EXT. HOMESTEAD SET. EVENING.
As the shooting for the day began to wrap, metal tables started being put up on the middle of the set. It felt a little surreal to see the cooler of drinks being carried out and the metal foldout chairs placed in the dirt road, with the old-fashioned wood buildings on either side.
Holly pulled her hair into a ponytail, and wiped off the last remnants on her makeup from filming and headed out towards the activity. As she passed the saloon she felt someone’s arm going through hers. She looked round to see Evelyn beaming at her.
“Holly,” Evelyn said as the two continued to walk. “I’m glad you’re staying for the reception. As you can see from the preparations it’s going to be very low-key and probably not much longer than an hour. I really do think you’re going to enjoy yourself. But the beauty of having it on set is you can leave whenever you want.”
“How was your day?” asked Holly, as they reached the reception area.
“Alright I suppose,” said Evelyn breezily. “Filming the plot line with the runaway horse. I’m afraid I very little animal sympathy but it’s very easy to emote self-righteous anger. Excuse me,” she laid a hand on a passing bystander, “Won’t you bring me a drink? I think I see gin and tonic over there. Thank you.”
“I don’t think that was a waiter,” said Holly, as the person walked off.
Evelyn shrugged, “I don’t think so either, but he’ll bring me a drink.”
Holly looked around. A few platters of hors d’oeuvre had been laid out on one table, the drinks at another and slowly the cast and crew were beginning to trickle out from around the set. She saw Matilda chatting with a cameraman and waved to her.
“You don’t normally see everyone together like this,” said Holly, “It’s kind of nice.”
“You wait till the season wrap party,” said Evelyn, “They’re always quite fun. Everyone feels so relieved for a break and a chance for vacation. Of course most the actors go off and work on summer projects, so they don’t end up with much of vacation after all.”
“Oh goodness no. I’ve been doing this long enough to appreciate the rests.”
Evelyn fell silent for a moment as her gin and tonic arrived and she took a long drink.
Holly looked out and saw Alan come out from the jail building up the road. His eyes seemed to search the crowd and then meet hers. He smiled at her and she returned it. He reached the drinks table and seemed to be walking towards her and Evelyn, when Walsh came up and roped him into conversation.
“You should go up and talk to him,” said Evelyn encouragingly, noticing the direction Holly was looking.
“He’s talking to Walsh.”
“So? You could join the conversation.”
“I can’t just go up and start talking to them both. It would be awkward.”
Evelyn rolled her eyes. “And what would be so terrible with that? You would be fully within your rights to be a part of the conversation, so if there was any awkwardness it would be their fault.”
Holly crossed her arms. “Which wouldn’t change the fact that I would feel uncomfortable.”
“You should never feel uncomfortable while within your rights.”
Holly laughed, “I wish it worked that way.”
“Well never mind now,” said Evelyn looking towards the opposite end of crowd, “Here’s Ian. It looks like the announcement is coming.”
The show’s runner, Ian MacAlister, was standing up and raising his arms wide, gesturing for people’s attention.
“Excuse me! Everyone!” he called out, “Can I have your attention please?”
The hum of conversation slowly faded out as the crowd began to turn towards MacAlister.
“Thank you.” Ian lowered his voice a little. “I’m glad so many of you could attend tonight. I know it was a little last minute, but I have an announcement to make and I really wanted to let you all know as soon as possible.”
“In other words he wanted to make sure he was the one that spread the news first and show he was in charge of his new position,” Evelyn whispered to Holly.
“I know there have been some rumors going around and there’s been a lot of behind the scene changes that probably left a few of you feeling a bit uneasy,” MacAlister continued, “I feel confident that after tonight things are going to get a chance to settle again but I also know that change is a powerful tool and will have served to make our show stronger.”
“I’m sure he feels that’s especially true when the changes promote him to show runner,” Evelyn whispered.
Holly stifled a laugh and gestured at Evelyn to keep her voice down.
“We have one new person to welcome on board our team tonight,” announced Ian. “A man who has produced many successful films, including an Oscar winner, and who has co-produced two Emmy nominated shows. I know he will bring to the table talent, experience and a unique and refreshing perspective. I am so excited to be able to introduce him to you, so please welcome the new Associate Producer of ‘Homestead’, Victor McCall!”
Holly felt as if she’d missed a step. A man emerged from the building closet to Ian and crossed over to him.
“That’s Victor McCall,” said Holly, a little loudly perhaps because several people nearby glanced over at her.
“Well yes,” said Evelyn, “Who did you expect? Ian did just announce his name…do you know him?”
“Uh-huh,” said Holly weakly.
McCall was shaking hands with Ian and turning to the crowd. “Thank you everyone, I don’t want to make a big speech here, I just want to say how excited I am to work with all of you on such a fantastic show. Thank you and I hope to get to know all of you very well!”
McCall turned back to Ian and the two men started talking as general conversation resumed.
“Holly? Is there something wrong?” asked Evelyn.
“I think I need to go home.”
“Holly what’s the matter?”
“I’ll talk to you later.” Holly hurried off before Evelyn could say another word. She had just reached the edge of the party when she heard her name. She looked around. “Alan!”
“I’m sorry I didn’t come over earlier,” he said, “Walsh wouldn’t go away. How are you?”
“I’m good,” she felt torn for a moment between wanting to stay and talk to Alan and just wanting to get away. Her nerves won out. “I was actually just on my way out.”
“Oh,” he looked disappointed. “I’m sorry to hear that. I was hoping we could go out and get a drink together, maybe dinner, after this finished.”
“You were?” Holly felt herself waver. Maybe she could just stay out of sight of McCall for the reception and afterwards…well producers didn’t spend that must time actually on set did they?
“Yes. I’d leave now but I think Ian would be a bit mad about that. He made it pretty clear he wanted the main cast to stay for the whole thing. It’s not going to last that long though.”
Holly hesitated a moment. Anyway she could think of saying no, seemed rude and to send the wrong message. And she had to admit, she did want to go with him.
She nodded. “Alright, I’ll stay.”