INT. CLUB. NIGHT.
The music thumped and there was excited chatter filling the room, while the dance floor was crowded with bobbing heads and moving figures. Holly could feel the excitement and celebration around her as she leaned back to rest in the crook of Alan’s arm and watched the party.
They were sitting at a round tabled booth in the corner of the room, along with Evelyn, who would occasionally comment on the sad decline of the art of dancing.
“Is there one of these every year?” asked Holly, raising her voice so Alan would hear her over the music.
“Yes. There’s always a wrap party as long as you make it through the first season. No one really wants to celebrate cancellation after eight episodes.” He took a sip of his beer and then slid out of the booth, turning to hold his hand out to Holly. “Come on. Let’s dance.”
She couldn’t resist smiling as she was reminded of their first dance and she took his hand without hesitation. He led her out onto the dance floor and grinned before starting to move to the music.
A couple of people did glance their way; this was after all the first time they had acted as a couple around the rest of the cast and crew. Everyone had known by now they were together, but they hadn’t seen it. Holly felt she should mind the occasional stares and funny glances, but somehow around Alan she just couldn’t seem to.
The music slowed down and Alan wrapped an arm around her waist, leaning his head down onto her shoulder. She closed her eyes and just felt him around her. It felt so warm, so safe…
When they finally walked off the dance floor, she felt a heady rush of affection. He moved her, she looked up to him while at the same time feeling one together, he made everything seem so simple, so possible…was this what it was like to have fallen in love?
She returned to her seat, while Alan went off to get them another round of drinks. Evelyn smiled fondly at her.
“You two seemed to be having a good time out there.”
“We did,” said Holly.
“You seem happy with him.”
Holly let out a deep sigh of contentment. “I am. Everything I ever doubted, it seems gone now. He makes me feel strong and confident. He makes me feel like I could do it all.”
Evelyn nodded. “I’m very happy for you.”
Holly almost reached over to hug her, but stopped as Victor McCall approached the table.
“Evelyn. Holly.” He nodded at both of them. “Holly I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute in private.”
“Of course. Tell Alan I’ll be right back.” She slid out of the booth and followed McCall out of the main room and into a back area of the club that had been reserved for the party.
Victor cleared his throat and straightening his suit vest, said, “I know this isn’t a perfect time for this conversation. But since the season’s wrapped I won’t have a convenient opportunity to talk to you soon.”
“What is it?”
“It’s about the part I offered you. I was wondering if you’d given any more thought to it. Only we’re moving up the timetable a bit and will start filming in three weeks so we need the cast sorted out. I was hoping you’d had enough time to decide.”
“I did. Thank you. And I want to do it,” said Holly, feeling a thrill of excitement as she said it.
“Absolutely. I talked about it with Alan. I want to do the film, and I can join him in Australia afterwards. I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
McCall beamed at her. “I am so glad Holly! I think you’ll love it. The people working on it are all excellent. The indie film community as a whole are just amazing people. So passionate about their work and so talented. And all very nice. I think you’ll be very happy working on the film.”
She came over and hugged him. “Thank you so much for everything. Despite the misunderstanding,” she grinned.
Victor laughed. “I have to admit I find it a little funny now. I told my daughter about it and she couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of our phone call.”
They made their way back out into the main room and Holly drifted over to her booth.
“Is Alan not back yet?” she asked, looking around.
“He dropped off the drinks and said he had to go shake a few hands,” said Evelyn with a shrug.
Holly sat down, but scanned the room looking for Alan. The music faded off and the dancers milled around for a little, some of them returning to their tables. Someone brought a microphone up to a small platform at one end of the room, and Ian climbed up behind it.
“Oh no,” groaned Evelyn. “Not another speech. That man just can’t stop himself.”
Ian held out his hand and the crowd slowly fell silent, but Holly could sense impatience in the ranks. “Thank you everyone and welcome to the Homestead wrap party for season three!” There was some cheering. “You can get back to the party in a minute. I just wanted to say how proud I am of all the hard work you’ve done this season and how excited I am for next year. I promised Walsh I’d keep this short, so I just want to end with an announcement. I know by this point everyone has heard that Alan made the decision earlier this year that he would be leaving the show.” He paused and then grinned. “However I am very happy to tell you all, that a couple of days ago Alan came to me and the network to discuss changing his mind and just earlier today he signed a new contract and we will be having his character Sheriff Sam Clark back next year!”
Holly’s jaw dropped opened. There was cheering, claps and then Ian stepped away from the microphone and the music came back on, and she continued to sit there, shock, excitement and happiness, all battling for supremacy.
Alan emerged out of the crowd and came towards them. As he sat down next Holly and Evelyn discreetly excused herself with a small twinkle in her eye.
“Alan?” asked Holly, blinking at him. “Is that really true?”
“Yes. I signed on for another two years.”
“Because…” He shrugged. “Because I don’t care. I don’t care about any of the movies I could make, half as much as I care about you. Being able to see you every day at work isn’t something I’m willing to give up just yet.”
“Alan…” she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him for a very long time.
INT. PETER’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.
Peter rubbed his eyes and reached down to the floor for his glass of whiskey. He brought it up and took a drink then placed it back down, without taking his eyes off his book. He yawned and stretched out further on the couch, kicking off a stack of papers.
He turned the page and took another drink. His eyes flicked and closed. It was late; he’d had several glasses, and the combination was slowly causing him to drift.
It was with a jolt that he sat up at the knock. He felt temporarily disoriented as he blinked back sleep. He pulled himself to his feet and stumbled across to the front door. It was only as he took hold of the handle that it struck him as odd that someone was visiting him, let alone at his hour. He pulled open the door.
Matt was standing there, his normally cheerful expression grave and a folder clasped in one hand.
“I didn’t want to talk to you on set. I thought it’d be better private. Can I come in?”
Peter hesitated for a fraction before stepping aside. As Matt entered he looked around the room with a certain amount of distress.
“Peter I…” he cut himself short and shook his head and instead made his away to the couch and sat down. He picked Peter’s glass up off the floor and moved it to the coffee table.
“Do you have something for me?” asked Peter anxiously.
Matt glanced down at the folder. “It took a few days, but yes. I’m not entirely sure how the guy got it, and I wasn’t keen to ask. But I have what you wanted: the records for the apartment building tenants.”
“Thank you.” Peter reached out his hand, but Matt didn’t immediately move.
“Peter, are you really sure you want these? Because it seems like you could be heading down a very dangerous road with this, and I’m not really sure you know what you’re doing.”
“There are some things I really need to know Matt. I wish I could explain but you wouldn’t understand.”
“I’ve been here since you were eighteen.”
There was a heavy silence.
“I know,” said Peter quietly. “The truth is you might understand but this is something I just can’t talk about. It’s too raw. Or I am. But I need this Matt. And I know what I’m doing. Please.”
Matt sighed and handed over the folder. “Okay. Just remember I’m here.” He got to his feet, stood for a moment uncertainly and then left.
The second the front door closed, Peter pulled open a drawer and took out the paper he’d written the phone number on.
He sat down on the couch and flipped open the folder. Each column had name, apartment and phone number listed. Holding the piece of paper in one hand, he ran a finger down the list of numbers. He went through the first page and second page, finding nothing. He was just beginning to wonder if he had gotten it all wrong when suddenly he froze. He glanced back at the paper in his hand and compared the two. They matched exactly: 310-555-80668.
He ran his finger across the page, tracing the phone number back to its owner…
“No,” he said aloud, curiously panicked as he read the name. “No!” He grabbed Layla’s cellphone off the coffee table and reopened the texts. He compared the number from the phone with that in the records, going number by number…and they matched. The matched exactly…but they couldn’t match.
The implication kept ramming itself back onto his mind. If this were true…the people it could hurt. The person it could hurt.
As he looked down at the name he wished he could go back to not knowing. Matt had been right. He hadn’t known what he was doing, because knowing what to do now…was going to be so very very hard.
The name stared back up at him from the page, silent and imposing: Alan Ryder.