Holly woke to the sunlight streaming across the bed and in her eyes. She rolled over to get out of the glare. She looked around the room groggily, temporarily confused, taking in the green curtains, lime carpet and armchair. She couldn’t place where she was or how she’d gotten here.
The night’s events stirred in the back of her head and she let out a groan as everything came back. Still, all things considered the sleep had done her good. She glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand. She was already an hour late for work. Walsh was probably fuming. She couldn’t force herself to care that much though. She’d get there when she got there, until then she wasn’t going to worry about it. Shooting a stalker should probably get you a free pass on missing a few hours of work anyways, she thought a little bitterly.
Holly got out of bed and changed out of the nightgown Nikki had loaned her and into her own clothes. She left the room and took the stairs down into the hall. She hesitated there, not sure what was the expected course of action here. Should she leave? Should she go find Nikki? What if Nikki was asleep? Would leaving a note be considered rude? Should she wait for Nikki to wake up? She was beginning to appreciate the awkwardness of staying in a stranger’s house.
She heard a voice a few rooms a way and decided to follow it. She went through the living room and dining room and towards the kitchen. Nikki was standing over the counter, a coffee pot in one hand and her cell phone in the other. Her back was turned.
“Alright,” she was saying. “If you really think you’re up for it, Friday it is. I’ll see you then.” She hung up and turned around to place the phone down. She smiled as she caught sight of Holly. “You’re awake! I just made some coffee. Would you like some?”
Nikki filled a second mug and handed it to Holly. “How are you feeling today?”
Holly shrugged. “Still a little shaken but a lot better. Thank you so much last night and letting me stay over.”
“Of course. I’m just glad I could help you. Besides I’ve been in my share of traumatizing situations so I can sympathize.”
“I doubt you’ve ever shot someone though.”
“No,” admitted Nikki. “But my dad did once. Well he shot a car. There was no one in the car so it’s not exactly the same, but it did end up in all the tabloids so that wasn’t much fun. But that is as close to a shooting as I’ve come. But,” she said, coming around to stand nearer Holly. “I have had my share of embarrassments. A good many of them were probably my own fault.”
“I don’t suppose it’ll be possible to keep this from the tabloids?” Holly asked hopefully.
“Ah.” Nikki shifted nervously. “About that.”
“I’m afraid it’s too late. There’s already a bunch of reporters outside Alan’s property alright.”
“How did they hear about it so soon?”
“From what I understand,” said Nikki, “A small group first came over early this morning since they’d heard that’s where you were staying. Then they found out about the shooting and the numbers just exploded.”
“Oh no. So I suppose everyone knows about it now. Alan’s probably been trying to call me all morning…oh darn it!”
“I left my cell phone in the house. It’s probably still on the floor somewhere from when I threw it.”
“I could go get it for you?” suggested Nikki.
“Do the paparazzi know I’m over here?”
“No. Not yet I don’t think.”
“Then I’ll just leave the phone for the time being. I’d like to try and sneak out of here without attracting their attention. Alan can get me the phone later.”
“I can drive you wherever you want to go. You can hide in the backseat. They won’t notice.”
“No. You’ve already gone through a lot of trouble.”
“It’s no trouble. I’m happy to help.”
Holly thought about it. “Are you sure?” she asked reluctantly. “I could call a cab.”
“Definitely. Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes. It sucks, and we girls got to stick together.”
Holly smiled. “Thank you again. I’m not really sure how I would have handled it last night if you hadn’t let me stay over.”
“If you need a place to stay again tonight…”
“Thank you. But I think I’ll just go back to my own apartment. I didn’t really want to face my roommate after what happened. I just couldn’t handle all the questions.”
“Yeah. I bet the police had already pretty much done you in on that front.”
“There were a lot of questions,” admitted Holly. “And I’m afraid I couldn’t be very helpful on half of them. But I think I’ll be able to handle it today, at least somewhat better. I feel though like my brain has just stopped in its tracks and is refusing to focus on anything.”
Nikki shrugged. “Shock will do that.” She smiled.
“I guess.” Holly sighed and stood up. “Well I’d better get ready. I’m already late for work. Would it be okay if I took a quick shower, before we leave?”
“Sure! No problem. There’s one attached to the guestroom you stayed in.”
“Thanks. And then you’ll be okay with driving me to the studio?”
“That’d be fine.”
Holly left the kitchen, and hurried back up to the guestroom. She was heading to the bathroom when she noticed the phone on one of the side tables. She picked it up and dialed Alan’s phone number. It rang several times, before she finally hung up.