Holly picked a café in an out of the way part of LA. She hoped Peter wouldn’t misread the choice. She didn’t want him to think she was ashamed to be meeting up with him, but she didn’t particularly feel like giving the tabloids something to write about either. When she mentioned to Alan she was spending time with Peter, he got…weird. He kept asking why and wanted to know what they were going to talk about. It struck Holly as a little odd at first, but she wondered if perhaps he’d figured out that Peter had had some feelings for her and he was maybe a little jealous. Without directly addressing the issue, she tried to reassure him, being just a little more affectionate than normal, telling him she loved him just a little more often, but oddly it just seemed to make him more uncomfortable with the idea of her coffee with Peter. She got the distinct impression that, even though he didn’t ask, he would only really be happy if she backed out of it, but that wasn’t an option. She had been the one to call Peter up and ask him to meet up; she couldn’t be the one to cancel.
She’d considered talking it over with Evelyn, how best to handle the situation, but for some reason she couldn’t quite figure out, she’d felt a little uncomfortable since their initial conversation about Ian’s offer. So instead she had talked it over with Amy and they had both agreed the only thing to do was just let Alan get over it in his own time, not bring it up unless he did, and continue her friendship with Peter at her own speed.
So with a certain sense of confidence she entered the café and looked around. She saw him sitting at a table in the corner and she crossed over to him. He looked up at the sound of her footsteps and smiled. For a second she felt herself slow down and flicker of doubt crossed her mind. Maybe it was impossible to really just be friends with someone after they’d said they loved you. She mentally shook her head. She’d made her decision and she had to stick to it.
She sat down across from him.
“Hey! It’s so good to see you,” she said brightly. “How have you been?”
“I’ve been okay. Not that busy. Uh, why don’t you keep the table and I’ll go order for us. What would you like?”
“A large latte. Here’s the money for-”
“No that’s okay. I’ll pay.”
“Really Peter. I insist.” She held out the money. Somehow it seemed very important to make it clear exactly where they both stood.
He hesitated a second and then took the bills and walked off to the counter.
She rested an elbow on the table and watched him order, pay and then stand waiting for their drinks. It really would mean a lot to her if they could work this out. It was going to be awkward for a little while, but he had been a good friend to her…just seeing him after all this time gave her a happy feeling.
Peter was handed their coffees and he brought them over, returning to his seat and pushing her cup across to her and then giving her back her change.
“So,” said Holly, after taking a sip of her latte. “What have you been up to this summer? When did Crocodiles in Space wrap?”
“A couple weeks after Homestead.”
“I saw a bit of it on TV the other day.”
“My sincerest condolences.”
“Oh I thought it looked fun,” she said, “And I’m looking forward to catching the whole thing.”
“What part did you see? The end credits? Because that was really the only part I would consider enjoyable.”
“No, it wasn’t the end credits! You were blowing up a crocodile with a grenade.”
“Ohh the ‘blow off’ part? It was supposed to be a slightly more adult pun, but they decided to edit it. I’m not entirely convinced it even makes sense anymore.”
Holly giggled. It felt awfully nice to be back, just the two of them chatting. She could tell Peter was a little tense, and to be honest so was she, but her confidence was rising that they could get things back to normal.
“So what have you been working on since then? Crocodiles 2?”
“Oh goodness no. Wouldn’t that be frightening?”
“Well what are you doing?” Was it her imagination or was Peter purposefully avoiding her eyes?
“Not much.” He shrugged. “I’m between jobs. Matt hasn’t been able to find me another part yet.”
“What are you doing with your free time then?” Holly knew she was pressing a little too much, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something she was missing.
“Not a lot. Now what about you? How was filming over the summer?” He met her gaze steadily as if daring her to call him out on the abrupt change of subject. But if changing the subject was what he wanted…
She shrugged. “It went pretty good. I learned a lot. We did some green screen work which was really bizarre. I mean trying to act to something I couldn’t even see? I didn’t really know how to do that. But the director was really good and really helpful and some of my co-stars were great. There was one, Cynthia Tomes, and she pretty much hates me.”
“I’m sure she doesn’t hate you.”
“No. She basically said she did. But I’m not crazy about her either, so it’s kind of mutual at this point.”
Peter chuckled. He sat watching her for a moment and then coughed and looked away abruptly. “So. How was Australia?”
Holly tried to keep her expression natural and her voice neutral, while acutely aware of the fact that they were both suddenly thinking of Alan. “It was a lot of fun. I did a lot of sightseeing. It was pretty interesting being on a huge blockbuster film set. And since I’ve never been out of the country before, I really enjoyed it. There was a bit of culture shock but over all I had a great time.”
“Good.” There was a beat as Peter cleared his throat. “And how did Alan’s movie go?”
“The filming seemed to go well. Hopefully it will be successful in theaters.”
“Right. Yes. Hopefully.”
Holly thought she caught just the slightest hint of sarcasm in his voice but decided to ignore it.
“Well I’m glad you both had a good time,” he said.
“We did. For the most part.”
Peter looked up at her sharply. “What do you mean?”
She felt liked she’d said something wrong but couldn’t tell exactly what it was. “I just mean we did. We had a really good time. As I said I had some culture shock though, and there were the photographers and someone broke into Alan’s hotel room. So I mean of course it wasn’t all perfect. But most of it was.”
His expression relaxed.
“Someone broke into his room?” he asked curiously.
“Yes. Actually we think the same person might have broken into his trailer on set this week.”
Peter frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Well whoever it was left notes both times signed ‘Robin’. And since the press never found out about it, who would know to sign the name in the trailer other than the same person who broke into the hotel room?”
“Has it been reported to the police?”
“Yes. It has. They say Alan shouldn’t be too worried about it yet.”
Holly laughed. “It wasn’t my trailer.”
“No but you are his girlfriend. So just…be careful.”
Holly smiled. “Thanks. But I’m fine.”
Peter nodded. “Well about another coffee? Do you have time?”
“Absolutely. I have all afternoon.”