All My Only Dreams by emxgoldstars
Summary:

It’s 1964, and Jim Halpert honestly believes his only calling in life is to inherit his family’s appliance store, with a passion for jazz music and drumming on the side. Opportunity knocks in the form of a drumming gig for a band performing at a local college talent show, bringing the group recognition for the song they play. But, with the four of them and the lead singer’s adorable, redheaded girlfriend leading the charts by storm, what will come of their newfound fame?

 

 


Categories: Jim and Pam, Alternate Universe Characters: Andy, Dwight, Jim, Jim/Karen, Jim/Pam, Karen, Michael, Pam, Pam/Roy, Roy, Ryan
Genres: Fluff, Romance
Warnings: Adult language
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 9539 Read: 674 Published: July 26, 2021 Updated: April 30, 2022
Story Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

I do not own the rights to any of these characters or the movie "That Thing You Do," which this is based off of. I own nothing lol. 

1. Chapter 1 by emxgoldstars

2. Chapter 2 by emxgoldstars

Chapter 1 by emxgoldstars
Author's Notes:

Well, hi there! A certain somebody mentioned the movie this fic is based on in a certain one-shot written for my birthday back in March, and the only response to that is to write this fic for their birthday. I’ve been dreaming of writing this fic for four months now, and I’m so excited to be posting it finally! This is, without a doubt, one of my all-time comfort movies, and I’m pleased to share that with our birthday girl!

Also, this is my first period piece ever, so to say I’m nervous about this fic is an understatement.

Please enjoy!

“Hello there, welcome to Halperts’!” the young man at the back of the store announces, walking toward the patrons that just so happen to walk right in, not even two seconds earlier.

He’s young--old enough to be working there, yet not old enough to be mistaken for any of the older customers that come through the store each day. Donning a maroon polyester sweater, black pants, and a haircut that many older folks would deem too “hippy-dippy” for them, versus the women his age who find it attractive, many know him as the “young salesman at Halperts’ Appliances.”

But to everyone else, he’s Jim Halpert.

“What can I do for you ladies?” he attempts to charm them, schmooze his way into making a sale on a vacuum, a record player, a black-and-white television set, a washing machine, anything their store sells.

His job is simple: talk to customers, make sales, and do bookkeeping after the day is done.

And keep his father happy. After all, it is his father’s own business.

The women patrons end up purchasing a new stove and a new refrigerator from the store, thanking Jim’s smooth-talking for the significant purchases before leaving. And not so soon afterward, another patron comes in for Jim to persuade a sale from. It’s constantly like this at Halperts’, making the days feel fast.

Jim finds solace in his breaks between the customers by chatting with his mother, Betsy, behind the cash register or messing with his younger sister, Larissa, on the show floor. It isn’t often he’s able to do such, but it’s nice when there’s downtime during the workday; and with Halperts’ located on Wyoming Avenue, directly in the middle of Scranton, there’s rarely a dull moment.

And as soon as he knows it, the working day is done. Gerald, the family's patriarch, and sole owner of their business, sends the women home around 3:00, leaving him and Jim to finish the last two hours of work each late afternoon. At 5:00, he hands the keys over to his son, with a pat on the back for a shift-well-done.

With a “Lock us up and shut the lights off before you leave,” Gerald leaves the store in Jim’s hands for the night.

Upon locking up the shop, Jim makes his way behind the counter to grab the notebook full of sales for the day and makes his way down to the basement of their shop.

It’s dark, cluttered, what one imagines the basement of the commercial section of Scranton in the mid-1960s to look like. New inventory coated in cobwebs, old signage for products not sold or recalled, a desk up against the wood-paneling hiding the hideous 40s-style wallpaper behind it, a record player with a milk carton containing multiple ‘45’s. And lastly: a mysteriously large-item coated in a faded-white sheet.

Jim, dropping the notebook on the cluttered desk, walks over to the item and removes the white sheet, revealing the shiny brass of the cymbals, hi-hats, toms, snares, and bass drums.

He walks over to the record player, taking a ‘45 out of its sleeve and putting it on the player: “Time to Blow” by Darryl Philbin. Sure, jazz typically isn’t music a man of Jim’s age would be listening to, but his response tends to be, “He is such a talented piano player. I wish more people would play his music.”

Grabbing a pair of drumsticks from his full-set, Jim takes a seat as the first song from the album plays. His sticks hit the snares and cymbals with ease in between Darryl’s immaculate ivory chords, as if he were born to be a jazz drummer. He practices every night with this album, perfecting his craft if he were ever to play for Darryl if asked.

The album continues to play, Jim’s hands becoming more calloused by each song’s passing until the last note on the final piece plays. Then, he finds himself bookkeeping as promised after restarting the album and becoming immersed as a listener rather than a fellow musician.

In-between calculating sales on their SCM Adding Machine, the phone next to him rings. Unusual for this time of night, but regardless, Jim answers it.

“Halperts’,” he announces, sleepily and in-boredom.

“What’s going on down there?” Jim hears through the receiving end of the handset. He knows that voice exceptionally well and knows that the man’s tone is not too thrilled.

“Dad?” he asks, already knowing the answer to the question.

“Mrs. Priestley just called you mama. Her husband drove by the store, and the lights were still on. What are the lights still doing on?” Gerald responds as Jim sits up in his chair and thinks of a smart-aleck remark for him. I mean, his father already puts so much pressure on him during their workday; why does he need to take more stress during his downtime?

 “I’m cooking the books, as usual, dad. I do this every night, like you asked, remember?” Jim chooses to respond with.

“The sign, Jim. The sign is still on. Are we open for business all night now? Go turn them off right now before I go down there and throw your behind out of there and call Tom or Pete to drive down here and do your job better, you understand me?” Gerald demands in an angrier tone than before. Well, Jim did it now, didn’t he? Involving his older two brothers into this argument just made Jim even more frustrated, but the last thing he needs is to add more fuel to this fire.

“No, dad. Uh, sorry, I’ll go turn them off right now,” Jim states in a more nervous tone.

“Is that music playing on one of the store’s hi-fis again? Turn that off while you’re at it, too,” Gerald adds, knowing that Jim should already know not to do such.

“Yes, Dad, goodnight,” Jim states before placing the handset back on top of the base of their rotary phone and walking up the stairs to shut the front signage lights off.

Jim never saw this as part of his plan in life: being a salesman for his family’s appliance store. He always dreamed of moving out of Scranton to New York or Los Angeles and trying to make it as a jazz musician. He has dreams of leaving his small town, having a life of his own. He never thought it was fair of his brothers to go right off and join the army reserve, leaving him and Larissa to be the only of the four siblings to work at the store. He resents his brothers due to this, and any time his father uses his brothers’ successes against him, it irritates him deep to his core. Not to mention that because of his brothers, it’s already in Jim’s planned-out future that he become the future owner of the store when his father decides to retire. He, and whomever he takes as his wife, will own, and run the shop and will eventually pass it on to his children and continue this ever-long cycle his family has put on him. But, what else can Jim do? If he says no, he’ll be happy but condemned by his family for the rest of his life.

So, Jim is sacrificing his dreams for the sake of the family business.

Still downright peeved, Jim completes the bookkeeping for the day and readies himself to leave. He walks out the basement door to the back driveway, where all store employees on Wyoming Avenue find their vehicles parked. Jim finds his black 1961 Jaguar XK-E with ease, being he is the only car left parked in the driveway.

Pulling out of the driveway, he turns onto Ridge Street to make his way to his apartment. Sure, he’s unmarried at the current moment, but he knew that moving out of his parents’ home was the wisest decision he had made. With his salary from the store and his savings from birthdays and holidays, he’s able to afford his place close to in-town Scranton. He turns the radio dial to find the theme song to “Mr. Downtown” playing. He turns it up and sings along to it as he drives.

After cranking the volume up, he looks ahead of him at a highly familiar car about to pass him, honking their horn toward him.

“Aw, shit,” Jim gripes as he slows down, allowing the car to pull up next to him. A familiar face, indeed. Her long, wavy brown hair draped over a fuchsia dress, matching bauble earrings, and bow in her hair would make her desirable to honestly any man in the tri-county area, let alone her naturally olive skin and natural flirty nature. Yet, she chose Jim Halpert, somehow. He parks his car, leaning against his driver-side window.

“Hey beautiful, where you headed?” he asks, watching as she attempts to bat her eyelashes toward him. Jim could tell she’s hiding her annoyed mannerisms right now in an attempt to play his cat-and-mouse game of flirting.

Messing with her hair, she looks away from him for a quiet second before returning her gaze toward his, now visibly annoyed. “You forgot all about me, didn’t you?” she queries, more than aware that this is a redundant question to ask of her boyfriend.

“No, I promise, I was on my way right now!” Jim pleads, pointing in the direction of the Tupperware party he feigned interest in attending.

“You liar,” she howls, rolling her eyes to his blatant disregard of her interest in showing her boyfriend off toward her friends. “Jim, I caught you. Just admit that you didn’t want to go.”

Sighing, Jim looks back at her, irked. She most definitely caught him, alright, and he didn’t want to admit it. “Fine, Kare. I didn’t want to go. Happy?” He tilts his head back onto the padding of the driver’s seat.

Smirking, Karen primps her hair while looking at the road ahead of her instead of looking at Jim. “Well, if you don’t want to go,” she starts, looking over at him as she bats his eyes, yet again. “Then let’s go to your place and talk about this.”

That last statement rings in Jim’s ear like cymbals from his drum. He sees the look in her eyes, the tip of her pointer finger nestled between her front teeth. This isn’t the first time she’s asked to go to his apartment, physically shown the sides that she wanted to spend quality time with Jim, and, as the warm-blooded human he is, Jim would not mind at all doing nothing else but such.

“Alright then, let’s go,” he answers, winking as she smiles, taking her car out of the park and making her way down Ridge Street. Jim, doing a sedy on the road, turns around and follows her toward his apartment.

 

XXX

 

With a record player on, playing a random LP, along with the television set on mute, Jim’s nestled in-between the crook of Karen’s neck, his lips peppering kisses up and down as his hands lay against her waist. Her lips meet up with his, placing soft, sweet pecks against him. He inhales the same “Evening in Paris” perfume she dons each time they go out on dates, the one that he only tolerates. They find themselves here, in this state of teenaged making-out on either’s couches, maybe twice or three times a week nowadays. Jim would be lying if he said he was entirely content with the pace of which their relationship was going in, intimacy-wise, but would never mention it to Karen. Honestly, he’d rather keep his mouth shut and have Karen as his than not have her at all.

“Hmm,” she moans in a whisper, removing her lips off of Jim’s, “You know what I was thinking today?” Her hand starts running through her hair, her bottom lip between her front teeth.

“What?” Jim responds in confusion.

“We’ve been together for almost a year now. Remember? We met at Brisbane’s party two Christmases ago, and then we had our little flirting period until you finally asked me out. So, almost a year total!” She smirks, running her hand now through Jim’s hair.

Well shit, Jim thinks to himself. He hadn’t realized how long they had been a couple, and he’s genuinely surprised they had been together for this long, honestly. He enjoys Karen, enjoys dating her. Sure, her side of the story was different than his: she being the one to give him a shot after he had tried flirting with her for months on end at various parties. Yet, part of him always worries about her getting bored with Jim and moving onto somebody new. He likes Karen in more ways than one, but Karen’s not one to stay attached long to a man of his caliber. Hopefully, he can be the one to change that.

“Well then, happy anniversary Kare,” Jim jests, as their lips meet again, his hands meeting the arch of her back, before one slides up to find the white strap of her brassiere, toying with the fabric between his fingers.

And before he could even get a good grip on the strap, Karen moves her shoulder up, his hand flying off of her and back onto the couch. “Down, boy. Not going to happen,” she asserts, seating herself up onto the couch and adjusting her dress and hair. “I have to get home,” she answers as Jim continues to lay on the sofa. “I have a dentist appointment with my new doctor in the morning, and I do not want to be late.”

Jim, practically shaking his head, begins to sit up himself, shaking the possible thought of going any farther with his girlfriend tonight out of his mind. “Right, new dentist. You’ve mentioned that to me before,” he groans.

“I know. And this way, you can finally mention those ideas about the business to your father tomorrow morning, that you’ve been meaning to tell him but never do,” she retorts, somewhat angrily.

Karen has been very adamant lately that Jim proves himself as a great storefront manager of their appliance store and mentioned some ideas that would benefit the family business and make them more profitable. The downside? Jim knows his father and knows that whatever ideas he has that involves change will be denied before Jim could even finish speaking. His father hates change; why should he mention the new ideas to him?

“Alright, alright. I’ll talk to him tomorrow morning after breakfast, alright?” Jim mutters, turning the television set off and walking her over toward his apartment door.

“Jim,” Karen sighs. “Is it good business to let Tele-Mart’s sales get in the way when the sign on the shop finally says ‘Jim Halpert Appliances’? No!”

Jim sighs before opening the door to let Karen out. “Halpert Appliances, but I get what you’re saying. I’ll talk to him tomorrow,” Jim states, placing one last kiss onto her lips as she leaves. “Night, Kare.”

Tomorrow, Jim thinks to himself. I fight for this job or let it slip out of my hands. Only tomorrow will tell what happens.

 

XXX

 

Jim finds a spot in the front of the Wyoming Ave Drugstore, the closest luncheon on Wyoming Avenue to the appliance shop. Unfortunately for Jim, his day is starting on a sour note. Forgetting to set his alarm overnight, he woke up around 8:56 AM, around the time he designated to leave to go to the drugstore for breakfast. Instead, it’s now around 9:27 AM, already almost a half-an-hour after his shift at the store began, and he’s only getting to breakfast now.

And to make matters worse? He bumps into the car parked in front of him as he parallel parks.

“Dammit,” he says under his breath, backing up so he can park correctly and assess the damage to the other car. Putting the vehicle in break and kicking the engine, he gets out to see a dent he caused in the back of the familiar, powder blue Chevy.

He’s seen this car before, and upon looking inside of the luncheon section of the drugstore, he knows exactly whose car it is.

Walking inside, he hears that ever-so familiar voice discussing something with a group of equally as friendly gentlemen around her.

“But I thought you already decided on the Herdsmen?” She asks, Jim eavesdropping on their conversation while searching for the daily paper at the front desk to purchase. He’ll know her voice anywhere, one he has heard almost daily since elementary school: Pam Beesly.

For years, Pam was Jim’s neighbor until she moved to the other side of town with her family right before they started their freshman year at Dunmore Senior High. Every night, after homework, of course, he and Pam would find themselves playing in his backyard on the swings or riding their bikes through their cul-de-sac and beyond. She, always in a poodle-skirt of some kind that her amiable mother would put her in, playing any games with him outside for hours on end. She quickly became his best friend, both in and outside of school. She was someone he could confide in, telling her about how difficult he found it being in the family shop each and every day and never judging him or making him feel bad. She was there to listen, and he did the same for him.

Plus, his favorite pastime with Pam was making her laugh. He’d joke about the most minor things, and she’d smile and chuckle and everything he would ever say. She was his best friend.

But, by the time she moved and they were off to senior high, their friendship tapered off. She’ll come by the appliance shop with my mother now and then, and they’ll crack some old jokes, but that’s the moot point of their friendship.

Especially since…

“No, some band up near Erie is called the Herdsmen. Plus, I wasn’t a fan of that name anyway,” a larger, more masculine voice responds to her question, his arm wrapping around her shoulders. Roy Anderson is his name, someone Jim has met a handful of times in the appliance store. He’s always come in for a new amplifier for his guitar, claiming to “blow them out” at least once every three or four months. Roy is a great guitar player from the gossip on the street and has been songwriting for the last few years.

He’s Pam’s boyfriend, something Jim’s known about for a while now.

Next to the lovebirds are three other gentlemen Jim knows from school: Ryan Howard, Andy Bernard, and Dwight Schrute.

Ryan graduated with Jim from Dunmore, a pretty quiet and lanky individual. Andy was a good friend of his during school. Dwight, however.

Dwight Schrute has been a thorn in Jim’s side for years. Throughout school and even now into adulthood, Dwight openly despises Jim. He calls him names, criticizes his family’s business against his family’s own (a local beet farm, which hails no comparison to the appliance store).

An odd bunch, seated here at breakfast.

“Well, why not call us the ‘Band You’re About to Hear!’?” Andy retorts as Jim pays for his paper.

“Andy, why would we do that? That sounds stupid,” Dwight interjects, taking a sip of his coffee.

“Right, right. Sorry, Dwight,” Andy apologizes before taking his sip of coffee.

Jim walks past the counter, unbeknownst to the flocks of women patrons of the luncheon eye-ing him with desire and fascination.

“Wait, is that Tunes Halpert?” Andy blurts as Jim walks over toward the group. Andy, since their days at Dunmore, has called Jim ‘Tunes.’ For one, it makes sense since Jim played percussion in the band when Andy played trumpet; two, because he threw a tuna sandwich over at Jim during band practice, and he caught it in his mouth.

He’ll never be able to live that down.

“Hey everyone,” Jim announces to the group as they say their hellos in response.

“Oh look, it’s Scranton’s lone beatnik. How’s the hippie life treating you, Jim?” Dwight states as Jim rolls his eyes to him.

As mentioned previously, Dwight and Jim don’t have the best history.

“Pam, I…” he begins, as she looks up at him. Her mirroring green eyes to his, curly auburn hair, and a slight concern in her face masked by a smile. He missed her smile. “I just dinged your bumper; I’m so sorry.”

Pam’s eyebrows knit together in a concerted manner. Her mouth, opening to attempt to say something. Shit, I made her angry, Jim thinks to himself. But, before he could apologize again, her smile returns, and she chuckles. “Eh, it’s my sister’s car, Jim. She’s already put enough dents into that; she’ll think she did it. Nothing to worry about!”

Jim relaxes, sighing with a hand on his chest. He should have known better than to take Pam Beesly seriously in these types of scenarios. She was the last person to ever get mad at someone for an accident: something he’s grateful has never changed about her.

“Well, regardless, Beesly,” he responds, awakening an old nickname of hers from years ago, back when they were still friends and not just the occasional acquaintance. “I’m buying you breakfast.” He offers her a smirk, believing that paying for her breakfast would be the least he could do in this scenario.

Pam’s face lights up; a ‘thank you’ she mouths as she attempts to contain her shock and happiness.

“I’m buying all you kids breakfast; how about that?” Jim explains to the rest of the group, the four men now cheering.

“Aw man, I could have gotten steak and eggs?” Andy jests.

“Hey, you can run into my girlfriend’s car, anytime Halpert,” Roy also jests, while Jim takes a seat at the breakfast bar, getting a glimpse into his morning paper.

While flipping the pages, he hears and sees someone taking the seat next to him at the bar from the corner of his eye. “The boys are in a band together,” Pam sighs, Jim, realizing now that she was the one who occupied the seat next to him. “They’re trying to settle on a good name for themselves, which has been a tedious process.”

“A band, you say?” Jim messes with her in a silly, sarcastic voice.

“Yeah, a band. Roy and Andy are on guitars, Ryan’s on bass, Dwight’s on drums,” Jim watches as she rolls her eyes toward the last statement. “Dwight isn’t horrible, but he’s been bragging a lot.” Pam turns around to look at the guys, Jim following suit, eavesdropping yet again.

“What about the Tempos?” Ryan offers. “Like, tempo in our music?”

“No, no. I was in a band already called the Tempos, and we were…terrible,” Andy responded, in a more serious tone than Jim is used to. Andy, the fellow jokester that he is, is never serious. I guess he was in a band with that name then, Jim says to himself.

“Hey Jim, weren’t you the drummer for the Tempos?” Dwight bluntly asks, laughing to himself.

“Heard that, Dwight,” Jim retorts, turning back around to look at his newspaper, specifically turning toward the advertisements for his family’s rival company: Tele-Mart. The commercialized version of their family-owned business.

“Hey,” Pam turns back around to look at him as the men behind her finish up their breakfast. “The boys are playing at the Lackawanna College talent show tonight. It’s their first time playing together in front of a crowd, and I’m kind of nervous for them.”

Jim groans, shaking his head at her. “What do you, Pamela Beesly, have to worry about? If they make a fool out of themselves, you can just pretend as if you don’t know them! You’re not the one going up on stage, are you?”

She starts chuckling, bringing light to Jim’s eyes. “No, no, I’m not going up on stage,” she continues laughing.

“Thought so, so you have nothing to worry about then, Beesly! Relax, they’ll be fine,” Jim reassures her, placing his hand on her shoulder.

“Hey, Tunes,” Andy interrupts us from behind Pam’s shoulder. “You should come to see the show tonight; it’s gonna be hilarious!

Rolling his eyes, Jim responds. “Oh yeah? Is Dwight going to solo on Wipeout like he tried to at Dunmore?”

Andy scoffs, “Man, every song to Dwight is Wipeout. I’m so tired of it. Come on; you should come to check it out tonight.”

“I have to pass,” Jim states, a subtle sign of disappointment waving over Pam’s face that Jim somewhat takes notice of. “But if you guys need a new amp or any new strings, you know where to find me.”

Roy, grabbing Pam’s hand and walking her toward the door, inevitably ends their conversation. “Thank you for breakfast, Jim, enjoy yours!” she states as she hurries over with Roy.

“See ya, Beesly,” Jim responds, somewhat saddened to have ended his conversation with her so soon. “Yeah, sorry, Andy. I Gotta pass on this one. But good luck!”

“Alright, more co-ed girls for me then. Later, Tunes,” he states, walking out with the rest of their crew, leaving Jim alone at the counter to finish his cup of coffee, before leaving toward the shop.

 

XXX

 

“I keep coming back to the Roy-als,” Roy states, holding his notebook out for Pam and Andy to take a look at. “It’s my name, and al’s at the end; it makes total sense!”

“But Roy, you’re not the only one in this band, you know,” Andy argues, making a solid point.

“I know I’m not the ‘only one in this band,’ Andy. But I’m the one who wrote all of the songs, so I should get some recognition, right?” Roy interjects angrily.

Pam, fed up with the arguing, walks over toward the other two men, who are jumping the parking meters.

“No, not like that, Ryan!” Dwight announces, pushing him out of the way. “You’re supposed to run up to it and then jump over it.” Dwight backs out of the way. “Go ahead, try it now.”

Pam and Dwight watch as Ryan attempts to jump the parking meter but chickens out at the last minute.

Scoffing, Dwight moves him out of the way. “You’re such a coward, Ryan. Matches your last name. Here, let a professional show you how it’s done.” Walking backward a bit, Dwight runs up to the parking meter and jumps over it at a weird angle, his body maneuvering to the left and falling onto his arm on the street.

“Ouch!” is heard from Pam’s right, she and Ryan running over toward him, wincing in pain. He’s grabbing his arm, rolling back and forth in pain, while the two look at each other, unknowing what to do.

“Roy,” Pam calls over to her boyfriend to no avail as he continues to argue with Andy. “Roy!”

Ryan, in utter concern, walks over to the two gentlemen. “Guys, Dwight fell and hurt himself,” he announces, as Andy runs over to Dwight as well.

“Roy, it looks dislocated,” Pam yells over to Roy, who finally walks over and assesses the situation.

“Goddammit, Dwight,” Roy states, putting his hand over his head and pacing. “You just had to hurt yourself hours before we perform. How the hell are we going to play the talent show now?”

Unable to speak, Dwight continues to lie on the ground in pain.

In a panic, Pam takes charge of the situation. “Ryan, can you drive Dwight to the hospital? See what he did and let us know when you can?”

Ryan nods, staying over with Dwight and attempting to help get him off of the ground.

“Great,” Roy states. “We’re going to have to forfeit the talent show, all thanks to Dwight.”

“Not necessarily,” Andy responds in a calming tone. “We just need a fill-in for the night, someone to play for Dwight until he’s either back from the hospital or whatever happens.”

“Yeah, and how on God’s Earth are we going to find a drummer who could fill in for him? He was the only drummer we know!”

And at that moment, it came to Pam. She, and Andy, knew a drummer, a perfect one at that. One who could fill in for just one night and pick up the song they were to perform quickly.

That is if Roy allowed it.

“I know,” Pam states, smiling at both of the men. “I know who could cover for Dwight for tonight. But only if you’re open-minded about it, Roy.”

Roy, sighing in distraught, shakes his head. “Do I have to be?” he responds.

“Do you want to perform tonight?” Andy asks him.

Sighing, Roy nods his head in agreement. “Fine, we can ask whoever this person is, Pam.”

Pam, all smiles, is proud, happy that she could get Roy to cooperate. “Great, follow me then. I know exactly where he could be.”

End Notes:

Happy Birthday, WanderingWatchtower! YOU are Sparticus today!

 

And thank you to TPB for Beta-reading for me!

Chapter 2 by emxgoldstars
Author's Notes:

To start: I apologize that this has not seen an update in around nine months. Since September, this school year has been a doozy. On top of that, I’ve moved twice within six months, and we are finally settled in our new home. With the school year winding down, it was about time that our favorite Scranton boys saw the light of day again.

So, funny story, other than my lack of an update. I performed in theatre from middle school until my sophomore year of college.

When I was in seventh grade, our spring musical was a review show that included “That Thing You Do!” as a song that I sang and performed as part of a select group. I had no idea of the movie that it came from or had ever heard the song before, but I thought it was cute to perform (I still remember some of the steps).

Randomly, I saw that some TV channel was showing the movie, and I decided to watch it. It became a comfort movie of mine for a short period …

And here it is again, becoming a comfort movie for me.

I have a lot of credit for this chapter, listed below! Big thanks to:

TPB for being the best beta in the world and pushing me to finish this chapter.

Tinydundie for the idea of having an original song to be used for our wonderful band and helping come up with our band’s name.

DJC for assisting in my quest for an original song (and for a song he wrote that you’ll see in a future chapter 😉), as well as helping me come up with our band’s name too!
I appreciate all 3 of you <3

Anyway, our band that is yet to be named is without a drummer…

“Hey, hey, hey, looking good!” Jim announces toward his father, presenting an advertisement stand in the front window of their store. His father’s smile dissipates upon seeing Jim outside their shop, mouthing for him to get inside and work. Typical, Jim thinks to himself as he rolls his eyes, opening the door to enter the shop.

“Morning!” Jim announces; his feet finally hit the show floor, with a smirk over at Gerald.

“Don’t we open at nine on Saturdays?” Gerald questions Jim in a cold tone and manner.

“Yes, we do,” he begins. “And it’s such a good thing we do.” Jim looks around at the show floor, sarcastically pointing out the emptiness of their store. Typically, Saturday mornings are bustling at Halpert’s, with many shoppers searching for everything from vacuum cleaner bags to a brand new stand mixer.

Today, however? No one. Just Larissa behind the counter, and his mother, Betsy, playing a song on the only piano brand they sell in their store.

A ghost town, some would call it.

“Yeah, go ask your sister. What on Earth am I paying you for?” Gerald asks back to him, shuffling toward an inventory box near the shop's back.

Jim quickly notices that this is an ample opportunity to talk to his father, with no patrons inside the shop yet, and takes his chance.

“Hey, Dad?” he begins. “We…should move the store…over to Riverside Plaza, don’t you think?” His dad chuckles at the comment, shaking his head up to the ceiling, refusing to acknowledge or even humor the idea Jim suggested. “You know, better parking? A steady flow of foot traffic? The excitement of a new location? We could give a grand opening that those clowns at Tele-Mart something to worry about!”

And that last statement, the mere mentioning of their T-word competitors that are currently creaming the competition in Scranton? Silences Betsy’s piano playing, forces Larissa to drop her newspaper onto the register counter. And, of course, stops Gerald in his tracks.

He turns over to look at Jim, who notices the twitch in his father’s eye as he looks at him.

After a few seconds, he watches as his father sighs, changing his expression from angry to calm. “Jim,” Gerald starts, placing his arm around his son’s shoulder and walking the two closer to the front of the store. “You wouldn’t know this unless I handed you the keys to this place, but I’ll make it short. I pride myself on the family business here, which my grandfather bestowed upon my father, and then myself. I like our location in town and how close it is to the other family-owned businesses. Tele-Mart may have more customers than we do, sure. But, what they don’t have is this right here: a local family enthusiastic about selling electronics to the locals of Scranton. Your mama and sister at the register, striking up a conversation about customers' families. A salesman who truly cares about the products they're selling.” He sighs, looking out the window to their small town, one that his father loves. “Jim, moving the business wouldn’t change our competition. All we need to do is wait Tele-Mart out; once their customers realize how cold their customer service is, they’ll come crawling back to us. Understand?”

With a sigh, Jim nods. “Understood, Dad.”

He knew his father would respond with an anecdote such as this, so why would Karen push him to ask about moving? What was the point of discussing such with him last night? He knew it was a moot point: that the business wouldn’t move as long as his father had a say in such.

Regardless, it’s not as if Karen were in the shop to discuss this, and he happens to be on the clock.

Rolling his eyes, he walks over toward the vacuum cleaners and begins his day unknotting the cords, ignoring everyone else around him as he hums along to a Darryl Philbin song he has stuck in his head.

 

XXX

 

“What do you mean it’s fractured, Ryan?” Roy announces angrily. With his ear up to the payphone on the corner of Wyoming and Ridge, mere steps toward Halpert's Electronics, his anger grows with every word Ryan provides him.

Fractured, Roy. It means broken. He broke his radius bone near his elbow, out for six to eight weeks. No way he can perform tonight,” Ryan answers loud enough that both Pam and Andy can hear him.

Andy grabs the phone from Roy’s hand, putting it up to his ear. “Ry guy, stay with Dwight until he’s discharged from the hospital. Drive him home if you have to, and then meet us at Roy’s afterward? We’re finding us a replacement right now.”

A quick goodbye from Ryan on the other end of the phone, and the call ends, leaving Roy rolling his eyes. “Do we have to ask him, Andy?” he groans.

Pam folds her arms, as does Andy, to this question. “Roy, he’s the only other drummer in all of Scranton. Trust us; he will say yes, and you’ll be able to perform in the show tonight,” she responds.

“I’d rather forfeit….” Roy mumbles under his breath.

“Relax, Roy,” Andy starts. “Pammy and I wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction. Now let’s go before we’re left without a drummer and actually have to forfeit.”

Roy groans, watching Andy and Pam open the door to the store before entering. Here goes nothing, he thinks to himself.

 

XXX

 

As the bell chimes at the entrance to their store, Jim looks up automatically to see three familiar faces. Three familiar faces that he just so happened to have seen a mere thirty minutes ago at the diner. And only one who truly caught his attention.

He’s confused; He told them earlier to come by the store if they needed new strings or anything in the future. He didn’t think they would need such so soon.

Jim looks over at his father, who motions at him to chat with the group that had just entered the store. Obeying his father’s wishes, he drops the cord of the vacuum cleaner he was wrapping and walks over to them, curious to what brings them in.

Putting on his customer service voice, Jim speaks to the trio. “Welcome to Halpert's. Is there anything I could help you all with?” He slightly smirks toward Pam, whose attempt to contain a chuckle fails. Miserably.

“What’s up Tunes. Roy-Boy here has a big proposition for you,” Andy smirks, elbowing Roy in the chest to speak. “And I mean big.”

Roy walks closer toward Jim, swallowing his pride in a sigh before speaking. “You, uh,” He begins, stopping to look over toward Jim’s family, whose watching their son’s every move. “You still play percussion?”

“Of course he is, Roy,” Pam interrupts quietly, picking up on the room's air and watchful eyes. “Andy and I wouldn’t have brought you here if he didn’t.”

“Yeah, I do,” Jim matches the volume of the trio. “Every day, down in the basement after work. Why do you ask?” His facial expression changes to a confused one. Why would they feel the need to ask that? He thinks to himself.

“We need you, Tunes,” Andy blurts out as Pam smiles while Roy interrupts.

“How about sitting in for Dwight, just for tonight, for the talent show?” Roy quietly asks, with his arms folded and his head staring up toward the ceiling.

Mirroring his folded arms, Jim smiles sarcastically. “Sorry, Roy. I couldn’t understand what you were saying.”

“Roy, there’s no need to be embarrassed!” Pam announces, brushing past him to stand closer to the group and now face-to-face with Jim. “Could you fill in for Dwight tonight for the talent show?”

Jim stares at the group in confusion. Didn’t he just see Dwight with them earlier? There’s no way Dwight would quit their band on such short notice.

If Jim knew anything about Dwight Schrute, he wasn’t a quitter.

“Why? What happened to him?” He asks.

“Asshole,” Andy starts, laughing. “Broke his arm jumping the meters at the diner.”

Unable to contain himself, especially in front of his family, Jim cracks up, triggering Pam’s laughter.

“He broke his arm, jumping a parking meter?” Jim hysterically asks, glancing over toward the register where his father closely watches his actions, desperately wanting him to make a sale. Jim clears his throat before continuing. “Wow, um. So, our clock radios are over here, and we have multiple brands and models for each, so you’re bound to find what you are looking for!” He uses his “customer service” voice, which causes Pam to laugh once again.

The group follows him over to the other side of the store, where they shelve the radios. “So…?” Jim asks.
We wrote the tune; it’s nothing you can’t handle,” Andy chimes in.

Roy rolls his eyes toward the first part of his statement before adding to the conversation. “It’s only for tonight, and if we win, we split $100 cash.”

He scoffs, running his hand over his mouth as he thinks. “I don’t know, fellas,” Jim starts. “It sounds like fun to play in a group again, but I’ve got a lot going on here at the shop. Plus, I promised I’d take my girl out tonight.”

“Figures,” Roy mumbles. “Alright, guys, let’s get going. I got to go call and tell them we have to forfeit.” He walks toward the door with Andy in tow.

Pam, however, doesn’t listen to her boyfriend’s words or take Jim’s answer seriously.

“Jim,” she begins. “As much as I love your family’s shop, I know you would rather be playing the drums than handling the shop.”

Playfully rolling his eyes, Jim hides a smirk while looking back at her, jestfully responding. “And how on God’s Earth would you know that about me, Beesly?”

Pam matches his smile, biting her tongue on the side. “Considering you used to bang sticks on every flat surface of my backyard while I watched growing up and your constant complaining about working at your family store, I believe not many things have changed since then, Halpert.”

“Alright, alright, you got me. I would rather do anything else in the world than be here right now,” Jim whispers in a volume that only she could hear. “It’s just—I don’t know. It’s been a while since I’ve performed in front of a crowd. How do I know I’d be any good at it?”

“Well, I remember when you were in marching band and would play at all of the football games at Dunmore and how the crowd would love when you had a solo. I can still see the jealousy on Dwight’s face when you would get a standing ovation.”

Jim smiles, impressed by how much Pam remembers about his time in marching band, even if they weren’t as close as they could have been in senior high.

“Please, Jim?” Pam pleads. “He surely will not admit it, but I know it will make Roy extremely happy if you played with them and win. I know you boys can.” She smiles, holding her hands close to her chest. “Please, for me?”

Jim can’t help but catch her infectious smile, the one that he would often find himself in awe of when they were younger. The one he would try his hardest to put on her face every day after school.

“I’ll do it, but only for you, Beesly,” he whispers before waving the guys down at the door; they both watch as Roy and Andy walk back toward him in the radio section. “Follow my lead,” he says to her. As they meet up with the two, he offers them a deal: “I’ll do it but under one condition.” Jim looks over at his family, smirking in a way that insinuates to them that he is about to make a sale.

A smirk his family knows well by now.

“You want these ‘magic hands,’ you gotta buy three new sets of guitar strings and this clock radio right here,” he whispers, grabbing a General Electric model they recently got in stock off the shelf.

Jim watches as Andy and Roy look at each other, laughing at the joke they believed he was pulling on the both of them, slowly but surely realizing that he was being serious.

“Alright, you got a deal, Halpert,” Roy smirks, offering his hand to Jim to shake, which he accepts.

“Great! Let’s get you fellas checked out then,” Jim smirks, leading them over toward the register (and to his mother and sister) while winking at Pam.

And, with the warm smile she offers back to him, he quickly realizes that this was the right decision.

Especially for her sake.

 

XXX

Meanwhile, closer to the Providence section outside of the city, Karen is seated in the waiting room of her dentist’s office. She awaits her name to be called, excited to get through her appointment with the new dentist she has heard nothing but good things about from her mother and friends, and off to see her boyfriend later that night.

Jim had promised to take her out to the movies to see whatever film the drive-in was playing and then off to one of the local clubs for dinner and dancing. He told her that this would make up for his lack of attendance at her friend’s Tupperware party the night before, mixed with celebrating their first anniversary, so the sooner she could get through this appointment, the faster she could prepare herself for their night.

She finds herself flipping through the pages of one of the periodicals they offer in the office when she overhears the clerk at the desk handing her file to her new dentist.

She closes her magazine quickly at the sight of the man in scrubs before her, right next to the desk. A tall, more muscular man with short, blonde hair, blue eyes, and the brightest smile she had ever seen stood before her, quickly causing butterflies to flutter in her stomach.

She can’t help but bite the side of her lip, her pupils dilating over the sight of such a man.

“Hi, are you,” he pauses to look at her records. “…Karen Filipelli?” He asks, smiling primarily at her.

“Y-yes,” she stutters, amazed by how he says her name. “Yes, I’m Karen!” She chuckles, standing up quickly and walking toward him.

“Great, I’m Dr. Goor; I’ll be seeing you now,” he responds, opening the door for her to walk back into the office.

Oh yes, you will, she thinks to herself, smiling through the walkway.

 

XXX

“Girl, you keep me on my toes,

and baby, I want you to know.

That you make me want to drive, drive, drive all the way to you.”

Roy sings into his microphone as he and Andy gently strum their guitars, Ryan on his bass, and Jim primarily hits the high hat and the snare drum of his drum set while practicing in Roy’s garage while Jim is on his lunch break from the store. All the while, Pam, singing along to the song, plays darts.

“All the way to you,

All the way to you,

All the way to you, girl!”

Jim leads the song's outro in a prolonged tempo manner; the piece is slower than his liking, assuming that what the rest of the band produced in a writing session is to be a ballad. Sure, he would have liked to follow his heart and take the tempo up: it was what he was feeling and what he, in his opinion, thought the song should be.

However, he was just filling in for the night. Dwight would be coming back to them once his arm healed, and they would continue to play the way they originally planned. And on top of that, who was he to tell the rest of the band that the tempo was too slow when he hadn’t written a lick of the song?

So, Jim bit his tongue and followed Roy's instructions: a slow, methodic rhythm.

“Perfect, man!” Roy announced as his guitar finished weeping. “That was perfect!”

“Very good,” Ryan added. “That took Dwight a week to learn.”

“Dwight?” Andy questioned the rest of the group. “Who’s Dwight? I only know Tunes.”

Laughing, Jim hit his snare and both sets of cymbals quickly before questioning the group. “Just the one song, correct?”

“Yep, just one song,” Roy answered.

“Wonderful!” Jim answered back, hitting his cymbals again once before announcing his departure to return to the store.

Pam turns around, looking over at Jim in amazement as if he had come up with a brilliant idea. Of which he unknowingly did. “That’s it, James Halpert! The Wonders! That could be the band’s name!”

“As in, ‘I wonder what happened to their other drummer’?” Andy jests, chuckling at the corny joke he just made. “In all seriousness, though: I, for one, like the name.”

“As do I,” Ryan seconds. “It’s the best name we’ve come up with so far.”

Roy, however, folds his arms. “I’m not so sure it fits us, though. I really like the Roy-als.”

Pam interjects, “Well, how about we take a vote? All in favor of ‘The Wonders,’?” She quickly raises her hand, as do Andy, Roy, and Jim.

Rolling his eyes, Roy unfolds his arms. “Alright, fine. We’ll go with The Wonders.”

A cheer spreads throughout the room, which includes Andy running over to Roy and embracing him in a very undesired hug on his end.

Jim, however, looks over at Pam with a smirk, offering her an air high five and a “Nice job, Beesly,” before saying his goodbyes and leaving to return to work.

I guess I’m doing this; he says with a smile as he gets into his Jaguar. Alright, Wonders. Let’s win this talent show!

 

XXX

 

“We’re going to cream those ladies,” Jim states, passing his girlfriend a drink as he sits down with a plate of food provided by Lackawanna College for their senior class and the talent show performers. Jim is talking about the performers currently on stage, who happen to be an all-girl folk group, performing a song with two guitarists, a singer, and a bass violin. No audience member happens to be paying proper attention to the performers, going as far as throwing paper airplanes at their heads and mocking them from their seats.

Jim’s statement must be correct if this is the audience’s reaction.

“Jim, this is hardly a date. How long is this going to last? I thought we would be going to the club for dinner,” Karen angrily asks, disappointed that the plans Jim promised to her earlier this morning would be forgotten about.

“I-I’m not too sure, Karen; I’m not sure how long this will take,” Jim responds, unsure honestly how long this would be. He isn’t entirely sure when they will be performing since Roy was the one who had all of the information.

“Jim!” he heard in the distance, a voice he knows all too well at this point. Pam rushes toward him, calling his name again. “Jim, I’ve been looking everywhere for you! You got to set up; the other guys already have their instruments.” Pam sits down next to him, looking worried.

He knows that look on her face; he’s seen it plenty of times before, from the multitude of years they have known each other. Pam had, and has, a tendency to worry too much about the tiniest things. Between tests in grade school or junior high that she was more than prepared for, conversations about hearing her father say crude things about her mother, and even her fears of having her first date and first kiss, she found herself a nervous wreck.

But fortunately, she had Jim there to talk her down from her nerves.

Even now.

“Hey,” he states, placing his left hand on her right shoulder. “Everything will be okay; you have no reason to worry. I’ll go back there now and set up, okay! We’ll be fine, I promise.” He runs his hand from her shoulder, down her arm, and back up to her shoulder, to help alleviate her stress.

He watches as she takes a deep breath before responding to him. “Thanks, I needed that.”

“Where are they?” Jim asks, handing Karen all his food from his hands and standing up.

“Um, straight back, through that door right by the stage,” she responds, pointing toward the direction he needs to go in.

“Great,” he says. “Oh, Karen, this is Pam. Pam, this is Karen. Gotta go!” He states, rushing off toward the stage.

“Hi,” Karen offers her, smiling awkwardly as she sizes Pam up and down. Versus the 50’s-esque blue dress, heels, and earrings she chose to wear tonight, Pam is dressed in a “beatnik” styled outfit than she. She dons a black, long-sleeved shirt, black pants, a pair of flats, and a black headband. Pam’s smile did seem genuine, though, so that’s a plus?

It’s still awkward to her that Jim randomly introduces them after she watches him run his hand up and down her arm. That bothered her, so of course, she would act cold to this girl. That is her boyfriend. “So, how do you know the band?” Karen asks.

“Oh, I’m dating Roy, the lead singer!” She excitingly announces. “We’ve been together for almost three years now.”

Karen perks up, thrilled to know that this girl is taken and wouldn’t have eyes for her boyfriend. “Congratulations! Tonight’s Jim and I’s first anniversary. Do you happen to know how long this is going to be?”

Happy but slightly confused, Pam responds. “Um, I’m not too sure. I’ve never been to one of these before.”

“Okay,” Karen answers back, cold again.

Pam stands up after a few moments, picking up on the woman’s cold responses. “Well, it was nice to meet you!”

“You too,” Karen sharply responds, folding her arms and crossing her legs in her seat.

 

XXX

 

After two more performances, the group walks onto the stage to set up while the announcer tells horrible jokes between the acts. Jim takes mere seconds to sit in his chair while Andy, Roy, and Ryan set up their microphones and tune their guitars.

And finally, they are ready.

“This next group,” the announcer states, “Are local and call Scranton home. Give it up for….” He pauses, squinting at the card to read it. “The… Dunders!”

Roy, rolling his eyes, gets on the microphone and corrects the man. “That’s the Wonders,” he states as Jim is about to cue them in.

Staring at the crowd, Jim gains a sense of confidence, which he did not previously have while performing in the senior high band. He hears the song in his head but at a faster pace than he practiced this afternoon on his lunch break. He hears cheers in his head, pictures the audience dancing… and with that, he runs with it.

“One, two, three, four!” he yells, picking up the tempo and beginning to play his drums.

Roy automatically picks up on Jim’s cue, walking over to him and yelling over the cymbals: “That’s too fast, Jim! Slow it down; it’s slow!”

“Come on, Roy! Come on!” Andy yells back over to him, insinuating that his cue will be starting soon.

“Jim, slow down! Slow it down!” Roy yells at him again as his cue to start singing begins.

Roy walks back over to the microphone and begins to sing as the rest of the band plays:

I love you a lot,

please give me a shot.”

Pam, who is sitting in the front row of the audience, is in shock. Roy has always played this song for her at a slow tempo, slow pitch. Never had she heard it this fast.

But yet, she likes it. It fits with the words well.

“'Cause when you look me up and down like that,

you make me want to drop my top and,

Drive, drive, drive all the way to you, you, you.

Roll my windows down and smile, smile, smile down the avenue.

Girl, you keep me on my toes,

and baby, I want you to know.

That you make me want to drive, drive, drive all the way to you.”

Roy sings, confusion and embarrassment spread across his face in an obvious fashion. Andy quickly picks up on the tempo change, going along with it how Jim is. Ryan tries his hardest to speed up his bass playing, learning it as he goes.

Andy ad-libs some harmonies along with Roy, which fit in very nicely.

Some college seniors start to stand up and walk toward the front of the stage to dance.

Jim closes his eyes and envisions the thought he had in his head when he cued the band in. The song fits his vision well, and he continues to play.

“You’ve got me bad,

Want what you have.

‘Cause when you appear in my dreams, girl

I want to rush to my car and,

Drive, drive, drive all the way to you, you, you.

Roll my windows down and smile, smile, smile down the avenue.

Girl, you keep me on my toes,

and baby, I want you to know.

That you make me want to drive, drive, drive all the way to you.”

More and more audience members stand up, choosing to come dance along to the song.

Being one of them, Pam sings along to their music as well up by the front, winking up at her boyfriend.

Roy, who sees this action, offers her a smirk while the song proceeds.

Meanwhile, farther back in the audience, Karen has her attention focused on her compact mirror, adding additional pressed powder under her eyes due to the heat of the college’s gymnasium. Her focus was found there versus the band’s performance.

As the song reaches its’ bridge, Andy walks his way over toward Jim, who is playing his heart out. “Hey, I have no idea what we’re doing, but it works!” he yells, as Jim nods his head to him in agreement. “You’re a lucky man, Tunes!”

“If you just give me a chance, pretty lady

You’d see I’d be more than a pretty face, baby.

You got me weak in the knees,

Got my heart racing fast.

Just give me all your love,

And I know our love with last.”

As Jim’s drum solo begins, he opens his eyes to see his vision, now a reality. With a faster tempo to the song, the audience has a ball. No person in the audience is sitting; they are all on their feet, with many of them dancing up by the stage, including the announcer and the talent show judges who are off to the side.

He looks over at Pam, who is now smiling up at him, dancing along. He can’t help but mirror her smile for the second or third time today while finishing the song.

“You’ll make me drop my top and,

Drive, drive, drive all the way to you, you, you.

Roll my windows down and smile, smile, smile down the avenue.

Girl, you keep me on my toes,

and baby, I want you to know.

That you make me want to drive, drive, drive all the way to you.

All the way to you,

All the way to you,

All the way to you, girl!”

They conclude the song with the audience cheering massively for them and the announcer taking over the microphone. “Oh my goodness, that was amazing!” he yells.

A visibly annoyed Roy walks over toward Jim, yelling over the announcer. “That was way too fast, man. It’s a ballad!”

Andy quickly comes to Jim’s defense, however. “No, Tunes, that was great! Roy, that was great!”

“Well, judges, do we have a winner?” The announcer asks, with the judges automatically pointing toward the band, having their side conversation about the tempo on stage. “That’s wicked! The Dunders are your champions!!” He yells as Jim and Andy stand to offer the audience a bow, while Roy stands with his arms on his hips, and Ryan accepts the band’s trophy.

A gentleman in a suit walks up to the band on stage out of nowhere, bringing them around to chat. “That was great, fellas! Come over here; I want to talk to you all! Have you ever been to Cugino’s?”

“The spaghetti place down off of Blakely Street?” Andy asks, pointing behind him in the restaurant's direction from the college.

“Yeah, I gotta have you boys perform there; I just gotta have you! I’ll pay you $100 next weekend to perform there, what do you say?” The man, presumably the owner of Cugino’s, asks.

“I’m in, are you?” Ryan asks the rest of the group.

Sighing yet smirking, Roy responds. “We’re in; we’ll play for you.”

“Oh, that’s fantastic, fellas! See me tomorrow, and we’ll talk hours, got it?” The man responds.

Jim, taking in the sights around him, can’t help but smile. Thanks to him, The Wonders (Or… Dunders?) won the talent show and are being offered a paying gig in-town.

I don’t think this will be a one-time thing anymore, he thinks to himself.

 

And boy, would he be correct.

End Notes:

I, uh, wrote the song performed at the talent show that will become their big hit...

 

I hope you don't hate it! <3 

This story archived at http://mtt.just-once.net/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=6065