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Story Notes:

As Your Shoulders Turn On You is an album by the band The Cast Before the Break about the thoughts of a man in a coma after a tragic car accident.  While I won't be using that concept as a basis for this story, I'll be using the musical themes and some lyrical content as inspiration.

There will be 8 chapters - a Prologue, an Epilogue, and one chapter for each song on the album.  

I'd recommend listening to the corresponding song for each album chapter.  You can listen to the album here (or on spotify, google play music, etc).  https://youtu.be/tfv3M_VW4RE?list=PLoBeLh1q4ixF2ekO1uEosGAmGG8d9Vxsp

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.


Author's Chapter 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.

The post-Casino Night story has been told 10000 times, but we need to get our characters where they need to be for the story to really kick into gear.  

Jim's mom makes a surprising phone call to Pam, setting things in motion. 


June 9, 2006

Pam glanced up from her monitor as Ryan began settling into his new desk.  Michael had just announced that he would be hired on as a full time employee to fill the opening left by him.  

Jim had called in sick on Friday and when Pam had finally sorted out how she felt and what she had wanted to say to him on Monday morning, his things were gone and she was greeted with a Post-it note on her desk.  Her last memory would be of him walking away from the dimly lit office, and now the last thing he said to her was staring at her on a 3”x3” piece of yellow paper.

I’m sorry.  I hope you find all of the happiness you could ever wish for.  I’ll always love you.


That note was the latest addition to her box of things that reminded her of Jim.  She had begun packing them 3 weeks ago to the day, the same day that she told Roy they wouldn’t be getting married.  Surely Jim had heard by now that the wedding was cancelled - there’s no way that Michael and Kelly would have been able to keep that quiet - but Pam hadn’t been able to bring herself to talk to him yet with the stress of moving and leaving a decade long relationship.  

The ringing phone snapped Pam out of her daydream.

“Dunder-Mifflin, this is Pam.”

“Hi Pam, this is Betsy Halpert... Jim’s Mother.”

“Oh wow.”

Pam took a moment to collect her thoughts.  She had thought of the possibility of Jim calling, but never considered what she might say to his mother.  Did she know about what had happened?  “Uh Hi!  It’s great to finally talk to you”

“How are you doing sweetheart?  I heard about the wedding.”

How did she know?  Jim must know, and Jim must have told her.

“I’m… fine.  Thank You for asking.”

“Listen, Pam.  I’ll get to the point.  I know what happened between the two of you a few weeks ago -”

“Mrs. Halpert -”

“Wait Pam, let me finish. And call me Betsy. I understand why you haven’t reached out to Jim.  I know the last few weeks must have been difficult.  I can’t make you fall in love with him, but I’m asking you as a mother to please call my son.  He really needs his best friend right now.”

Betsy Halpert sounded desperate.  This didn’t sound like a mother trying to mend her son’s broken heart, something else was going on here.

“Mrs, uh Betsy, is Jim ok?”

“Just.  Please call him, Pam.  Please.”

The line went dead as Betsy hung up.

Pam went home that night and opened her box of Jim mementos for the first time since moving.  Laying on top, next to the Post-it note, was a picture of them at a Poker table.  She was beaming brighter than she had ever seen herself in any picture, and Jim stared back at her with a sly smile.  Pam pulled the picture out of the box and set it next to her nightstand, and picked up the phone.


Sitting on the couch with nothing in particular on television, Jim stared at the ceiling and ran his hands through his hair, trying to wrap his brain around his current situation.  The last 48 hours were almost incomprehensible - he was 27 years old… why him?  Why now?  

The buzz of his cell phone forced Jim’s eyes down toward the table in front of him.  He considered letting it go to voicemail, but it was probably his mother calling again to check up on him.  


“Um, hey!”

Jim was stunned.  He hadn’t heard her voice since May 11 at 11:17 PM.  Not that he was keeping track.  After a few seconds of silence, trying to comprehend what was happening, her voice brought him back to reality”

“Jim?  Are you there?”

“Oh my god… Hi Pam.”

After getting through the initial awkward tension, they fell right back into the chemistry they’d always had with one another.  They talked for hours - they’d only been apart for a month but it to him it felt much longer.  When you try to forget somebody that you can’t help but think about every single day, it has a funny way of stretching out time.

“How have we not talked about how you answered the phone?  10 seconds of stunned silence and ‘oh my god!’ - is that how you’re picking up all the ladies in Stamford, Halpert?”

Jim laughed.  He had laughed a lot in the last few hours, his first genuine laughs in days.  This felt… good. A long phone call reconnecting with his best friend was exactly what he needed.  But he had to bring it up. They couldn’t avoid May 11 forever.

“Well, the approach I was taking in Scranton wasn’t getting the results I was looking for so... thought I’d try something new.”

Now it was Pam’s turn to sit in silence.


Jim’s words hit Pam like a ton of bricks.  She knew this would come up, but she was hoping it wouldn’t be until they were face to face.  There was no hiding tonight. She gathered her thoughts and went for it.

“Jim, I’m... I’m sorry.  I made a mistake. So many mistakes.  You were right, I just needed some time to figure out what I was doing.  I came in Monday after Casino Night with this big speech ready for you and you were just... Gone.  I couldn’t believe it. Can you just plea-”


“...please give me...”

“Pam!  What do you mean I was right?”

“...I think I want to be more than that, too.”

And then silence.  It was exactly as she’d feared - Jim had moved on.  She blew it. She missed her once chance.



“Pam, I…”

“Jim, I, I understand if -”

“Pam -”

“I just, I didn’t know what to -”

“PAM!  I’m going to be in Scranton tomorrow to visit my parents.  Are you free for dinner?


“Alright... then it’s a date.”

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