Alternate Timelines

The Red Door [Chapter 6]

Prologue   l    Chapter 1   l    Chapter 2   l    Chapter 3    I    Chapter 4    I    Chapter 5

Better Halves

“And finally, we leave you tonight with sights and sounds from the Toronto Zoo, where despite the snow, its many indoor attractions still provide a warm and nurturing climate for many of the animals. Have a great night, and we’ll see you tomorrow.” The monitor behind Kiara begins to play a montage of lion-tailed macaques, orangutans, and Sumatran tigers, as an “All clear” emits from her earpiece. She removes the microphone from her coat’s lapel, and sets the earpiece on the stack of pages in front of her, before getting up to leave the studio.

“Great show Kiara.” A.J., the camera operator wraps a cord around his arm.

“Thanks, A.J.”

“Do you have any, uh, have any plans for tonight?” Fumbling with his words, he’s unaware that he’s not so much neatly tying up the cord, as he is cutting off any circulation to the rest of his arm and hand.

“It’s, uh, Tuesday, so I don’t think so.” She smiles politely.

“Do you want to—” A.J. mumbles to himself.

Keeeeeeeeyaaaaarrraaaa!” A sing-songy shrill echoes throughout the studio. Mikaela stands by the exit, hollering and waving her arms at Kiara. “Hurry up girl, we’re going to be late!”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, A.J.” Kiara pats him on the shoulder, smiles, and rushes off to give Mikaela a hug. A.J. lets his arm fall to his side, as he untangles the cord. He shakes his arm and wiggles his fingers, before wrapping up the other equipment. The two girls make their way out of the studio, and into Kiara’s dressing room.

“Oh my God, I love your dress.” Kiara admires Mikaela’s shimmering golden dress, as she twirls around in the room, stopping short of crashing into a lineup of chairs in front of the vanity mirror. “I can’t believe I haven’t see you in months!”

“All I have to do is turn on the T.V.” Mikaela touches up her lips with gloss. “How do you like it here?”

“Beats my last on-camera gig on by a long shot.” Kiara now stands beside her, running a brush through her hair. “I just keep busy behind a desk. Just like you. How’s it feel to be in the home stretch?”

Ugh. School is no fun the second time around. I’ll be so happy when it’s finally over.” She runs her fingers through her hair, and irons out her dress with her palms.

“Must be nice to be back in town at least.” Kiara gives her a quick hug, before grabbing some cosmetics, and heading into the bathroom. She turns around and winks, “He propose yet?”

Ha. Ha. Very funny.” Mikaela goes through a pile of newspapers on the dresser. She hears the sink in the bathroom turn on, and one by one, notices Kiara’s work clothes come flying out through the half open door, landing perfectly in a pile. “What was Jack thinking, anyway? Who’s even around to get-together on a random Tuesday?”

“Clearly you and I are.” Kiara’s voice drifts amid the sounds of shower curtains, and the water running. “Have you talked to anyone else?”

“Texted James a while back. Don’t remember if I got a response back or not.”

“So, check your phone, silly.” Kiara emerges in a slender white dress. She picks up her clothes off the floor, and slips into heels, resting her shoulder along the wall to squeeze her foot in.

“You. Look. Stunning. Like a freakin’ angel.” Mikaela stares awestruck at her best friend.

“Stop it.” Kiara makers her way to the mirror, and puts on her earrings.

“I’m serious. You hardly ever get a chance to deviate from script. It’s all turtlenecks and over sized coats. Who picks your wardrobe?”

“It’s the middle of December. I can’t exactly wear a tank top and sweatpants on the air.”

“I don’t know, it might boost your ratings considerably.”

“Let’s go. We’re going to be late. Watch us be the only two people there.”

“Does that say more about us, or more about Jack?”

“More about Jack,” they both say in unison, laughing off the notion on their way to Mikaela’s car.

[Chapter 7]