’s ever wanted, everything he’s always dreamed of… and this realization, ironically, makes her upset.

He looks so happy, its like hes ten again… am I keeping him from this?  I mean, he chose to not be in Athlead for me and the kids, right?  He chose Dunder Mifflin over this.  Hes either certifiably insane or its because of me.  He loves me so much that


She snaps out of her trance, “Huh?”

“Did you wanna give it a shot?” Jim asks.

“I mean, not sure I can ‘sink one from the deep’, but…”

“Here,” he passes the ball, and she flinches but manages to catch it.  Remembering the technique she learned during middle school P.E., she does manage to sink it from behind the free-throw line.

“Beesly!” Jim shouts proudly with a laugh.  She can’t help but smile, she loves when he calls her that.

“Watch out, Jim,” Julius smiles, “A few years and she’ll have you beat.”

And here arrives the waiter with smoothies.  Of course, there are smoothies.  Now I can literally drink my guilt.

“I can’t believe this is happening!” Jim tells her quietly with the widest grin on his face.

“Me neither!” She responds just as enthusiastically.

“Hey,” he wants to let him know how thankful he is, “I know sports aren’t your thing, so you didn’t have to join me.”

“I mean, I’d just be alone in the hotel room killing time,” she answers honestly, “so I might as well…”

“Hey Jim,” Julius asks so he can hear, “what size do you wear, man?  I got a pair of Japanese Nikes with your name on them.  What do you think?”

“I love it!” they both chuckle as they toast their smoothies.  Oh, come on!

She supportively stands there seeing her giddy husband in Nirvana bonding with his childhood hero, still looking as upset as ever.

“I made him choose Dunder Mifflin… over this,” she emphasizes, pointing behind her.  The camera quickly moves to show Dr. J reliving one of his most famous shots to Jim, happy as a lark.  She shakes her head, “I’m the worst wife ever.”

Jim and Pam’s dinner reservations were in a couple of hours, and they needed to get home and get ready.  After Jim and Dr. J shake hands, she wanted to get Julius alone, “Mr. Erving I—”

“Please, call me Julius.”

“Sure.”  God, Jims the best judge of character.  “I just wanted to thank you.  I think Jim really needed today.”

“Of course.  I mean, he’s the reason Athlead’s in business.”  Yes, he is.  “I can see it going places.”  Yes, it will.

“Me, too,” she responds with a smile.

On the limo ride back, Jim is the child that just got back from the candy store, which for Pam is equal parts adorable and upsetting to be around.

They’re back in the hotel room when Darryl calls Jim, the latter thanking Darryl profusely for the day he just had.

“How?” Jim asks, still in disbelief, “How did you guys manage to set that up?”

“Mark knows about what happened a month ago and he wanted to make you feel better before the meeting tomorrow, and you know Julius, he kicks ass.”

“Oh, he is just the best guy.”

“By the way, you talk to Wade and Collin?”

“No, I just saw I missed their call.  Why?  What’s up?”

“We got a new offer on the table.”

“What kind of offer?” 

“A buyout.”

Jim couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “WHAT?”

“Were in play, baby!”

“Oh, my God!” He runs his hands through his hair, not even bothering to contain his excitement.

“We did it!”   Both parties were laughing with joy.  This was it: Athlead, after months of uncertainty and fear, will finally be a household name.  “Hey, and look, the buyers wanna make sure its not just a Philly play, so get this: theyre gonna pay for us to go pitch out west.”  Out west?!  “We talking Spurs… the Jazz… Cowboys… Blake Griffin, baby!”

“Wow, that is… wow.”

“Yeah, we did it!”

“Yeah, you did!”  Then curiosity gets the better of him, “Hey, how long do you think that’s gonna take?”

“It doesnt start for a while, but Wade said we could do the whole country in three months.”

He could only focus on those two words.  Three months.  Three months he’d have to leave Pam to fend for herself, to raise the kids, to be his rock.  And God knows she would because she is actually Wonder Woman.  But, after everything that’s happened in the last 28 days, he could never actively put her in that position.  “Oh, man.”

“Yeah, this is everything!”

“Yeah,” Jim says, reflecting, “It really is.”

“Hey man, I just wanted to say thanks again.  For everything.  This is all I ever wanted.”

“Hey, you deserve it.”  He really does.

“And, hey, I know youve been through the wringer, so just so you know, youre pretty much guaranteed a job here.”  I… Im not sure I want this anymore.

Despite his contemplation, he replies with a smile, “Thanks, man.”

After the conversation, Pam walks out, fully dressed.  “What was all the excitement?”

“Athlead found a buyer!” Jim shouted happily.

It takes her a second, but she finally figures out what that means, “OH, MY GOD!”

They have a giggly, celebratory embrace, knowing that their investment is going to pay off in dividends.  After a loving kiss, he says “They did it.”

She smiles supportively and clarifies, “You did it,” and gives him a peck on the lips.

He sighs happily, knowing that he’s honest-to-God made the right decision.  “Ready for dinner?”

“Yeah, let’s go,” she says.  The camera catches them in the stain-glass elevator, hand in hand, their smiling faces fading as they both become deep in thought.

Outside the restaurant, Jim simply tells the camera, “Three months?  I… I couldn’t do that to Pam.”

Pam makes her own confession to the same camera, “This is everything Jim deserves,” she swallows, “I can’t keep doing this to him.”

During dinner, Pam comes clean.  “I have to be honest with you.”

“Hm?” he asks.

“Athlead is the stupidest name.”

He can’t help but laugh, “Yeah, yeah it really is.”

“Which one was it: you or Mark?” she asks, intrigued, “I have to know.”

He jokingly sighs and says “Guilty.”

She rolls her eyes, “Of course.”

“Hey, in my defense,” he pushes, “I was hammered at the time.”

“That’s the only logical explanation.”  She sighs. Get over yourself, Pam.  Stop being such a damn wuss.  Hes everything to you and he deserves the best.  “So do you see yourself working at Athlead down the line?”

“To be honest,” Jim states earnestly, “I… don’t think so.”

Dammit, Jim, dont say that.  “Jim,” she attempts to say as casually as possible, “you don’t have to placate me.”

“I’m serious,” he emphasizes, her taking in his words, “I don’t think I wanna work there anymore.”

She can’t help but be curious, “Why’s that?”

“When I got that call from Mark, it felt like a dream come true.  And I’ve always wanted to go into marketing and I love professional sports,” she nods, “so Athlead was everything.  And today was… great!  I met Dr. Freakin’ J, Pam!”  She smiles at how happy he is.  “And now that they’ve been bought out, we’re practically set for life!”  His face sinks again.  “But… I dunno, now that it’ll really take off, I’d have to deal with a lot of traveling, late nights, and inflated egos.  I mean, Erving’s an awesome guy, but who knows how many of my childhood heroes are not who I think they are?”

These are all points that he’s never considered until now, as he’s saying them out loud.

“Besides,” he continues, “I’m the Nicholas Tesla of Athlead, I’m gonna get some great perks out of this.”

“Like the Altima,” she points out.

“The Altima,” he echoes with a smirk, that fades when he becomes lost in thought, “God, it all makes sense now.  The reason I broke down was that… I’ve not cared about my work for years, and I’m tired of it.  Of the tedious calls, the multiple spreadsheets, the boring presentations, hell even the pranks.  I’ve been doing it for a decade now, and frankly, I feel like I’m trapped, hopelessly going through the motions, while I know there is something out there that I can enjoy doing.”

“That makes a lot of sense,” she responds, hiding her guilt yet again, “You still wanna go into marketing?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know where anymore.  I’m back to square one.”

It was one thing her keeping him from Athlead, knowing that’s where he wanted to be.  But this… is even worse, somehow.  He needed her to guide him, to help him find what he wants, what he needs, and she neglected him.

She blurts it out, wanting to know the answer but still too afraid to ask, “Do you regret Dunder Mifflin?”

His face softens, knowing that she’s scared she’s holding him back, “Oh, Pam,” he grabs her hands gently, rubbing her knuckles with his thumbs, “Dunder Mifflin led me to you.  And that’s why I want to make you happy.  Seeing you light up and get excited about being an artist, a saleswoman, an office admin… I just hear you talk about the mural and think ‘Wow, I’m so proud of her’.  I want you to be as proud of me as I am of you.”

And it hits her.

“You got to take a chance on something sometime, Pam.  I mean, do you want to be a receptionist here, always?”

“Oh, excuse me!  Im fine with my choices!”

“You are?”


She really is holding him back, keeping him from taking a chance on something, living a boring life as a salesman there, always.  He’s been kicking himself for everything he’s done wrong and it’s all her fault.

…She’s no better than Roy was.

And with this realization, she breaks down, taking her hands from his and burying her face, too guilty to even look at him. 

Naturally, he starts freaking out.  He moves to her booth and wraps his arm around her shoulder, the other hand rubbing her arm in comfort,  “Hey hey hey hey…” he leans over and kisses the top of her head, “what’s brought this on?”

“I’m s-so so-orryy,” she cries.

Please calm down, sweetie, I can’t make you cry again.  “You don’t need to apologize,” he comforts.

“Yes, I do,” she insists, “I-I’m afraid— you’re gonna resent me.”

Resent you?”  He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“You’re giving up so much.  That’s not fair to you.”

“Pam, that was my decision—”

“I f-forced you to give it up, Jim.”

“Pam, don’t say that,” he tells her softly, “You never forced me to do anyth—”

She looks him in the eyes.  “You deserve more than some 9 to 5 where you’re answering phone calls a-and writing spreadsheets all day, okay?  Y-you deserve more than that.”

Those three words… how could they be used in a completely different context and yet still have such an impact?

“Jim,” she begins, swallowing and regaining her composure, “everything I have, everything I am… it’s because of you.  The day we became friends, you taught me that I deserved better, that I should go for what I want.  And when I went for something, you were there.  No matter how difficult it was or how many times I doubted myself, you were there.”  It’s at this moment that Mama Beesly and Fancy New Beesly become one and the same.  “And it’s about time I returned the favor.”

He’s confused, but he’s willing to hear her out, “What do you mean?”

“Jim, I’m really scared of moving out of Scranton, okay, I’m petrified.  But I’ve always had this habit of fear keeping me from what I need.  And what I need is a husband and father who puts his passion and energy into something he loves doing.  And it’s okay that you don’t know where that is yet.  Because I’m gonna help you find it.  No matter where it is, or what company, or even how long it takes… it’s what you deserve.”

He’s too stunned to know how to respond, but he tries to anyway, “I promise you… you don’t have to do this for me.”

“I’m doing it for us,” she gives him a quick kiss on the lips, holding his cheek, “because we deserve it.”

He opens his mouth like a fish, trying to find the words to say to her… but because of the impact of her words and her sheer beauty, all he does is just wrap his arms around her middle and lock his lips with hers, bringing her impossibly close to him, and she does the same.  They know they’re in public and that the cameras are on, but neither of them cares.  He loves that she’s willing to take a risk for him, knowing that she could never hold him back but comforted to know that she wants him to make a better life for his family.  He couldn’t love this woman more if he tried.

When they pull back, he looks at her with love, admiration, happiness, pride, every single thing he felt the day they became friends.

She smiles brightly, “And Jim?  I’ll always be proud of you.”

All he can bring himself to whisper is “Thank you.  For everything.”

They kiss once again, shorter but no less passionate.  They pull back again, foreheads touching with bright smiles on their faces, and — for the first time in months — the two are finally in sync once again.

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

Jim and Pam Halpert are moving on.


The next day, Oscar walks to the kitchen door from his desk, seeing a metal bar and hooking the large boots he’s wearing onto it, upside down.

“I watch way too many ads online,” Oscar explains to Brent, “and I don’t do enough sit-ups.  So I bought these.  Now, every time an ad pops up online, I get 30 seconds of ab blasting.  I call it “Ads for Abs.”  Ironically, I learned about the boots from an ad online.”

As Oscar unsuccessfully tries to do his sit-ups and gets a head rush as result, the camera manages to catch one particular ad on his computer…

[Coming this May:]

[The Office: An American Workplace]

[Ten years in the making, a look at the

lives and loves of an average American

small business office.]


Chapter End Notes:

...This was a monster.

Aside from the fact that the episode was an hour long, something I was foolishly ignorant of, I had to weave in so much new stuff in this.

The Dwight/Angela and Toby plots are canon, pretty straightforward with some reflection here and there.

Writing Andy's was better to deal with, but not by much.  I basically had to split his plot and Erin and Pete's plot in half; try to stomach through the episode proper and you'll see why I decided this.  The conversation with Nellie I had planned for a while.  I figured it would be nice for someone he once considered a sworn enemy give him the most practical advise.  It adds to this oddball frenemies dynamic I established for them.  And, yes, that application means no more A Capella Sensation plot.  Damn, that was stupid.

The Chinese restaurant scene with Pete and Alice was loads of fun, switching the drinking problem line (The fact that Pete had that was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser) and really diving into why Alice is such a blight on his life.  She was difficult, admittedly.  I wanted to present someone who's not cartoonishly evil, but the right amount of manipulative to get to Pete.  And 95% of Gabe's lines are from the episode, but all of them stayed because they're perfect.  Love that spindly creep.

And then there's JAM.  Oof.  The dinner scene was planned for a while, too, including the "in sync" moment.  I wanted Dr. J to show up, finally giving Jim a chance to meet his idol, but I wasn't sure how; I don't know how investor meetings work, J admits that he hates being in desks, and why would a client be in an investors meeting?  So I decided "screw it" and took everything from that subplot from "Lice" and added Pam.  I figured J was a cool guy, as he was in the show, so not only would he agree to do this but he'd be a wonderful guy too.

Final thing: Athlead.  It's funny, for the longest time, it was endgame.  But the more I looked it up, the more I realized how much time Jim would have to sacrifice not being with his family, same goes when he's working there in Austin post-series.  And after a whole month of being there for Pam, he wouldn't.  The buyout wasn't for three months in canon, so I decided to put it here purely because of the national tour; he's not doing three months.

I just hope this long mess was worth the build up. 

NEXT TIME: Aunt Shirley, to Dwight's surprise, wills him and his upper-class siblings (Jeb and Fannie) her 1,600 acre farm.  Meanwhile, as the Halperts plan their future, Todd Packer — the infamous “Pack-Man” — returns bearing gifts for the office, leaving everyone suspicious.

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