Holly sat up in her bed, her arms wrapped around her knees, staring off out the window. It was early, or late considering the fact she hadn’t slept yet. She had watched the sky slowly go from dark to grey and then streaks of color as the sun rose. She’d listened as the traffic had steadily picked up. She knew she should sleep. She’d hardly slept yesterday because of the premiere, but this was different. She was surprised there were no nerves or anxiety keeping her up. It was pure excitement.
She was still sitting there, happy just to be for a change and not attempting to overthink anything, when Amy finally started to stir and with a yawn, sit up in bed.
Amy stared blearily around and then blinked several times at Holly. “I thought you’d be sleeping late. You weren’t home by the time I fell asleep.”
“I haven’t actually gone to bed at all,” said Holly. She could feel the importance of the news she had to share and a certain part of her rather enjoyed it.
“You must be exhausted. You try to sleep and I’ll keep things down-”
“Amy,” Holly cut in abruptly. “Alan asked me to marry him.”
There was a stunned silence. “What?” Amy sat up straighter. “What did you say?”
Holly grinned. It was answer enough. Amy let out a cry of excitement and propelled herself out of bed and towards Holly. She hugged her. “That’s so exciting! I can’t believe it! I had no idea it was that serious!”
Holly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and smiled sheepishly. “I don’t really think it was planned. It just happened. And then it felt so right and we both realized we really wanted it.”
“I can’t believe it! You’re getting married!” Amy hugged her again.
“Well we’re probably not going to get married right away. We’re taking things slow. He was so understanding about it. But we’re definitely engaged and it’s definitely going to happen. And I just can’t think. I’m happy, and it’s taking over my entire mind. I’m just happy.”
“I bet you’re going to see him tonight?”
“This afternoon. After my lunch with Victor and Mal, he insisted we go pick out a ring.”
“Great. Okay, how about this, you try and sleep a few hours, I run to the market, get some ingredients and then I make you the best gosh darn breakfast you ever had. They’ll be crepes and strawberries and muffins and anything else I can think of.”
“You don’t have to Amy.”
Amy laughed. “You should really know me well enough by now to know I don’t have to, but I want to. Okay,” she got up off the bed, “I’ll be back in a little while. Sleep or you won’t enjoy your time out with Alan.”
Holly forced herself to lie down and tried to clear her thoughts. She closed her eyes and listened as Amy got dressed and then leave the apartment. She was sure she’d never be able to sleep and that it was even pointless to try. There was too much excitement. Too much happiness.
The buzzer startled her awake a couple of hours later. She yawned and pulled herself out of bed. She let the person through; it was probably just Amy holding too many grocery bags and not wanting to put them down to dig out her keys.
Holly wrapped a bathrobe around herself and went over to flick on the coffeemaker. She leaned against the counter and waited for it as she only half listened to the sound of the elevator and then the door opening.
“Excuse me, Holly?”
She jumped in the shock and whirled around. “Oh Peter! You scared me!”
“I’m sorry. I did buzz.”
“I know, I just thought it was Amy. It’s good to see you though. Would you like some coffee?” She took a moment to study him. He seemed oddly on edge. For some reason she couldn’t help but remember the night he had declared his feelings.
Peter seemed to be avoiding her eyes now, shifting nervously from one foot to the other. She also noticed curiously that he was clutching a folder in one hand.
“No, thanks. I’ve already had rather a lot this morning,” he said in answer to her question.
“I forgot you were a coffee nut,” she teased. “Or did you have a bad night?” she asked a little concerned, when he didn’t respond to her joke.
“Not great,” he admitted.
“Me either. Well,” she said, getting down a mug for herself, “actually I had a great night; I just couldn’t sleep after it.”
“Yes. I spoke to Evelyn on the phone this morning. She mentioned you’d had your premiere.”
Holly glanced at his face guilty, trying to determine if he realized he’d been purposefully left off the guest list. “I did, and I think it went really well.”
“Congratulations. I’m looking forward to watching the movie.”
She frowned, again trying to gage exactly what he was feeling and also suddenly wondering what he was doing here. It had been awhile. She knew that was mostly her fault, she’d been avoiding his calls after all, and it was odd that he would just show up like this.
As if reading her mind he came further into the apartment and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry to just drop by like this. But there was something important I needed to talk to you about. In person.”
Holly wasn’t sure how to respond and instead chose to pour the coffee. He wouldn’t-, surely he wasn’t here to try and ‘win’ her over so to speak. She had been certain they both knew where they stood. They were friends, and she thought when they’d reconnected that he’d understood that was all they were ever going to be.
Maybe she should tell him about the engagement. Just let it slip, make him aware of it but not make a big deal about it. It would shut him down if he were about to say anything that would ruin their friendship and make it clear where things stood with Alan.
He was holding the folder in both hands now and looking down at it intently. She noticed his grip was awfully tight.
She hated herself for the fact that Alan’s concern for her being around Peter suddenly flashed through her mind. She pushed it firmly out of her mind.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything?” she asked brightly.
“No.” He shook his head and looked around the apartment. “Where’s Amy?”
Again Alan’s warning coupled with an awareness of no one else around, and again she pushed it away. She wasn’t going to go down that path, she told herself firmly. She trusted Peter. He was her friend, her good friend. He’d been there for her from the very first time they’d met in the alley out back the Goudge Restaurant.
“She’s out shopping. She’s going to make breakfast.” She felt awkward not extending an invitation, but it felt wrong when she and Alan had become engaged less than twelve hours ago and she knew Peter’s feelings towards her and she knew Alan’s about him.
“Right. Well I’ll try and make this as easy and quick as I can.” He came up to the kitchen island and lay the folder down on it but still kept one handing resting on top of it protectively. “As I said, there’s something very important I came by to talk to you about.”
“Important?” She was trying to mentally run through possibilities and kept coming back to the same option: he wanted to talk about his feelings for her. Perhaps avoiding him recently had set this off. Or maybe, he just wanted to make sure they were still friends. That seemed feasible. She decided to help him out a little. “That reminds me, I’m sorry I’ve been missing your calls lately. I’ve just been really busy and there’s been lots of filming. Ian’s been throwing me in more and more scenes. I think he’s hoping if he increases my part it’ll make me more likely to stay. But I have meant to call you.” It wasn’t all true, she’d been purposefully avoiding him after all, but now clearly wasn’t the time to get into that. “We should hang out soon though. Do something fun.”
She’d expected him to focus, to smile, maybe to exchange a few pleasantries and relax. But he just looked distracted as she spoke, like he wasn’t really listening.
He nodded. “Right.”
She wasn’t certain he’d even heard she said.
“Anyways, about why I came over-”
The elevator doors opened and Amy entered, juggling grocery bags. “Holly! Look who I found downstairs. Apparently he couldn’t wait-”
Amy stopped as she caught site of Peter. Behind her Alan stepped out of the elevator. Out of the corner of her eye, Holly saw Peter quickly grab the folder off the table.
Alan’s expression was unreadable, but seemed completely focused on Peter. This was going to be a problem, thought Holly, and the best way to minimize the damage was to get Peter out of there as quickly as possible without him finding out about the engagement right at this moment. It would be better that way. But she realized she also had to assure Alan, and quickly.
She crossed over to him and kissed him. “I’m so glad you came early.”
He glanced down at her, clearly struggling to smile.
“Hey Peter,” said Amy, carrying the bags into the kitchen and starting to unpack. “How are you?”
“I’m good,” said Peter, but Amy noticed that he wasn’t taking his eyes off Alan. It struck her as a bit odd. “I just came by to congratulate Holly,” he continued. Something in his voice was a little strained. “Evelyn told me how well the premiere went.”
“Well thank you for coming over,” said Holly, “I appreciate it.”
“I was…in the neighborhood.”
The awkwardness and tension was so clearly palpable in the air, Holly was convinced her fears of Peter’s motives for coming over where right, he’d been to express his feelings again and win her over or break her up with Alan. He clearly wasn’t happy just being friends.
She felt a little sad. She didn’t want to lose him, but clearly after today she would have to make the distance between them permanent. At least until he got over this.
“Well I’ll see you later,” she said weakly, aware she was being rude, but also aware that she owed Alan something right now.
“Right,” he said. He still hadn’t taken his eyes off Alan.
Peter walked purposefully to the elevator, got in and with one final, unreadable expression towards Alan, took it down.