Left alone in his apartment later that evening, Peter poured himself a fourth drink and downed it. He knew he’d been over doing it lately but it was just one of those things. If he were honest, he’d probably been over doing it since his marriage to Layla had started to fall apart. When she’d died he’d really hit rock bottom in terms of drinking, and everything else he supposed. But it had gotten better over the years and now it was getting worse. As he poured himself one more drink and held it up to survey it in the light he absently wondered if he were drinking this for Layla or Holly.
At the thought of Holly he pulled out his cell phone and dialed. It rang several times before there was an answer.
“Louis Farr speaking. How can I help you?”
“Louis? This is Peter Glades, you probably remember-“
“Of course! Peter. It’s good to talk to you. What has it been? Five years? Wow time sure passes.”
“Yeah. Five years.”
“How have you been?”
There was a beat. “Fine.”
“Great! Well how can I help you Peter? More legal problems?”
“Actually I was wondering if I could come by your office sometime next week? There was something I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Of course.” The lawyer’s voice stayed jovial but Peter could hear the curiosity itching to get out. “How about Wednesday at two?”
“Sounds good. I’ll see you there.” Peter hung up and then jumped as his phone instantly started ringing. Hesitantly he answered it.
“Peter dear?” A female voice greeted him. There was only one person who would ever call him ‘dear’.
“Hello Evelyn.” He reached for his drink.
“I’m dreadfully sorry to call you out of the blue like this but I’m putting together a surprise party for Holly’s birthday. She’s turning twenty-one next month and we must do something special to celebrate. I’ve booked the Waveland Club for the evening and now I’m getting the attendees. I know how much you mean to her, so please say you’ll come.
“I don’t know-”
“Oh Peter please! Remember you both want to be friends. And not going to her birthday party would just send all the wrong messages. And it would just mean so much and make her so happy and it is her birthday so it would be a shame to hurt her feelings on her special day. You would want to do that would you?”
Peter couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “You’re honestly trying to guilt trip me?”
There was a long pause and Peter could practically hear her respond with a smug ‘yes’.
Before he could allow himself to think better of it, he nodded. “Alright. I’ll be there.”
“Perfect. I’ll message date and time to you later. See you there.” She hung up.
Holly lay spread out on the couch, her feet propped up on a pillow resting on Alan’s lap. Most of the lights in his house were off except for a small table lamp, which was giving the living room a low, intimate glow. She could feel her eyelids slowly drifting shut as her thoughts turned sluggish, the quiet slowly drifting her off to sleep.
“I talked to Ian today,” Alan announced suddenly.
“Hmm?” Holly tried to focus her attention. “Ian?” She suppressed a yawn.
“Yes. He told me about offering you the new contract.”
“Oh.” She suddenly felt much more awake. “I was going to tell you.”
“He said he offered it too you a few weeks ago.”
“He did.” She pulled her feet back and shifted so she was sitting next to him. “I would have talked to you about it right away…”
“But Evelyn was there when he offered it and at first I was really excited. But then she started on about what a bad career move it was and how much better I could do and I began to feel bad about it all and confused and I guess I was if I told you, that you might somehow-”
“Make it worse,” he finished. She looked up at him sheepishly but he smiled. “I get it.”
“You do? Because I’m not sure I do.”
He placed an arm around her shoulder and she leaned back into him.
“I mean,” she continued, “Victor set up that meeting with Malcolm Grant and he said it went really well, and Evelyn keeps talking about agents and I’ve even heard her throw about the word publicist. I’m just not sure I want that. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m freaking out or because I really don’t want it.”
“Don’t want what exactly?”
“I don’t know! That’s part of the problem! Suddenly I don’t feel sure about anything anymore. Except you,” she added. “The only thing I’m sure about right now in this moment of time, is you. And that does help.”
He smiled and leaned down to kiss her.