Fan Fic written by Jennifer Friess
Based on characters lovingly created by Hugh Wilson
An episode for the non-existent 1982-1983 Season 5*
*Not approved by the CBS censors.
BAILEY WINS AN AWARD
“Bailey,” Jennifer cooed, entering the bullpen. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Oh, it’s no big deal, really. It just sounds impressive,” Bailey replied, sitting at her desk.
“Uh, what isn’t a big deal?” Travis drawled as he leaned on the file cabinet, sucking on a lollipop.
“Tell them!” Jennifer pushed. Bailey only shook her head.
With an exasperated sigh, Jennifer announced, “Bailey won the inspirational woman award from the National Association of Women Broadcasters!”
“What has she done that’s so inspiring?” Herb guffawed.
Finally speaking up for herself, Bailey said, “They sited how I went from an intern fresh out of journalism school to doing all the station traffic and billing, to how I helped usher WKRP into the digital age with a computer to streamline my workload, how I assist with promotions and news.”
“I should really be given credit for that last point,” Les Nessman blurted, adjusting his glasses on his nose.
“Well, I think that’s great news,” Travis acknowledged.
“So, who are you taking with you to the banquet?” Jennifer asked.
“Wait, there is a banquet?! That’s it. I need to join this National Association of Females thing.”
“Sure Herb, you can become a member. But you’ll have to check YOUR member at the door,” Jennifer pointed out.
Herb swallowed loudly, adjusting his tie nervously. “Nevermind. Forget I said anything.”
Andy laughed as he headed for the booth. “Congratulations again, Bailey.”
“Thank you,” she hollered after him.
“Uh, I’m going to take Troy to the banquet. You know, that guy I have been seeing,” Bailey said, finally replying to Jennifer’s comment.
“Oh, fun. Let me know if you want to go shopping together for a dress.”
“Oh, I would really love that, Jennifer.”
“C’mon. Too much talk about clothes going on in here,” Herb grumbled like an annoyed father.
“One time I had to listen to you and Venus go on for an hour critiquing each other’s clothing,” Bailey pointed out.
“That’s different. We’re guys.”
“Well, maybe if you acted more like men and less like ‘guys’, you could find the secret to getting a woman out of her clothes sometime,” Jennifer teased, throwing her platinum blond hair over her shoulder and strutting out the door back toward the lobby.
“Humina-humina,” Herb replied to her vanishing form through the glass.
“Oh, take a cold shower Herb,” Bailey muttered.
The next morning everyone filtered into the office for a new day’s work. Bailey, looking distraught, headed right over to Jennifer’s desk, still wearing her coat. But before she could reach her destination, Les came in and cut her off from the back hallway. Mr. Carlson stood by Jennifer’s desk talking with her.
“Mr. Carlson, Mr. Carlson! This newsman has had enough. You promised me walls. And what do I have? Only lines on the floor. I want walls today!”
“Well, um, Les. Things like that take a while to plan and build and hire for. And I am not positive I ever promised them to you. I think maybe you just assumed that I did. Why is it such a big deal today?”
“Because, sir, I have been violated. In the most heinous act imaginable.”
“You—you have?” Mr. Carlson stuttered.
“My pork is missing! And my cob as well!”
“Well, that is language you don’t hear in the lobby every day,” Johnny remarked as he went to the coffeemaker to refill his mug. All his previous on-air personalities were listed on the side:
“Shut up, Fever! This newsman is hopping mad and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
“C’mon Les. Let’s take this into my office. Maybe we should call Andy in as well. Jennifer?” Mr. Carlson hated having to deal with Les on a one-on-one basis.
“I’ll tell him as soon as he gets in.”
“Thanks,” Mr. Carlson said, holding the door open for Les to enter, and then rolling his eyes behind his back.
“Oh Jennifer,” Bailey began. “Troy broke up with me last night.”
“Oh, you poor thing. But I thought you two weren’t seriously going out or going steady or whatever the kids are calling it these days.” Jennifer waved her hand in the air dismissively.
“Well, we weren’t. But it still FEELS like a break up.”
“Just remember, there are other fish in the sea.”
“Yes, I suppose so. But you know what sucks the worst?” Jennifer shakes her head. “Now I don’t have a date for the NAWB banquet.”
Travis entered the room. He greeted Johnny, who was still hanging around, then gave Jennifer and Bailey a friendly wave.
Bailey turned to Johnny. “John, what are you up to Thursday night?”
“Oh, I would love to come with you to your award hootenanny thing, but my daughter is in town that night. You know I only see her like once a year.”
“Oh, well, of course.”
“Sorry, Bail,” Johnny apologized as he headed back to the booth, presumably to catch the record before it ended. Except it already had, as could be heard on the speaker playing in the background on the wall in the lobby.
“Well, uh, if I’m not being too presumptuous, I would love to escort you,” Travis said, smiling at her.
“Really, Andy? You would do that for me?” Bailey asked.
“Sure, sure. You make it sound like an imposition.”
“Well, it kind of would be.”
“No, not at all. What do I need to wear to this thing? Tux? A suit?”
“Oh, a nice suit will probably due.” Her voice got deeper at the end of the sentence as it sometimes did when she was feeling shy and embarrassed.
“Bailey and I are going out shopping for her dress after work. We will let you know after that, so you can coordinate,” Jennifer cooed.
“Sounds great,” Andy drawled.
The door to Mr. Carlson’s office opened.
“Jennifer! Is Travis here yet?
“Oh, Andy, Mr. Carlson wants to see you.”
“Excuse me,” Travis said, smiling sweetly to the ladies before heading into whatever fire was going on in the big guy’s office.
“Bailey, hey,” Johnny said to Bailey as she prepared to leave the booth, paperwork in her hand from her just-completed newscast.
“I just found out my daughter is passing me up to go to some music festival instead.”
“Oh, she sounds like a chip off the old block,” Bailey laughed.
“Ya, ya. So, that means I am free to take you out Thursday night.”
“Oh, John. I’m sorry. You weren’t available, so I found another date.”
“Oh, well. You don’t have to apologize to me. I have a full evening planned of Magnum P.I. and Jiffy Pop. I was just trying do you a favor is all.”
“A favor? Well, just know, in the future, you don’t have to do me any favors.”
“What? What did I say?” Johnny threw up his hands as she walked out, passing Venus on his way in.
“What did you do to make her mad?” Venus accused.
“I don’t know. I told her my plans cancelled, so I could take her out after all.”
“Oh ya, chicks dig that. Being second choice,” Venus said, as if this was information Johnny should already have gathered from life experience.
“The weird thing is, I was actually looking forward to it.”
“Getting dressed up and listening to boring speeches? That doesn’t sound like you.”
“No. But anything with Bailey involved just seems more appealing.”
“Mmmm-hmm. You like her,” Venus said, smirking at Johnny.
“I do not.”
“You do too.”
“Just as a friend,” Johnny allowed.
“No, as more than a friend. I’ve noticed it for a long time. You two always have your arm around each other.”
“What if I am?”
They both laughed.
“Les, how can you work with all that noise around you?” Bailey asked. Les sat dutifully at his desk shuffling papers and making phone calls whilst contractors hammered and drilled wooden studs that were the skeleton of Les’s future walls.
“Because, Bailey, a good newsman perseveres in the face of challenges. As my apprentice, you should know such things.”
“Quit calling me that,” Bailey grumbled.
“And plus, when one’s biggest wish comes true, how can one not watch it be birthed into fruition!”
“Well, I sure would escape this noise if I could.”
“Well, I can and I shall. I can’t be sitting around here all day chatting it up with you two. I have important business calls to make,” Herb informed them.
“Funny, because you have been sitting there all morning playing cards,” Bailey pointed out.
“I was preparing my mental game, babe.”
“Oh. Well, let me know when you are done with that.”
Just then everything gets quiet as the contractors all start to file out of the room.
“Wait! Where are you going?” Les cried desperately.
“Lunch, pal. Union rules.”
“Oh, OK,” Les acknowledged, sheepishly.
Johnny walked into the bullpen and collapsed into the chair at the desk reserved for the disc jockeys. “Finally, a little peace and quiet in here.” He leaned way back, put his feet up on the desk, and closed his eyes behind his amber sunglasses. In a few minutes, it would be very possible that he would be snoring.
Travis walked in then, putting a file folder in a tray, and looked at Bailey.
“Hey, what time should I pick you up on Thursday?”
“Oh, well, let’s see. The event starts at 7:00pm. It will probably take an hour to get there with traffic. Oh, but there is a 6:30pm cocktail hour.”
“So, let’s say 5:30pm, shall we?”
“OK,” Bailey agreed.
“Wait? This is your new date?” Johnny said, a coma patient awakening.
“It’s not a date,” Bailey argued.
“Interoffice fraternization?” Herb bellowed obnoxiously.
“I thought we had rules against this sort of thing,” Les chimed in, indignant.
“You had them overturned,” Herb clarified.
“Oh, right,” Les remembered.
“But Travis?” Johnny said, incredulous.
“And what about Travis?” Travis said, offended.
“Hey, there is a long history of station staff going to these types of events together. Mr. Carlson and Jennifer, Les and Jennifer. Wait, I see the issue here… It is only alright if Jennifer is the arm candy,” Bailey argued.
“Are you saying I’m arm candy?” Travis smiled.
“I think your taking advantage of your subordinate,” Johnny rallied.
“What? What has gotten into you, Fever?”
“OK, both of you. Just stop this now,” Bailey said, making a move to get between them, but Johnny blocked her with an outstretched arm as he advanced on Travis. Herb snuck out the door to the lobby to let the Big Guy know what was going on.
“You are a superior to her. Maybe you have been waiting to make a move? Maybe this is your opportunity. I see how you look at her.”
“This is ridiculous! You just have a problem because you know she has had the hots for you since before I got here.”
“Ah! I don’t have ‘the hots’ for anyone!” Bailey screamed.
Venus came in from the booth to look for a sleeping Johnny, but was surprised at the scene playing out in front of him.
“If you were interested, you should have made your move sooner old man,” Travis drawled. He wouldn’t usually say such a thing but Johnny was really starting to piss him off.
No sooner had a smile popped up on his face than Johnny landed a punch right in the middle of it. Johnny, obviously more street smart, landed a second punch before Travis landed his first. Johnny held Travis against the file cabinet, which was now dented from the impact of their bodies. Venus ran over to try and pry his two best friends apart, but he wasn’t quick enough. Herb returned with Mr. Carlson, and Jennifer just then, but no one paid them any attention. When Andy dove to the left, they both toppled to the floor, taking the wood studs and drywall for Les’s walls with them.
“NOOOO! MY WALLS!”
“That is it! I am not taking either of you.”
“Really?” Johnny asked, looking up at Bailey with his puppy dog eyes while still lying in a heap on top of Travis.
“You are going to go by yourself?” Travis asked.
“Yes. No. Oh, maybe I just won’t go at all. It is a stupid award anyway.”
“But Bailey, don’t let them spoil it. You have to…,” Jennifer tried to reason, but Bailey just grabbed her coat and purse and left for the day.
“I don’t know what is going on here, but I want to see you all in my office. NOW!” Mr. Carlson bellowed.
Two contractors walked through the lobby behind Jennifer, on their way back to Les’s desk in the bull pen. One continued through the door, but the other hung back.
“Yes. May I help you with something?” Jennifer asked, never turning around. She could sense when people hovered. That is why she never needed her desk to face any of the doors.
“Ya, dollface. You got the time?”
“Oh, for you, I don’t think so.” It wasn’t that Jennifer never said rude things, she just always said them nicely. Some people missed that.
“C’mon. My old lady left me last week and took the kids with her. I got an empty house and a high truck.”
“You sound like quite the catch, but I will have to decline. On the other hand, your wife sounds like someone of character I might like to get to know.”
“With you on my arm, it would sure make her jealous down at the bowling alley. I’m Butch.”
Jennifer’s face twists into an expression of surprise and disgust.
“My tastes run a little more expensive than waxed balls and rented shoes. When you can afford Che` Alexander, come back and look me up.”
“Ah, you’ll give in. There is quite a mess back here. If your guys keep knocking the walls down as fast as we can build them, you may be seeing a lot of me around here.” With that, he followed the same way his co-worker had gone.
“Oh, I am going to kill Johnny & Travis,” Jennifer muttered.
“Yes,” she answered, her nose pointed high in the air.
“Can I please see you for a minute?” Travis asked.
“Alright, I guess.” She was glad no one else was in the bullpen to ooh and ahh at this exchange.
Travis held the door open for her. When she started to enter his office, he touched her arm and lightly guided her into the album storage room. They both entered, closing the door, but not bothering to turn on the light switch. The only light filtered in from the hallway through the frosted window on the door. Bailey heard the click of the lock behind Travis.
“Say what you came here to say. I have lots of work to do.”
“I’m sorry, Bailey. About all that happened. The fight, calling Johnny an old man…”
“Seems you should be apologizing to Johnny for that one.”
“I know. I will get around to that. But I figured I owed you the biggest apology first.”
“Well, apology accepted. Can I get back to work now?” Her voice faltered at the end as Travis moved closer to her. “Andy,” she breathed, feeling her back press against the far wall of the room.
“You know, Johnny was right about one thing.”
“That I have always found you attractive.”
“But you never did anything about it.” She could feel his breath on her face now. He was so close. She hungered for him to kiss her, for a chance to run her fingers through his thick, feathered hair.
“I guess cuz we worked together. And I wasn’t lookin’ to get serious with anyone.”
“That hasn’t changed.”
“We still work together, but I am not getting any younger. I am thinkin’ I would like someone to share my life with.”
“If you felt strongly about me, you would have made a move sooner.”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
Bailey’s brain swam in confusion. Did that mean he liked her or not? But it didn’t matter now, because his lips were on hers. They inhaled each other as his tongue slipped into her mouth. His hand wrapped around her back, pulling her against him. She wrapped hers around his neck, realizing he was taller than her. She had never guessed how their bodies would match up in such a situation. Unlike Johnny, who she had sized up many a time. As Travis pushed up against her, she could feel the hard outline of his cock through his tight jeans. She was glad he had worn jeans today. She liked him better in casual clothes.
What was she thinking?!
She pulled away.
“Shhh. It’s OK. Just enjoy. I have had dreams about having you this way.”
“Really?” she said in surprise, her mouth hanging open.
Travis caught her lower lip between his teeth and nibbled it. Unfortunately a loud sigh escaped form Bailey.
“No. There is nothing to be ashamed of,” he whispered into her neck as he nibbled it. She took the opportunity to run her hands through his hair as she had wanted to. It was never-ending. Now a small groan escaped him before he claimed her mouth in another kiss. His right hand slid to her side, then to the hem of her shirt. She let his palm cross the bare skin of her stomach and up over her bra-covered breast. She hadn’t been touched this way in so long. It was all just raw lust. It wasn’t going through the motions like t was with Troy. And it wasn’t love as she imagined she could one day have with Johnny. But there was searing-hot heat and she couldn’t get enough.
“What if someone comes in?”
“That’s why I locked the door.”
This only made her want him to do dirtier things to her. As if he read her mind, he pulled his hand from where it had made its way inside her bra, and unbuttoned her pants. A small whimper came from her, but it was not a protest. If anything, it was cheering him on. He unzipped her jeans, and then pushed his hand down into her underpants. He took a few, fast swipes at her clit, making her almost collapse to the floor. She couldn’t hide her arousal now if she wanted to. It was like a slip-n-slide down there. And thinking that in this context only turned her on more.
He began to stroke her in a rhythm that had her writhing against the wall. She never wanted it to stop, but she knew she couldn’t take much more. She reached around and grabbed his ass in those tight jeans that teased her every day. He took this as a sign that she wanted more, so he dipped two fingers into her moist opening. The dark room suddenly got very bright. Lightning went off behind her eyelids. She buried her mouth against his shoulder to muffle her cries of pleasure. Smelling his cologne and laundry soap in the fabric of his shirt only drove her to a higher climax.
“Shh, shh. It’s okay. It’s okay, baby,” he whispered to her as she came down from her high. Something about him calling her “baby” felt wrong, artificial. It wasn’t the word, it was the person. There was only man she wanted to hear affectionately refer to her that way. She quickly fastened up her pants and pushed past him to leave.
“This can’t happen again. I’m sorry, Andy. I just don’t feel that way about you.” She got held up at the door while she tried to remember how to unlock it, then ran out. Travis made no attempt to stop her.
Bailey hid in the bathroom or kept her face behind her computer at her desk as much as she could. She didn’t want to face anyone for fear they would know what she had been up to today. She would deck Andy herself if she found out he had told anyone. She wasn’t going to tell anyone. It is not like it was sexual harassment or anything. She wanted it as much as he did, if not more.
But Les had already asked her this morning if she would do the five and six o’clock newscasts for him so that he could go out and look for accessories for his gestating office. And yup, those are the exact words he had used. And as luck would have it, Johnny was still here, mucking about in the booth. Bailey knew he had a home to go to, but he seemed to enjoy loitering around the station more. She so didn’t want to face Johnny. Not after the fist fight, and definitely not after what she had let Travis do to her. A shiver went through her body just thinking about how good it had felt.
She walked into the booth as noiselessly as possible. Venus turned and acknowledged her. Johnny sat on the stool by the back wall reading a magazine, not noticing her presence until she reached for her news intro cart. She was so glad that she and Les each had their own. His was, as some would say, over the top.
“Oh, Bailey. I wanted to talk to you,” Johnny said, jumping to his feet.
“Not now John, I have to do the news,” she said, her voice all business. Johnny visibly backed up a step at her tone. She hadn’t meant to be so curt with him. “Sorry. I have a lot on my mind.”
“Oh, sure, sure. I’m sorry if I contributed to any of the stress on that pretty little mind of yours.” His voice was smooth and soothing, like hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. People thought he put on a fake voice for being on air. But Johnny didn’t have to. It was perfect just the way it was.
She couldn’t reply to the comment because it was time to start her cart and take Venus’s seat at the microphone. She tried to flatten her papers to that they wouldn’t rattle while she was on. It seemed kind of useless. She would have to remember in the future to not wring her hands while holding the newscast.
“I think I’m going to go grab some more coffee. I might be a few minutes. John, can you handle the board while I’m gone?”
“Shirley,” Johnny replied, imitating Herb Tarlek’s signature line.
It was so obvious that Venus was leaving to give them privacy. This is not what she needed right now as she tried to get through the newscast. She could feel Johnny’s eyes watching her. And the fact that he could be thinking about her “beautiful mind” only made her more nervous. She must have flubbed at least five things in the broadcast. She breathed a sigh of relief when she was done.
Johnny played a station ID and then started Venus’s record for him. They were such good friends. Johnny needed someone to keep an eye on him. If Bailey couldn’t be that person, she was glad that Venus was there to fill the role.
“Bailey, I just wanted to apologize for my behavior the other day. I realize now, in the harsh light of day, that tackling Travis probably wasn’t the best way to let you know I cared about you,” he stated.
“John, it’s fine. I know that you are a good friend. Don’t worry about it. Gotta go.”
She tried to rush by, but Johnny put a hand on each one of her arms to stop her progress. Bailey and Johnny often touched each other. That was one of the things she liked about him, how affectionate he was. It made her skin tingle, but she always did her best to hide it.
“Please, let me apologize.”
“You already have,” she said, finally looking him in the face. He had his trademark sunglasses pushed up on top of his head, making a few blond wisps of his hair stand up and wave in the circulated air. She loved it when it did that. She smiled in spite of herself, and then met his pleading blue eyes. He was like a puppy you just wanted to take home and feed and bathe.
“Bailey, I do care about you, probably more than you realize. And I probably should have told you before now, but I do.”
“Oh, John. Thank you. You, you know I care for you too.”
“I do. And I’ve probably abused that kindness over the years, and for that I AM sorry.”
Bailey was speechless. She looked down at her shoes. Johnny put a finger under her chin and raised her face up to make eye contact again.
“You have to go to the awards thing, Bailey. And I would love to be your date, if you will still have me.”
“Yes.” She didn’t think about it, it just came out. Because it was the true answer.
“Thank God,” he sighed. Then he tipped her head up as his face moved closer. They had been this close many times before: playing poker, looking for a certain record, eating popcorn at the movies in adjoining seats. But this was the real deal. His lips touched hers, and it was everything that she had ever dreamed. All the times she had bided her time with kisses from him on the cheek, this is what she had been really craving.
He kissed her on the lips for a long moment. He pulled back, but when her face seemed to trail his with unsatisfied desire, he returned for a few more like the first.
“Please,” she breathed. Johnny didn’t even think that she knew she had said it. But he met her once again, this time he sliding his tongue onto her bottom lip. She opened for him willingly. And she felt like she was home.
“Hey man, you still here?” Venus asked.
“Ya, ya. I thought Bailey would be here by now,” Johnny replied.
“Oh, you know women, man. They take forever to get ready. Why are you guys meeting here?”
“Because I don’t have a car. And it was cheaper for MTM.”
“Ah, ain’t that always the way.”
“Hello, gentlemen,” Jennifer announced as she entered the lobby. “I present to you the recipient of the inspirational woman award from the National Association of Women Broadcasters, Miss Bailey Quarters!”
Bailey entered then, in a fancy dress and high heels, with her hair done up on her head. Her makeup was very subtle, but still striking.
Sounds came out of Johnny’s mouth, but no actual cohesive words.
“Damn, lil’ mama. You like fine,” Venus said, admiring her.
“Why thank you, Venus. John, are you ready?”
“Except that I just swallowed my tongue, yes, I’m ready.”
“Have fun,” Jennifer said as she departed, giving Johnny and Bailey a knowing look.
“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Venus said to Johnny and winked, heading back to the booth.
“Bailey, you look great. I mean, you are always beautiful, but tonight you have taken it to another level.”
“Thank you. You look very handsome yourself.”
“Oh, well, you’ve seen me wear this old thing before.”
“I have, and I always love it.” Bailey approached him. It seemed like the time for a kiss, but she didn’t know how to initiate it, so she just turned for the door. Johnny caught her arm and pulled her back, giving her the repeat kiss she had been dying for since yesterday. She melted a little in her heels, and he put both his arms around her to steady her.
“I supposed we should probably go,” he said, his face still so close to hers that she could feel his wiry moustache tickle her cheek.
“Yes, we should. I—I’m not sure I am brave enough to read my speech though.”
“Bailey! You are not the little Ohio State graduate you used to be. They are giving you this award for a reason. And at least a small portion of that reason is that you can read words out loud from paper.”
“Ya,” she giggled. “I guess you are right.”
“And I will be there right beside you.”
“OK. That sounds nice.”
They walked out of the lobby, her arm hooked in his.
This only the beginning. Please stop by next week on this same “channel” to read Part 2. You can find it here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2016/10/19/wkrp-baby-if-you-ever-wondered-what-would-happen-if-johnny-bailey-got-together-part-2/
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Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish For – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It – THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!