A/N: Al right my first Office fic. It takes place some time after Casino Night and is like an alternate Season 3 premiere. It's mainly JAM, but this chapter especially, incorporates the entire office. Title after Cake song "Where Would I Be?"
Where Would I Be?
"I got a promotion," Michael says to the camera, gesturing his arms widely at the packed up boxes in his office. "Jan was promoted to CEO of Dunder Mufflin, and accordingly her next of kin was given the boot right up to corporate," he says gruffly hooking his thumb towards his face. "But don't worry all, I will be making numerous guest appearances. Some would say 'celebrity' guest appearances," he emphasizes with air quotes.
"Michael is leaving this week," Ryan the temp says slowly, "and he seems to be under the impression that we're going to miss him… a lot."
Ryan stands in the break room waiting for his coffee to finish brewing and is caught off guard when Michael wraps his arms around him tightly. He cries into his back, "I'm going to miss you so much buddy." Ryan gradually turns to the camera wide eyed.
"I'm not sure exactly how Michael got promoted," Pam says. "It might have something to do with Jan playing favorites, but I rather not theorize too much on that one."
"Do you know who his replacement is?" The camera man asks reading off a list of questions the producers requested.
"His replacement?" Pam repeats, "I don't think they've hired one yet. I haven't gotten any faxes from corporate about it. I'm just really hoping that it isn't Dwight. He seems to think that since he was the top seller and is assistant regional manager that he automatically gets the job." Pam freezes a look of horror plunging across her face. "Oh my God, he does, doesn't he?"
Dwight sits at his desk with his chin held a little higher. He holds a name plaque that reads "Assistant Regional Manager" and covers the word "Assistant" with his hand. He removes his hand and with a karate like sound effect, covers it again proudly.
"Are they planning a big 'Going Away Party' for me?" Michael begins still in his office. "I prefer to think of it as a 'Congratulations Michael, We're so Glad Such Great things Happen to You, You'll Always be Our Favorite Boss, and Our Best Friend' party. But that doesn't really fit on a banner, so yes, they are planning a 'Going Away Party.'"
Kevin throws a pile of papers into the recycling bin.
Pam types and e-mail from her desk.
Today is Michael's last day. He keeps on walking around and getting all teary eyed as giving these super cheesy speeches. I'm almost afraid he'll change his mind and stay. Dwight seems suicidal, yet hopeful. I'm terrified that he'll get promoted and take Michael's position. Imagine the power trip he'd get off that one. We'll have Lord of the Rings Friday's and work during Christmas!
Hope you're having fun!
Every so often her eyes drift up across the office towards his desk before she glances over her shoulder at the camera and quickly closes the window. It's been a while since the cameras have been around and she's having a hard time getting reacquainted with their presence. Usually the crew only takes a hiatus during the summer but because of budgetary reasons, namely Chili's taking away their endorsement, the cameras haven't been around for the past six months.
"So where's Jim?" The camera man asks Pam, reading off another assigned question.
Pam's face drops for a moment before she finally collects her thoughts. "Jim transferred to the Stamford branch about six months ago. They were offering him better pay, I think they actually made him head of sales over there. So good for him, you know?" She smiles sadly.
"Do you still keep in touch?"
"Um," she presses her lips together tightly wringing her fingers together. The camera dips down to catch this and notices that there aren't any rings on her fingers. "I e-mail him every once and a while, but they keep him really busy over there."
"And how was the wedding?" The cameraman asks.
It's obvious that as much as Pam was expecting this question to be asked, she still isn't ready to answer it and the cameraman suddenly feels terrible for asking. "Roy and I decided that we needed to try being single for a while. A wedding isn't entirely out of the question," she adds. "You'll just have to wait after another three year engagement," she smiles but it doesn't reach her eyes.
She remembers the night it was over. The night when she came home when Roy was already in bed and he asked her how her night was and she couldn't look him in the eye. She remembers stepping up to her dresser and trying to brush out the feeling of Jim's fingers in her hair because it might help her forget the way her heart swelled in her chest when he told her that he loved her. It wasn't hard for Roy to realize something was wrong. Not when she burst into tears and wouldn't turn to face him.
"What the hell happened?" He asked.
She remembers the time he left during her boss's stupid award show and how they argued because he didn't ask her what she wanted. But this time he told her he was exhausted, asked if she wanted to come with him or if she was just going to catch a ride later. It made her so happy that he cared about what she wanted to do.
And then the tears came more fiercely. "What's wrong baby?" He asked wrapping his arms around her waist.
She tightened then, her entire body turning to stone. "Jim," she said simply.
And suddenly it all made sense. Roy took a step back, "What did he do to you?"
She brushed a tear off her cheek before folding her arms protectively across her chest. "He told me he loved me," she said.
The words were real and biting, and all Roy could do is nod.
"And then he kissed me and…" she trailed off before their eyes met.
"I didn't stop him."
"What happens now?"
The next morning Roy called the church to see if they could get their deposit back.
It was that Monday Jim told her he was transferring to Stamford. He had gone to corporate a few times already that month and all the paperwork was taken care of and his last day at the Scranton branch would be that Wednesday. She listened wordlessly, waiting for the words to finally sink in. He gave her more details about why he was leaving, but she knew it was because of her.
She called in sick Wednesday too afraid to say goodbye. And on Thursday she stared at his desk until 5:30.
The wedding was postponed indefinitely that weekend. The zero hour was too close for them to take that leap with so much on their plate.
Roy moved out mid-June. She couldn't give him her whole heart. He had always thought that since he was her first and only love that there would never be a problem in their relationship. Maybe that was why he got lazy, maybe that's why she fell in love with somebody else while he wasn't looking.
"No, I haven't told Jim about Roy," she confirms. "I just didn't want to bother him with my life when he's busy settling into his."
Kevin frowns at the camera, "The Roy/Pam wedding fell through for us," he says. "We still got paid though. So that was nice."
The party planning committee gathers in the conference room as Angela scans through a list of demands for the upcoming celebration. Ryan is the last to enter and looks around the room bewildered before taking a seat at the far end of the table.
"Michael has a very elaborate surprise party planned," Angela begins. "He wants the decorations to be in his favorite color," she continues. "Does anybody know what Michael's favorite color is?"
The women and Ryan all look at each other dumbfounded. "I'll go ask Dwight," Pam offers.
"He would also like a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake that says: Thanks for the Laughs and the Memories," Angela can't help but roll her eyes. "The rest of this list is just ridiculous," she says sliding the paper out of her sight.
Kelly picks it up, "Magician? Drew Barrymore? A flyby plane with the banner "We Lo—" Angela snatches the paper back with an iron glare.
"Am I sad that Michael is leaving?" Kelly asks the camera. "Um…" her gaze drops as she rocks in her chair subtly.
Meredith drops a folder on Stanley's desk before glancing at the camera. She coughs and walks back to her desk.
Pam is at her desk typing something on her computer. She is at the Map Quest website, and as the camera zooms in on her monitor the word "Stamford, CT" is typed into the search box. Pam catches the lens over her shoulder and quickly switches windows to a game of FreeCell.
The phone beeps and she presses the hold button, "Yes Michael?" She asks with as little aggravation as possible.
"Pam, do you realize this is the last time I'm going to buzz you?" He says, his voice thick with tears.
"Somehow I doubt that," she says turning her attention back to her game.
"What was that?" He asks defensively.
"Nothing. What do you need?"
"Just wanted to say 'hi,'" he says.
"Hi, Michael," she says before turning off the speaker. She sighs looking through her possible moves. The phone beeps again. "Yes Michael?"
"Do you realize that this is the last time I'm going to buzz you?"
"Do you promise?" She groans.
Pam rolls her eyes and turns off the speaker again.
The phone beeps. "Yes, Michael?" She asks now unable to hide her annoyed tone.
"Do you realize that this is the last time I'm going to buzz you?"
"Look Michael, I'm really busy."
"Yeah," he pauses, "okay then."
She releases a relieved sigh moving a couple of cards. The phone beeps again and Pam almost screams. Instead she pulls the phone chord out of the wall. A moment later Michael is peering out his blinds at her. He glares and shakes his head slowly. Pam drops her shoulders in defeat and plugs the phone back in.
The phone beeps.
"I liken my employees to my children," Michael begins. He sits in his chair behind a cleared desk. "Well not so much children as god-children." He presses his lips together and leans his elbows against his desk. "Hmm…" he lowers his voice thoughtfully. "Maybe the children metaphor wasn't the exact angle I was going for." He looks off in the distance, "Yeah…"
Creed is sleeping while sitting up. He chokes a little and quickly wakes up. After looking around the office he dries his chin before falling back asleep.
Dwight rushes into Michael's office. "Question," he begins, "will I be accompanying you to corporate?"
"No, Dwight," Michael says. "I'll be given a new assistant and even so… no."
"Question," Dwight continues. "Will I be given your job?"
"No Dwight, you're not going to be my replacement," Michael says with a hint of disgust. "Corporate is looking through all of their branches for the best candidate."
"So I'll get the job," Dwight raises his brows suggestively, "right?"
"If I could take my employees with me I would definitely," Michael tells the camera. "I would take them all, you know. When it's a family you don't leave anyone behind. Except in that movie Home Alone, they left a kid behind. But I love everyone so I'd take them all with me. Except for Dwight… and Toby."
"Am I going to miss Michael?" Toby asks looking up from his desk. "No, not at all."
"I was placed in charge of getting Michael a gift," Ryan says uncomfortably to the camera. "And I have no idea why." He scratches his head. "They have gift certificates to McDonald's right? I'll probably just get him one of those."
Michael steps up to Pam's desk and taps his hand against it. "I am going out to lunch this afternoon, so hold down the fort while I'm gone." He quickly adds, "Or whatever you have planned this afternoon, feel free to go forward with you planning."
"You mean your surprise party?" Pam asks dully.
"Oops," Michael says covering his ears with his hands, "I heard nothing! I promise!" He laughs loudly.
"Based on the general attitude from our last few parties, I've decided that usually I just have to step in and put things in my own hands," Michaels says as he walks to his car. "Casino Night was a huge success. Huge! The Christmas Party, I still have people coming up to me and thanking me for that one. And the 06-06-06 party? Well that one was kind of scary, but it was for Satan, so really what can you expect? And who planned those events? Angela. But who fixed those events? Michael Scott did." He smiles proudly as he unlocks his car. "Look at her track record. Meredith's birthday? Lame. Jim's goodbye party? Could have been good if everyone would stop crying. Some people have party planning skills and some don't. I pride myself in never asking myself 'What can I do?' rather asking myself 'What can't I?'" Michael pulls into the parking lot of a strip mall and steps into a liquor store.
At the office Angela stands up, "Everybody, I need you to sign Michael's card, so could you all pass it around quickly and make sure your name is on it?"
Phyllis approaches Angela cautiously with a large box. "The bakery screwed up the cake order."
"What?" Angela snaps.
"They put the wrong message on the wrong cake," she says timidly.
"Well what does it say?"
Phyllis opens the box. The cake reads: Happy 8th Birthday Michelle!
Angela drops her face into her hand. Kevin peeks over the edge of the box, "At least the name is sort of close."
"Not now Kevin."
Pam opens up her e-mail and sees a new message in her inbox.
Comfort Dwight for me. Then kill him.
A huge smile spreads across Pam's face before she answers the ringing phone.
Ryan drops an envelope on Angela's desk, "I got the gift."
Angela inspects it before glaring at him, "McDonald's?" She huffs grabbing the card off Stanley's desk and shoving the gift certificate in the envelope.
"I don't necessarily like party planning," Angela tells the camera. "I'm more accustomed to planning church events. I recently did the nativity scene for Christmas Eve mass. I had to cut out Jesus though, the baby wound up getting the chicken pocks." She pauses, "And Mary… she was sleeping with the angel."
"Michael's on his way up," Pam announces.
Dwight narrows his eyes at her, "How do you know."
"Because he called to let me know," she answers.
The elevator dings and Michael comes through with a crate. "Surprise!" He yells.
"Surprise," is his unenthusiastic response.
"Who died in here?" He jokes, "Besides Carl the janitor," he looks at the camera choked up, "may he rest in peace."
"Surprise, Michael," Dwight runs up to him snatching the card from Angela on his way. "We got this for you."
Angela places her hands on her hips and shakes her head at Dwight. He smiles sweetly and her face softens.
Michael sets the crate on Pam's desk. "Ooo a gift!" He says. "And a card! Let's see what everybody has to say to Mr. Scott now that he's not their boss anymore."
"Technically you're still our superior though." Dwight corrects.
"Yeah, but not your direct superior, I'm a part of corporate."
"Yeah, but you still control whose employed, who isn't, and other jurisdiction within this company," Dwight adds.
"You know what?" Michael rips open the card, "Let's just read this." He looks at the certificate, "$45.89 to McDonald's… great."
Ryan loosens his tie, "Yeah, the sales tax sort of messed up the round number." There's a McDonald's cup at the top of his waste basket.
"Thanks," he says flatly. "And now the card," he says with higher spirits. "Congratulations on Your Success," he reads before turning to the camera. "Because I have been promoted, this could be considered a successful move." He opens the card. "Let's get to some messages…" his face falls. "And all we've got is signatures. Come on guys!" He shouts. "Real creative guys," he drops the card on Pam's desk. "Real creative." He picks up the crate, "On an actual good note, I come bearing gifts as well!" He pulls out a handle of Vodka, "And don't say corporate doesn't allow it because you're looking at him!"
Meredith dances wildly around the office. Kelly sits on the edge of Ryan's desk as he slowly rolls away in his chair.
Todd Packer enters shouting, "Look who's finally off his knees, pansy!"
Michael embraces him in a hug yelling, "Packer!"
Angela and Dwight argue in the kitchen. "He always does this and you just let him!" She complains.
"Don't worry," he glances over his shoulder before quickly retracting his hand. "Soon I will be in charge and everything will be different." He drops his voice to a hush whisper, "Everything."
"Do I consider myself a good boss?"
Toby toasts drink towards a banner reading "Bon Voyage, Michael!"
"Not at all."
Meredith slips a handle into her purse.
"I consider myself a great boss."
Creed slips a large chunk of cake into his briefcase.
"I've been doing it for five years now, how could I not be?"
Pam wanders over to her desk and notices a fax in the printer tray.
"I liken myself to Tony Danza. Because really, I'm not just the boss, I'm the family."
Picking up the fax she sees the Dunder Mifflin header to the attention of Michael Scott.
As you know the board has voted on who will replace you as regional manager for the Scranton branch. After reviewing top sellers of all the Dunder Mifflin branches, we have selected Jim Halpert of the Stamford, Connecticut branch. Thank you for your input on this decision. We look forward to seeing you in New York on Monday.
CEO Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Inc.
New York, NY
"Of course I'm a good boss," Michael laughs. "They promoted me, didn't they?"