Four hours Aoki had spent hunched over an oil painting. Her pale blue hair had been pulled back by two bobby pins, and ever so often her round glasses would slip down the bridge of her nose if she leaned in too much. Her back ached, and her elbows were sore from being folded for too long, but the stubborn woman kept on brushing the skinny brush over the painted red fabric. She had finally matched the color of the red tunic and was covering the white paste she had used to cover up the slash the painting had had a few hours ago. Now, the ugly slash was being covered with maroon oil paint and blended into the original. The painting had no name, but it was of a plump woman in a white and red tunic, her eyes staring directly at Aoki as she did her best to bring back the woman's tunic back from ruin. Aoki had spent an hour fixing the woman's blonde curls and another fixing the left corner of her mouth to make sure the nameless woman looked as she had before the years took the painting color and some of its features.
"Aoki," someone called from the door of the well-lit room. While the storm had rolled in, the large windows inside the studio had been very little help to Aoki since very little light made it through the clouded sky, so she had been forced to use two large laps on either side of her to see the painting. "Aoki!" They called again and the woman with the blue hair jumped and peeked past the canvas to see a man standing by the door.
Aoki removed her earbuds from her ears, allowing the loud heavy metal music to fill the room. "Ah, sorry about that. I like listening to my music while I paint." She chuckled nervousely as she stood from her chair, back cracking at the change of position. She groaned and rolled her shoulders before making her way to her co-worker. "What can I do for you, Alfred?"
Alfred was a tall man with a slender figure tanned skin and buzzed cut hair. "You haven't looked out the window, have you?" He raised an eyebrow at her then glanced back at the canvas. "Of course you haven't." He shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. "Doc Ali is dismissing everyone. The storm seems to be a very serious one."
"Oh!" Aoki glanced back to look out of the windows. From the studio windows the gardens of the museum were visible, but today everything was covered by a thick layer of snow. "I know there was going to be a storm, but I didn't realize it would be this bad." She didn't quite take American news too seriously. In Sweden, snow was the second nature to its citizens, and it did very little to stop them from going to work or school. Here, it seemed like a bit of snow fall was called a storm by everyone. "I did think it was going to be a few inches of snow."
Alfred rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, I get it you're from a snowy place, but this one seems serious. Doc Ali said to tell you first since he knows how you get when you start painting. Seriously, Aoki, you can't stay here. It'll be freezing later, and the snow might keep piling up."
Aoki nodded and smiled at his fuzzing. "I will don't worry. Thank you for telling me, Alfred." With that, the taller man left Aoki alone in the studio.
Alfred was right, the snow seemed to be piling up, and she was sure there would be no way the roads would be open for long. She had to catch the bus before service stopped or slowed down. While she enjoyed the snow, she did not want to be stuck out in the freezing temperatures waiting for the bus.
Two hours later...
She should have listened to Alfred. Aoki was an idiot for staying in the studio for another half an hour to finish up the painting! The last bus had passed ten minutes ago before she arrived at the stop and now she stood under the small roof of the bus station trying to avoid the harsh wind. Aoki had a coat and a large scarf to keep her warm and dry, but her feet were starting to get wet. She should have opted her less fashionable boots instead of the ones she had on right now.
"This sucks!" Aoki groaned out loud as she made her way down the street towards the Police station. There was a bus stop there that would at least drop her off a few blocks away from her apartment, but at least she wouldn't have to walk all the way to Old Harbor. It would be at least fifteen minutes before the bus arrived at the station, so Aoki had five minutes to make it to the station and ten to wait in the freezing cold, she was not looking forward to it at all.
Ever since Monday Karishma and Alex had exchanged numbers and had been texting and FaceTiming each other every chance they got. While Karishma was busy with the recording of her new single and auditioning for roles in television series or movies, she still had time for the nice young man she had breakfast that Monday morning. There was something about him that she liked a lot and Gabe was getting sick of hearing her talk about him or the pictures of cakes he would send her on a da ily basis. The whole ride to the university Karishma giggled at her phone and snapped a quick selfie with her cup of coffee and seven empty sugar packs. Gabe still didn't know how she was able to consume so much sugar and sweets without getting cavities, and her new center of attention worked in a bakery. Yay, more sweets.
After an hour of careful driving through the snow-covered streets of Sol City, they finally made it to the university in one piece. Gabe escorted Karishma to one of the halls were auditions were being held. The role she was auditioning was for a movie about an India woman who lives in a remote village in India where a British archeologist travels there to learn and record the culture there. They fall in love, and the woman leaves the village to go to London. The British man had already been cast, and it was rumored to be a English celebrety making his way to American films, much like Karishma was. So she memorized all the lines she was given and even practiced with Gabe, practiced in the shower, practice on her morning workouts and even as she texted Alex. Karishma wanted the role, she needed the role to start up her career and stop living off her savings.
"You can talk Hindi right?" The woman in a blue pants suit asked Karishma, who stood in the middle of the room with her hands folded behind her back.
"Yes, I can talk Hindi, English, French, and Spanish," Karishma said with a polite smile. Not many people knew she was able to talk four languages. While Karishma was not very bright with numbers or date, she was rather gifted at learning other languages. She had been planing on learning German or Russian next. "I can also do many accents; I practice in front of the mirror every day while I do my make up." She smiled when the people behind the table laughed and nodded.
"We have seen your resume," A man with brown hair and pale skin said, a producer for the film. "While you have a lot of tittles under your belt you also have a big reputation."
Karishma sighed and nodded. That subject couldn't be avoided. Her reputation had followed her from India into America, and it had proven to be a blockade on her career, and she was trying to get over it, but no matter what she wasn't able to push past it. "Ah, yes. Tabloids slandered my name and my image back home. I'm sure you read about the break-in my home while I was away too." She shook her head and rubbed her temples. Thinking about the incident always gave her a headache. "This is why I want to continue acting and entertaining. I want to show people that no matter who you love you will continue with determination and dedication." She brought the smile back to her lips.
"Yes, that is something we liked about you. Your acting it amazing, and you can capture so many emotions." The man looked at the other two women sitting at the table with him. "We'll call you when we have made our decision. Thank you for coming, Karishma."
"I look forward to your call." Karishma smiled and went to shake their hands before leaving the room with a little smile. While they had been a little cold, there was something about the way the two women looked at her while she acted out the scene that gave her a little hope that she would be cast into the film. All the had to do now was wait.
Gabe was sitting outside of the small hall with other people who were waiting for their auditions. Karishma shot him a quick smile and a thumbs up as he approached her.
"How did it go?" Gabe asked, handing her coat and coffee. Her smile told him it went well, and the thumbs up meant she was confident that she would be scoring the role as the main character, or maybe a supporting role.
"Good!" Karishma said, not mentioning the small talk about her reputation in India or her words about her career path. Gabe knew why she wanted to continue her career in the entertaining business and she hadn't given up so easily. It was something Gabe supported and wanted to see her succssed in.
"Let's go, it's cold in here." Gabe said as they made their way down the hallway and soon enough found themselves a bit lost.