Five Places Phyllis Sees Toby Outside of Dunder-Mifflin
5. It takes only a few weeks for Phyllis to realize that she and Toby are on the same grocery store schedule. The first time she saw him was early summer, just before Pam's wedding. She was pushing her cart down the cereal aisle – Bobby liked plain cheerios – and she saw him stroll by, perpendicular to her. Toby in front of the milk, and then gone.
They met in the bakery section. Bobby liked fresh sourdough rolls and Toby was standing near the doughnuts. When he looked up, she waved and he offered her a limp smile before pushing his cart away. In the parking lot, he called, "See you Monday," and she waved again before loading her trunk and carefully putting her cart away.
The most recent time she saw Toby at the store, Bobby had come along with her and when she saw Toby, his daughter Sasha was standing with him, holding his hand. She was pretty and Toby looked happy all the way up to his eyes.
"Hey honey, isn't that man from your office?" Bobby asked, putting his big hand on her back.
"Yes," she said. "Sometimes we shop at the same time."
"He's a quiet one," Bobby said before leaning down and kissing her cheek. "Maybe he's plotting to steal you away from me."
"Oh, I doubt it Bobby," she said, patting him lovingly. "Nothing could steal me away."
4. All of the Dunder-Mifflin people were seated at the same table for the wedding reception. Well, a table for the office people and a table for the warehouse people. Stanley isn't there and Michael was the first on the dance floor. Bobby sat next to her and Toby on her other side. There was an empty seat for Jim even though Kelly had told Phyllis that Ryan told her Jim had definitely RSVPed no. He'd left for Australia, after all.
"Pam really got married," Toby said to her over the music. Phyllis had been sitting alone, tapping her feet, waiting for Bobby to bring her more champagne.
"It was a long engagement," Phyllis acknowledged.
"No," Toby said, and nodded his head toward Jim's empty place setting.
"Oh," Phyllis said, raising her hand to her mouth to hide her smile. Soon, Pam came by to greet them and sat down in the vacant chair. "You look beautiful, sweetheart," Phyllis said. Even Angela agreed. Her wedding dress sparkled in the light and her cheeks were flushed.
"Thanks," she said. They chatted for a while before Pam moved on. Before she left, she took Jim's name card and folded it; tucked it into her bodice and went to the warehouse table.
3. Vance refrigeration had a smallish store front in a strip mall on the main street of Scranton. Inside, the air-conditioning was blowing hard even though one could hardly call it summer anymore. Phyllis sat behind the desk, holding her sweater close to her. She wished she'd worn real shoes instead of sandals. Bobby was in the office with the door closed, talking loudly into his telephone. Phyllis had explicit directions to answer the phone if it rang and put the customer immediately on hold so Bobby could handle it. Shelly was out sick and it was Saturday and a long weekend. Phyllis was happy to fill in.
There was just enough room in the store for her, the desk, and seven different kinds of refrigerators. The warehouse was across town and she knew that Bobby was on the phone with his foreman. She was supposed to go to the movies with Bobby today but she isn't bothering to keep her hopes up. The bell on the door moved and she looked up to see a frazzled looking woman walk in with a girl on her hip who was too big to be carried.
"Go sit down," the woman says, making sure her daughter's feet touch the floor before she lets go. The girl looked glazed with sleep and she climbs into the single folded chair. She looked so familiar but Phyllis didn't know very many little girls and she doesn't know why she should be able to place this one.
"May I help you?" Phyllis asked, not at all knowing what to do should the woman say yes.
"I need a new refrigerator." she said, setting her big purse on the desk.
"We have those," Phyllis tried to joke but the woman either didn't hear her or didn't care. "One moment." She knocks on the office door. "Customer," she said through the crack Bobby opened. He shut the door again. "One moment," she said again. The silence was heavy with the mother's exasperation. "Your daughter is beautiful."
"My ex-husband was supposed to pick her up an hour ago." she said. "Late as usual. He should be here any second."
"It's no problem. Mr. Vance is on a call but he'll be out to help you in…"
"One moment, got it."
Soon, Bobby came out and motioned the mother to follow him to the most expensive stainless steel unit. The girl was alone on the chair. Phyllis had never had children and she'd only been married once, briefly. Jack had died of cancer in the beginning of their second year, but even then, children had never been a goal. Still, she could have made a pretty little girl work out.
When the door rang again and Toby walked in, Phyllis realized the child was his daughter, Sasha.
"Hey," Toby said, grabbing the girl before any interaction with his ex-wife had to occur. "See ya."
2. Michael never did get her 'beaver' Dundie fixed and so she didn't much feel like attending the next year. Still, Michael's e-vite said mandatory in three different places. Jan banned anything office related from being held at Hooter's and since Pam was banned from Chili's, the awards were being held at Dwight's big farm house and only catered by Hooter's.
"Since casino night was such a big hit," Michael declared. The Dundies wouldn't be the same anyway regardless of Dwight's creepy house because Jim was gone and Ryan's temp contract had actually expired. No one had been hired to replace them because of the downsizing. She hoped the Dundies would at least be shorter this year.
It was a bit of a drive out to the beet farm and she made it alone. She followed Toby in the caravan and he kept the beat of the music with his hand on the steering wheel. Meredith rode with Kelly; everyone knew it was best that she didn't drive when Michael had a trunk full of Vodka.
The house was dark, drafty, and severely Dwight. Roy wouldn't go after last year and Pam stood in the living room looking distraught, twisting her wedding band around and around. They all sit in the living room while Dwight plugs in the rented Karaoke machine and Angela lets the caterers in. She knows which drawer the serving utensils are in and when Oscar asks for a glass of water, she knows exactly where to find the glasses.
Toby helped Phyllis with her coat but now she wished she had it around her shoulders. Dwight lit a fire in the hearth.
"I made chocolate beet cake," he said.
Stanley rolled his eyes.
"We'll be up and going 10 minutes," Michael promised.
"Do you want to take a walk or something?" Phyllis turned to Toby and he moved his head slowly to one side.
"All right." he agrees.
Outside, it was already dark and their breath came out in little cloudy puffs. The stars appeared one by one and they stomped their feet as they made the perimeter of the house. Inside, they could hear Michael begin to sing the newest Christina Aguilera song and the moon rested on the top of the trees.
"What if we didn't go back in?" Toby asked.
Phyllis put on her gloves one finger at a time and started their walk again.
1. Toby had to drive to New York to go to a meeting at corporate.
"I will go also," Michael said too quickly.
"No, Michael, send me!" Dwight begged. "I'll be your eyes and your ears,"
"No Dwight." Michael snapped and Toby stood in the middle of the office with his hands in his pockets.
"It's H.R. No one has to come," he sighed.
"Well you can't go alone,' Michael said, like it was obvious that Toby couldn't be trusted. "Take Stanley."
"No," Stanley said.
"Creed." Michael offered, but Creed hadn't shown up to work in a few days. "Or Kelly."
"No! Just… no." Toby said.
"God, Toby." Michael's exasperation was becoming evident. "Fine, take Phyllis."
Phyllis looked up at the sound of her name.
"Me?" she asked. Toby didn't immediately protest and though she wasn't Michael's first choice, he makes some comment about her being 'Scranton through and through' despite the fact that Toby has lived in Scranton most of his life and Phyllis just under a decade.
She put on her seatbelt in the car and Toby adjusted her mirror.
"Why am I going?" she asked.
"Absolutely no reason. I'm gonna drop you off at home and there is some money in the glove box. Take it for cab fare to get to work in the morning."
"I won't tell Michael," she said, leaving his money where it was.
"I know," he said and put his hand briefly on top of hers. His skin was dry and warm and later, in her quiet, mid-morning living room she sniffed her hand to see if his smell lingered but it just smelled like her hand lotion. She watched TV while she knitted and took a hot bath after lunch. When her cell phone rang with 'Michael' on the caller id, she didn't pick up.