Barry Allen anxiously checked the time on his watch. He knew his girlfriend was going to give him another disappointed look the minute he rushed to meet her. This was an important day and he didn't want to miss it. He bit his lip, waiting for the right moment to ask his supervisor about leaving early.
This was Barry's first real job out of college. He didn't dream his life would be quite like this but his parents wanted him to be serious and not waste it away dreaming about frivolous things. It got better for him the more he lived this kind of life but he secretly wished he would have more control of his decisions.
His girlfriend of two years, Olivia Caseman, made it easy for him every time he slacked out. He didn't ask her to but she felt it was her duty to save him from a tongue lashing both of their parents would no doubt give them. Barry wondered why she put up with him. He does love her, that isn't a question; there were moments where he had thoughts of someone else. Would they be happier if both of them were with other people? Maybe she deserved better. Maybe he deserved better. She did get a little bit on his case than usual lately.
He may never know the answers, at least not right now. Barry's eyes perked up as his supervisor finally emerged from his office. Barry caught up with him, trying not to get on his bad side.
"Hey, um, hey Travis. Got a sec?" Barry asked, trying to keep himself from going out of breath to keep up.
"What is it Allen?"
"Is there any chance today I may go home early? I have something important to get to later on and—"
Travis turned around and almost crashed his body into Barry's, smirking at Barry as he caught himself.
"Did you finish your assignments?"
"No, not yet, but I will. A-as soon as I can. Can I still go home early? I don't want to miss my—"
"Allen, save it. My ass is on the line if you don't have those assignments done by today. Then you can go. Take overtime if you need to."
"Oh man Travis, today is really the day I should not be la—"
His bold blue eyes narrowed and Barry stopped talking instantly. He can really be intimidating. It wasn't right, Travis used to be a nice person, until he got promoted. Barry thought he might have his back this time. Now he barely let him finish a sentence.
"Go complete them. I don't want to present empty work, again. Whatever you are trying to get to, it can wait. Or do you wanna keep your job Allen?"
Barry kept his mouth closed, almost too tightly. His words were terse and strangled. "I do. It'll be done."
"By tonight Allen." He pointed his manila folder in his direction before backing up the other direction. "Tonight. Don't mess this up again."
Barry sighed heavily, running his fingers through his hair. He scrambled to work this morning, barely having time to shower and get changed. Everything was always starting too early for him.
It was a miracle nobody was around, he could easily leave and no one would know. But he knew as soon as he returned back Travis would have him by the neck. There was no way he was going to get out this one now. He instead excused himself silently to the break room to make a call. He felt anxious as it rang then finally relieved when the other end picked up.
"Hey, Liv, babe, are you there?" Barry's panicked voice asked.
"Barry, where are you? You are coming tonight, right?"
"Yeah I am, the thing is...I can't leave early. I'm practically the only one here and Travis has me covering his ass again. I am so tired of his shit. I have to stay here and get it done."
She sighed heavily on her end. "Does that mean no, again?"
He shook his head even if she couldn't see him. "It means I'm trying. I did not want this to happen. You believe me, right?"
"We made reservations! I hate canceling. God Barry! Can't you just tell him it's an emergency? He'll understand."
"No he won't even let me get in a word. I tried. Can I call when I know something? I feel like I may be here a while."
"Out of all the days you could be late; it had to be this one. Whatever. Alright, call. You're acting like it's so hard to just leave that place. You hate it anyway. My dad offered to help you get a job working for him. You don't have to do this to yourself Barry."
Barry bit his lip and tensed his jaw muscles. She was doing it again. Half of him wanted to hang up and not do this again. There was no way he was going to win this one. He'd have to just let her have it. Let her think she's taken care of everything. This was a huge problem for them as a couple.
"Olivia, don't do this to me. We've already talked about this; I want to do this alone. Let me make my own decisions for once."
"Your own decisions?! Ha! Barry, you know you need me most of the time. I'm just starting a truth. And it's not just you missing important things. We have a lot to talk about regarding us. I mean...oh god, please I don't want to feel this way."
Ever the doormat forgiving type, he relented and let her have the upper hand. It was a sad display how every time she's argued to bail him with an easy out, she pulled a guilt trip over his self esteem. She could be really unreasonable sometimes. He wondered why he was the one who put up with her irrational behavior.
"Then don't, look—I said I would try to be there and no, I won't take help from your dad. I could already feel the shame enough, thank you."
"Barry don't be like this, not today. We love each other. We can make this work."
He shook his head; she played this game before, but was it worth today? Was there enough good in her to continue this relationship? He fumbled with the answer. He always had a straight response to most things in life. Olivia and he were on the rocks, no doubt about it, but in his heart he wanted to make things right. He felt like now was not the time to be laughing and mocking each other. He understood her being upset, even disappointed, but jeering? This was the awful side of his girlfriend he made sure to avoid.
"OK...I don't know...I'll see what I can do, I have to get all this work done or I'm finished. Can you at least understand where I'm coming from?" He asked her, afraid of her answer as she was taking a long while to simply say something.
"I love you Barry, you know that right?"
Barry sighed. "Of course I do. I love you back. I'm trying to get to you. I promise I will make it up to you if we miss the reservation."
"Our parents are going to lose their shit but I can cover for you."
"Yeah, I know. Thanks. I'll let you know when I leave."
Olivia sighed, mocking what he'd done before. "Alright, talk to you later."
He bit his lip. "Thank you."
"Bye Barry." Olivia hung up as Barry tensed even more than he had before.
He shook his head as he charged back to his desk, going back to where he started, making sure he oversaw his tasks. He silently cursed Travis as his eyes were glued to the files in front of him. He focused on his monitor as his eyes shifted to the time in the bottom right corner.
Four hours, another four hours until his shift normally ended. He was going to finish as early as he could if he had the will power.
"Whoa, Barry, hey, didn't know you were still here." the cubicle beside him said. He recognized that as his colleague Eric but he barely acknowledged his presence.
"Yeah, hmm..." Barry's attention was a thousand percent honed in front of him. He couldn't afford to get sidetracked.
Some hours had gone by, Barry felt it was several. He was almost done and checked the time briefly. He had twenty minutes left in his corner. Taking a deep breath he pushed and pushed himself until he was completely finished. Now all that was left was waiting for the printing job to finish before gathering everything together and slapping it on the receptionist's desk. He was instructed to place his paperwork above the fax machine so it could be easier to find.
Once done he packed up his things, shut his computer down and made a monster of a beeline to the elevator. He could have sworn he heard rain. Central City hardly got much rain. If anything it was probably drizzling, maybe a few drops. Nothing he needed to worry about as soon as he was on the road. Barry secured his blazer over his shoulders just to be safe.
As soon as he made it out of the building and in the parking garage he noticed he was moving incredibly fast, much faster than he ever had. His heart was racing a mile a minute and he didn't know how to turn it off. A strange feeling peaked in the bottom of his mind and he brushed it off as quickly as it went.
All he kept thinking about was Olivia, her parents, his parents, everyone else. He focused on getting in the car and pulling out the driveway, hightailing it out of there as fast as he could. If he could run there, no way, he shook his head at that notion.
He had to zoom there if he wanted to get to the restaurant on time. That's the thing, there was never enough time to do anything. Barry always had a problem with managing his life. He could do the semi smart thing and ask his girlfriend's father but all that would do is make him feel was incompetent. The thought crossed him mind as it had many times before but he ignored it as he switched lanes and merged onto the freeway.
The rain had gotten more powerful since he stepped outside. He made sure to be extra cautious and check before changing lines to the faster lane. The irony being that was slower than the other lanes. It seemed like everyone was rushing to get home like he was.
He finally took the exit he was looking for and stopped at the red light. Panicking wasn't going to do him any good so he buried it and put his attention in front of him. The rain came down to distract his vision but he tried to suppress it by turning on the defroster and increasing the speed of the wind shield wipers. He thought the drizzle was temporary but it seemed as if it got worse the more he was on the road.
He knew the restaurant was only a few miles away so he made a silent prayer hoping he'd make it at least on time. He checked the time on the dashboard quickly and bit his lip. He looked in front of him and noticed the fog wasn't disappearing like he wanted it to. There was only a small patch of clear window where he could actually see enough to drive with.
He was five cars back and thought about it before the light changed. He took his jacket sleeve and manually cleaned the window but jumped when he heard horns behind him that almost sounded like a bunch of junkyard dogs harping at once. He rolled his eyes and pulled out to signal to make a left turn when he felt strong impact hit the right side of his car.
The pain was unbearable, like the feeling of getting punched a thousands times on every corner of his body. He couldn't move suddenly, it was like something else was pushing the vehicle as it bounced hard from the hit. Barry saw his world flipping upside down as his car turned over from the SUV hitting the passenger seat.
His eyes closed while his body slumped over from the impounding force of the crash. Straddling between awake and repose, he let the feeling take over his body as it grew more weak while the background noise seemed like distant voices in the midst.