INT. AIRPORT. DAY.
Holly waited impatiently outside the arrivals gate. A female voice kept coming on the loudspeaker announcing each departing flights. Each time the arrivals door slid open Holly stood on tiptoes to look over the heads of those in front of her and each time was disappointed. It was loud, crowded and she’d been waiting for two hours. But she’d have happily waited for another two. The excitement bubbling around her as other people met their friends and loved ones, just added to her own.
The loudspeaker blared to life again.
“Flight 2AA35 is scheduled to depart in fifteen minutes…”
She glanced back up at the screen hung over the gate. The flight had landed twenty minutes ago. He should be here any second now.
She tapped a foot impatiently.
The doors slid back again and a new crowd of people swarmed out. She scanned them anxiously. No, no, no, no, n- Yes!
“Alan!” She pushed through the crowd towards him, and he was just looking up in surprise when she barreled into him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply.
When they pulled back for air, he was smiling at her so warmly and genuinely it felt like the kindest, truest expression she had ever seen on a human face.
“I love you,” she said, and then kissed him again.
It was a full two minutes later before they were walking towards the baggage claim; his arm tightly wrapped around her waist.
“Holly.” He ran a hand through her hair. “I didn’t know you were coming to meet me.”
“Evelyn made Walsh give me the day off.”
“I’m going to have to remember to thank Evelyn. I don’t think I’ve ever had a nicer welcome.”
Alan grabbed his bag off the carrousel and slung it over his free arm and the two headed towards the exit. As they were walking towards the parking lot, Holly heard a familiar clicking noise and saw the familiar flashes of light begin to go off. She didn’t even bother to look over towards the small group of photographers which started to follow them to her car. Alan stuffed his bag in to the backseat before they got in themselves. As she put the car in reserve and glanced up in the rearview mirror and saw the cameras reflected there, she realized that she couldn’t care less.
INT. SOUND BOOTH. DAY.
The recording studio was nearly empty by the time Clint hung up his cellphone. He considered calling Nikki but decided she probably deserved a face to face conversation. He pulled out his car keys and nodded good-bye to the sound engineer who was still going over the track. He headed towards the backdoor that led to the parking lot and pushed. Then stopped abruptly in the doorway.
Nikki was leaning against the railing overlooking the lot, her back facing him. She turned at the sound of the door.
“I thought you’d left,” he said.
“I was waiting for you.”
“So I could apologize?”
She grinned. “You’re a lot smarter than Vanessa thinks.”
“Given her estimation of me, I don’t think that’s saying very much.” Clint came over to stand beside her at the railing. He sighed. “I am sorry about what happened in there. Despite what it sounded like, I do know that it’s your decision and it’s your performance. You shouldn’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.”
Nikki smiled. “Thank you.”
“I also know,” he continued, “That you did amazing on The Bailey Show. And it was because of you. When Vanessa was in there I just got a little…”
“Yes. Unfortunately. And I am sorry.”
Nikki reached over and placed her hand on top of his. “Well it is true I couldn’t be doing any of this without you. Thank you Clint.” She pulled her hand back. “But I do like to be asked about things.”
He nodded. “I know.”
She turned and taking the concrete steps two at a time, headed out into the parking lot. Continuing to walk towards her car, she turned around to call out to him, “And by the way, I’m not lip-synching at the benefit.”
INT. RYDER’S HOUSE. NIGHT.
Holly sat perched up on a barstool in Alan’s kitchen, watching him as he poured a packet of noodles into a pot of boiling water and set the timer.
“I didn’t know you could cook,” she said, as he poured a glass of wine and slid it across the kitchen island towards her.
“You should taste my veal in cream sauce.”
“I’ll have to do that,” she said, sincerely.
“There was something I was hoping to talk to you about.” Alan cleared his throat nervously, and turned to the stove, absently stirring the noodles around in the pot. “Maybe this isn’t the right time, I just got back…”
“What is it?” she asked curiously.
He hesitated. “I don’t know what your plans are for the summer. I told I was going to be in Australia filming…and I was wondering if you’d want to come with me?”
“Come to Australia?”
“Yes.” Alan turned, so he could study her expression. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I’d understand. It’s far away and it’s true we haven’t been dating very long but…I think despite the amount of time, you and I are serious. I know I’m serious.”
“I am too Alan,” said Holly leaning forward. “I hope you know that everything I said to you in my phone message I meant.”
“I do. I just…I think I might have rushed you a little. I know I surprised you in the limo when I told you how I felt. And maybe asking you to go away for the summer with me-”
“I admit I felt a little overwhelmed at the time when you said you loved me. But now I’m good. And I’m right in step with you.” She stood up and came around the counter to stand in front of him and wrap her arms around his neck.
He smiled down at her and played with a stray strand of her hair. “But I want you to think about it. Don’t decide now. And since you would be coming with me, for my work, I’d of course pay for the expenses. So don’t think about it from a financial standpoint. Just think about it from the ‘us’ standpoint. And then let me know.”
Holly nodded. “Okay.”
Author’s Note: I am in Santa Fe for five days, driving back Tuesday. I tried to get both today’s post and Tuesday’s post ready before I went, but there was too much else I had to do before leaving and I realized I could churn out a second post that wasn’t any good, or wait until Wednesday and write…well maybe not a good post, but at least a post that is the same quality as the others ;-). Therefore, the next post will be delayed by one day. Sorry about this.