S4, Ep 17, Sc 5: The End

“Well?”

Holly leaned against a pillar, watching Peter chat with Clint across the room, when this word was spoken and she turned to see who had spoken it.

“Evelyn! Hey! Thank you so much for everything you did for today. And for helping Amy.”

“Of course dear. I loved every minute of it. But you didn’t answer my question. Well?”

“Well what? What are you talking about?”

Evelyn rolled her eyes. “Well, what about him?” She nodded across the room.

“Him? What you mean Peter?”

“No. I mean that paparazzo he’s talking to. Of course I mean Peter.”

“Well what about him?”

“Oh honestly Holly. You’re an actress; you can do better than that.”

“Look Evelyn I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You don’t?” Evelyn huffed. “I saw the photographs Holly. Everyone did. You staring adoringly at him. If it hadn’t been for that look then the faked pictures with McCall wouldn’t have worked as nearly as well as they did.”

“I don’t see how this is any of your business.”

“Of course it’s not any of my business. But have you ever known that to stop me?” Evelyn smiled sweetly and Holly couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Alright, fair point. But in this case there’s nothing to discuss.” Holly glanced back towards Peter.

“You are kidding? You can’t take your eyes off of him.”

“Look, this isn’t up for debate, so drop it.”

“When are you going to make your move?”

“I’m not going to make anything and I said to drop it.”

“But why ever wouldn’t you? I mean you must realize that at this point it would be very difficult for Peter to make it. In fact he made that a couple of years ago and that didn’t work out for him. So now you need to be the one who makes the next move.”

“There are no moves to be made here Evelyn. It’s a stalemate. Will you please stop talking about this?”

“But Holly-”

Holly looked around nervously, and feeling there were too many people within earshot, lead Evelyn further back to the edge of the room. “There are no ‘but’s’, no ‘and’s’, no ‘or’s’, no ‘if’s’.”

“You love him.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I saw the pictures. And I see the way you look at him. If you don’t love him then you really need to work on your facial expressions.”

Holly sighed. “It has nothing to do with whether I love him or not.”

“Ha! I knew it! You do love him.”

“Like I said: that’s irrelevant.”

“How could that possible be irrelevant?”

“Do I really need to remind you that I was engaged to the man who murdered Peter’s wife?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Everything. I chose Alan over Peter. That’s not something you can just forget. Look maybe if I’d left Alan before he was arrested it might have worked but I didn’t. I would have married him. I know that. Peter knows that. And you just can’t move past something like that.”

“Oh really, Holly, between you and Peter I don’t know which one of you can be the most infuriating. If it wasn’t for me, the two of you would be wallowing in self-sacrificing sickening nobility. Sigh, well, once more into the breach I suppose. The past doesn’t belong anywhere except firmly in the past. Who cares if one or both of you have been idiots? Who cares who loved whom once upon a time or who didn’t? Because if you’re living happily ever after you really don’t care about what came before that. Everyone has issues. If we had to wait until we’d fixed every little thing wrong about ourselves before we could commit to a relationship, then the human race would have died out in the Stone Age. And certainly none of us have a spotless past. So who cares if those spots involve each other? So much the better I say, because at least that saves some time in having to explain your baggage. No, you find someone who loves you warts and all. And neither of you care, because you love their warts as well. It baffles me how people always say they want someone who loves them for who they are, and then someone comes along who will do just that, and they say ‘it can’t possibly work because I can’t let him love this bit of me.’

“But-”

“You loved Alan and he broke your heart. Peter loved you and you broke his. And if the two of you had parted ways and never seen one another again, that would have been fine. But look at the two of you. You haven’t parted ways and you certainly love each other now.”

“Peter would always know. I chose Alan, just like Layla did.”

“And Peter chose Layla once upon a time. If anyone can understand falling in love with the wrong person it certainly should be Peter.”

“No. It’s not supposed to be this complicated.”

“What? Love? Whoever said that? Love is almost always complicated. But that’s our own foolish fault. We think we have to be all fixed before we commit. We think we have to have our lives all together and picture perfect before we could possibly think of settling down. Except no one is ever perfect. No one doesn’t have a crisis just waiting around the corner for them. You find someone and the two of you face all that mess together. And that is love.”

There was a long pause. “I’m moving to New York.”

Evelyn blinked.

“McCall made me an offer,” Holly explained. “He and I are starting up a production company together in New York. We leave next month. We wanted to keep it quiet until the Montell Connected Studios board meeting today.”

“Well that’s wonderful!”

“You don’t understand.”

“Understand what?”

“I can’t ask Peter to come to New York with me. And how are we going to have a relationship with him in LA and me in New York. If things worked, eventually one of us would have to move. It can’t be him and I can’t start a company with McCall knowing I might just move back here in a year.”

“Well you don’t have to ask Peter. If he wants to come, he’ll come.”

“But it’s not fair to expect him to make that decision. Layla wanted him to move to New York too-”

“Oh will you forget about Layla! Her ghost is well and truly buried, so stop trying to dig her back up. Look, take my advice. Tell Peter you love him and tell him you’re leaving. After all, if anyone has the right to make a decision about whether or not Peter will move, it’s not you, or me, or Layla’s memory. It’s Peter. It’s his right and only Peter’s right.”

“What’s Peter’s right?”

Holly and Evelyn whirled around. Peter had apparently finished chatting with Clint and come to find Holly.

“Peter! Hi!” Holly couldn’t remember the last time she felt quite this flustered. “How was Clint?”

“Pretty good. What were you two talking about?”

Evelyn smiled. “Crocodiles in Space. We were talking about the possibility of it becoming a trilogy and how fantastic you would be in it.”

“Then you two have clearly been drinking far too much. Because there is no way-”

“That’s what Holly said. I guess she really does know you well.”

Holly glared at Evelyn.

**********

Try as Holly might, it was hard to push Evelyn’s words completely out of her head. As Peter and she got drinks at the bar and toasted to the success of Antigone, she couldn’t completely enjoy the moment.

Evelyn couldn’t be right…could she?

Peter hung out with her for the rest of the evening. Many people came over to congratulate Holly, but he continued to stay by her side and even made pleasant small talk with people. She realized that this was the most relaxed and at ease she had ever seen him in a large social setting. He was finding his place back in Hollywood and it made her happy for him. Almost.

Darn it, she thought, I had this all sorted and decided and then Evelyn had to come along and mess with it all.

Peter didn’t seem to notice that anything was amiss, or if he did he didn’t comment on it.

The evening wore on. Evelyn and McCall said their goodbyes, and people started trickling out.

“Need a ride home?” Holly asked Peter.

“That would be great, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Of course not. Let me just say thanks to Amy.”

Holly found Amy in the back where she was overseeing the packing up of the glasses.

“Amy, hey I’m heading out. I just wanted to thank you for everything.”

“Of course! And I loved your movie.”

“Let’s grab some coffee next week. Catch up?”

“Sounds great! How about at my café?”

“Looking forward to it.”

The two hugged and Holly went back out to find Peter. She called the driver to have the limo waiting for them out front and then exited the building.

There were still photographers outside.

Holly felt Peter’s arm under her elbow and she couldn’t resist a smile.

The driver pulled the limo up to the curb and held open the door. They slid in and in a few minutes were on their way across town.

Somehow, from the far recesses of Holly’s mind, a memory presented itself of another limousine ride, with another man, after another premiere. She started.

“Is something wrong?” asked Peter.

“No. No, I’m fine.” Holly ran her hand across her hair.

Could Evelyn be right?

But what if she wasn’t? Holly didn’t want to hurt Peter again. And she didn’t want to lose him. He had been a friend. A friend that stuck with her despite so many things. Wasn’t that a friendship worth preserving at any cost? Then again, they’d made it this far. Maybe they could survive a few more tempests.

“You’re very quiet.”

“Hmm? Oh I’m sorry.” She shrugged. “I’m just tired I guess.”

“I can understand that. You’ve been working hard.”

“It was fun. I enjoyed the work. In fact that’s why I agreed to McCall’s business proposal.”

“What business proposal?”

“He and I are starting a production company together. In New York.”

“Oh.” Peter looked out the window. “That’s exciting. What about your acting?”

“I don’t think I’ll be doing much more of it.. At least not for a while. I went into acting for all the wrong reason. Well not all the wrong reasons, but certainly some of them. And now? Well I found something I love doing a whole lot more. I’m excited about this.”

He turned back to her and smiled. “I’m really happy for you.”

Holly opened her mouth to say something, she wasn’t sure what, she just knew there were things that had to be said, when the limo pulled to a stop and the driver opened Peter’s door.

“I’ll see you soon Holly.”

“Definitely,” she answered quietly.

Peter slid out of the car and in another minute the limo had started again.

Holly watched the city as it passed by the window, but her thoughts were elsewhere, diving through the past, sorting through emotions, wondering, searching, and in a thousand places at once.

When they reached her house, it felt as if it had been hardly any time at all but also ages. She thanked the driver and headed inside.

Standing in the dark hallway, she didn’t want to turn on the lights. She didn’t even want to set down her purse. She stood there, for a full ten minutes, undecided, wavering, and then something took hold. Instinct, need, want, or maybe, she smiled as thought it, Evelyn herself, but Holly grabbed her car keys and headed back outside.

The drive back to Peter’s apartment was much different. This time she kept her thoughts completely blank. If she thought, she’d change her mind.

Holly parked outside the apartment building and hurried in. She was too impatient to wait for the elevator, and ran up the stairs. She found Peter’s door and rapped on it, loudly and persistently.

There were footsteps and the door opened.

Peter has still in his tux, but he’d taken of the jacket and the bowtie was undone. His eyebrows shot up in surprise as he saw her.

“Holly? What are you…I mean I did say see you soon,” he grinned, “and this is a pleasant surprise. Come in. Is something wrong?”

“No.” She looked around the apartment. It was a lot neater than the last time she had been here. “I mean yes. I guess I don’t know. There’s something I have to say to you Peter. And I hope…I hope you forgive me for this. If you loath me for it, I’m sorry.”

Peter laughed a little. “Holly, I could never loath you. What’s wrong? Tell me.”

“I love you. That’s what’s wrong. I love you. And it’s no good. Only Evelyn said it might be. Could it be? I mean we’ve made a mess of it so far. Or rather I’ve made a mess of it. But I love you Peter. I love you because you are kind. Because from the first night we met, you were there for me. I love you because I think you are one of the bravest men I’ve ever known. I love you because despite everything that’s happened between us, you were still there tonight. I just love you.”

“Holly…”

“I’ll stay. I’ll stay in LA. I can tell McCall I’ve changed my mind. If you think there is any chance at all that we could work-”

Peter kissed her.

It felt wonderful. It felt right. It felt like the world, and it felt like this one particularly moment, suspended alone in time.

When they finally pulled away, Peter was smiling down at her.

“New York is a great city,” he said.

“I don’t want to ask you to move there just for me-”

“You are so much more than a ‘just’. And besides, I’ve only stayed in LA this long because of you. And I can write anywhere.”

“You’re serious? After everything, you’d be willing to do that?”

“After what? I love you. And you say you love me.”

“I do.”

“Then I’ve lived long enough to know that’s what’s important.”

She kissed him, and this time they didn’t talk again for a long time.

When the sun rose several hours later, they were sitting on the couch, turned towards the window to watch the light crawl across the sky.

Holly leaned happily against Peter, his arm around her, and listened to his steady breathing. He’d fallen asleep an hour ago. But Holly was too happy to sleep, too content.

For the first time in a long time, perhaps (if she were honest with herself) for the first time since coming out to Hollywood, she knew exactly what she wanted and where she was supposed to be.

 

The End

 

 

AN: And that, three years and four seasons later, is the end! I realized that exactly three years ago today I posted the first chapter of Holly(Woods) so I decided not to split this update into two, and not to wait for my normal updating day.

Thank you so much for reading! Seriously, it was knowing that people were reading that kept me going when I was having a hard time continuing.

Thank you schn00dles for reading for so long! And for liking and commenting on the posts! Thanks Clyde for reading! And thank you Keith for always pointing out those pesky typos! It meant a lot to have people reading the story regularly!

I’m not sure that this last season was quite as good as it might have been (and it certainly took longer than it should have). I floundered a bit while writing it at a few parts. But thank you for sticking with it and continuing to read it.

I am incredibly happy to be done! I never realized that writing about the same characters for three years could be quite such a challenge! 😉 I also don’t think I realized when I started this that it would take me three years to finish it. But I’m so, so happy I stuck with it.

So one final thank you! I hope the ending is at least somewhat satisfactory.

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Posted in Author's Note, Episode Seventeen, Evelyn Martin, Holly Woods, Peter Glades, Season Four | 8 Comments

S4, Ep 17, Sc 4: The Contentment

The theater was smaller than the last one Holly attended a premiere at. But it also felt more elegant. McCall had clearly spared no expense when making arrangements for this evening.

A few speeches were made. McCall said a few words, Holly followed him, Walsh finished things up, and then they were settling in as the lights dimmed and the film began.

When the closing credits ran an hour and forty-five minutes later, Holly breathed a sigh of relief. It had been good. She glanced over at McCall’s face and noticed he was beaming. Yes, she thought with satisfaction, Antigone will do alright.

There was the happy rumble of an excited audience as everyone stood and started making their way back out into the lobby. People kept coming up to congratulate Holly, and she found herself the center of a small circle that was excitedly telling her how much they loved the film.

“And that final scene! I thought I couldn’t bear it. It was so heart-rending!”

“It was marvelous. You must be so proud.”

“Everyone did a fantastic job.”

“And your performance in the board room scene!”

“I thought it was very good,” said a familiar voice behind her.

Holly swirled around. “Peter!”

“Hi.”

“Hi … oh. Um, excuse me,” she said hastily to the rest of the crowd, and taking Peter’s arm, led him off to the edge of the lobby for a little privacy. “You came.”

“Of course I came,” he said, smiling at her. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

“I just thought-, well I looked for you before it started.”

“Ah. Yes. Sorry. I was late. Flat tire on the way over. And since I couldn’t really change it in a tux, I had to find a cab. I slinked in during the opening credits. I’m sorry I missed the speeches.”

“I’m just glad you made it. Thank you for coming. It means a lot.”

“It was my pleasure. It really was, Holly. And everyone seemed to enjoy it too. I think you’re going to have a hit on your hands.”

Holly grinned. “I hope so.”

“Is that Amy over there?”

“Hmm? Oh yeah. She’s catering.”

“So you two are good now?”

“Definitely. And speaking of good, Henry apologized and he and I are also good now so, you know…”

“You know what?”

She shrugged. “Maybe the two of you could grab coffee some time?”

Peter started to chuckle. “Coffee?”

“I don’t know. Whatever you two used to do when you were friends. You know, make a gesture.”

He looked skeptical but shrugged. “I suppose.” Catching sight of someone across the room he hesitated and then sighed. “Could you give me one minute? There’s someone I should talk to.”

“Oh…yeah sure. Of course.”

“Great. I’ll be right back and then maybe we could have a celebratory drink.”

Holly nodded. “I would like that.”

**********

Peter crossed the lobby to where Clint was standing, leaning against a wall and looking extremely bored. Peter waved.

“Hey. I didn’t know you were coming tonight.”

“Holly invited Nikki and Nikki wanted me, so …” Clint shrugged.

“I heard about the engagement. Congratulations.”

“Ah.” Clint couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. “Yeah. Most of her friends think she’s insane but, I really couldn’t care less. And neither could she. So that’s alright.”

“Because of the photographs? The ones for Grant?”

“Yes. Hasn’t done wonders for my career or my reputation. But the latter was never much anyways so I suppose there’s not much lost.”

“I don’t think I’ve said it yet, but thank you. For what you did for Holly.”

Clint ran a hand through his hair. “I did it for a lot of reasons.”

“I know. But it helped. And I know it cost you.” Peter held out at his hand and after a moment Clint shook it. “So what are you going to do now?”

“Hmm?”

“Nikki told Holly that pretty much everyone that put in orders for you work at the exhibition has since cancelled.”

“Yeah, that’s what they do when they’re really buying your photographs because they know your girlfriend and not because they actually like them. So I’ll live. I’ll do what everyone else does in a situation like this: I’ll start over and work my way to the top. Or the middle. Or wherever I end up. One way or another, it’ll turn out fine.”

“Are you turning into an optimist?”

Clint laughed. “No. Just someone who’s very content with where they are right now. Which is just bizarre for me.”

Posted in Clint Morgan, Episode Seventeen, Holly Woods, Peter Glades, Season Four, Victor McCall | 1 Comment

S4, Ep 17, Sc 3: The News

When the limo pulled up outside of the theater and Holly stepped out, she was met by a horde of cameras. There had been enough drama over the past twelve months that they were all willing to overlook that this was an indie film. But she ignored them as she swept into the theater. It was odd, looking back now, to remember how much she used to be bothered and embarrassed by them.

Inside, Amy and Evelyn had done a fantastic job. There were tall tables set up around the room, and waiters moving around, offering hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and (because Holly had insisted despite everyone telling her it just wasn’t typical for a premiere) cupcakes. She might not get an Amy cupcake again in a long time and she sure wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass. She grabbed one from a passing waiter.

“Holly.”

“Henry!” She beamed. “I’m so glad you came!”

He smiled back. “Wouldn’t miss it. I’m happy that the film made it, even without me. Besides, Walsh and I have been talking about collaborating on a project together. So it seems things worked out well in the end.”

“That’s exciting. Walsh is fantastic to work with”

“ I just would like to say Holly, about everything-”

“It’s fine Henry. Like you said: things worked out pretty well in the end. It’s okay.”

“I just-…Peter and I have so much history. I practically grew up with him. And then everything went rotten. I let that-”

“I get it. I really do. You wanted to protect your friendship with him.”

“That was part of it. But it was also partly just an excuse because Grant offered me something I really wanted. But I shouldn’t have left the film.”

“Look around at all these people. Half of whom I’ve never even met. And they’re all here to see Antigone. And let’s be honest. Without you there wouldn’t have been an Antigone to start with.”

“And without you there wouldn’t have been one in the end.”

“Well. I mean, if Peter hadn’t made you cast me that probably wouldn’t be true. Another actress would have caused a lot less headache.”

“Fair enough. But guaranteed she wouldn’t have garnered nearly this much public interest for it.”

“So all things considered we could just call it even and let bygones be bygones?”

“I would like that very much.”

She smiled and held out her hand. Henry hesitated for only a fraction of a second and then shook it.

“Now that that’s out of the way…have you seen Peter?” she asked, looking around.

“No. I was surprised he wasn’t here yet.”

“Huh. Well he still has time.”

“I’m sure he’s coming.”

There was an awkward pause. Holly was trying to figure out the best way to graceful extricate herself when, with relief, she saw McCall come through the front doors.

“Excuse me Henry, I should really go say hi to Victor. I’ll see you later.” Holly hurried away. “McCall!” She waved to catch his attention and he came over. “Well?”

He glanced around and then nodded towards a corner of the room. They made their way over, nodding and greeting a few people, before reaching the relative privacy of the alcove.

“How did the board meeting go?” she asked. McCall was looking a bit shell-shocked and it worried her.

“Grant was voted out.”

“Oh.” She wasn’t sure exactly how to feel about that but McCall had told her it was expected. “So it’s done. I suppose Gloria is the new head of the board?”

“No. She … was voted off as well.”

“What!” Several people nearby looked over at the exclamation and Holly smiled weakly at them before lowering her voice turning her attention back to McCall. “Gloria is out too? How did that happen?”

“I think … I think I may have been played.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Donald told me this morning, or at least he suggested, that maybe someone should prepare Malcolm for the inevitable. And I did feel, well, as if I owed Grant something. I’ve known him a long time. So when Malcolm got to the board meeting, he didn’t even fight the vote. He practically invited us to vote against him. Instead he told us all the reasons why we should get rid of Gloria as well. And then the vote passed. And then, well Donald was made the new head of the studio. Gloria was-, well, furious isn’t even a strong enough word for what she was. And Grant was shocked. I think he always thought of Donald as a bit of an idiot. To tell the truth I think a lot of people did.” McCall ran a hand through his hair. “But it’s been Donald whose has been in the official talks with Japan. And he was the one making the call this morning, letting everyone know that it had finally fallen through. What if he delayed and sabotaged the deal just so it would fall through?” He muttered this last, more to himself then to Holly.

“What?”

McCall sighed. “Nothing. It doesn’t matter I suppose. And to tell the truth I do feel more comfortable with Donald at the head of things than Gloria or Grant. Which leads me to another matter. Donald called me into his office after the meeting. He offered a distribution deal for Antigone.”

“We’re already got a plan for distribution.”

“This one wouldn’t be relying on online streaming. A major one, in all the major theaters.”

“Why would he offer that?”

“Save Montell Connected Studios some face in the public eye? Set himself apart from Grant?”

“Oh. I see. And what did you say?”

“I said I had to think about it. I wanted to talk it over with you first.”

“You’re the one that owns the movie.”

“Yes. And I’m inclined to say no. I have my eye on an up and coming production company that I’m much more interested in working with.” He grinned. “But when it comes to Antigone, I wouldn’t dream of making a decision without you.”

Holly grinned back. “I think you’re right. We don’t need Montell.”

“No we don’t.” McCall winked at her and then held out his arm. “Come on. We should be heading into the theater. We don’t want to be late to our own premiere.”

She took his offered arm, and shot one last hopefully look around the room. But she didn’t see Peter and with a feeling of disappointment, let McCall lead her into the theater.

Posted in Episode Seventeen, Holly Woods, Season Four, Victor McCall | 1 Comment

S4, Ep 17, Sc 3: The Worry

Holly parked the car around back of the theater and entered from the rear. Down in the lobby there was commotion and in the center of it, as calm and collected as ever, stood Amy.

“Hi!” Holly hurried over to her. “How’s everything going?”

“Holly what are you doing here? As star of the movie aren’t you supposed to be sashaying in here later?”

“I wanted to make sure everything was going alright.”

Amy rolled her eyes but grinned. “I am perfectly capable of managing a small catering gig.”

“I know that Amy. It’s not that I at all doubt your capabilities-”

“Good. Then leave the worrying to me. And you just enjoy your moment.”

“I’ll be able to enjoy it once I know it’s been a success.”

“Of course it will be! The positive PR has just rolled in all month. You’re the little engine that could against the mountain of Malcolm Grant,” said Evelyn, appearing Holly’s elbow as she ticked things off a clipboard.

“Evelyn! What are you doing here?”

“Helping Amy ensure that everything goes off without a hitch tonight. I realize this is only a small part of the premiere, the important part is happening online, but it’s still something that should be celebrated properly.”

Holly hugged her. “Thank you. Both of you.”

“Now you go off and get beautiful,” said Evelyn. “If you need to borrow my stylist I can call her…”

“No thanks. Matilda sent me a dress and I think I can manage the rest on my own.”

“Alright then. Shoo and enjoy yourself!”

Holly smiled and left. But despite their assurances, on the drive home she found she was still worried. This was finally the moment. Antigone’s release. So many people had worked so hard to ensure that it would not only get made but that when it did, it would be seen.

And yet…if she were honest with herself that really wasn’t why she was worried, was it? The truth actually had very little to do with Antigone at all.

It wasn’t nerves for the film that was bothering her. She’d spent so much of the past months focused on this. Now she was about to be done with that. And then there other changes coming….

Holly found she was gripping the steering wheel more tightly.

She was scared, excited, depressed, and happy. It wasn’t fair. No one should have to feel all of that at once. And why did even good things have to be so darn complicated sometimes?

Holly reached her house and let herself in. She took a quick shower, changed into the dress Matilda had sent her, and began to put up her hair.

But as she stared in the mirror she realized she still wasn’t being completely honest. There was something else bothering her as well. No. She pushed it out of her head. She’s already made her decision. She was not going to go down that road. That was finished and done with and she’d already decided to ignore it.

Shaking her head, to shake her thoughts away, she turned her focus back to getting ready.

 

AN: I know, it’s kind of a short post. But it’s been one of those weeks that hasn’t been very inspiring. 🙂

Posted in Episode Seventeen, Evelyn Martin, Holly Woods, Season Four | Leave a comment

S4, Ep 17, Sc 2: The Board

Grant straightened his tie once more, almost automatically.

Well perhaps she had won. But he wasn’t going to run.

He slowly got to his feet, glanced one more time around the office, and then switched off the lights before walking down the hall, up a flight of stairs and to the boardroom.

It was still early but several people were already gathered. As soon as he walked through the doors an awkward hush descended around the room.

He nodded curtly at everyone.

“Grant.” Donald edged over to him, as if prepared to run for it if he had to. “How are you holding up?”

Grant raised an eyebrow at the phrasing. “I’m feeling well. And you Donald?”

“Oh. Just fine….it’s chilly for the time of year isn’t it?”

“Very.” Grant brushed past him and took a seat at the table. Victor joined him.

One by one people started making their way to their seats and more board members arrived. Gloria was the last to show up, sweeping in at the last minute, looking for all the world as if she owned the place. She beamed towards Grant and he made a point to smile politely back.

The meeting was called to order and a few basic preliminaries were gone through but everyone was tense. They were all waiting. And from the way some people kept glancing towards Gloria, they were planning on leaving the dirty work to her and she was enjoying dragging it out. Grant had had enough.

He straightened several papers in front of him, took a drink of water, and then set down the glass with a loud and audible ‘click’. Every eye turned to him. He could still command the attention of every single person in this room.

“I think we can dispense with the remaining preliminaries and get down to why this meeting was called in the first place. Don’t you Gloria?”

She titled her head to one side as if considering. “I suppose there is a lot to discuss. Donald?”

“What? Oh yes. Japan. Well I think most of us have heard that they’ve backed out of the deal this morning.”

Gloria shot a glance towards Grant and was disappointed to see that he had indeed heard this.

There was a general murmur around the table.

“I mean we’re all disappointed,” Donald continued. “I know everyone put in a lot of hours to make that deal go through.”

“And it was all but officially a done deal. But I suppose there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip,” said Gloria. “And this meeting was called a month ago. So while I do feel the merger is relevant as it illustrates the problem we have, the real issue is a much bigger one. And I think we’re all aware of it.”

People shifted in their seats.

She continued: “Now I know we’ve all worked hard to create Montell Connected Studios and that that level of hard work creates a bond and no one wants to hurt feelings. But we have a responsibility to more than ourselves. We have a responsibility to our employees to do what is in the best interests of the studio. And the time may have come when the best, is also the most difficult.”

“And what do you think is the best?” asked Grant.

Gloria gave him a sympathetic smile that grated like iron. “Malcolm. Our studio is more than one person. So when one person is bringing it down, changes must be made. Wouldn’t you agree Victor?”

“I’m not getting involved in this.”

“Oh but we’re all involved in this. Look at what’s been happening this past year! We formed one of the biggest international movie studios that has ever existed. We were on top of the world. And now our studio is under fire for going after an indie film that is just trying to get by, and an actress that has been in a total of one television show and two movies. An actress who should be so far beneath our notice we shouldn’t even be talking about her at our board meeting. And yet here we are. The laughing stock of Hollywood because of our vendetta against her. Only, in recent months ‘laughing stock’ is too generous a phrase to describe what we have become. Tampering with photographs, framing her for leaking films, and…who knows what else.”

Grant knew every single person in that room was thinking about Lionel Atwood.

“That’s what people are saying,” said Gloria. “It’s a wonder we’re not under a criminal investigation at this point. Of course I say we, because that is how people see us. As a unit. As a studio. When we made the merger, we threw our lots in together. And now, we have to show unity. We have to show that we do not tolerate this kind of behavior. This kind of petty cruelty and underhanded dealing. Or else we will lose everything that we’ve built. This is an industry based on appearances. And we need a makeover.”

Grant chuckled. He’d had a speech in his head. It was a good speech. He was going to pull it out right before the vote so the last thing in everyone’s mind was that speech. It would have laid down exactly everything he had done for everyone present in that room, and have just a hint of what he could do if pushed to it. But McCall was right. People already knew what they were going to vote. And it wasn’t going to be in his favor. So why not see exactly who he could drag down with him?

Mentally he threw the speech out. It was time to wing it with something new.

“Let me see if I understand this Gloria. Your interpretation of unity…isn’t actually us as a unit is it?” he asked.

“It’s making the hard calls together Malcolm. No matter what it may cost us personally.”

“Why don’t you just admit that you want to call a vote to have me ousted from the board?”

Gloria blinked. She obviously hadn’t expected him to take this approach and didn’t appreciate him stealing her thunder.

“You are the one who’s brought this on the studio singlehandedly,” she said.

“Have I? Singlehandedly?” He got to his feet. “Let’s think about that shall we? First I admit that I’ve made some mistakes. But I had some help in making them. Luke Page for instance. I bet if you talked to him, he would tell you all about his meeting with Gloria. Which is very interesting, because when his interview with Holly Woods was killed, it raised some eyebrows, didn’t it Donald?”

“Well yes…”

Grant began to walk around the table. “And let me ask this of each and every one of you: how many private lunches have you all had one-on-one with Gloria this year at which somehow you ended up talking about me?”

“I don’t see how that-”

“Gloria please. You got your speech. Now it’s time for mine. Gossip always starts somewhere. This studio has been infested with it. Where do you think it all began? Don’t misunderstand me. I accept my responsibility. But Gloria has been fanning every single flame that would have died a natural death. Gloria has wanted to bring the studio to this point, so she could force this vote, and she could take my place. She wants to you to vote me out. And who then could possibly be the head of Montell Connected Studios then?”

“What? You think I couldn’t handle the job better than you? At least I wouldn’t drag the studio’s name through the mud.”

“No. Because you’ve already done that. You have relished every misstep I’ve taken. I know, for a fact, that you’ve been talking to press.”

“You want to talk about the press? What about Clint Morgan? That’s the kind of press you talk to.”

“See. There she goes again. She talks of unity but at the first opportunity throws the people she’s done with to the dogs. Is that really the type of person you want running this studio? That you want over you? A woman who fought to bring the studio low just so she could take over? In fact let me go one further. Is that really the type of person you even want on this board? She exacerbated every, single error, and it’s partly thanks to her that we’re even here today. So please, by all means, vote me off, but cut out all the infected area while you’re at it. I ask for a vote to remove Gloria Stanhope from this board as well.”

Posted in Episode Seventeen, Season Four, Victor McCall | 1 Comment

S4, Ep 17, Sc 1: The Vote

Grant straightened his jacket and adjusted his tie in the mirror. He could feel a sense of foreboding. It was almost as if he could see the whole board meeting play out in his mind’s eye. He knew how this was going to go. And if Gloria’s manner over the past few weeks were any indication, she knew too and was relishing it. She’d been in seventh heaven, in a disgustingly good mood, and excessively friendly to him.

Since the photo scandal, she’d also been insufferable, flitting about, rubbing it in at just the wrong moments, whispering suspicions and accusations into everyone’s ear. At least Holly Woods was willing to let well enough alone.

Looking back, Grant wondered where exactly he had gone wrong. He’d been in control. He’d held all the cards. And then somehow, somewhere along the line he’d missed a step and now he was attending a board meeting that had been made clear to him, not so subtly, was likely to wrest control of the studio out of his hands. He wasn’t sure who to blame for it: Holly or Gloria. But it didn’t matter.

Over the past month he’d fought tooth and nail to rebuild his influence after the combination of his leaked email to Eleanor and Clint’s photographs, but those scandals had ensured he wasn’t just a target in the studio; he was a target to the paparazzi and media. People who never knew the name of studio heads and producers, suddenly knew his name. And they didn’t like it.

Gloria smelled the blood in the water.

He realized he’d started to crumple the tie and smoothed it back out. He had to stay in control. It wasn’t over until it was over and he still had one last fight. The board meeting. He could still turn things around.

Grant picked up his briefcase and pocketed his phone. He would be driving himself today. There was something humiliating about slinking away with a driver after a defeat, and you needed to plan for every eventuality.

For once the LA traffic was nonexistent and he got to the studio earlier than he’d expected. The atmosphere there was tense. It was as if no matter how quiet the board meeting had been kept, every employee down to the janitor had still heard some whisper or hint of what was brewing.

Grant made his way to his office. He didn’t actually have any business there but…

He sat at the desk and looked around. This was his office. This was his studio. And Gloria was nothing but a parasite and he’d rot before he let her infest everything he’d built.

There was a knock on the door.

“Come in.”

“Grant. I saw you drive in.” McCall entered the office and stood hesitantly in front of the desk.

“What do you want Victor?” Grant didn’t mean to sound quite so tired.

McCall sighed. “We’ve known each other a long time Malcolm. We’re not friends. But we’ve never been enemies. At least not until recently.”

“Holly,” said Grant. “That was the start of it. I knew the day Ryder was arrested I should have gone with my gut and dropped her from Cold Wars. But you wouldn’t let me. I should have called your bluff.”

“But you didn’t.”

“True. Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve. My sister used to say that.”

“I never knew you had a sister.”

“…a wannabe hippie that never realized she’d missed the era before she was even born. Pathetic really.” There was an awkward pause. Goodness he was tired wasn’t he? Grant rubbed his forehead. “Antigone has its premiere tonight.”

“Yes it does.”

“I bet Holly is quite pleased.”

“Of course. The press has really come out strong in support of the film. And the online communities are buzzing. It looks like it’s going to be a hit.”

“Good. For. Her.”

“Malcolm-”

“I have some phone calls I have to make before the board meeting. I’ll see you there Victor.”

“Wait. I didn’t come in here to fight. I came here to warn you. We both know what this board meeting is about.”

“If we both know then I don’t need a warning.”

“You’re going to lose the vote. You can’t change their minds. I know you were making calls last night; Donald told me you phoned him trying to get his support. But whatever people told you…you’re not going to get it. Japan backed out of the merger at the six o’clock this morning.”

“I see.”

“Gloria has made sure everyone says it was because of you. And let’s face it, it probably was. I know what people are going to vote. I’m sorry Grant. But…I thought you should know before going in there.”

There was a long dead silence.

“Thank you Victor.” Grant glanced at the time. “Now I have to make my phone calls.” He nodded towards the door.

McCall sighed and left.

The door closed behind him and Grant was left alone in an empty office. He looked around idly. So … Gloria had won.

Posted in Episode Seventeen, Season Four, Victor McCall | 3 Comments

The Holidays Have Started

Author’s Note: I wanted to get one more chapter in before the holidays but I am burnt out in a writing sense from getting all my work done before the Christmas week. Holly(Woods) will return January 8th, and should hopefully be completed that month 🙂

 

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments