Holly glanced nervously towards Alan. She felt as though she not seeing the full picture and it bothered her somehow, but more so she sensed he was upset.
“Well, I’ll get breakfast started,” said Amy, just a little too brightly. Holly met her eyes; obviously she wasn’t the only one who had picked up on the odd vibe from that little encounter.
As Amy started moving around the kitchen, Holly slipped her arm into Alan’s and pulled him a little further away. He seemed distracted and kept glancing back towards the elevator.
“I’m glad you came early. I didn’t want to wait till after the lunch to see you again…Alan?”
He turned towards her abruptly. “What was he doing here?”
Suddenly frustrated, she pulled her arm away and took a step back. “Undoubtedly he came to try and strangle me or something. It’s a good thing you got here in time or it might have been too late,” she snapped. Instantly she regretted it. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I’m just so tired of you being jealous of him and him being jealous of you.”
“You know he’s jealous?”
She hesitated a moment, but finally decided on full disclosure. It was time this was dealt with. “Of course I do. I’m not quite as naïve as Evelyn thinks I am you know. He’s jealous of you and he likes me. He told me so. The latter, that is. He told me several months ago and I thought it would blow over but apparently it hasn’t yet. I think that’s why he was here today though he didn’t have time to say before you and Amy showed up. But I didn’t invite him over, he came on his own and I have no control over that so I’m not going to apologize for it as if it were my fault. But you have absolutely nothing to be jealous of, Alan. Because in case you’ve forgotten I’m engaged to you and not to Peter Glades.”
She could see various emotions battle for supremacy on his face, but she wasn’t sure she recognized all of them. At last however he smiled, albeit a little sheepishly.
“I’m sorry. I’m being an ass aren’t I?”
“No. But I do think it isn’t nearly important enough for us to ruin today over.”
Alan kissed her and then wrapped an arm around her waist. Over his shoulder Holly spotted Amy watching them. She grinned and gave Holly a thumbs-up.
Nikki entered Vanessa’s office with her head high and her temper already on edge. She knew exactly where this was going to go and was definitely not in the mood.
“Nikki.” Vanessa waved her into a seat, tapped a few strokes on her computer and then swirled in her chair to face her. “Thanks for coming over. I just needed to touch base with you on a few items. Stan let me know that rehearsals are going to start next month for the film. Before then he wants you to meet up with the costume and makeup artists. And leading up to that, I think we should schedule you for a few TV appearances. Nothing that actually talks about the part, at least not until the studio puts out the press release, but to promote you and your music, and to make sure you’re firmly fixed in the public consciousness when the announcement is made. I suppose,” she added, a little coolly, “Clint will want some say in how we handle the public appearances.”
“Actually…no.” Nikki hated herself for having to say it. She didn’t want to give Vanessa the satisfaction.
“No?” Vanessa seemed to suddenly be alert. “I would have thought as your manager…” She made a vague hand gesture in the air.
Nikki squared her shoulders and plunged in. “He’s not my manager anymore.”
“He’s not?” Vanessa raised one well sculptured eyebrow. “May I ask why not?”
“No, you may not.” Nikki crossed her arms. “He’s just not anymore.”
Vanessa smiled. “Well you’ll need a new one then,” she said brightly.
Nikki’s spirit rose up in revolt at the suggestion, but for once she forced it back down. “I was hoping to hire one of the label’s. At least temporarily.”
“Of course. You can have Clarice. She won’t be full time, since she has other projects, but she’ll get you through the next couple months until you can find someone permanent.”
It was sickening how clearly delighted Vanessa was. Nikki wished she could throw something right at that smirk.
Instead she forced herself to endure ten minutes of it and Vanessa cheerfully going over plans for the next month before coming up with an excuse to leave. She got up and headed for the door when Vanessa called out,
“And one more thing. The studio has arranged for a magazine to run a feature on the film. An interviewer will want to come by and talk to you sometime next week.”
“Whatever.” Nikki slammed the office door just a little too loudly on her way out.
Author’s Note: Just wanted to share, cause I’m still super excited about it, Holly(Woods) got a very nice review: here.