Alan showed up for Holly shortly after she finished breakfast and was helping Amy wash-up. He looked a little harried as he stepped out of the elevator.
“There certainly are a lot of them down there.” He kissed Holly. “Are you okay?”
“I haven’t been out in it yet. Amy wasn’t as lucky.”
Alan turned to Amy a little sheepishly. “I’m really sorry about all this and that you got caught in it.”
Amy shrugged. “It’s no big deal. I’ll probably just take the day off; my boss said it was going to be a very slow day. Which,” she brightened, “means more baking. I do have that bake sale this weekend and this will be a perfect opportunity to prepare.”
“Good,” said Alan. “Unfortunately this will take more than a day to go away.”
Holly frowned. “How long do think they’re going to hang around?”
“For a few days at least they’ll be coming and going and this apartment isn’t a great place for you to stay while that’s going on.”
“You have to go right out the front door to get to your car. There’s no walls, no real privacy. Everyone coming and going will be spotted immediately.”
“What other option do I have? You think I should go to a hotel?”
“That’s a possibility,” he said, “But actually I had another suggestion. I told you I was going to have to leave for New York this week. My flight’s early tomorrow morning, my house will be empty. It’s safe, I have a guard, I have walls and privacy. You could stay there.”
“At your house?”
“Yes. The photographers will figure it out, but they’d figure out where you were staying no matter where you went and this way they could bother you less.”
Holly hesitated. “You really think it’s the best option?”
“I think you’d be the most comfortable there.”
She nodded. “Okay. Tomorrow morning. What time should I come by?”
“I’m leaving at six. You don’t have to be there then though. I can leave a key with the guard for you.”
“No. I’ll want to say good-bye. I’ll be there.”
“Right.” Alan took a deep breath. “If that’s settled, let’s get to work. This isn’t going to be pretty.”
It wasn’t. As they came out of the apartment, there was immediate shouting and flashes from cameras. People were calling out questions. Holly wasn’t sure exactly how many of them there actually were. Fifteen? Twenty? But it felt like fifty.
Alan had slipped her arm through his and steered them towards his car. She felt decidedly shaken by the time they had gotten in and he had pulled away from the curb, and yet…
“It wasn’t as bad somehow,” she said abruptly.
“What?” he asked.
“As when we first started dating. There’s a lot more now but somehow it didn’t feel as bad.”
He smiled. “Good. That means you’re getting used to it.”
Holly laughed. “I’m not sure I would call that ‘good’.” Her voice faltered at the end as something caught her attention out the window.
“Is something wrong?” Alan asked.
“No I just thought I saw-, nothing. No. Anyways, how’s your schedule look today? Will we be able to grab some lunch together?”
As Alan talked, Holly resisted the urge to turn around in her seat and look out the back window. That could not have been Peter she saw in that parked car they passed. That would be crazy. Why would he even be here? No, she had to have just imagined it.
Filming helped keep Holly’s mind of the paparazzi, though the number of cast and crew which came over to congratulate her on the engagement felt distinctly overwhelming. She spent most of her downtime hiding out in the costume department with Matilda and Evelyn, who helped her go over the scene for the screen test.
At the end of the day, Alan took her out dinner before dropping her off at her apartment. It was near nine o’clock by the time they arrived back and things were much quieter. There were still a few paparazzi, which definitely wasn’t pleasant, but it was much easier from the morning. Alan said goodbye to her at the elevator, and she took it up, feeling overall quite content.
Amy and the smell of fresh cookies greeted her as she stepped into the apartment.
“How are your day?” asked Amy, brightly, carrying over a plate of macaroons and offering her one.
“Pretty good. Surprisingly, given how it started. How about yours? Did you ever get to work?”
“Yes, sometime in the afternoon. I also picked us up a bottle of wine and rented some movies. I thought you might be in the mood to just veggie out.”
“Thanks,” Holly grinned.
The two spread out on the sofa. Amy brought over some of her day’s baking; they opened a bottle of wine and turned on a movie.
It was relaxing, Holly thought awhile later as Amy popped in their second film of the night. Everything was going to be okay.
The buzzer went.
Amy frowned. “You don’t think one of the paparazzi would actually try and get in do you?”
Holly checked her watch. “It looked like they were about ready to head home after I got back.”
Amy shrugged and got up, crossing over to the wall. She pressed the intercom. “Yes? Who is this?”
“This is Peter Glades. I was hoping to speak to Holly?”
Peter? Instantly Holly remembered this morning. That couldn’t have been him could it? But it was rather a coincidence-
Everyone else knew. Her engagement was all over the tabloids, which meant he knew too. Once again, unbidden, Alan’s warnings popped into her head. It was stupid to suddenly want to meet Peter in a crowded café instead of alone in her apartment with only Amy there. But there was no denying she felt it.
Amy opened her mouth to respond to Peter, and Holly waved an arm wildly, attracting her attention. Amy glanced over and Holly shook her head vigorously. She looked confused, and Holly against gestured no.
“Um, I’m sorry,” said Amy inter the intercom. “Holly is…unavailable.”
There was a heavy pause and then Peter’s voice asked, “Unavailable? She’s not there?” There was evident disbelief in his voice.
“She’s…” Amy looked desperately towards Holly and then settled on a half lie. “She’s spending the next few days at Alan’s. He’s going to be in New York and she needed a place to stay, away from the photographers.”
There was another pause. “I see. Well thank you Amy. Could you please ask her to call me? It’s very important. I can’t stress how-. I just need to see her.”
“I’ll let her know.”
Amy walked away from the com and back towards Holly, sitting down beside her. “What exactly was that all about?”
“I don’t want to go into it. I feel stupid about it.”
Amy hesitated and then shrugged. “Okay.” She turned back on the movie and Holly couldn’t help but feel grateful. She appreciated that Amy was always willing to give her support in any given situation.
Holly tried to concentrate again on the movie, but for the rest of the evening a little nagging worry in the back of her head refused to let her relax again.