(Author's Note: Legal Disclaimer: All names, places, trademarks and copywrites belong to their respective owners; I have not intended to defame them in anyway, nor claim to own any of the advertisements in this fan fiction. This is for entertainment purposes only.)
Chapter 12: A Drug called Love
Mike and Joan rolled up to his apartment at 1:50. The street lamps illuminated the Mustang as he covered it with a sheet. "Wouldn't want the envious to become criminal." He smiled. It was a brief walk up the stairs and into the building. The key slid into the apartment lock with ease and he pushed open the door.
"For a bachelor," Joan thought, "He has decent cleaning skills." Some clothes were scattered about, but at least the dishes were done.
"Welcome to my humble abode." Mike said.
"It is quite humble." She giggled.
"Okay, well I spent all my money on the car and now have more debt to pay. Mike's shack can wait" He laughed. Joan walked over to his sofa and sat down.
"Can I get you anything? Water, or something?" Joan looked up to him and replied,
"Just water will do." Mike left her presence for a moment, going to his kitchen and grabbing drinks. He returned quickly, handed her the water and sat down beside her.
"Did you enjoy dancing?" he questioned.
"I certainly did." She smiled and continued, "I hope I'm a suitable partner."
"In more ways than one." He smiled boldly as she blushed and looked away. "I really appreciate your help around the office." He added.
"It's nothing Mike. It was just a few pointers, you're very welcome though." She grinned.
He returned the smile but it slowly faded from his visage. "So what happened last night? I could tell you were… just slightly off." Joan took a large sip of water and held the glass between her hands.
"Greg came home drunk after seeing you, Ken and I leave in your car. I guess he took that as objective cheating. He got angry, I got scared… So I left, and knew you boys would be at the bar." An angry feeling rose in Mike's heart.
"Did he hurt you?"
"No, no, nothing like that. He was just being an ass and needed a timeout."
"Good. He doesn't need a good beating then." Mike smiled and Joan continued,
"No, I'm sure he got the message." She finished off the water and leaned back on the couch. He took her glass and stood.
"I'll be back in a minute." He left the room and Joan closed her eyes slightly. Michael put the glasses back in the cabinet after cleaning them, and sorting a few dish towels in the drawer. He walked back into the living room.
"So I thought maybe we could…." He looked to Joan who was unmoving on the couch. "Joan?" she didn't answer. "Or I could watch television and you could sleep." He chuckled to himself and went to a chest behind the drawer pulling out a blanket and setting it across Joan, up to her shoulders. He went up the TV, turned it on and switched down the volume. After taking a seat beside sleeping beauty, she leaned into him and fell into a deep sleep.
Mike watched some sports channels for a while and then switched it to the news. Nothing very interesting was on, so after a half hour he turned off the TV and picked up Joan in his arms, walking her into his bedroom. He set her down, pulled off her dress and slipped her into bed where she rolled over and made slight snores. Mike undid his tie and pulled it off. He sat down at the chair nook in the corner of his room and fell asleep leaned back with thoughts of her in his mind.
Donald Draper sat motionless in a chair by the great 12 pain window of his apartment. The lights were all off except a desk lamp that illuminated the paper in front of him. It was raining outside, and appeared like a thunderstorm was fast coming towards the city. He began writing down a few words in his journal.
"Well I probably shouldn't have fooled around with Betts. I just want the best for her. I feel terrible for pushing her away from me in the first place. I really don't like Henry, not that it matters. He just seems like a time waster, like he is too wrapped up in work and in his other life. I guess, he's like me."
Don leaned back and put the pen back in its holder. He rubbed his hands across his forehead and exhaled deeply. It was 2:30 in the morning and he was startled by a ring at the phone. Slowly, he turned to watch it ring out once more. Don stood from his chair, approached the phone, and picked up the receiver.
"Hello." The line was silent. "Hello?"
"Hi Don… It's Betty." She blurted out.
He waited a moment before replying. "How are you?"
"I'm alright; I'm alright… anyway about tonight. I just wanted to apologize… I feel responsible for the issue that was created."
"Don't apologize Betts, it takes two to tango. I'm sorry for not respecting the boundaries that are put before us. It's something I couldn't do in… or out of our relationship."
"It's okay, what happens, happens, and there is no need to dwell upon it now. I was just frustrated and needed to let off steam. I guess you can understand that."
"Yes I can very well." He waited for her to continue.
"Let's not let this come between us… we need to be there for our kids and to be strong for them."
"Absolutely." Don replied. Betty smiled on the other end of the line.
"Good, I'm glad. Goodnight Don." She finished.
"Goodnight Betts…" he hesitated a moment then added. "I miss you." Betty froze on the other end of the line. She took a breath and muttered,
"I miss you too Don… I miss you too." And with that she hung up the phone. Don hung up on his end and smiled.
Betty Francis' hands were shaking. She missed the phone hanger three times before successfully disconnecting. Sitting against the wall, she slowly slid down until she was sitting on the ground.
"It must be early" Sally Draper thought as she sat up in bed. It was dark outside and raining decently too. She looked at the small clock beside her bed. It was 2:31. She got out of bed with a thirst in her throat. The hallway of their house was casting dark shadows onto the floor, and Sally slowly crept around them. Her mother's bedroom door was open and she could see Henry lying in bed, fast asleep. She continued tiptoeing until she was headed down the steps where she heard a voice: It was her mother's,
"Let's not let this come between us… we need to be there for our kids and to be strong for them." There was a small pause and then she heard her mother speak again, "I miss you too Don… I miss you too."
A brief light ignited inside of Sally's heart. Hope that perhaps her parents would be getting back together soon. Hope that she wouldn't have Henry as a father, and she could have Daddy back. She smiled in the darkness and tiptoed further down the staircase. Sally could see her mother's figure sitting against the wall and slowly slipping down. A frown was brought to Sally's face, she was worried. It was at that time when Sally accidentally slipped on one of the stairs and caught herself, but not before making a thump.
Betty darted her head towards the stairwell. "Who's there"
"It's me mom." She squeaked
"Sally Draper, what are you doing up so early? Go back to bed."
"Are you and Daddy getting back together?" she questioned. Betty was hurt by the thought and felt sick telling her child the reality of the situation. She didn't need to know all the painful details yet.
"No we aren't Sally, but we are meeting up once a month to discuss things about you, Bobby and Baby Gene. Your father and I feel it's important that we share what is going on with you three."
"Oh… Okay." Sally was very disheartened hearing this. "So Henry still has to be my daddy?" she asked earnestly. Tears were rolling into Betty's eyes as she replied.
"No one is replacing Daddy in your life, okay? Henry may be my husband and your stepfather but that will change nothing about you and Daddy." Sally felt a bit better after hearing this.
"Okay mommy. I really hope so. I miss seeing Daddy every day." The honesty in her voice pained Mrs. Francis to a bitter end. Sally walked back up the stairs and went into her room.
The tears flowed like a fountain to Betty's eyes after that, and she cried on the floor until the sun came up.
Joan woke up with a shudder. She had a dream that she was free falling through her life and letting the good things pass her by. As she fell through the endless air she watched everything she loved turn to ash: "thank goodness I woke up." She thought. Feeling around in the sheets she realized she wasn't in her own bed. Joan raised her head off of the bed and looked around. The room was smaller than hers, but still very quaint. The two large windows at the end of the bed were covered with large maroon drapes. There was a small chair and table nook to the left of the bed, where a man was slouched in a wide lounge chair sleeping. Her dress was hanging from the bedroom door beside her and it was neatly pressed. She smiled and remembered what had happened.
"You're awake." Joan heard the familiar voice say.
"I thought you were asleep." She looked over to him.
"I was just resting." Michael raised his head off the rest. "I've been awake for a while now."
"Well I feel very well rested."
"You should, it's 11:00." Joan spurted upright in an instant. "We're late for work!" she uttered in worry.
"I called in. You're at an appointment with the doctor and I am out, looking into some possible accounts that Peggy wanted me to see to. Besides, Roger will vouch for you and make up an excuse if needed." Joan calmed down quickly and sunk back down into the sheets. She continued looking around.
"It's cold! How do you live with this?"
"I guess you just get used to it. Least my bills aren't too high." He chuckled.
"That's true. Did I steal your bed?" she smiled.
"No I put you there." Mike smiled back. "You fell asleep on the couch when I was cleaning up last night."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I was just exhausted."
"No need for that. I was too, I'm just glad that you slept well." Joan pulled off the covers and stood up, stretching her arms and back. Mike's eyes widened a bit.
"Gawking are we?" Joan laughed; she walked over to his chair and bent down, bringing her face within inches of his.
"Thank you Michael." She closed her eyes and kissed him. He received it with warmth and kissed her back. The moment lasted forever in his mind as she pulled away looking into his eyes smiling. Joan stood back up, and strutted over to the door, opening it saying,
"How about some breakfast?" Mike stood up and walked over to her, sliding his hands down her sides.
"I was thinking more of... dessert." He smiled boldly as Joan replied.
"I could go for that." She wrapped her arms around Mike and kissed him passionately. He pressed into her and moved her back into the small room. With ease Joan pulled off his unbuttoned shirt. It wasn't long before they had gone back to bed.
Conference Room, SCDP, 2:30 p.m.
"As I said when we started this, I wanted it to be a forward thinking idea: looking towards the future." Don opened. "Let's start there. Peggy, Mike, Stan, what do you got?"
Peggy spoke first. "Well I was thinking that since Viacynth was more into the future, that the ads should have things that are new, shiny, prototypes of things. Like the ad was made in the future and Viacynth is showing you what a future with them could look like. Perhaps for the commercials that Harry writes up, we could show a future with and without Viacynth showing a utopia for Viacynth and a dystopia for the "without" pictures." She paused to wait for Don's reaction.
"I like it so far. Keep going."
"For the slogan we thought, Viacynth. For your needs today, and tomorrow." Again she waited for Don to react.
"It's good. Not fantastic, but it's good. We can work with that."
"I think it's fine Don, why can't we just use that?" Pete spoke up.
"It seems overdone. The feel of it is too mechanical. Like we are the provider of only needs and not wants. We want people to want Viacynth, not just need them."
Stand spoke up. "Picture this then. The television commercials show a young girl, maybe 7 or 8, who has a serious disease and she needs help. We show like a hospital type deal behind her and Viacynth on the wall. There are people all around her and then the narrator comes on. "At Viacynth, we are looking forward with you, not only to help the kids of today, but we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our drugs so that we can secure a future for our children."
"It's too long. But I like the visual, don't get me wrong. Keep that angle with the commercials but cut the long wording. It needs to be shorter and to the point." Don added in, "Viacynth, not just about us today, but about everyone tomorrow."
Roger looked over to Don methodically. "Not bad. We might be able to win this thing."
Mike sat there twiddling his thumbs and looking at the speakers. His mind was working feverishly, trying to come up with a way to really wow the consumer. He decided then to talk,
"People want to know what they're buying. They aren't going to leap into Viacynth's arms for no reason, or because we tell them their best interest is in tomorrow."
Don swiveled his chair slowly to face Michael. "And what do you suggest."
Mike continued, "You told us they sold anything from cough drops to antibiotics, from cold syrup to morphine for our troops in the field. That is the perfect way to get a consumer's attention. To create a variant from the insignificant to the greatly important, and what is more important that American pride to an American, am I right? Add in a quip about the troops in Nam and how Viacynth is helping the war effort."
Don smiled while he heard this. "So then, during the commercials the announcer says: "From cough drops to antibiotics, from cold syrup to medication: because no one likes the graphic idea of morphine: for our troops overseas, Viacynth is always looking forward. Always looking forward."
"Always looking forward." Mike repeated. It was not long before everyone was looking around at each other and smiling.
"Viacynth. Always looking forward." Roger said.