The car pulled up to the curb outside a bland, nondescript apartment building. Inside the car Peter glanced down at the address Matt had given him and confirmed the apartment number. He took a deep breath and stepped out onto the side walk.
Clint leaned back in in the armchair smiling, his cellphone to his ear.
“I read the review of the show in Phoenix,” he said, his voice raised to be heard over the background noise coming from the other end. “They were great.”
“What?” He heard Nikki call back. “Hold on! I’m almost to the dressing room.”
He heard several seconds of noise and then a door shut and silence.
“Alright,” said Nikki, returning to the phone. “Now maybe I can actually hear you.”
“Sounds pretty chaotic back stage.”
“Well we’re in the middle of the intermission.”
“Do you want me to call you back later?”
“No!” she said quickly, “I have time. Tell me how are you?”
“I’m good. How are you doing?”
“I miss you. And I’m so glad I’m coming back to LA tomorrow.”
“For a week right?”
“Yes. I have a couple of concerts there and then I fly up to Chicago and finish the tour.”
“Well it’s been a really good summer for you.”
“I know. It has. Great reviews. The fans coming back. So much hype. But I’ve still been missing you. I wish you could have come.”
Clint chuckled. “There’s no way we could have done that and kept it out of the tabloids.”
“I know,” she said a little wistfully, “But we can’t keep it a secret forever. At some point they’re going to find out about us dating.”
There was long pause.
“Nikki, it’s just- ”
There was a loud knock, and Clint looked up in surprise.
“Hold on. There’s someone at the door.” He got to his feet and walked across the room to answer it. As he opened the door his jaw dropped and he stood for several seconds, staring. Realizing he still had the phone pressed to his ear, he mumbled “I have to call you back,” and hung up.
Peter Glades stood in the doorway, his expression unreadable, and apparently waiting for Clint to say the first word.
“What do you want?”
Peter shrugged. “Can I come in?”
Clint wasn’t sure this was an entirely good idea but didn’t feel he had grounds to refuse. He stepped aside.
“What do you want?” Clint repeated.
Peter walked into the apartment. Not answering right away, instead he looked around the living room. He picked up one of Nikki’s old CDs up off a side table.
“I wouldn’t have thought you’d go in for teen pop.”
Clint leaned over and snatched the CD away. “What do you want?” he snapped.
“What? Don’t enjoy someone poking around your apartment?” asked Peter, raising an eyebrow.
Clint rolled his eyes. “No, I just don’t think you came here to comment on my taste in music.”
Peter looked at him long and hard for a minute as he mentally tried to build up nerve. Clint however shifted under the gaze.
He had always thought that if he ever had a chance, if he ran into Peter again and it was just the two of them, he’d apologize. He’d admit that no matter what had happened to Peter’s wife, what he himself done was wrong. But here they were, and he’d instantly gone on the defensive instead. He rather hated himself for that.
“I want the pictures,” said Peter suddenly.
“What pictures?” asked Clint, momentarily confused.
“The pictures you took in my apartment.”
“It doesn’t matter why. I just want them and you owe me.”
“You can find them online.”
“Some of them. But you probably took a whole bunch and they probably didn’t all appear in print.”
“There were probably a few like that. Yeah.”
“I want them all.”
Clint frowned. “But that doesn’t make any sense. It’s not like you can keep them from the press at this point. They’re out there.”
“I want them,” Peter repeated firmly.
Clint hesitated momentarily and then shrugged. “I can probably find them for you. I back up everything. But it’ll take a while, I’m not sure exactly where they are.”
“Fine. Will you have them by tomorrow?”
“I can do that.”
“I’ll be back then.” Peter stood uncertainly for a split second and then made for the door, leaving a very confused Clint behind in the apartment. Alone, Clint shook his head. He walked into the kitchen a pulled a beer out of the refrigerator. He removed the cap and took a long swig.
“I’m an idiot,” he muttered, before heading into his work room. He sat down at his desk and opened a draw, pulling out a binder of CDs. He opened it as he set down the beer, and pulled out a CD and inserting it into his laptop. “Let’s find these pictures…”
As he made it to the hallway, Peter let out a sigh and ran a hand through his hair as he started walking towards the elevator.
For all intents and purposes he hadn’t touched that apartment for weeks after Layla’s murder. He’d introduced some more alcohol bottles to it, it was a bit messier, but none of Layla’s things had been touched. Those photos might help him remember something…anything…
He knew it was a pretty slim chance that the photos could actually help him, but right now he was ready to take anything he could. He was becoming desperate. All summer he had struggled for a way to prove to Holly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the truth about Alan. He had sat and debated to himself, gone over memories again and again, but he couldn’t figure anything out. After Crocodiles in Space had wrapped, he’d barely left the apartment. Matt had grown worried and even Peter had to admit he felt himself going stir crazy.
The photos were certainly a slim chance, but at least he was doing something. At least he could feel like he was trying.