June 7th, 2006.
Jim Halpert sat on his bed, staring at his half-empty suitcase. He was due to leave for Australia in mere hours, just in time to avoid being in the same city, state, hell, even the same country as the love of his life, who was about to marry another man. He wasn’t angry anymore, just resigned to his fate. He couldn’t blame Pam for the most part, she couldn’t help the way she felt. He just wished she could see how much better he was for her; how much better they’d be together.
He couldn’t help the self-pity, but Jim also knew that he’d taken steps to make sure that once he was back from Australia, he wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of not being able to have her any longer. His departure from Scranton was set; he was clear on what he needed to do to have some sort of future without her.
As Jim got up to continue packing, what he wasn’t clear on was the half-open door at the top of his wardrobe that he’d left open five minutes before and tripping on another half-packed bag, he tripped straight into the corner of the door, just at the right height to give him a nasty bump on the head. The shock knocked him backwards but at least he fell onto to his bed, where he was now passed out cold.
The next thing he heard was his name.
Jim opened his eyes to see his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Frobisher, standing over him with a kindly smile.
“What are you doing here?”
“Mainly, I’m a manifestation of your subconscious, James, in a form that is entirely non-threatening to you. At least that’s what your brain will tell you. But really, I’m here to provide you with a Christmas message of hope.” It was true, Mrs. Frobisher had been one of Jim’s favourite teachers as a boy. He was really happy to see her, even if it was under these weird circumstances. He wasn’t sure where she was these days. She would have been middle aged when he was her teacher and twenty years later, he wasn’t even sure if she’d retired by now or was even still alive. Maybe if she was coming to him in a vision, she had passed away. He tried not to think about that, especially as she seemed to be very real as she stood next to him talking.
“But Mrs. F, it’s June.”
“It’ll all make sense momentarily. Trust me, James.” At which point, Mrs. Frobisher clicked her fingers.
Jim blinked, finding himself no longer in his room, but staring at a couple of body-shaped lumps hidden under a duvet, in a cosy bedroom he couldn’t recognize, although something about it seemed strangely familiar to him. It was dark outside and through the window, there had been plenty of snow overnight. Yet, the sky had cleared, and the moonlight provided a diffused light into the room, along with the reflection of the snow. He could see some detail of the room and its contents, but from the end of the bed, he couldn’t tell who they were. The lumps moved slightly and one, that sounded more female, sighed in their sleep. Jim looked at his teacher uncomfortably. This felt rather intimate and almost a bit inappropriate.
“Ma’am” he whispered, “I don’t want to sound rude, but this is weird.”
“It’s OK Jim. They can’t see us. You’re here… but you’re also not exactly here. You’re going to stay for a few minutes, but I’m just going to leave for a little while. Probably not the moment to be sharing with your third-grade teacher.” Mrs. Frobisher grinned at him before stepping back. As Jim turned around to see where she’d gone, she had indeed disappeared.
Jim stood awkwardly at the end of the bed. There were no obvious clues to whose room this was. A few clothes, both men’s and women’s, had been thrown over a chair by a dressing table. It was a slightly cluttered, like the people who lived there were maybe a little untidy. Jim thought that some of the items around the room looked like some of his things, but other things were definitely not his.
Nothing happened for a few moments.
And then he had the shock of his life.
The top of the duvet pulled down slightly as the larger lump moved and then he saw… himself? He saw Alternate Jim pull his arm across the other lump to tug them closer to him. Alternate Jim leaned into the lump and kissed the top of its head (probably a “her”, assumed Jim.) The other lump sighed again, quite contentedly this time (yep, definitely female, thought Jim), and started to turn back towards Alternate Jim.
Well, this is a positive move.
He saw a large mop of curly hair move at the top of the duvet, before turning enough that he could make out a face in the dim light.
He couldn’t help but gasp out loud.
There was Pam, the reason he was to leave for Australia in the morning, sleeping right by his side. She was still half asleep, but awake enough to have a dreamy smile on her face as she turned to face Alternate Jim, who looked equally pleased.
“Hi” whispered Alternate Jim to Pam.
“Hey” Pam answered toward Alternate Jim, before reaching up from the warmth of the duvet to cup Alternate Jim’s cheek and lean across to kiss him. A quick kiss, before she was pulling back just enough to gaze into his eyes. “Merry Christmas Eve-Eve, Halpert”.
“Merry Christmas Eve-Eve, Beesly.”
“What time is it?"
“Still early. A few hours ‘til we need to get up.”
“Good,” Pam, now much more awake, smiled at Alternate Jim very suggestively. Jim had seen glimpses of that expression before, in moments when he thought she might reciprocate his feelings. They’d certainly skirted a line that could be considered flirting at times. This look was on another level, though, as if she wanted to eat him alive.
Alternate Jim thought it was suggestive, that’s for sure. He kissed her, but much more encompassing this time, wrapping his arms around her, gently moving over her. He was doing something that Jim couldn’t see from where he was standing, but made her moan in a way that made the hairs on the back of his neck stick up.
Jim watched as his alter-ego captured her lips in his again, but with more passion this time. His arms began to slide around her waist, to pull her closer to him.
Jim watched in pure shock, yet amazement at the same time. He surely thought that he lost his chance at knowing how her lips felt against his after he put his heart on the line a month ago. But this Alternate Jim continued to kiss her as if she had accepted his advances, like Roy was no longer a factor in her life.
While Jim watched, they deepened their kiss, and her eyes fluttered open. Jim found himself fixated on her gaze: the soft hazels that haunted his dreams for years, fixated on the man in front of her.
She tugged on the hem of his shirt, an old, University of Scranton tee, and whispered something Jim found inaudible to this Alternate Jim. Pam giggled as it got stuck around his neck before he managed to reach up and tug it off with one hand, before flipping them to pull her on top of him so he could do the same with what turned out, Jim noted, to be her tank top. His biggest fantasy was being played out right in front of him, and all he could do is sit and watch as Alternate Jim elicited the breathiest of sighs from Pam as his hands massaged her breasts.
Jim wanted so badly for his own hands to have been the ones touching her soft, porcelain skin. How he wanted to push this other Jim out of the way and live out this dream that he has had for years.
He fixated on her back, as she arched it with every touch. Alternate Jim placed his hand on the swell of her back, just as Jim imagined how he would have placed his hand on her back if he was in this other Jim's place. He kissed down her neck, while his hands roamed, and as Jim began to watch them truly become intimate.
Other articles of clothing ended up plummeting into the newly formed pile they began to collect, and somehow between the elongated sounds of ruffled sheets and mews from the both of them, Jim could see the two begin to slowly make love.
Jim watched every movement, of how they were so rhythmically in-tune with each other. He had imagined so many times of how it would feel to finally have Pam in his own bed, and please her the way she deserved to be pleased; the fact that they were having sex, right there and then, before Jim's eyes? He wasn’t a boy scout. He’d watched some porn over the years, most much more graphic that what he was witnessing at this moment, mostly blocked under the bed clothes. He’d even imagined doing things with Pam that were more graphic than this, but it was the intimacy of how they were having sex that was blowing his mind. It wasn’t even so much that he was sexually aroused by what he was watching; he actually wasn’t so much, maybe because he was watching himself like it was real life, which was very different to first person fantasies he’d had so many times about screwing Pam seven ways to Sunday while he jerked off. There was going to be, somewhere down the road, a point in time where he could have sex with Pam, and it truly felt like ecstasy.
This was all he could think about while they sped their rhythm up, the two of their breathy moans filled up the air before both found their release mere moments later. Together, as if it was meant to be that way. In the afterglow, the two formed into a cuddle underneath their blankets, while Alternate Jim peppered kisses onto Pam’s forehead while the two slowly drifted back into slumber.
Jim remained standing at the end of the bed, frozen in rapt attention at what he’d just witnessed. It had all been beautiful and perfect, basically your average, NC-17 Rom-Com happy ending. He was speechless: truly enamoured over what he witnessed before him mere minutes ago. Pam, sometime in the future, was his. He could not believe it.
While stood frozen still, Mrs. Frobisher reappeared, stood next to him on his right.
“Hello James, Dear,” She announced.
“Oh, you’re back!” Jim exclaimed.
“Yes, James. I’m your third-grade teacher, watching that with you would have been quite uncomfortable for both of us” she chuckled.
“Yeah, I guess. What did I just see? I mean, I know what I saw, but that was some sort of hallucination, right? That would never actually happen?”
“I think you know what that was, James. Your future.”
“You mean this wasn’t just some subconscious dream I’ve had?”
“James, I know it’s weird that I’ve taken you to a place where you’ve just watched yourself make love to this girl, the one you’re leaving Scranton to get away from. But I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be OK. You’re going to have a weird year, you’re probably going to break someone else’s heart in the process, but in the end that person is going to meet her own soul mate. She’ll think it’s you for a while, but it really isn’t. I want you to trust me that this is all going to work out. You and Pam are going to end up together, just not right away. And yes, you are going to be very, very happy, James. You were always a lovely boy, one of my favourites. You’re going to get the life you deserve, and so is she. Pam is in love with you, James, even if she isn’t sure of it yet. She isn’t going to marry Roy Anderson. In fact, she’s already called off the wedding.”
“Oh My God. I need to go find her.”
“It doesn’t work like that, dear.”
Jim stood with his mouth slightly agape at these revelations. How would Mrs. Frobisher know any of this?
“I know you’re confused. When you wake up in a moment, you’re going to have quite the headache. Mark will find you, get you to ER where it’ll turn out you have moderate concussion, and you’ll forget all of this. You also won’t even make it to Australia. But within these dark moments the next few weeks, something will compel you to carry on. Somewhere in your subconscious, this experience will help you through. At some point in the future, you’ll have a moment of clarity at an important instant. You won’t know exactly why but you’ll make the right decision. Then one day - the twenty-third of December, a couple of years’ time, to be exact; you’ll wake up and get the greatest sense of déjà-vu.”
“But will I see you again?”
“Yes James, you’ll see me again. Just not quite yet.”
Sure enough, Mark found Jim a few minutes later, just coming to, with a large knot on his head, and terrible headache. Frantic, Mark called 9-1-1, and Jim was rushed to the ER. As Mrs. Frobisher had predicted, he forgot what he’d just experienced as soon as he opened his eyes. By the time he reached the hospital, all memory of what had happened had gone. He was diagnosed with a concussion, which left him unable to make it to Australia. However, his transfer was fast-tracked by a sympathetic Jan. Then, just as Mrs. Frobisher had said, when he was feeling particularly down in those early, lonely weeks when he wallowed in misery over her rejection, he had that feeling of hope she’d described. Without ever knowing quite why.
Weeks and months passed. Jim returned to Scranton after the Stamford branch closed. He made the almighty mistake of rejecting Pam on his first day back and started to date Karen. Somehow though, Jim would occasionally have moments of truth that he couldn’t put his finger on. Despite every conscious attempt to try and move on, he couldn’t truly do it.
By the time the day of his interview came and the yoghurt lid dropped into his lap, Jim knew it wouldn’t take much to change everything. And it didn’t. He had that moment of clarity just as his former teacher said he would. And he still didn’t remember a thing about the day he bumped his head.
December 23rd, 2008.
A calm silence filled the Beesly-Halpert home in the early hours of this late December morning. The two occupants of the home were snuggled under the covers, oblivious to the foot of snow that had fallen overnight. The sky had cleared to let the moon shine through the crack in the curtains.
Jim, still mostly asleep, flung his arm over Pam. A little time later, slightly more awake, he pulled her closer and kissed her on the head. She turned over to face him and at that point, as they began to kiss more deeply, Jim had an incredibly déjà vu moment, like somehow, he’d lived this before.
Some hours later, daylight filtered through the same gap in the curtains. Pam leant over her fiancé, nibbled a little on his earlobe and whispered in his ear.
“It’s really quiet.”
“Like too quiet. Like when there’s no traffic quiet.”
“I think it snowed. Like a lot.”
And sure enough, curiosity getting the better of her, she untangled herself from the warm and cosy confines of her fiancé and bravely poked her head through the curtains.
“Oh My God.”
“There is a lot of snow. Like a lot.” Jim, now awake, sat up in bed and grabbed his t-shirt off the floor that had been divested in their lovemaking earlier. He joined her to peer out of the window. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder.
“What day is it today?”
“It’s a snow day!”
After a morning of shovelling snow, making snow angels and a few snowballs at each other, Jim and Pam were putting up a few final Christmas lights in their new living room they’d initially missed as they’d unpacked more boxes from their move.
“Can you go up a bit?”
“Another six inches.”
“Are you sure that’s going to fit?”
Pam smirked and went to open her mouth, Jim realising, to his horror, what was coming next.
“You know what I meant. Don’t say it, Beesly.”
“I’m warning you.”
“That’s it! You’ve been warned, Beesly,” he announced, which led to Jim dropping the string of lights he’d been trying to pin up for the last five minutes. He grabbed his giggling fiancée around the waist and gently tackled her to the ground, flipping her at the last moment so she’d end up laying on top of him when they ended up sprawled on the floor. Their laughing soon stopped and turned into matching gazes of adoration yet again. Jim tucked a lock of hair behind Pam’s ear and stroked her cheek; she put her hands on his chest and lowered herself down to kiss him gently.
“Yeah…” Jim felt his jeans just start to get a little tighter at the look Pam was giving him again.
“I think we should go out.” Well, that was unexpected.
“Really, again, in this weather, Beesly? We’ve been out shovelling all morning. It’s freezing out there. We’ve only just thawed out. C’mon Baby, we can go back to bed for the afternoon…”
“Don’t you want to go for a romantic stroll in the snow though? It’s all crisp and clean.” Pam made big eyes and a hopeful face. “We could that and then put the fire on when we get home, make a pillow fort…”
“Don’t look at me like that.”
“Like what, Jim?”
“Like all puppy dog face. You know I can’t resist that.”
“But it would really be nice to go for a walk to the coffee shop and get proper hot chocolates.” The puppy dog face continued. The problem for Jim was that whatever face she was pulling; he was putty in her hands.
They wandered down to the local coffee shop, about a ten-minute walk from their home, when it wasn’t a foot deep with snow, a little longer on this day.
As they walked in, bickering over which shots they wanted for their drinks, Jim noticed an elderly lady sitting in a booth in the corner of the shop with a big hot chocolate covered in whipped cream and marshmallows. He was both shocked and delighted to see it was his former 3rd grade teacher, alive and well.
“Hello James, dear! How are you?” It was weird. He knew he hadn’t seen her in decades, and yet, it didn’t seem that long ago that’d they’d spoken.
“I’m good thanks. This is-“
“-Pam, yes dear, I know. Lovely to meet you dear.” She smiled at Pam and then winked at Jim.
Jim was flabbergasted, and yet, somehow, he wasn’t, but he couldn’t work out why…