Holly twirled the ring around her finger, enjoying watching the stone flash in the light. She then took a sip of her latte and looked around the studio coffee shop. She realized with a sudden jolt that the one and only other time she had been here had been with Peter.
As if he had somehow sensed her thinking of him, her cell phone suddenly started to ring. She knew without having to look at the caller ID who it would be. Reluctantly, she decided to answer.
“Holly.” She could hear the relief in Peter’s voice. “I’m glad I caught you. I’ve been trying your phone all day.”
“I’m on set. Lots of filming today, so I kept it off. What can I do for you?” Her words sounded strange and formal in her own ears.
“I was hoping we could get together sometime this week and talk,” he said. “There’s something I wanted to show you on Saturday but…” He floundered a little. “You seemed busy.”
“This isn’t a very good time,” said Holly. “Busy week. I have a screen test Thursday and a lot of filming to do on Homestead.”
“I understand. But this is very important Holly.”
“I’m sorry. This just isn’t a very good time for me. Maybe in a couple weeks we can get together and have some coffee.”
“I have to go. I’ll talk to you later Peter.” She hung up abruptly, not waiting to hear his reply. She leaned her forehead wearily against the palm of her hand, wishing she knew how to deal with this. She supposed at some point she’d just have to sit down with Peter and hear him out. But she feared that would ruin their friendship forever. She was getting married. Maybe not soon, but she was getting married. How could she really make a friendship work with Peter after that if she let him say the things she knew he wanted to.
Holly held out her left hand and looked down at the ring again and smiled. She heard a noise to her right and turned around. Frank was not far away, crossing over towards her, texting rapidly on his cell phone.
“Sorry I’m a little late,” he said, sitting down across from her.
He pocketed the phone and smiled at her. “I thought you weren’t wearing it yet.”
“What? Oh the ring. I’m not.” She slipped it off her finger and placed it back on the chain. “I was just…seeing how it looked,” she admitted a little sheepishly. “Anyways, did you bring the script of the screen test?”
“Yes.” He pulled a few pages out of his inside pocket. “How long do you have?”
“About forty-five minutes before I have to head back to set.”
“That should give us plenty of time to go over it a few times.”
Peter swore and threw the phone across the room. It landed with a thud on the floor. He sunk down onto his couch and stared down at the folder on the coffee table. Automatically, he flipped it open and stared at its contents: copies of the finger prints, excerpts from the trial explaining the times involved, screenshots from the security camera showing Alan leaving and returning from the building, the photograph of Alan and Layla.
He rubbed his eyes, feeling exhausted and wired at the same time. He was dreading his conversation with Holly, because he knew even if she eventually believed him it still wasn’t going to be easy to get to that point. She was going to be angry and she’d take it out on him. She’d accuse him of being jealous and then…well she could easily accuse him of attempting to shift his own guilt onto Alan. It would not be the first time he’d hear someone important to him accuse him of killing Layla, but the idea that Holly might do it hurt.
He wanted the whole thing finished with and now she was avoiding him. In the past few weeks he’d suspected she might be. He’d told himself he was being paranoid but he couldn’t avoid the fact that she had suddenly become impossible to reach on the phone. Now it was obvious. He suspected Alan was somehow to blame and the thought made him furious.
He poured himself a drink and took a large gulp.
Tomorrow he would go to Holly’s apartment and he’d sit outside ringing the buzzer all day if he had to, until she agreed to see him.
He was going to finish this no matter what it took.