Alternate Timelines

The Red Door [Chapter 4]

Prologue     l      Chapter 1     l      Chapter 2     l      Chapter 3


FFFFFFRRRRRPPPPP! The counting machine spits out crisp twenty dollar bills as if it were shuffling a deck of cards. Samantha takes an elastic rubber band and double twists it around the shiny green currency before handing it to a elderly woman who is still rummaging through her purse, and not paying any attention.

“You’re all set, Mrs. Landingham. Will there be anything else?”

“Hmm?” She stops long enough to adjust her glasses, before noticing the outstretched bundle. She quickly snatches it, burying it past the pills she forgot to take this morning, her spare lipstick, and a cracked vanity mirror, among other trinkets. “No, that’s all. Thank you, dear.”

As Mrs. Landingham exits, Samantha tidies up her area of any loose receipts, and places a Please see next available teller sign by the card reader machine and pen on a chain. She makes her way from behind the counter towards an office in the back right corner of the building. In it sits James, typing away at his computer, sharply dressed in a sky blue polo with navy blue tie, and a brown sports jacket draped over his chair. She knocks on the open door three times.

“I’m going for lunch.” She takes a seat directly in front of him. “You want to join me? They say it’s supposed to start snowing later.”

“Uh,” James never once looks away from the screen, “I got a few more accounts to take care of. Raincheck?” When she doesn’t answer, he fixates his eyes upon her pout. “Come on Sam, raincheck.”

“This is like your tenth one.” She taps her fingers on his desk, and turns his Investment Advisor name plate over.

“More like fourth.” He reaches over and attempts to fix the plate, smiling at her as they fight over its position on the desk.

You’ve been keeping track?” She eventually gives up and sits back in her chair, arms crossed.

“Clearly someone has to if you think I’ve already stood you up ten times.” He fixes his tie.

“Ugh. Whatever.” She sighs, gets up, and stops short at the door. Turning around, her eyes never leave his gaze. “Mr. Manning, you’ve successfully wasted another lunch break.”

“What can I say, Ms. Chow?” He looks at a pile of paperwork on his desk. “I’m simply unreliable.”

She leaves. James leans back in his chair. His monitor goes dark. His reflection now shares the space with a screensaver of the bank’s logo bouncing around the dusty abyss. His phone rings, muffled from inside a drawer nearby. He ignores it, moving his mouse and bringing up the spreadsheet he was working on earlier. His reflection disappears in multitude of rows and columns, now populated with various dollar amounts. The phone stops ringing. After a few seconds, a small ping escapes the wooden structure. James opens the top left drawer, and pulls out his phone.

It’s a text from Jack that reads: Last call for a lost friend. Red Door reunion at seven.

After reading it, James lets the phone kind of rest in his palm, before tossing it back in the drawer. He strains his neck to see what’s going on outside. Samantha, now wearing a cream colored coat over her floral pattern dress, is getting ready to head out, and makes small talk with a customer who just walked in. James goes back to working on his account.

[Chapter 5]