"Dr Wells." Barry heard himself say.
"I didn't think you'd be in today." Barry didn't think it sounded believable, but he was proud of himself either way.
"Of course. We were just going over your monthly results." Wells watched Barry carefully.
"So, shall we go to the treadmill?" He asks, still viperous as always.
"Now?-Now's, not a great time. I just stopped by to tell Caitlin that I got the job." Barry doesn't actually know how he's stringing these words together, but every part of him is screaming to run.
"Oh Barry that's great!" Caitlin, oblivious to the tension, crosses the room to give Barry a hug. Barry can hardly notice as he and Wells are still eye to eye.
"I should go." Barry says, before carefully detangling from Caitlin and speeding out the room.
What was Wells-Eobard-doing here? It didn't make sense. The Rogues didn't have anything to do with catching Eobard. Why was he there? Does he know? Is this the same Eobard that he saw last time? Barry just managed to phase into his apartment before nearly hyperventilating. This didn't make any sense. Barry almost jumped out his skin when his phone started ringing. James. Great.
"Hey James, it's not a great time," Barry said, sighing into the phone.
"Come on man, it's never a good time. Did you look through the files I sent over?"
"Yes?" Barry cringed
"Sorry, no, it's been a really weird day."
"Come on man, this our dream, right? You can slack off next time we set up for Death Wizard or something, but this is Winter Storm. Get it together, we got this!"
"You're right, sorry, I'll start going through it now." Barry promised.
"Damn straight. I'll see you Thursday, right?"
"Yeah, see you then, thanks." After hanging up, Barry pulled up the email on his laptop. Wow. That's a lot of diagrams. The longer Barry studied them, the more he relaxed into the distraction.
Barry woke up the next morning, on his couch again, laptop still open on the table. He groaned, sitting up to rub his eyes. Well he studied the material enough to feel a bit more confident for tomorrow, but that was hardly the biggest issue for him right now. Maybe he could get by with avoiding the place-and Dr Wells-until Monday. He contemplated calling Felicity, but thought better of it. He had already imposed so much, and she was helping enough by looking into the rogues. After getting ready, he finally decided to go for coffee before worrying about it any more.
Jitters was pretty packed for a late Wednesday morning, but Barry found the humming of the crowd reassuring. He waited through the line, ordered his usual caramel macchiato, and sat at one of the few open tables. It wasn't long before two cups were placed on the table and Iris slid in the seat across from him.
"Well this is a surprise." She smiled at him. Barry glanced over her apron, and the manager pin on it. Oh.
"Yeah, I was just. In the area." Barry replied. He should probably worry that these lies came so easily, but honestly he was just thankful.
"Well I'm glad you stopped by, even if I am a little mad at you." She shrugged.
"Wait, mad at me?" Barry asked, brow furrowed.
"I had to find out that you got the job from James?" She shook her head.
"I know you're probably over worked and stressed, but you should have called."
"Right, sorry, it's just been a lot to take in." Barry half laughed, at the truth of it.
"I'm really happy for you, and just so you know I'm going to be in the audience, so if Winter Storm starts having technical difficulties, I'll know who to blame." She teases.
"Thanks, Iris, that actually means a lot." Barry smiled. Maybe she didn't know his secret in this timeline, and maybe he didn't know enough about it, but he knew Iris would be there for him. She really was his best friend.
"But enough about me, what's going on in your world?" Barry asked, hoping to lean into the familiarity of their conversations. Iris makes a dramatic humming noise from behind her coffee.
"Not as much as you'd think. On the bright side, my blog is getting a lot of new content, even if no one sees it." She sighs.
"Your blog." Barry repeats.
"The one about the blur."
"God, you don't have to say it like that. I know it's real, and if you or Eddie bothered to read my blog, you'd believe it too." Iris huffed, but she wasn't mad. This Iris was use to no one reading her work. Barry felt the guilt piling up.
"I-I'll read it." He promises. Really, he's somehow managed to keep this secret from iris for years, it was the least he could do.
"It's fine, Barry, I'm just teasing. Besides, you have plenty on your plate right now." She shrugs.
"Yeah, but still. I'll find the time." Barry places his hand over hers comfortingly, and she smiles.
"Well thank you." She smiles, squeezing his hand a little.
"I should get back to work, though."
"Alright, thanks Iris." Barry finished his coffee, feeling a bit more at ease. This timeline was very different, but he'd be able to adjust; just as soon as he got rid of Eobard.
Barry spent the rest of the day walking around town, soaking up the differences, and avoiding star labs. Everything seemed more or less the same. The areas west of third street seemed a bit worse off, but Barry wasn't sure if he was remembering the area correctly to begin with. It was definitely one of his less traveled neighborhoods. He looped back around towards his apartment building, speeding off once the streets were deserted enough. He kicked off his shoes, and grabbed one of his energy bars from the cabinet by the door. Huh. He stopped mid bite to admire the new furniture. He hadn't noticed it there before, but he was finding himself wishing he had thought of it sooner. He was always so hungry, and those last moments between the door and the kitchen were the worst. He shrugged, and started getting ready for bed. It was still pretty early, but he figured he deserved it, and had a pretty big day to figure out tomorrow.