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WKRP: Baby, If You Ever Wondered What Would Happen If Johnny & Bailey Got Together – Part 2

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.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here: http://wp.me/p1uduE-1h2

 

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout Bailey and Johnny together.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Bailey and Johnny together.

BAILEY WINS AN AWARD

PART 2

Bailey and Johnny were some of the last people to walk out of the hotel banquet hall after the ceremony.

“Look at it, John! I didn’t expect it to be so…shiny. I feel like I just won a Grammy or something.”

“Oh, Bailey. That will be just the first in a series of awards.”

“You really think so? I’m not sure I could handle it. All those interviews and photos I just got done with, dang. I’m exhausted.”

“Oh, you are, are you?”

“Why? Did you have something else planned? You can’t take me out to dinner, we just had dinner.”

“If you call that dinner—a piece of rubbery chicken with some sticky mashed potatoes with yellow grease on top. I would love nothing more than to take you out for a good pizza right now. But I actually was thinking something, well, naughtier.”

“Naughtier?”

“Well, we ARE in hotel right now.”

“John,” Bailey cooed.

“It is all up to you. No pressure. Just, gosh, I’m so proud of you and you are so beautiful and radiating all that broadcaster stuff!”

“Yes,” she whispered, kissing him gently on the lips.

“Yes? Really,” he said, wrapping both his arms around her, crushing her arm holding her long winter coat between them.

“Sure, if you pay.”

“It’s a deal. Who needs to pay the water bill this month anyway. I’ll take sponge baths in the sink at work.”

“That’s the spirit.”

*****

“Les,” Travis asked, drawing out his name. “What are you still doing here this time of night.”

“Well, Andy, you see, last night some more of my stuff went missing. This time all my paperclips.  I can’t very well affix my documents together with staples. These stories are still works in progress. And I can’t let my notes just float willy-nilly all over my desk.”

“Alright Les, calm down. But what do you think you will accomplish by staying late?”

Mr. Carlson walks into the bull pen right then, surprised to see Travis and Les still there.

“I am going to catch the thief. Or at least guard my things so that he won’t strike again.”

“Well, Les, I thought that’s why I agreed to build these walls of yours.”

“But they aren’t building them fast enough, sir.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that Les. But the construction should go faster now.”

“How so?” Travis drawled.

“Because I told them to put in windows instead of solid walls.”

“Windows? I’m not so sure…”

“Calm down, Les. Windows are more modern. Louis Grant has windows. I hear Walter Cronkite does as well.”

“Oh, well, OK then. If they are good enough for Walter, they are good enough for me.”

*****

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout! Actual dialog between Bailey & Johnny during the episode "I Am Woman"

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Actual dialog between Bailey & Johnny during the episode “I Am Woman”

“This is a nice room,” Bailey said, surveying the tastefully decorated hotel room.

“Wow, we get out own coffee maker and everything. You know, just in case we are still here in the morning,” Johnny ducked his head sheepishly at his assumption.

“John, are you having second thoughts about this?”

“No, no. Why would I? Just because you have probably been imagining this in your head for the past five years and now I have to live up to those sick, twisted thoughts. It is enough to give a guy performance anxiety!”

“John, calm down. It’s not like that.”

“God help me, I love it when you call me John,” he said, spinning around and taking her in his arms for a long, deep kiss. He backed up to look at her. “You look so great, I’m not sure I want to destroy Jennifer’s masterpiece.”

“I don’t belong to anyone but myself. Destroy away.”

“Ah,” he sighed, before kissing her and fumbling with the closure on her dress.

“Let me take care of it,” she breathed. She unzipped the back of her dress and let it fall to the floor. She then took the ten pins out of her hair that were holding it up, shaking it loose in front of him. She knew she was making an impression on him, standing there in only her bra and panties. Then she reached over and began unbuttoning Johnny’s blue shirt, the only button-down shirt he owned, the one she had seen a million times during the monotonous days at the station. How often had she dreamed of unbuttoning it and having him like this, usually against the control board in the booth? Probably thousands. He was looking down at her, watching her hands make quick work of the buttons through the worn button holes. When Bailey looked up, their gazes met. He leaned into her, catching her bottom lip in his teeth and gently sucking it. A small moan escaped Bailey, she couldn’t help it. A very Johnny sound rumbled in his chest as his right hand reached up and cupped her left breast. At first he handled it very gently. But as their kiss deepened, he kneaded the satin covered squishiness with more urgency.

Bailey pushed his shirt down his arms and onto the floor. She ran her hands across the blond hairs on his furry chest. It drove her crazy the way it would peak out of his shirts, tempting her. He began pulling her back with him toward the bed, but she didn’t seem to notice. She began to unzip his jeans, and could feel them straining to keep his erection contained. What she didn’t expect was for it to burst forth unhindered.

“John. You went without undergarments to the National Association of Women Broadcasters awards?” she asked in disbelief.

“I wanted to wear some, I just couldn’t find any that were clean.” He hung his head, looking ashamed. “Oh Bail, I might as well come clean to you now. I—I’m a mess. I always will be. I have good intentions, I do. But when it comes to things like being organized or having clean clothes, I will ALWAYS fail you.”

“John, you silly. I don’t expect you to be those things. And if you suddenly could be all that, I am not sure that I would like you as well. Anyway, I think I’m probably organized enough for both of us.”

“Oh, thank God,” Johnny breathed. They kissed again as they removed the rest of each others clothes and climbed between the sheets of the bed. When Bailey tried to pull the sheets over her, Johnny touched her hand, stopping her.

“No. Don’t. I want to see this beautiful body of yours.”

“It’s not—”

“Oh, but it is. I’ve always imagined what it would look like uncovered. And it beats all my expectations.”

“Always? Since when?”

“Well, since I saw you at work that day wearing my Black Death shirt. God damn, girl. I almost had to rip it off you right then and there in Travis’s office.”

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout Bailey between Johnny and Travis again, in Johnny's Black Death shirt.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Bailey between Johnny and Travis again, in Johnny’s Black Death shirt.

“So, why didn’t you do anything sooner?”

“What do you mean?”

“You could have had me like this at any time, John. Why now?”

“I guess I just thought you deserved someone better than me–and that is not something I usually care about—whether I am actually ‘good enough’ for a woman or not. But I knew damn well that Travis wasn’t.”

“That is so sweet, in a sick and twisted kind of way.”

“Oh, Bail, I do love you.”

“What?” she asked, blinking back the tears that immediately sprang to her eyes.

“I guess I probably shouldn’t have said that—”

“It’s not true?” Now even more tears came.

He noticed and kissed her quickly. “No, it is true. I just shouldn’t tell you so soon. Might scare you off…”

“It isn’t soon. We have been friends for five years.”

His lips met hers, then traveled down her neck and her chest, making little licking and nibbling sidetrips on their way to her breasts. That mouth that spewed forth golden radio wisdom to listeners every day was sucking her nipples and making her writhe between the sheets. This only made him look at her and smile a devilish, slightly insane grin. She loved it.

“Do you want me to slip something on?”

“No.”

“Oh, I thought,” he looked confused. It was so cute on him.

“I’m on the pill, John. Go for it.”

“OK,” he said, all giddy.

She felt him hard at her entrance. She couldn’t resist grabbing him and rubbing the tip against her clit. He moaned at the sudden change in course, but he did not seem unhappy with it. She pumped his cock a few times before helping him slide it in.

“Oh, Bail. You feel so good.” They quickly found their rhythm. The pleasure in her pelvis kept building and building, like waves rolling to shore, warning of an impending storm. She clung to his back, for a second wondering if her fingernails were hurting him, then no longer caring as her pleasure peaked.

“I love you.” It had escaped, and she knew it. But it was how she felt at this moment, and she didn’t want to hold it back any longer. She was with her best friend in a way she had only dreamed of before tonight. And it all felt right.

*****

“I’m so glad you suggested ordering pizza. I’m starved.” Bailey proceeded to take a large slice out of the box, aiming the pointy end toward her mouth.

“Ya, I’d say we worked off that little congealed chicken patty and mashed potato adhesive hours ago.” He paused, looking at her.

“What?”

“You are even beautiful when you eat.”

She gave a small laugh, avoiding meeting his eyes, scared of the emotion she would find there.

After their first love-making, Johnny had proposed ordering pizza. The pizza place had said it would be a forty-five minute wait. They did the only logical thing to occupy their time while they waited.

“I guess it will be a little weird seeing each other at work, eh?” Johnny said, after he finished one slice and reached for another.

“Are you planning on pretending you don’t know me? Boys do that in high school, you know. Make out with an innocent girl behind the bleachers, and then ignore her in the halls. It’s just rude.”

“You talk as if from experience.”

“Just an observation.”

“Ya. I bet the girl wasn’t as innocent when she LEFT the bleachers.”

“Ah!” Bailey cried, throwing a pillow at his head. It made some of his blond hair stand up in that crazy way it sometimes did. She loved it when it did that.

“Although, I guess the fist fight with Travis outted my intentions this week.”

“Why did you go so crazy? Andy was just going to escort me to the awards. Nothing else.”

“Ya, and look where WE ended up,” Johnny said, motioning to the hotel room.

“That wouldn’t have happened with Travis.”

“Can you be so sure?” Maybe Johnny had a point, but Bailey tried hard not to let any guilty expression cross her face.

“You know I date outside of work. Why did my going out with Andy cause you to freak out so badly?”

“Because, he’s Travis. I can tell myself you aren’t serious about guys that I don’t see. But he is this ‘pretty boy’ with long flowing hair and a good job. Realistically, he is who you should be with.”

“You have long flowing hair too.”

“And there is a little less of it every day.”

“So you think I should be alone forever?”

“No. I—I want you to be with me.”

“Oh, John.”

“I probably don’t deserve you, but it’s the truth.”

“Imagine how crazy it will be when we tell our kids we worked together for years before we got together.”

“Our what?”

“Kids, you know. Young, short people.”

“Yes, yes, I’ve met some. I actually already have one of those, although she is taller now.”

“When I met her she was so sweet.”

“Ya, so, I’m done with all that.”

“You are? I didn’t even think you were around that much to experience her growing up.”

“Well, I really wasn’t. But from what I’ve read and seen on TV, it sounds like I missed out on lots of awful things like diapers and broken hearts, oh, and puberty. I hear that one is the worst.”

“I bet you missed out on a lot of good things, too.”

“Maybe. But I like my life. And with my last kid I ended up with a wife. I don’t want another one of those again. Two ex-wives is enough.”

“So you are saying you would never take that chance again?” Somehow their conversation had gone from being intimately about the two of them, to some sort of hypothetical future. She had just made love to the only man she wanted to spend her life with. And now his commitment to her seemed rather unsure.

He laughed. “No.”

“And your mind is made up on that?”

“Yes.”

“Even if someone fell into your life who was your soul mate and you could imagine yourself spending the rest of your life with them?”

“When you find your soulmate, you don’t HAVE to marry them. I used to be old fashioned and believe you should, but times have changed. And alimony has drained my account six ways from Sunday.”

“I see.” Bailey said, more loudly than all her other questions. The conversation had flowed easily between them. But at her sharp retort, Johnny looked up at her, realizing he may have revealed too much. There was hurt in her eyes. But she said nothing more, only looked away at her pizza. She had lost her appetite.

They made love again the night. But Bailey no longer felt the same connection with him she had perceived earlier. This was the problem with being a woman. So much of sex was in your head. Before she had pictured a future together with him, many more years of times like this together, their bodies joining into one. But now she knew he thought no such thing. At least not in the way that she needed. And it made her feel kind of sick. She wanted that future, one that a week ago she never believed would exist, and it felt like it had been given to her & now it was ripped from her grasp.

*****

Les entered the lobby looking very serious with a newspaper tucked under his arm. It was already ten o’clock. He had called, of course, to let Mr. Carlson know that he would be late. It was the responsible thing to do. But he had been at the station so late last night that he had had trouble waking up on time this morning. He was going to head straight back to his “office,” but decided to stop at Jennifer’s desk and check for his mail instead.

“Late night Les?”

“Uh, you might say that.”

“You were working?”

“Yes, yes. I am working on a story about a government anti-pork conspiracy. I think I may be about to break it wide open.” It wasn’t a lie, he really was working on that. But that wasn’t why he had been at work late.

“Did you SEE anything while you were here?”

“See? What do you mean? You must be more specific Jennifer,” he replied, his voice suddenly shaky with nervousness.

“Calm down, Les. The rumor is that there was a raccoon in the building. He has been on several floors, he has even been sighted on ours. Was stealing stuff from people’s desks. They are attracted to anything shiny. And they are such thieves. Did I ever tell you I had a pet raccoon for a while back in Rock Throw, West Virginia?”

“No, Jennifer you haven’t. And I would appreciate if you would quit spreading that particular rumor.” Les grabbed his mail and turned for the door back to the bull pen. “Woodland creatures roaming about the building. It’s nonsense,” he muttered by way of departure from Jennifer.

Jennifer shrugged, returning to her task of sorting the mail. She took a handful and got up to go into Mr. Carlson’s office to deliver it. She also needed to check on him. One never knew when he might be tangled in a fishing line or trapped by an inflatable raft. It was best to check on him every half hour or so, as one would a sleeping newborn baby.

“Oh, sugarbuns, you look even better standing up than you do sitting down,” Butch crowed.

“Sugar. Buns,” Jennifer repeated slowly, making it into two distinct sentences. She was so insulted.

“Yes. And they are looking mighty sweet today,” he leered at her.

“Well you look like you just crawled out from under a rock.”

“Oh, that’s harsh,” he said, going over and filling up a coffee mug, uninvited.

“Now, scram.” Jennifer waggled her perfectly-manicured red nails at him. “Leave my lobby. You have work to do elsewhere.”

“But I couldn’t possibly leave before I get a little sugar to go with my coffee,” he said, coming uncomfortably close to her.

“Jennifer, is this guy bothering you?” Herb asked. He had entered the lobby behind them and quickly recognized what was going on. He looked mad.

“Butch here was just heading back to work on Les’s office.”

“Ya? Well it looks more like he is loitering to me.”

“I’m just enjoying the view,” Butch said, not intimidated by Herb and his plaid leisure suit.

“Hey, I am the only one who gets to sexually harass her against her will, buddy. So back off my Jenny-poo.”

“Alright, alright. I see there is already a previous stake on this claim.” Butch retreated with his coffee back to the worksite.

“Are you alright, Jennifer? I would hate for that creep to spoil your day.”

“Nope. You saved me just in time. Oh Herbie, my hero.”

Herb blushed, embarrassed. He scooted around Jennifer and into Mr. Carlson’s office.

*****

“John, I care about you so much. But I just don’t think we should keep seeing each other when we want such different things from our futures,” Bailey said, earnestly. The emotion in her voice was breaking Johnny’s heart.

“But, I want you.”

“And I want a wedding and a marriage and children and maybe even a white picket fence. You are content without those things. And that is your right. But I don’t want to be in a relationship that isn’t leading to those things.”

“Are you sure? What about our feelings? I love you. I know you love me, I think…”

“I do. I would do anything for you. Except wait around for something I keep wishing for that won’t come true. That is not fair to either of us.”

“I guess you are right. Can I, like, send you a postcard if my priorities change?”

“Sure. But, you know, you will see me here every day. Is that going to be weird? Maybe. But at least we didn’t have a screaming, knife-throwing break up,” Bailey said.

“Oh, I had one of those once. Actually, a few. I got six stitches here in ’72, see?” Johnny pulled up her shirt to show her. She just smiled and touched the scar on his furry arm, before turning to go. As she walked out the door, Johnny yelled, “But we can still have sex together, right? Maybe here in the booth?” She kept walking, but he could tell she was laughing. He loved to make her laugh. That would never change. And now he had new innuendo to use on her.

Travis walked in, apparently hearing that exchange. “We need to talk about this thing between you and Bailey. And I am sure I am the LAST person who should be talking to you about this, but there can’t be any, ah, sex around the station. Let’s start with that.” If Bailey was still in the room, he would have trouble saying that with a straight face.

“Don’t worry, Trav.”

“Don’t worry. Uh, why’s that?” Travis drawled.

“She likes to do it outside, under the stars…”

“She—does? Our little innocent Bailey?”

“My little Bailey, and she ain’t so innocent anymore.”

And that was the truth, although more with her mature feelings than sexual positions. But Johnny wasn’t about to clarify that with Travis. And Johnny also wasn’t ready to give up possession of her yet, either.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout From the episode "Fire". Check out the heat between Bailey & Johnny.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
From the episode “Fire”. Check out the heat between Bailey & Johnny.

*****

“Look Herb. I TOLD YOU I would have walls. And look, a wall!” Les stood in front of the single pane of glass and spreads his arms wide.

“Les, why is there only one?” Herb asked snarkily, pointing out the obvious.

“Oh, the panels are on backorder. Mr. Carlson said it had to do with the budget. That it was cheaper to buy discontinued styles or something. But you know what they say: where there is one wall, more shall follow.”

“Nobody says that Les,” Venus chimed in from the disc jockey desk across the room as he sat there filling out his play logs.

“Well, they should!” Les declared indignantly as he moved things around in his office area.

“You know, you don’t even need those walls anymore. Your big thief turned out to be a furry little animal. You got all your silver pork back.”

“That is the Silver Sow and the Copper Cob to you. And it doesn’t matter, because it is too late now. My walls are already going up.”

He lifted his typewriter, awkwardly at first, then more confidently. He went to sit it on a table in front of his window wall. But he tripped on the power cord before he could reach it, and the bulky typewriter went sailing through the window just as easily as if he had thrown it on purpose.

Les’s hands flew up on top of his head, gripping his head with its ever-receding hairline, displaying the bandage wrapped around his ring finger.

[END CREDITS]

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout! Yes! Yes! And more yes!

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Yes! Yes! And more yes!

Johnny & Bailey have to not be a couple because it was a classic sitcom where the characters generally didn’t get together. And I left it open that later maybe he would change his mind (or he could knock her up) and they would get together anyway. In the television universe in my head, WKRP goes on for many more seasons. And The New WKRP in Cincinnati doesn’t count.

Johnny & Bailey & Travis have to go back to more or less what they were before these episodes, so that the character dynamics don’t change. Plus, it makes the episodes more cohesive when viewers may watch sporadically in syndication. The same can be said for the quest for Les’s walls being left unfulfilled. If he actually got his walls, his life would have no end goal. He would have to wander his days with nothing to strive for.

Like what you read here? You should try reading one of my books.

Then my son decided he needed to write a WKRP story. He dictated it, I typed it. If you know the series really well (which, why the hell else would you have read through two of my blog posts about it if you did not), you will notice some similarities to some actual episodes.

From M: If you are a big WKRP fan, please look at my story…

WKRP Story

By M.

Mr. Carlson fell and hurt his leg because he tripped on the tape recorder. Travis and Les went to the baseball game. They played baseball. Mr. Carlson was at the hospital because his leg was broken. And then Venus Flytrap and Johnny and Bailey came into the room with the records. Les Nessman came into his office. Jennifer visited Mr. Carlson at the hospital. Travis took over Mr. Carlson’s job since he was at the hospital. When Mr. Carlson came back, Travis went back to his regular job.

Mr. Carlson came back from the hospital and Jennifer. And Travis went back to his regular job. Jennifer came into Les’s office.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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WKRP: Baby, If You Ever Wondered What Would Happen If Johnny & Bailey Got Together – Part 1

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.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout Bailey Quarters, Station Billing & Assistant in Promotions & News

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Bailey Quarters, Station Billing & Assistant in Promotions & News

BAILEY WINS AN AWARD

PART 1

 

“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:

JOHNNY
Sunshine
Caravella
Midnight
Duke
Style
Cool

“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.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout! Travis & Bailey

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Travis & Bailey

*****

“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.”

“Jealous?”

“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.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout Johnny and Travis with their hands both on Bailey...and in a XXX theater, no less.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Johnny and Travis with their hands both on Bailey…and in a XXX theater, no less.

*****

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.

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout Actual exchange from the episode "Dear Liar"

PHOTO: MTM, Fox, Shout!
Actual exchange from the episode “Dear Liar”

*****

“Hey, Bailey.”

“Yes,” she answered, her nose pointed high in the air.

“Can I please see you for a minute?” Travis asked.

“I’m free.”

“Privately.”

“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.”

“Oh ya.”

“Ya.”

“What’s that?”

“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.

“Andy, I—”

“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.

“I—”

“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.

[END CREDITS]

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/

Like what you read here? Maybe you should try one of my books.

Johnny freaks out over a tornado on WKRP in Cincinnati.

I use this meme every chance I get because I made it and I love it.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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Fearless

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In 1999, Francine Pascal (creator of the hugely popular Sweet Valley High) created a new series of books called Fearless. Fearless and Sweet Valley High could not be more different. As I remember it, Elizabeth and Jessica never had any real problems while attending Sweet Valley High. Poor Gaia Moore knows nothing but problems, starting with her unusual first name.

I psychotically totally love the Fearless books. There are thirty-six of them, plus two super editions. I own them all. They are some of my most prized possessions. I feel an intimate connection to the loneliness and uncertainty that Gaia feels throughout these books. She spends most of them lost and alone. She has only a few people she can truly trust. Being a teenager, she often misses this simple fact. Or she resists it to try to keep those on the side of good safe.

See, Gaia is not your normal seventeen year old girl. The books are called Fearless because Gaia lacks the fear gene. The books hypothesize about why that is, but I don’t believe they ever conclusively explain it. As in any story where there is a mutant, there is someone who wants to capture and study said mutant. In Fearless, that is Gaia’s father’s evil twin brother. Through most of the books he is known as Loki. Loki, and at times others, send evil henchmen to capture the lithe blond seventeen year old girl. They do not realize until it is too late that Gaia is a powerhouse of a fighter. Very few things take her down, except maybe tranquilizers. She skulks around Washington Square Park in jeans and a dirty T-shirt with her hair hanging dirty around her face. Maybe some dried blood in it. Probably not hers. All the boys at school think she is drop dead gorgeous. When she makes it to school. But no one ever tells her that. So she goes around believing she is an ugly freak of nature, as we all do in our teens. And sometimes twenties. And thirties.

Pascal introduces several potential suitors for Gaia through the course of the books that cover her senior year in high school. Sam is introduced first. He is described as handsome and a good chess player. Sam is proved to be a big wuss and drags down the later books. Later, Jake is introduced. He can match Gaia in a fight, but seems pretty lame other than that.

[SPOILER ALERT!]

Through all the books is a classmate named Ed. First Ed is in a wheelchair and Gaia’s best friend. Then Ed can walk (through miracle surgery) and is Gaia’s first lover. The shipper in me truly believes that Ed and Gaia are soul mates. Too bad Pascal didn’t think so too. I had to write my own fan-fiction (included at the end of this post) to get them together again.

My favorite books:

1. Twins #19
This is the book where Gaia and Ed have sex…while she is under the effects of an experimental drug. But still, a shipper’s dream come true.

2. Sex #20
The book after Gaia and Ed have sex. Of course, Ed almost gets killed going out for morning after breakfast and that is the end of the potential of their happily ever after. It is all about distancing yourself from the one you love, so that they may not get hurt:(

3. Gaia Abducted – Super Edition
Gaia is kidnapped to a mental hospital, brainwashed to believe her mother is still alive, and finds out she had a brother she never knew she had. Too bad Jake is the one to come and rescue her.

Fearless is a wonderful combination of teen-angst, spy-drama, love story, and crazy soap opera all mixed together. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It is too bad the series lost focus at the end. I am almost positive that the series’ final books were written by other writers. They had Gaia doing things she never would have. Like having a dress outfit and a hair dryer in her possession after evacuating from her apartment to a boarding house. And sitting idly by while her father leaves her again for more CIA assignments. It took her too long to reunite with him. Neither of them could have bared to be apart and possibly in danger again. Especially after they had two undercover Russian agents that lived in their apartment with them.

I was so sad when Fearless concluded. There was talk of a new series being made called Fearless FBI, featuring Gaia training to join the FBI. Only four books were made in that series. After reading them, I could see why. They were also uncharacteristically Gaia and had none of the magic of say the first twenty books of the original series. The WB made a pilot for a Fearless TV show. Rachael Leigh Cook played Gaia. Bad casting—Cook isn’t even a blond. The pilot can be found on YouTube.com.

I always believed the books were better suited to movies. I envisioned five movies. At the height of my obsession, I made five soundtracks for them. [To see my five Fearless playlists, go over to I’m not stalking you. on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” the page while you are there.]

I also truly wanted to get Gaia and Ed together. This is a DRAFT of the start of a story about them meeting while Gaia is working for the CIA…or as much of the remnants as I could find floating around my house.

P.S. – Holy crap! I found 11 pages!

Here I am. A zombie. I can remember sitting in school, feeling this way. So tired. I’m just going through the motions. So how did I let myself get “trapped” again. Maybe that is always the ending when you stop running. You run, and when you stop, then you are trapped, wherever you are at.

It is times like these that I let my mind wander back to that night with Ed. I have had a few rather exceptional nights since, but nothing really compares to that one. The last time I saw Ed was when I was in a Krispy Kreme downtown. I looked out the window and saw him running by. Imagine–running. It made my heart fill with happiness for so many reasons.

1. Ed was alive.
2. Ed was safe. How do I know? Because I am not around him.
3. Ed is still walking. Not like he would suddenly stop, but…sometimes, she wondered if she had dreamed it all…him escaping the wheelchair.
4. Ed was running, but not as if he was being chased. As if he was late for a meeting or a class or something.

Just a little part of her had wished he had glanced in. After all, every time he saw a Krispy Kreme, shouldn’t he automatically think of her?

Had Ed even gone to college?

And then she had a sick memory hit her like a speeding kick in the gut. Sam. College just made her think of Sam. Poor Sam. He was probably out of danger now. But his head and his heart would never truly heal from all the torture that being close to her had caused him.

And then she looked back at the computer screen. But it was blurry. She realized she was starting to cry. All those teenage years that seemed so horrible. I mean, they were. But I did have some truly great friends.

She picked up the phone.

This is what she did every time she felt this low.

She called D.

After a few quick rings, it picked up. D. actually answered…he usually never did.

“Hello! Hello!” he screamed excitedly.

“D., it’s Gaia. How come you answered the phone?”

“Yellow. I knew it was you. The ring was yellow.”

“Baby bro, maybe you should work for the psychic friends network?”

“Too many friends already.” She could hear him smiling through the phone.

“When are you going to come visit me again? There is a new art gallery I want to show you.”

“Maybe soon maybe. I did 4 more pictures this week. University Bob wants one for the hallway.”

“The hallway?” D. had been seeing Bob Shaffer from the University of Illinois since Gaia had found him and taken him out of the mental hospital. Bob had made lots of progress with D. But, Bob said, because D. was treated badly during his fundamental learning years, instead of learning reading and socializing, as everyone else does, that D. would probably never fully be able to live on his own. This was fine by Gaia. She knew that D. would never want to be alone. He had come out of his shell so much in the past 4 years.

If only she could have known him the first 13 years of his life. What a waste.

“The hallway at the school……black, Gaia black.”

“Oh, at the University. Sorry about the darkness. I was thinking about Loki.”

“Don’t. He makes you angry. Angry–no.”

“How about you come up next weekend? Bring your paints, so you can paint the city.”

“OK. I’ll tell Nellie to put me on the train…Daisy has sticky buns in her oven. Don’t tell!”

“What? She’s…..oh god, is Daisy pregnant?”

“Shhhhh!” He was giggling. Apparently Gaia hadn’t gotten an update on Daisy’s dating life lately.

“That will be fun for you to play with, D. I bet you have never been around babies….well, actually, neither have I.”

“Gotta go. Dinner. Fried Chicken. I wish you could eat too. I see you on the weekend. The city is better now. Family is better now.”

“What D.?”

But before she could figure out what the meaning of his words were, he had hung up. Chicken did sound good.

Too bad she was supposed to stay here in the office and break these 7000 pages of code tonight. Oh well. It could be worse. She could have 100,000 pages.

And just then she saw something new in the screen. All of a sudden, this desk work didn’t seem quite so boring after all.


Ed hadn’t been out to a concert in, well, awhile. He was busy with taking classes part-time and interning the rest. He was glad his small group of friends had drug him out here.

The place was packed. Fearless was playing tonight. They had platinum albums now. People knew them all over the world. Ed could remember when they were nobodies and could not even fill a bar.

He was getting smushed with bodies from all sides of him on the dance floor. But he was happy. Because he could do this. Once upon a time, in a wheelchair or crutches, he wouldn’t have been able to find this pleasurable, getting pummeled in the pit.

“Hey, watch it, buddy!” Ed heard himself yell, although no one else probably could, over the guitar-volume-so-loud-it-was-just-static and the ringing of their own ears. He could accept normal pit violence as much as the next person, but some rather strong guy had plowed into his back rougher than was really necessary. A fleeting thought occurred to Ed, that, if this guy was big and angry, that might be just the thing to start a fight.

Ed cautiously looked over his shoulder as best he could, but the guy was gone. There was only a waif-like girl behind him with pit stains on her T-shirt. Her own? Who could tell. Her short blond hair was plastered to her sweaty face. She took her hand that was already in the air, probably for crowd participation purposes, and pushed a glob of it back out of her eyes.

And Ed lost all the air in his lungs.

How could she still be this beautiful? And what cruel twist of fate had put her next to him at a concert? Or was it a pleasant turn of events?

STOP IT ED! He screamed inside his own head. It had taken too long and been too hard to push her out of his mind. He wasn’t prepared to do that all again. He had to get away.

He took one last look at her happy face. HAPPY? Gaia Moore. Who knew. She certainly had never been around him. He wondered if she was still being constantly followed and tortured by her sick Uncle. But whatever the answer, she seemed to be coping fine. She was living a fine life without him. If only he could make eye contact. To gaze into those pools of blue one more time.

But he forced himself to push through the crowd and run away. He knew how. He had learned from the master herself.

She loved pits. If someone got hit hard, they wouldn’t suspect the little blond-haired girl behind them. Suckers. She could anticipate the movements of the crowd. She knew when they would shove forward, when they would shove back. She knew when a skinny kid with shoes the size of bulldozers was heading for the back of her freakishly tall head. So naturally she knew when do duck. The concert was taking a lot of the energy out of her though. Must be her body thought she was fighting, which was kind of the truth. Look at all these 15 year olds, she thought. To them, this is SURVIVAL. Their goal is to survive the pit. Too bad they hadn’t ever been targeted by several secret organizations, trained operatives, and professional hit men. On a daily basis.

She sensed the crowed was pitching right. She had her feet firmly planted. She wasn’t going anywhere. Until the guy landed right on top of her. The song ended and the crowd was going INSANE with applause and screams and jumps. People were jumping on HER. This was unacceptable. She punched and kicked a bit. The guy finally started to move. It seemed there were also 2 more guys on top of him. Gaia was glad for a change that she wasn’t a normal 22 year old chick, who might be a bit overwhelmed by this. Just as the crowd died down to listen to the band’s chit-chat, she heard it.

“Geez, Gaia.”

She jumped up and swung him around by the shoulders. Either she had had a concussion and was delirious (known to happen), or this was really and truly Ed in front of her. She threw her aching arms about him, even as he rubbed at where she had pummeled him. She didn’t care that she hadn’t seen him in years, or that they had parted on bad terms. She had to take this opportunity for all it was worth.

“I’m so sorry, Ed.”

And she meant for more than the violence

Love pummels. How long had it been since Ed had received any attention, Gaia style?

He had been so close to escaping the meeting. But when the crowd thrust him backward, there was nothing he could do. And the soft creature underneath him using him as a human punching bag could only be ONE SHE-WOMAN THAT HE KNEW OF. His kidneys and arms ached where she had thrust her hard knuckles into him. Well, he had been beaten up by a girl, but at least he knew she wasn’t a normal girl.

Oh, ya, he knew that. Because she was the perfect girl.

It was so hard to push these thoughts to the back of his mind, especially now that she was hugging him emphatically and breathing her hot breath into the side of his neck. Actually, she was breathing so deep, that he thought perhaps she was trying to inhale him inside of her.

Stop it, Ed. Just your imagination. As the next song started, he broke halfway free from the hug and led them over to a less crowded area. Gaia almost felt as though she were leaning on him for support–God, did that feel good. Exceptionally strange. But then, that is how must events were with Gaia. You could leave a conversation with her 20X more confused than when you started.

He pushed her back lightly, still holding a firm grip on her arms. She raised her head just enough so that he could see her eyes. Those eyes. They shined so bright in the dimness. Or, was that….Was she actually crying? He had seen her cry many times, for sure. But was this over him.

“Are you alright? You can’t tell me I hurt you down there. I know better.” He gave her a sly smile.

“I am now.” Her eyes seemed to cloud up for a minute, and then she blurted “I need a milkshake.”

And it was like they had never been apart–ever.

“You are WORKING for the CIA now? Gaia, that is crazy. That is like Dorothy working for the Wicked Witch. I thought with your Dad and Uncle and everything, you would want to stay away from that.” Ed and Gaia were sitting in a dinner, hunched over their chocolate milkshakes and greasy cheese fries. Ed watched in awe as she shoved 20 fries in her mouth at once. What a Goddess. Down boy. We are just making friendly conversation.

“Yes, but tell me, Ed, what else am I really an expert at?” Ed could think of about 30 subjects, off the top of his head. But he kept silent. “I am so used to running and hiding and observing and, well, kicking asses. I have become accustomed to this horrible life. And I am hoping D. will come to live with me soon. That would be nice.”

Uh-oh. D. Was that mono-syllable a name? It sounded like a rapper. Was this Gaia’s boyfriend? He supposed. How could she not have one. Probably a big guy. Lots of muscles and a big—ugh. His heart was a little heavier now. But his head was relieved. He tried to move away from this topic.

“Is it safe to ask about your Dad?”

“Safe as can be. I buried him a year ago.” Her voice was hollow.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Gaia— I was hoping it would never come to that.”

“It’s OK. I mean, Loki finally got to him…but then I got to Loki.”

“You—“

“I shot him about 20 times in all his major organs. But, knowing how unreliable bullet wounds could be, I squeezed his last breaths out of him with my own 2 hands. I am not worried about it wrecking my Karma or anything. I mean, if anything, I should get some sort of planetary bonus for stopping that man that hurt so many people. I did it for my mom. And I know she was smiling somewhere.” And as she looked up at Ed’s saddened face, she was smiling. She had returned her family honor. She wasn’t Japanese, but that transferred to any culture, right?

“So, all your running is over?” Ed tipped up his shake cup and let the last remaining lump slide down his throat.

“Not really. My job at the CIA is to follow the tracks of the former members of the Organization and the Russian Mafia and such. All the groups we destroyed when we destroyed Loki. Except, he had smart people working under him. They will see this as their turn to rule now. It is all very sick. But I am sure there are many of them that would LOVE TO SEE ME DEAD. So, I would really be doing this job, whether I worked for the CIA or not. It is just self-preservation—to always be looking out for the people who are trying to get me. And plus, I get nice big paychecks. I have a very nice apartment now.”

“Oh really? While I am slumming it with 5 other guys in a 1 bedroom. So, where is this lap of luxury located?” Ed smiled widely.

“Oh, where do you think?”

At the same time they both mouthed the words silently.

Washington Square Park.

And so I let him breathe on me. I let him touch me with his warm sticky tongue. And I OO-ed & I COO-ed as if I liked it. And I let his hand caress my breast and tweak my nipple. And I giggled as if it felt good. As if his grimy fingernails so close to precious parts of my body didn’t give me a visceral reaction almost too strong to hide.
I let his grimy fingers clumsily enter me. Dig at me. As he laughed. As he filled my face with his rancid teeth-rot breath. I dug my mouth into his neck, just to keep from hurling. And the dirt and salt on his neck became thick in my mouth. Traces of gunpowder and cocaine as well.

And I climbed on top of him as he wanted me to. And I let him have me. I have never had to go this far for a case before, but I could feel it coming. And it won’t be the last time. I almost think the agents back at headquarters enjoy—GET OFF—sending a young blond girl into the clutches of perverted slime balls. I tried not to think of Ed. But I did. And a little Sam too. And I made my tears look like tears of lust. And I played it rather convincingly. I even had a cheap cigarette with him after. All for the sake of the job.

For the job.

“Oh, Come on Derrick. Let me spend the night. It ain’t no big thing. Why I gotta go all the way across town back home at 1am, just to come back at 7am to go to St. Mary’s with you?” Gaia drawled it and whined it all together. She so should have been an actress.

“No way, sweetheart. I don’t want you in that deep. My boyz and I, we into some shady stuff, ya know? [chuckle] It’s better that you don’t know. Dat’s the whole point.”

“But, if I stay, we have time to go another round, baby.” And Gaia closed her eyes, and ran her hand down his chest to his manhood, and pumped it a few times teasingly. And with her eyes closed, she could pretend that maybe this stinky creature was actually Ed.

Ed called me that night. I didn’t hear the phone. I was still in the shower.


Gaia went to go pick up D. at the Amtrak station. He came up every few months or so to visit her in New York. The train was the easiest way for him to travel. He could get on, with a minimal amount of train-switching. It had to be hard on the kid though. It was like a 10 hour ride or something between Kansas and NY. He passed the time, though. He always had such a beautiful collection of sketches to show her when he arrived.

D. had gone to live with Daisy in Kansas after Gaia met him in the psychiatric hospital because he has a keen awareness of auras and energy. Coming from a hospital, NY was like a Pandora ’s Box for his gift—too much to handle.

Wow, that sounds certifiably crazy. But I lived it. I know that is how it went down.

“Hey D.!” Gaia called to him. He came up and gave her a giant hug. He now stood about 5 inches taller than her. He had such a simple soul, like that of a child, yet now he was in a man’s body.

As they road in the cab back to Gaia’s apartment, she couldn’t help but notice how much calmer D. seemed on this trip. He seemed to be taking in everything for the first time. But Gaia didn’t pressure him. There were many things (innumerable things) that must float in his mind every day, that she would have no way of understanding. As usual when she looked at him, Gaia felt a pang of hurt, for all the years she didn’t know he existed. All the years that he was by himself, without the love he needed.

“D., will you see who is at the door?” Gaia shouted from the bedroom. As an afterthought, she added, “Don’t unlock it though, ok?” Even though the wall blocked her vision, Gaia knew that D. had glared in the direction of her shout, with his best ‘I am old enough to answer a door’ look. He just didn’t understand that this was New York, where things were more dangerous. Criminals lurked everywhere. Especially outside of CIA agent’s apartments.

D. cracked open the door. He was eye to eye with a most non-threatening man. He appeared to be a college student. He looked most surprised to see D.

“Uh, I thought this was Gaia Moore’s apartment?” His eyes seemed to roll around in his head, as he tried to look into the apartment through the narrow opening.

“It is. Come in.” D. quickly unlocked the door and opened it wide for the man to enter.

“You must be D….” He said, as he cautiously entered the apartment. “I’m Ed.”

“Hi Ed. Nice to see you. You want stuff to eat?” As Ed looked at him hesitantly, he heard a rustling coming from the backroom (the bedroom???!). Then he heard her bark.

“D., I told you don’t let anyone—oh, hi Ed! What are you doing here?”

Ed couldn’t believe how casual Gaia was—well, ya, he guessed he could. If she was used to her boyfriend being about, why would Ed’s presence be any different. But this guy seemed—strange. Somehow not has smart or aware as Gaia. And he was a string bean. Ed thought Gaia had reached the bottom of the stud pile when she had fished himself out, but jeez. This guy took the cake.

“I, uh, just stopped by to say hi. I was wondering if you wanted to grab a bite to eat or something. We still have plenty of stuff to catch up on.”

“Oh, that sounds great. But it will have to be short—I have some work I really have to get done this weekend. Can D. come along too—oh, I didn’t introduce you. Ed, this is D., my brother.”

A brother? When did this come about? Wow, Gaia was beaming as she showed him off like a new car to Ed, complete with hand motions. He had to crack up in spite of himself. He had been jealous over A BROTHER.

She could remember when walking out the door didn’t mean being possibly exposed to Monkey Pox or Wes Nile. There was a time not-so-long-ago when no one had ever heard of Mad Cow Disease or SARS. Heck, last year no one knew about RAMPO or Wallaby Measles. Why was it that the diseases with the initials were always the scariest? Maybe because words just could not describe them. Or, that they were so “dirty” that their actual name could not be repeated in polite company.

Gaia decided to walk through the park on her way to work. It was very much out of the way and would make her late, but why should she care if she was late to school.

School? Where had that come from? Maybe from all the time she had been spending w/Ed lately. She walked past the mini Arc de Triomphe. She had been so impressed when her father had taken her to see the real one in Paris. Was she impressed by it’s size? Maybe how old it was.

No, it was not any of those things. She could be truthful to herself now. She had loved that she had seen it with her Dad. She had had some sort of school-girl delusion that she would be back to Paris, visiting it with him an infinite amount of times. She had been back to Paris. But the Arch wasn’t the same. Hope made things seem brighter. She was running low on that now.

She didn’t have much hope left. Between D. trashing her apartment at all hours of the night, and the people at work accusing her of being a spy (and not the kind they knew that she was), her life seemed bleak. She should just send D. back to the farm, cut her loses in NY, and leave. Be the truck stop waitress she had always wanted to be.

Ya, right, Gaia. Good way to get a restaurant full of bloody bodies fast.

There was nothing in the dark apartment but the sounds of them. The sound of their hearts beating. The sound of their rushed breathing. Their lips, gently sucking and kissing. This is how she and Ed should have been all these years. But that thought filled Gaia with a deep sadness. One she had to bury deep and try not to miss a beat. This could not last. That was the horrible realization. So she had best enjoy it as much as she could now.

They were already bare chest to bare chest. God, Ed has some muscles hidden under his baggy T-shirts. She ran her hand up and down his back, feeling them twist and ripple with each move he made. She reached down, fumbling for the snap on his jeans. Her whole body hungered for him. Well, mostly one part, that was throbbing uncontrollably. She could feel his body tense for a second. His breath paused. Then he simply kissed her with more passion and wanting than he had up to this point. Gaia just wanted to rip her heart out of her chest and put it inside of him. She hoped he felt the same way too. God, her heart was beating so fast. So loud. Like gunshots. Oh wait, that is what those are. Of course.


Gaia rolled Ed off of the couch and onto the living room floor. He didn’t even know what was happening. Well, of course he knew that people were shooting at them from every direction. Who could miss that? The only light in the room was coming from the firing of the guns. It was almost like being in the strobe lights a club. With the added effect of deafening explosions and the stench of smoke filling the room faster than the gunmen themselves.

Gaia was moving, what was she doing? Standing up! That has to be a bad idea. But then he realized she had a gun and was firing back. She must have pulled it out from under the couch cushions—always a smart storage place with a mentally impaired person in the household. But it took her only seconds to put them all down. And as the silence crept back to Ed’s ringing ears, he realized that she had killed them. Not wounded them till they ran or were unconscious, as in old days. Gaia killed now.

It saddened Ed. He knew that it was kill or be killed. Her life had always been dangerous. But not to this degree. Not to the degree that she had to end other people’s. Gaia walked across the room and flipped on the light switch. She went around and carefully checked all the bodies for breathing and pulses. Then she picked up the phone and said some sort of Agency mumbo-jumbo. The whole time Ed just watched how calm she was. He admired her. Not many people could keep up with this pace of the circle of life. And being fearless had nothing to do with it. She still was shirtless. But her creamy skin was covered with grime from firing the gun. Her face even had streaks of dirt.

As bad as Ed felt for himself, for loving this girl who would never be “Typical”, he knew it was bigger than that. This girl that he loved so much, this woman, would never have a relaxing moment in her life. It broke Ed’s heart to think that way, but he knew it was true. She pulled an old ratty shirt on over her head.

“I’m sorry, Ed. But it looks like you will have to be a witness on this one. I’m so sorry….”
Her voice trailed off and her eyes looked so sad.

“I don’t mind, really. I know this is how it is. Just don’t shut me out again, OK? If you can handle something, I can handle it too.”

“But…I am afraid you won’t be able to.”

And then the door burst open. The room was flooded with agents, without even a knock. It was suddenly so cold in the living room. Ed looked around for his shirt.

Yes, she was walking through the park keeping her eyes open for danger. But she wasn’t looking for it, HUNTING IT, like she used to. Gaia had learned a long time ago, that she didn’t need to go searching for it. DANGER FOUND HER. So, when the hands grabbed her from behind, she wasn’t all that surprised.

Actually, annoyed was more like it. Hadn’t she played this game long enough? Did other people’s lives involve the same crap happening over and over again in a seemingly endless cycle? She supposed so. They just had more benign things, such as losing their jobs or houses or leaky plumbing.

She leaned forward and flipped him over her head easily. This guy was a lightweight. She was used to big burly thugs. The moonlight shined off of his foot long knife. The bigger it was, the easier it was to disarm him of it. But he held on tight. He kept flinging the knife toward her. Gaia deflected it, again and again, with her boots, with her arms. She could feel a warm streak of blood pumping from her arm. But she kept on. She managed to land a stunning (LITERALLY) left hook onto her attackers face. As he reached up to temporarily cradle his face, his black hood from his sweatshirt slid off.

Sam.

In that second, he had her down on the ground, the knife to her throat. He was snarling rude things into her face. But all she could hear was the ringing in her ears. Was it Sam? Who cared. For all the torture she had put him through over the years, just by knowing her, he had every right to kill her right here.

This guy definitely had the thin frame. And the same face. But plastic surgery could easily duplicate that. There was no warmth in his eyes. But, that didn’t prove anything one way or the other. Now she could feel the blood running around to the back of her neck, toward the ground, wetting, matting her hair into ugly clumps. TEARS came.

You are so stupid Gaia. If you want to live, you must act now. You have played this game before. She repeated these things to herself. But the problem was, the game had changed. Her Uncle—what a dumb title. It isn’t like they had ever bonded over ice cream or anything—had only wanted to capture her. He wanted her for scientific experiments. And in some demented way, he actually did seem to have some sort of caring feelings toward her. She knew in her heart that he would never have allowed her to be killed. NOW she knew this. She didn’t then, though. It was all still sick and twisted.

But these guys—they wanted blood for blood. And who knew which side this Sam was even on. Was he angry that that she had killer her Uncle…or let her father die? Or some other totally random reason.

Gaia, you are too old to be using phrases like “totally random”. And you won’t get any older if you don’t stop this RIGHT NOW!

She sprung into action. If she would have been a split second quicker, she wouldn’t have felt the knife starting into her muscles. But she knew she wasn’t majorly injured. But this guy was going to be. As much as she hated herself, hated them, for making her kill Sam (well, at least this image of him. It was so easy for these groups to have people made over.), she knew it was one more painful, horrible moment in her life she would never forget.

Gaia plunged the knife deep into his chest and abdomen, over and over. Now their blood mingled together there in the park. Spilled on the ground.

“Oh Gaia, how can you do this to me? I love you.”

The voice was a stranger. But she still answered him, as if he were Sam. As if he wasn’t a killer. As the last breaths of life slipped from him.

“You love the person I used to be. And I loved you once. When you were real to me.”
She threw the knife down on his body and walked away. She got a few funny looks on the subway on the way home, being covered in blood and all. But she was still alive. A small blessing, but she supposed a blessing non-the-less. She would scare D. to death when she walked in the door like this. But if he wanted to live with her, it was best he know what he was going to have to deal with now.

When I was doing my pre-employment things for the Agency (how dumb, since I was already well knowledged in all they do), they made me have a medical exam. I was seeing Sam again at the time. But I was still quite shocked when the doctor, in his thick foreign accent, informed me I was pregnant.

Sam and I had always been careful. But I guess accidents will happen anyway. But I didn’t want to be one of those people who refers to children as “accidents”. To be truthful, I had never thought of myself as a maternal person. I once saved a baby from being kidnapped. I was way more clueless with what to do with the baby than I was with what to do with the bad guy.

I was going to step up to the plate. I figured I could figure it out along the way, as I have all my life. Anything I had ever gotten myself into, I could get myself out of.

Of course Sam, well, he had his own ideas. He instantly turned into Mr. You-can’t-leave-the-house-you-can’t-live-on-donuts-anymore-let’s-get-married. Heck, if the child inside me was indeed mine (that is usually how it works—but this is MY life), how could it survive WITHOUT Krispy Kreme chocolate crème donuts and Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs? I guess Sam had his heart in the right place. But how could a baby ever survive inside me, with my life.

I had a few fights early on-really, no big deal. But I still had the inevitable black out, which Sam went BERZERK and took me to the hospital. Both times, it showed that while I was out, the baby’s heartbeat was weaker.

Then, well, there was an all-out fight for my life, complete with knives, guns, and plenty of street kickboxing. I was about 4 months along, maybe more. I took about 3 strong blows to the stomach. When I woke up, the bad guys were gone, but I could smell the strong scent of blood. I was slightly shocked to realize it was coming out of me. I went to the hospital, and they confirmed that I was now just a single organism again. No longer with parasite. Needless to say (for so many reasons), my relationship with Sam wasn’t the same after that. Of course, our relationship had never ever been typical. Sam kept asking me why I had fought, knowing it would be deadly to the baby. I told him the only answer I had. If I hadn’t fought, both me AND the baby would have been dead.

Poor thing never stood a chance. It was a girl. No one knows better than me that this isn’t a world for girls. I can’t imagine having a child that has to just SURVIVE like I have had to.

A part of me was so relived. It isn’t that I guess I don’t not want kids someday, it is just that I know in my heart I should have them with E—

I didn’t just think that. I can’t think that. This is ME. THIS IS MY LIFE. I will never be able to have E—the, um, kind of life I dream of. To go a whole day and not look over my shoulder.

I am Gaia Moore. And every day I try not to die.

Would you like to trade lives? For a day? An hour…

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