It had been a year since everything happened that Thanksgiving week. Now the holiday was upon Sterling, Cooper, & Partners once more. 1969 had been a bizarre year for Peggy Olson, taking a route that the secretary turned copywriter turned copy chief had never really expected. With her taking over creative while Don was "on leave" and after Ted fled to the west coast, Joan insisted that she move into Don's office. The reason being that business couldn't be conducted in the tiny office with obscuring post in the middle. She reluctantly agreed, knowing that Ted's office was just across the way, sitting empty for when he had to return for business meetings.
She didn't want to stay in her office. Too much time had been spent in there either with him or thinking about him.
It almost felt as though she owed Don an apology. And she would have given him one if his motives had been her wellbeing. They both knew that his actions were out of spite for Ted.
She didn't speak to Don that much, an occasional call with a question about an account he had worked on or how to deal with one of clients. The calls were always full of tense silences, neither sure what to say, if they should comment on the situation they found themselves in. One of the earlier calls he waited until she was about to hang up before muttering:
"I'm sorry about Ted…"
"So am I." Was her icy reply.
"He should've handled things better with you."
"Some men just don't know how to deal with a mistress."
The topic wasn't brought up again after that. Even after her hurt began to ebb away. She still had to answer to Ted about business. That was all that they ever discussed, work. Phone calls were kept to a minimum if she could relay a message through someone else or send a bi-costal memo. Hearing his voice was still painful. The first time she answered the phone she hung up on him, her mind returning to that night spent in her bed. His broken promises, how he professed his love while pulling her clothes off. It was too much and before he could manage an "I'm sorry" she had hung up the phone. The year had passed with as much radio silence as possible.
But soon the rumors came through. Moira had mentioned something to one of the other secretaries, which Joan eventually heard then casually relayed to Peggy.
"Did you hear about what happened in California?" Joan asked as she settled into her seat in Peggy's office, watching her friend make them after-hours drinks.
"Did the sun stop shining?" Peggy chuckled, taking a sip of her gin and tonic while passing the glass to Joan.
"Only for one. Apparently Nan left Ted. Took the kids with her."
"Well… that's too bad." Peggy managed. She was certain how she felt. Their divorce wasn't on her, that much she was sure of.
"She met a hippie and ran off to San Francisco with him to live in Haight Ashbury! Can you believe that?"
"Those poor boys." Was all Peggy could think to say.
"What happened between the two of you."
"He said he wanted me, then decided that he wanted me too much and couldn't do that to his family."
"It's better that nothing came of it. I've just decided to swear off dating all together."
"Good, just use men for sex." Joan laughed.
"That will be the new plan. My record certainly suggests that it should be. I've driven one man 3,000 miles away from me, stabbed one, oh and there was Duck who showed up here drunk one night and tried to defecate in Roger's office then called me a whore."
"You and Duck seem to have gotten over that at least."
"We have." Peggy tried to hide her smirk by taking a drink.
"What was that?"
"What was what?"
"Are you sleeping with him again?"
"What? No… why would you…"
"Only twice since he's been here. A bit of stress release."
"Sure." Joan smiled knowingly, catching a glance at her watch. "I should head home."
"Big plans for tomorrow night?" Peggy asked, taking their empty glasses and walking down the hall with Joan.
It still felt weird to let someone else wash the glasses from her bar cart. Unless she was slammed Peggy would take care of them herself.
"My mother, Roger and Kevin. A tradition Thanksgiving."
"What about you?"
"Working, avoiding my family at all costs."
"Sounds about right. Maybe Duck will keep you company."
"I hope not." Peggy laughed. "Have a good Thanksgiving."
And then the office was quiet, Peggy was alone again…
"Naturally." She laughed to herself walking back to her office.
"Hi." A voice greeted her after she closed the door behind her. With a startled scream she dropped the glass in her hand, which dropped to the floor and shattered.