INT. NIKKI’S HOUSE. DAY.
Clint checked his watch and then tapped his foot impatiently. “Nik! They’re going to be here in an hour!” He yelled out.
Faintly he heard her calling back, but couldn’t make out the words.
Sighing he leaned back in the couch and tried to wait. Nikki’s house had had a makeover. At least the downstairs had. Clint had worked on it all day yesterday. Every spare shelf in the living room and den had been stuffed full of books. Magazines and TV guides had been tossed. He had moved upstairs any piece of bric-a-brac that looked like it could have cost less than a hundred dollars and brought in some framed photographs from his own collection to hang on the walls. He had stocked the kitchen full of food from the farmer’s market, along with expensive pots and pans. The diving board Nikki had ordered several weeks ago had already been set up at the pool, so the outside hadn’t required much work, but he had had Nikki pick several bunches of flowers from the garden and set them in vases around the house.
“It makes you look normal,” he said, when she had complained. “People decorate their house with flowers. They see a picture of your living room with a vase of flowers, it humanizes you.”
The last thing he had done at around midnight, was lay a newspaper on a side table in the living room, and then with a grin at Nikki, placed a copy of War and Peace on the coffee table.
Clint stifled a yawn now as he surveyed the room. He was tired, but the work had made a difference. The once rather cold room now had a much more welcoming air. There was a messy order to the shelves of books, the flowers stood out as bright colors against the dull white of much of the furniture and carpet, and the black and white photographs added a sense of taste.
He turned to the doorway as he heard Nikki come in. She was wearing a green sleeveless dress, which flared out at the waist, stopped at the knee and was paired with a gold belt. There was something slightly retro about the style. She had brushed her hair to one side and added a wave to it. She was looking…
“Beautiful,” he said, impressed.
She smiled. “Thank you.” She came over and sat down across from him, and the action reminded Clint there was still some work to do.
“Right,” he said, clearing his throat. “I just want to run over some things again. Remember, do not allow them upstairs. They agreed to only the downstairs, that’s what’s prepared. You have no obligation to allow them anywhere else.”
“No upstairs photos,” she agreed.
“Secondly, I know the writer who’s coming, Tobin. He hired me for some freelance work a couple of years ago. He’s a good guy, and does a good job, but he does like to throw in the occasional tough question. He’ll bring up the partying. You need to answer him in less than three sentences, and then move on. This interview can’t be overtaken with your past. We want it to focus on the future.”
“I still don’t see why you can’t just be here for this,” said Nikki a little grumpily, crossing her arms.
“I told Tobin this was for a friend of mine. Believe me, if word gets out that you hired a paparazzo to be your manager it’d be the story of the week and you’d come off as impulsive and immature. Which is what you already come off as and what we’re trying to move away from.’
Nikki shrugged. “Alright. Fine. So I don’t dwell on any questions about my partying.”
“Right. Mention your new song, but not by name. It’ll build the mystery of it. When you take them outside, tell them about your love of swimming, but under no circumstances agree to any suggestion of you changing into your swimsuit for photographs in the pool. And last, but not least, don’t lie. Just… don’t always tell them the whole truth.”
Clint got to his feet, and started pulling out his car keys and sunglasses. “This feature is on your terms. And you want to be sure the new you comes through. Smart, normal and mature. Don’t dwell on the past or your relationships. You’ll do great. I know you can do this.”
Nikki looked alarmed and stood up quickly. “You’re leaving already? They’re not due for another forty-five minutes.”
“They might arrive early, and I can’t be here when they do.” He moved over to her. There was an awkward hesitation between them and then he hugged her. “Relax and try to enjoy it a little.”
“I haven’t enjoyed interviews in years.”
“And it shows. Relax, enjoy and remember what I said.” He slid his sunglasses on, nodded and left the room.
“Right,” she muttered, “Relax and remember the fifty, very important, things you told me not to forget. So easy.”
EXT. STUDIO LOT. DAY.
“Peter!” Holly jogged across the parking lot and met him as he got out of his car.
“Hey, it’s good to see you,” he said, leaning against the driver’s door, relaxed.
“I wanted to thank you for coming over this weekend to watch the episode. It was a pretty big deal for me.”
“Absolutely, I wouldn’t have missed it.”
“I can’t believe this is all happening. I got to watch myself speak actual lines on television. And now thanks to Alan I’m featuring in one of the plots.”
“Right.” Peter pushed away from the car and straightened.
“I’m meeting with Walsh this morning to discuss the episode and then Matilda’s getting me for fittings. I have to admit, I’m kind of scared by it all.”
“You don’t have to be,” Peter sighed. Holly frowned; confused at his tone, but when he continued whatever it was, was gone. “You’re going to be great. They wouldn’t have increased your part if they didn’t think you could handle it.”
A car pulled into the space next to them. The car door opened and Alan got out, waving at them. “Hey, I thought I saw you two talking.” He came over and placed and arm around Holly’s shoulders. “Peter,” he nodded at him.
“Alan. Well I’ve got to go. Busy shooting day. We’re working on a scene where the crocodiles sabotage the engines and it’s proving…about as absurd as it sounds actually, so I’d better get over there. It was good to see you Holly.”
“Yes, it was-…” Holly began but he had already left. She felt perplexed but shrugged it off and turned to Alan.
“That guy is weird,” Alan announced.
“Peter? He’s really nice.”
“You know he killed his wife, don’t you?
“Where were you three weeks ago when I could have known that? Anyways I know he was accused of it and wasn’t convicted.”
The two started walking towards set, Alan keeping his arm around her.
“But everyone still says he did it,” he continued. “Don’t you feel uncomfortable around him?”
“No,” she looked up at him. “Do you?”
Alan hesitated and then shrugged. “Honestly I do.”
“Oh. Alright. Well I won’t invite you both together again then.”
Alan didn’t seem entirely satisfied but he nodded and changed the subject.