INT. HOLLY’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.
Holly braided her hair as she stood in front of the bathroom mirror, refusing to check the time on her wristwatch. She felt nervous and excited and it was playing havoc in her mind; one minute her thoughts were zooming around in anticipation for seven o’clock, and the next minute she was fervently wishing the whole things was over with or never happened in the first place.
She could hear the sounds of Amy in the kitchen and she tried to concentrate on that as she finished her hair. She wrapped a band around the bottom of the braid and then stepped away from the mirror, picking up her high heels off of the counter and perching on the bathtub ledge to put them on.
She heard the buzzer.
“I’ll get it!” Amy called out.
Holly hurried with her shoe buckles and then grabbed her purse. She stuffed a compact inside and hurried out of the bathroom and towards the elevators.
Amy was just stepping away from the intercom. “I told him you were on your way down.”
“Thanks.” Holly hugged Amy and then called the elevator.
As Holly took the lift down she fidgeted nervously with her purse. She kept a running mantra in her head which kept repeating, it’s only dinner, it’s only dinner. But it wasn’t working. It wasn’t only dinner. It was dinner with Alan. It was a date with Alan.
She tried to blame her nerves on Evelyn, for making such a deal of it on Monday, but it wasn’t working. Right now her nerves had nothing to do with tabloids or Hollywood or even who Alan was.
The elevator reached the first floor and Holly got out, crossing the grungy hall to the front door and stepping out onto the sidewalk.
Alan was standing there waiting for her.
“Holly,” he gave her his huge smile, “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she ran her hand over her hair. “I hope I’m dressed alright for where we’re going.”
“It’s perfect.” He turned sideways and indicated his car. “Shall we?”
She nodded and started to walk towards the passenger’s side. She didn’t know cars but she tell from looking at it that this was an expensive one. It was low, sleek and a dark grey.
Alan went ahead of her and opened the door.
“Oh!” She blinked, surprised.
“What?” he asked.
“I’ve just never seen a car door that goes up before. What’s the point of that exactly?” she asked curiously.
“I…think to look expensive?” Alan said, a little sheepishly. “It’s a bit pretentious isn’t? I knew I should have brought one of the other cars.”
“You have cars, plural?”
“And now I sound like a pompous ass.”
Holly laughed, feeling suddenly relaxed. “This car is good.” She slipped in and right before he closed the door behind her she added, “And you’re not pompous.”
Alan came around to the driver’s seat and got in, turning the key in the ignition and driving away from the curb.
“Have you been to the Stephanie’s?” he asked, as they paused at a stoplight.
“No. I haven’t.”
“I hope you like it. It’s a good restaurant. I wasn’t sure what kind of food you like, but it has things from all over so there should be something for you.”
“I’ll like it.”
They reached the restaurant ten minutes later and Holly was happy to see it was not as fancy as the Goudge. When she was handed a menu and the prices weren’t listed she suspected it was probably at least as expensive a restaurant but it had a more laid back air to it. There was no one wearing extravagant evening dresses and there was no gold decoration or chandeliers. Everything was low key and had more of the air of a family restaurant.
They placed their orders and the waiter brought over their drinks. As they were finally left alone without the menus to distract them, Holly had one moment of sudden returning panic as she was worried they were going to end up sitting in dead silence, and then Alan spoke, leaning forwards, his attention completely focused on her.
“I’ve been mean to ask for a while now, where did you grow up?” he asked, “You’re clearly not a native Californian.”
“How can you tell that?” she asked.
“Believe me, you can tell the Californians.”
“I grew up in Arizona. My parents are still there.”
“A country girl?”
Holly shrugged. “Not exactly. More semi-country. How about you? Evelyn said your father’s a senator?”
“Yes. I grew up mostly in Maine with some time in D.C.”
“When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?”
“I always wanted it. I did try a year of college because my parents wanted me to but then I dropped out and moved here. They weren’t very happy about that. The three years it took till I got my first major role were mostly spent with them nagging at me to go back to school.”
“The ‘White Crusader’ was your first starring role, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. The movie ended up being a lot bigger than most of us working on it thought it would be.”
“I’ve heard a couple people on set say it was the only reason ‘Homestead’ became successful.”
“I don’t about know about that. It’s a good show. I think it just brought some extra attention to it. Ironically I was only supposed to last the first season.”
“Yes. My character was created just to die in the finale, so I was actually only signed up for one season. ‘White Crusader’ came out and the writers rewrote the character’s story arch. And I think I’m talking about myself too much here.”
Holly shrugged. “But you’re interesting.”
“So are you. And I want to hear everything about you. From your parents, to your roommate, to how you like our co-workers, to how you got into acting.”
“That’s a lot of things.”
“And it’s only seven thirty.”
Holly flushed. It felt surreal to have a man’s attention solely focused on her, to have his eyes unwaveringly meet her own. It was amazing that it was Alan who was doing so. And it felt good.