INT. CAR. DAY.
Using one of the vanity mirrors in the car, Holly wiped off the last vestiges of makeup. She flipped the visor back up and then pulled out of the parking lot. She still felt a prickle of excitement shooting through her occasionally as she drove off the studio lot and began to navigate her way through LA. She almost felt awed by the day. She had been in over half the scenes filmed and in each one she had been right up front with the main actors and not in the background serving drinks. It had felt surreal and exciting exchanging lines with Evelyn, and downright fun acting with Alan. He had a sense of humor, joked between takes and managed to keep things interesting no matter how many times they had to redo the same scenes.
She was more aware than ever that she was in new territory and that she had a lot to learn, but for the first time it really felt manageable; there was a long way to go, but she could do it.
She pulled up outside her apartment building, locked the car and headed inside. She inserted a key into the elevator, pressed the button for her apartment and soon found herself stepping out into a sweltering hot room full of chocolate and cinnamon aroma.
“I know! I know!” Amy called from the stove, as she heard the elevator doors open. “It’s really hot in here. I have the windows open but it’s about as hot outside. I’m so sorry. I have a church bake sale tomorrow and I need to get everything done today, but my boss wouldn’t let me out early from work, so I’ve been crazy baking since five. I’m so sorry.”
“No problem,” said Holly, placing her purse down and heading towards the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower anyways.”
“Good idea, I have one more batch of penuche cupcakes and then I’ll be done and the place can cool off a bit.”
Holly shut the bathroom door behind her. She turned on the shower and let the water run as she combed a few tangles out of her hair.
It was a relaxed evening, she and Amy ordered takeout to allow the apartment to cool down and they ate as they watched old movies on TV. Holly was exhausted as she fell in bed shortly afterwards and turned off the light, yawning a good night to Amy.
She grunted as the alarm started buzzing at seven thirty the next morning. She slammed her palm down on the off switch and pulled herself out of bed groggily, blinking at the dusky sunlight that was peeking through the window shades. As she poured herself a cup of coffee she felt groggily contented. She wanted to just crawl back in bed and sleep another hour but at the same time she still felt that tingle of excitement at the prospect of returning to set. A small voice in the back of her head, which she had been trying to ignore, hinted that maybe now that her character had increased for one episode, her part might just grow in general…
Trying to distract herself so she wouldn’t build up her hopes, she started pulling an outfit together out of the crumpled clothes on the floor she had been putting off folding and then pulled her hair into a ponytail.
She picked up her purse, waved goodbye to Amy who was still getting out of bed, and then walked into the elevator and pressed down. She felt confident and happy. It was exhilarating. She stopped in the entrance hall long enough to check the mailbox and then pushed open the heavy door and stepped outside.
“Ms. Woods, this way!”
She heard the familiar clicking of cameras before she actually took in the sight of the three photographers.
“Ms. Woods are you really dating Peter Glades and Alan Ryder at the same time?” one of them asked loudly.
“What’s Ryder like as a boyfriend?”
She had been in the middle of the cameras a couple of times before and there had been more photographers then, but Alan had been there. He had taken control of the situation. Now she stood frozen, vacillating between retreat and making for her car. The clicking, the questions, the attention, it left her dazed, rooted in place. She heard the building door swing shut behind her and it jerked her back to action. She surged forward, rummaging in her purse, trying to avoid looking at anyone, trying to act as if she didn’t hear the questions. She just wanted to get away.
She reached the car door and pulled out her keys, but they slipped from her fingers and fell to the ground. Feeling almost panicked now, she bent over and snatched them up, and fumbled with the lock for several seconds before she steadied herself enough to fit the key in and turn it.
She pulled open the car door, jumped in and slammed it shut. Not bothering with her seatbelt, she put the car in gear and sped away. Glancing up in the rearview mirror, she was relieved to see none of them were following.
She knew there hadn’t been any danger, they were just taking pictures. But she felt her heart racing as if there had been, and her brain still felt paralyzed while her breath suddenly started coming out in gasps.
When she was confident she was far enough away from her apartment, she pulled over to the side of the road. She sat for ten minutes as she focused on calming down. It been so sudden, so unexpected…
Deep breath, in, out, in, out…
Evelyn had warned her. She had seen some of it when out with Alan. She just…well she hadn’t expected it right outside her front door…