This is the final installment in a very long series, so if you have not already done so, you might want to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV, Part XV, Part XVI, Part XVII, Part XVIII, Part XIX, Part XX and Part XXI before continuing.
“OK, so our top stories tonight are about the progress of the hurricane about to hit Florida and the ongoing investigations into the president and whether it will lead to his impeachment. After that we’ll go into some fluff pieces about how to keep track of your kids’ social media accounts and the break in at Roger Stevens’s house.”
Angela jolted in her seat behind the anchors’ desk. “What?”
“I said our top stories tonight-”
“No. The part about the break in at Roger Stevens’s house. What happened?”
“Oh, apparently someone managed to get past his security and into the house without setting off any alarms,” Ralph said, checking his notes.
“Did he hurt anyone?”
“She. And I don’t think so. Looks like Roger wasn’t home, but his girlfriend was. She’s the one who called the police. Anyway, it’ll all be there on the prompter, so just read it, do your job, and make it another great show, everyone.” He gave them two thumbs up before backing up into his position behind the cameras.
Angela sat stunned as the makeup artist came up to make some final adjustments. She barely managed to snap out of it just as the teleprompter lit up with her opening lines of the show.
Angela didn’t bother to wait to get some privacy once they were off the air. She whipped out her phone and dialed her friend’s number while sitting right there on set.
Angela had never been so relieved to hear her friend’s voice. “What’s up? I just had to report on a story about you calling the police because someone broke into your house while you were home alone. Are you OK? What happened?”
“I’m fine. Roger was having a guys’ night out and I was curled up with a book when I thought I heard glass breaking in the kitchen. I went to investigate, but as I got closer, I heard someone rummaging around in there. I wasn’t expecting Roger or anyone else so I just peeked around the corner and saw a woman I didn’t recognize pulling a knife out of a drawer.”
“Oh my god.”
“Yeah. That’s when I grabbed my phone and ran for the panic room. When I locked myself in, it automatically notified the police.”
“How did she get in the house without setting off any of the alarms?”
“Apparently she managed to disable it. I’m just glad the alarm on the panic room isn’t hooked up to the same system. I don’t think she knew to disarm that.”
“Did she know you were there?”
“I have no idea. I haven’t actually talked to her. The police haven’t let me. I’ve been answering a lot of questions and Roger and I have temporarily moved into a hotel. I don’t know if I can ever feel safe there again.”
“Of course not. You should move in with me. Right now. I’m serious.”
Eliza laughed halfheartedly. “You know I can’t do that. My show is here.”
“You can commute. I’ll even pay for it. It’s not safe for you there.”
“It’s plenty safe for me, as evidenced by the fact that I’m alive and well and talking to you right now. This is exactly why Roger has a panic room and it did just what it was supposed to do.”
“How is he feeling about all this?”
“He’s a little freaked out.”
“Just a little? Because I am very freaked out and I cannot believe I had to find out about this at work instead of directly from you.”
“OK, he’s a lot freaked out and I’ve been trying to calm him down, which hasn’t been easy because I’m also freaking out. I’m sorry you had to find out that way, but I’ve been too busy to call you and I didn’t think I had the emotional energy to try to reassure you, too.” Eliza’s voice cracked and Angela knew she was crying.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think about how hard this must be for you. I was just so scared.”
“I know. And I’m sorry if I affected your work. Next time I have a near-death experience, you’ll be the first to know.”
Angela snorted. “No, the police should be the first to know. I just want to be second.”
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