April Forever, Chapter 2: On A-Teams, Breasts, and Counterparts
14 June 2010 Leave a comment
She didn’t really look like her, the woman sitting before her: once you got past the skin tone and height, the differences outweighed the similarities. Hair color and style, eye color, posture…even her body shape was considerably slimmer than her own hourglass figure. But still, staring at those green eyes that were themselves staring back at hers, she could tell. Holy scoop!
“Hi…April,” she said, testing the name out. “I’m sorry for intruding, but Casey—your husband—he told me you might be able to help. He was kind enough to rescue me, and he told me that you might be able to help me get back to my world.” She was babbling. Not good.
“Welcome…April,” the other her said, equally uncomfortable with the name. “We’re…glad to help. Unfortunately, Don—you know Don, right?—is the one who knows how our transdimentional portal generator works, and he’s off at a retreat with Splinter and the other turtles. It’ll be at least a couple of days before we can even contact him.”
That was not what she wanted to hear. “So I’m stuck here? Oh, brother! You guys seem nice at all, but I need to get back to my world!”
It’d been the wrong thing to say, as April noticed that fact immediately. The tension in the room had been high; now her unconscious snub had made it nigh-unbearable. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just…this world is so different.”
Casey, the sweetie, was doing all he can to ease things. After offering her a chair, he took out a wine glass from the pantry and poured her some wine, which she gladly took (even if alcohol really wasn’t her thing). “So, babe, April here is a reporter,” he said, as he took his own chair. “I’m not sure, but we think she’s from the same place those other guys were from—the ones we met a couple of years back.”
They’d arrived at that conclusion as they’d walked to Casey’s apartment at his insistence. After making some small talk, he’d suddenly asked her if he’d ever met any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a question which she answered in the affirmative. From there, they’d deduced that she’d arrived at another dimension, and, after sharing their respective experiences with guys who weren’t quite the guys, realized that they’d each met the other’s turtles—probably.
Unfortunately, Casey couldn’t stay: a baby’s cry came from another room, causing him to excuse himself and leave her alone with her counterpart.
* * *
Now alone with the jumpsuit-clad her, April was still speechless—not because she had nothing to say, but the exact opposite. She wondered if her counterpart was having the same trouble.
“Casey’s a great guy, isn’t he?” Jumpsuit said, nicely sidestepping the issue.
“Yeah, he is,” she said, “He’s rough around the edges, but now…I can’t imagine living without him,” she said, with startling conviction. While it was true, it wasn’t the sort of thing she would have admitted to a total stranger—even if the stranger was, in effect, herself. “How about you? Anybody special in your life?”
“Not really. It’s hard to find good men when you spend all your time between work, hanging out with mutant turtles, and getting threatened, kidnapped and tied up.”
“Oh,” she said, surprised at the frank admission. “Does that happen much—getting kidnapped?”
Other-Her rolled her eyes. “More often than I’d like. It’s gotten to the point where I can recognize a rope’s brand by feel. Still, the turtles always rescue me, and it helps me get the story, so I guess I can’t complain too much.”
Yes you can. You can complain a lot, April said to herself. She did not express this opinion. She didn’t usually seek trouble, but it still ended up finding her much too often for her liking. Actually inviting it…
“I’m guessing you don’t get kidnapped a lot, though,” said the Other Her.
“Kidnapped specifically? Only twice—once by my ex-employer Baxter Stockman and another by aliens. Threatened? A whole bunch.”
Now it was the other her’s turn to be surprised. “You worked for Baxter Stockman?!”
“Um, yes,” she said sheepishly. “For about a month, until I realized what he was up to with those mousers of his. He tried to kill me, I ran into the sewers, and the turtles rescued me. And that’s how I met them.”
“Really. I met them when saved me from the Shredder’s goons. I was doing a story on a bunch of mysterious thefts, and I guess he didn’t like what I was saying. Boy, were they in for a surprise. The mousers came in later, when they destroyed my apartment.”
“Heh. That’s funny,” other-April muttered.
“What? Losing my apartment?”
“No! Not that…sorry to hear about it, though. It’s just…you were chased into the sewers by the Shredder’s goons and had your apartment destroyed by mousers. I was chased into the sewers by mousers and had my apartment destroyed by the Foot. It’s just weird, is all.”
“That IS freaky,” other April said, smiling. “Sorry to hear about your apartment, though.”
The ice now broken, the two Aprils began chatting animatedly about the similarities and dissimilarities between their universes. It was the sort of conversation April never really had anymore, and the type she hadn’t realized she’d missed. The turtles (barring Donny, sometimes) were more fun to be around than to talk to; Casey was Casey, with a specific range of approachable topics; Robyn lived in L.A.; Karai, when she wasn’t trying to kill them, was too steeped in her weirdness to make conversation a comfortable prospect; Splinter was alright, when he was around, which wasn’t a lot, lately. Having someone she could talk about in this manner felt like something new, and something that she would like to do regularly.
Some minutes later, Casey returned cradling a still-crying Shadow in his hands. “Okay, babe, I’m stumped. I changed her diaper and tried feeding her, but nothing’s working. Any ideas?”
“Let me try,” the other her interjected. Taking the five-month old from Casey, she began gently rocking her. It worked: within moments, the crying stopped, and Shadow settled back into blissful sleep. “She’s adorable,” the other April commented as she returned the baby to Casey. “What’s her name?”
“Her name’s Shadow,” Casey said.
April bit her lip in frustration. In the months they had had Shadow, the infant had never really taken to April, a situation which persistently frustrated her. Trying to hold the baby in the way her counterpart had would have been a surefire way to increase her crying, and there the baby was, reacting to a complete stranger if she were her actual mother. It felt like a personal affront, even though she knew it wasn’t and that it would be unfair to treat her as it had been. “So April, it’s getting late,” she said, trying to change the subject before her darker emotions overtook the pleasure she’d just felt at having made a new friend. “Would you like to change into something else before going to bed? I mean, you are staying here, right?”
“You mean I can stay?” other-her said, brightening up.
“You mean she can stay?” Casey mimicked, mouth open.
“Of course,” April said, not entirely convinced that she believed the words coming out of her mouth. You need help, and who are we to deny it to you? After all, you’re almost family.”
* * *
April’s wardrobe was expansive but limited; aside from a few specialized looks, it consisted mostly of non-descript pants and t-shirts. In the end, other-April picked one of those t-shirts and a pair of cotton shorts.
“Good thing we’re more or less the same size,” the other April commented offhandedly, as she observed how her new outfit fit her. “Although it look like I’ll have to buy some new bras tomorrow.” Indeed, the top she’d chosen fit her considerably snugly in the chest area, making them more prominent than the shirt’s original owner’s ever were.
“I have to ask,” said April, as she changed into a similar outfit. “Why the jumpsuit? Is it fashionable where you’re from?”
“Not really. I guess I don’t really have a reason—it just feels right. I was just walking by the store, saw it, and I fell in love with it. It also helps that it’s actually quite comfortable—oh, and I hear its quite popular with my audience.”
“Really. Male or female?”
“Male—why do you ask?”
“No reason,” April said, coyly. Funny story, though: one time, I had to pretend to be a reporter to get some information for the guys…guess how I dressed up.”
“Get out!,” other-her said, her face all mischievous glee. “We really are the same person, aren’t we?”
“Guess so,” April said with a smile.
* * *
With Casey and Mrs. O’Neil turned in for the night, Miss O’Neil was now alone in the living room with nothing but a TV for companionship. It was late, and she would normally have been sleeping soundly right now, but the events of the day had left her with an indissoluble restlessness. After lying on the couple’s couch for ten minutes trying to call forth the sleep, she gave up and got up.
The couple had allowed her to peruse and use their DVD collection (DVD’s were apparently what had replaced cassette tapes in this dimension) and after scanning the racks filled with movies with unfamiliar names and even more unfamiliar actors, she picked one with a familiar title—The A-Team—and, after figuring out how to work the player, she sat back on the couch and began watching.
Although it had the incorrect actors, the movie was otherwise enjoyable. Still, it underscored the differences between this world and the one she had left behind–the acting, the way the characters spoke, the situation–it all seemed foreign to her.
Would she ever return? Casey and April had promised her that Donatello would return her home; given the mixed successes of her own Donatello’s inventions, she wasn’t all that sure. Still, everything would turn out all right—right? It always did—in her universe.
April’s thoughts turned to her job at Channel Six and her boss, Burne Thompson. If she indeed did end up spending more than a few days in this universe, she’d have to give him a suitable excuse for her absence, particularly since she wouldn’t have a story to make up for it. Or did she? Parallel universes were definitively a story, and an extended stay could make for a great feature, but what would her angle be? Plus, she’d need a camera—another things for tomorrow’s to do list. So yeah: Item 1: Buy underwear. Item 2: get camera. Item 3: To be determined, which she quite liked—ever since meeting the turtles, she’d barely get time to herself, and she was glad for the opportunity, even if it required getting herself transported to another dimension. What would tomorrow bring? She wasn’t sure, but she was excited to find out.
Author’s note: Shadow Jones, for those who don’t know, is Casey (and then April’s) stepdaughter from the original Mirage comics. Her story will be elaborated upon in future chapters.