EXT. HOMESTEAD SET. (CONT’D)
Alan led her back into the crowd and went off to fetch her a drink. She glanced around to see if McCall was anywhere nearby but couldn’t spot him. That was a good sign. She saw that Evelyn had started talking to Matilda and watched as Walsh sat, obviously bored, flicking through call sheets and jotting down notes. Obviously he wasn’t a party person.
The crew seemed to be enjoying the event more than the cast, most of whom seemed to be checking their watches at frequent intervals. The food was definitely getting eaten however and the alcohol seemed to be quite popular.
Holly was just beginning to feel relaxed when she saw the two men approaching her, Ian leading the way with Victor behind him.
“Ms. Woods correct?” asked Ian, holding out his hand towards her. “I don’t believe I’ve had a chance to meet you since I took over, but I’ve heard some great things about you from several people already.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said weakly, shaking his hand and trying to avoid looking at McCall.
“Victor said he knows you,” continued Ian.
“Oh?” She tried hard to sound noncommittal.
“Yes he said you auditioned for another one of his projects which is how you met our casting director Kate. Who actually was the one to get Victor interested in joining with us too. We definitely owe her.”
Holly felt she was probably expected to add something here but she was concentrating too hard on not looking at McCall that she couldn’t think of anything to say.
“Well,” said Ian to Victor after a moment of silence that lasted a fraction too long, “I suppose we’d better go shake a few more hands.”
“I’ll catch up to with you,” said McCall. “I want to chat with Holly for a moment.”
“But I think we-”
“I’ll be right there,” said McCall firmly.
Ian didn’t look happy but he walked away.
McCall turned to Holly. “It’s nice to see you again.”
Holly’s jaw set and she squared her shoulders. She had to be firm. “You might as well fire me right now Mr. McCall.”
“You heard what I said. No matter what you do or say, my opinion of you is not going to change.”
“Miss. Woods,” McCall frowned at her. “I have to admit I find your behavior baffling. You’re the one who after ordering every expensive thing on the menu, including a cocktail made with absurdly expensive French wine, proceeded to run off and leave me with a check that I had fully intended to pay for anyways.”
Holly felt herself grow angry. “You’re leaving out the most important aspect of the evening, which justified my behavior!”
“I’m talking about what you were trying to do!” She remembered Evelyn’s words from earlier and added, “Under the circumstance I think what I did was completely within my rights.”
Victor raised an eyebrow. “And what exactly was the circumstance?”
Holly crossed her arms. “I believe the term often applied to those situations is ‘casting couch’.”
“Excuse me? Miss. Woods,” McCall looked slightly shocked. “I made no inappropriate remarks to you or in any way implied that my help was contingent-”
“You’re going to claim taking my hand, going on about how before we talked business you wanted to get to know me personally, all of that was completely innocent?” she demanded angrily.
“I wanted to get to know you because I was proposing taking a deeply personal interest in your career. I was going to suggest your name for a number of projects to people whom I have known for a long time and I wanted to be sure what kind of person you were. Yes, when a casting director proposes finishing up an audition over dinner you could be suspicious but I was offering much more than one role, so it was reasonable that I would want to get to know you first.”
“You took my hand. What was I supposed to think?”
“There’s nothing particularly suggestive with taking a hand. I take my granddaughter’s and she’s your age.”
“But I am not your granddaughter, so it means something very different!” Holly paused a moment and considered what McCall had just said. “Are you actually saying you weren’t, for lack of a better word, hitting on me?”
“No. I wasn’t. I was offering to help you,” he said, his voice level but his tone angry.
Holly felt herself become flustered. “But you can understand how I got the wrong impression,” she said halfheartedly, still uncertain whether or not to believe him.
“No, I don’t. And you could have at least done me the courtesy of asking me at the time.” Victor cleared his throat. “I think I should probably go find Ian. I’ll see you another time.” He took two steps and then stopped and turned back to her. His voice a little gentler he added, “I’m not going to get you fired.” He gave her a small smile and then left.
Holly was only alone a few seconds before Alan returned, two drinks in hand. As he handed her one he looked at her face and asked with concern,
“What’s wrong? You look upset.”
“I think I just deeply insulted our new producer,” said Holly, “And I think he might not have deserved it.”
“Victor? He’s a good guy, whatever happened I’m sure it was just a misunderstanding.”
“I think that’s exactly what it was,” said Holly a little weakly, “But I think I hurt him with it.” She suddenly realized that she was deeply upset. “Alan, I know you said you needed to stay but please let’s go? Please let’s just get out of here.”
Alan seemed to sense a note of desperation in her voice and he nodded, “Alright,” he agreed, without hesitation. He took her drink and set it down along with his on an unoccupied chair and then slipping her hand into his he started walking towards the parking lot.
“You won’t get in trouble?” she asked as they left behind the crowd and walked through the deserted section of the set.
“What’s Ian going to do?” he asked grinning. “Fire me when he’s been bending over backwards trying to get me to sign for another year? I think I’m safe.”