INT. HOLLY’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” asked Holly, as she stood in front of the mirror, putting on her earrings.
“I’m sorry,” said Amy, who was watching from a seat on her bed. “But I really really don’t. My head feels stuffed with cotton and I keep having coughing fits. I’m making some feel good tea and going to bed with a good book. Sorry,” she added, “I know I told you I’d go.”
“No, of course not. You’re sick. You should sleep.” Holly pulled back from the mirror and turned to Amy. “Well, what do you think?”
Amy surveyed her friend’s green drop neck sweater and black jeans, paired with green earrings and necklace and she nodded in approval.
“Alan said it was going to be a casual party,” said Holly a little doubtfully, glancing down at her clothes.
“You look beautiful. Classy casual.”
“I just keep remembering going into The Goudge and everyone was so much nicer dressed then I was. I felt completely out of place,” said Holly, turning back to the mirror to examine herself. “I don’t want to be out of place tonight. And I want…I just hope I don’t spend the whole party in a corner by myself.”
“Evelyn Martin will be there, won’t she?” asked Amy. “You’ve said she’s been very friendly to you the last couple days. You can talk to her.”
Holly shrugged. “I don’t want to push myself on her…the thing is, with people like her or Alan, I become kind of nervous about why they think I’m talking to them. I mean if I go up and start a conversation will they think it’s because I honestly want to get to know them or because they think I’m just interested in knowing them because they’re famous?”
“Holly I’m sure they don’t think that,” said Amy.
“It’s just difficult,” said Holly. “I don’t always know how to behave around them.” She shook her head. “I feel like it’s complicated.”
Amy smiled. “Once you get to the party, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
“Right. Well,” Holly grabbed her car keys and purse off a side table and gave Amy a hug. “I’m off. I’ve got his address and a map of the area. I guess I’m off to Beverly Hills!” She grinned and headed for the elevator.
EXT. BEVERLY HILLS. NIGHT.
Holly had to pull over a couple of times to check the map as she navigated through Beverly Hills. It was getting dark and most of the houses were surrounded by tall thick walls or obscured with trees, but the few she caught glimpses of as she drove past, where large, and in the dusk, somewhat imposing. Glancing at the map, she turned left and checking the numbers on walls, pulled into the second driveway on the right. The gate was opened and beyond Holly could see a gravel driveway that was currently packed with cars.
A security guard emerged from a small gate house and approached her car. She rolled down the window and leaning out asked,
“Is this Alan Ryder’s house?”
“Name?” asked the guard.
“Alan Ryder?” Holly repeated.
The guard gave a cough that sounded suspiciously like it was trying to hide a chuckle and he clarified, “I meant your name.”
“Oh. Yes of course. I’m sorry. Holly Woods. I was invited to a party at Alan Ryder’s house? Which I think this is…” You probably didn’t have to add that last bit, she chided herself, I think at this point if it wasn’t he’d have told you. Stop being so nervous about this. It’s going to be fine…
The guard had been consulting a clipboard. He now checked something off and then nodded towards the driveway. “Just park in there.”
“Thank you.” She drove in and parked behind a convertible that looked like it had cost more than her family’s house, car and annual vacation put together, and got out. As she surveyed the view around her she felt keenly aware that she was wearing a twenty dollar top and driving a used car she was still paying off.
For the second time in a week, she felt like an imposter with no business standing where she was.
The lawn itself was hard to make out entirely in the darkening evening, but she could see grass and long rows of flower bushes that followed all around the wall. The wall was oval shaped, lacking sharp corners and had been painted a pretty peach color, which combated any possible austerity it might otherwise have bestowed. And the house…well, the house was just lovely. The gravel driveway led up to a set of lightwood colored front steps and two double glass doors. The whole front of the house’s downstairs wall was made of a combination of glass and light wood. And it was large downstairs, offhand she’d guess about fifty meters long. The upstairs was more private. More light wood and the only glass were a few large bay windows but they appeared tinted. The roof, from where Holly was standing, appeared flat, with a railing all around it. She guessed it might be used as a terrace.
This house was a mansion. Holly felt the impact of the word strongly as she surveyed the prospect of entering and contemplated the fact that this was where Alan lived. The thought that someone she knew, someone she worked with, called this home- no, home was the wrong word. This wasn’t a home. A home was something small in a suburb or quiet town with a white picket fence. This was awe-inspiring and huge. But he lived here. He slept, ate and relaxed in this house, every day. And she went home at night to a studio apartment which she shared with a receptionist baker. It wasn’t that she envied him. She loved her receptionist baker and the smell of cookies and brownies that tended to greet her when she came home. But she did feel intimidated. This wasn’t her world. Alan wasn’t her world. And how could she seriously contemplate ever being on equal footing in a world like that?
She shook her head and took a deep breath.
She could see the party through the glass walls. She saw some waiters going round with trays and could hear music thudding from one side of the house. The rooms appeared packed with guests and she didn’t recognize one of them. At least, she thought to herself, she was dressed appropriately, even if most of those people probably hadn’t bought their clothes at Sears.
She locked the car and squaring her shoulders, walked towards the house.