Holly entered the restaurant a little hesitantly and looked around. She spotted McCall and waved before making her way over and taking a seat across from him.
“Hello Holly. Glad you could make it.”
“Thank you. Sorry I’m a little late.”
“Not at all.” McCall waved over a waiter. “Could you bring the bottle of wine I picked out now? Thank you.”
“I have to get back to work later,” said Holly, as the waiter hurried off, “Maybe I should just have some water.”
“I talked to Walsh and he knows you’re taking a long lunch. It’ll be fine.”
The waiter returned and served the wine before taking their orders and retreating.
“So,” said Holly, deciding to get straight to the point. “What did you want to see me about?”
“Well I wanted to touch base with you. Haven’t had much opportunity to talk about you career in the past few weeks and I thought we should.”
Holly shifted in her chair and looked away.
“I’ve spoken with Evelyn,” continued McCall. “Or rather Evelyn has spoken with me. She says you’re reluctant to leave Homestead. Ian has also mentioned he’s offered you a long term contract that you’re still considering.”
“Look,” said Holly, “I appreciate everything you’ve done and how you’re trying to help me. I don’t mean to insult you or to seem ungrateful-”
McCall quickly raised a hand. “Holly that’s not why I bring it up. I’m not offended. Remaining on Homestead would be a completely viable choice. A high rated show on television offers a dependable pay check. I just want to make sure you understand what the other option is. You remember Malcolm Grant? You met him at my house. Well I’m collaborating with him and his studio on a new action film. I want you to star in it. Mal’s coming round to the idea, slowly but surely.”
“Star in it?”
“Yes. The film features two leads and I want you to be one of them. We’re talking a major studio film here. Due to the release date we’re hoping for it can’t be filmed during your summer hiatus so it’s true, if you want to work on it you won’t be able to take Ian’s offer. Mal isn’t comfortable making a final decision on offering you the part until the upcoming premiere, which is only a couple of weeks away now. I would completely understand if you choose to stay with Homestead. But I ask you to hold off on a decision until Mal decides whether or not he’s going to offer you the part. I’ve talked to Ian and he’s alright with waiting a little longer for you to make up your mind, and I just think you should have all your options before you make a choice that could affect the rest of your career.”
Holly nodded. “I can do that.”
“Thank you. And whatever you decide I will support it.”
The waiter arrived with their food and it was several minutes before the conversation started back up again. It was Holly who broke the silence.
“Evelyn has been trying to get me to hire an agent. What do you think?”
McCall shrugged. “Sooner or later you’ll probably want too. Even if you stay on Homestead eventually it will go off the air and you’ll want to find new parts. An agent is just a smart idea. But at the moment I don’t think there’s any need to rush into it. Wait and decide what kind of career you want because that’s going to affect what kind of agent you need.”
Holly nodded and opened her mouth to respond but there was movement to the side of her, a small group of people were making their way past the table when one of them stopped and moved nearer.
“Victor! How are you?”
“Stan, it’s good to see you.” McCall got to his feet and shook the man’s hand.
“This is certainly a pleasant surprise. I haven’t seen you since the Oscars. We need to catch up sometime soon.”
“Definitely. I’d love to hear what you’ve been working on.”
“I look forward to it. I’m very excited about my current project. In fact let me introduce you to who I hope will be our leading lady. Nikki?” he turned and called to one of his party who came back over. “Victor, I don’t know if you’ve met Nikki Steele, but I’m sure you’ve heard her music. An absolutely phenomenal singer. We’re hoping to talk her into working on a musical with us. Nikki this is Victor McCall and…” He gestured vaguely towards Holly, and fumbled.
“This is Holly Woods,” added McCall smoothly.
“It’s good to meet you.” Nikki shook her hand.
“You too.” Holly glanced over at McCall, he and Stan had started talking together. Feeling awkward just sitting there in silence while the two men caught up, she smiled at Nikki and went for some small talk. “I’ve heard some of your songs I think. I quite liked them.”
“Thank you.” There was a pause. “You act I believe?”
“Yes. I do. Do you watch Homestead?”
“No. But I’ve read about you in the tabloids. You’re dating Alan Ryder aren’t you? He’s my next door neighbor actually.”
“Oh really? Small world.”
Stan and McCall shook hands and Stan started walking away back to his table. Nikki glanced over her shoulder towards him and then waved to Holly.
“Well it was nice to meet you. Hope I’ll see you again some time.”
Nikki walked away.