Holly yawned and opened her eyes. Daylight was streaming in through the windows and the sound of morning traffic floated into the apartment. She stifled a yawn and glanced over at the clock.
Alan had left very late last night. It had been past one o’clock and even then he had seemed reluctant to leave. She’d been exhausted by the time she had finally collapsed in bed, but sleep had still eluded her for nearly an hour.
On cue the alarm clock started buzzing and she switched it off, before dragging herself out of bed. Heading to work was the last thing she felt like doing but there was nothing for it. She dressed quickly, grabbed her phone from where Alan had left it last night before leaving, and picking up her car keys, stepped into the elevator.
She was glad to see on stepping outside, that the photographers hadn’t yet started camping outside the apartment again. As she got in her car her cellphone buzzed with a text message.
Meet you on set in 30 – Alan
Maybe work wouldn’t be so bad today after all. Smiling, she drove away from the apartment.
Alan pocketed his cellphone, and grabbed a jacket out of his closet. He left the bedroom swiftly and took the stairs two at a time down to the main floor. He had a general sense of urgency to get out of his house quickly and to the set. Questions were coming down the pike, but the longer he could put them off, the longer he’d have time to think…
His hand was on the doorknob when the knock came. He started, sensing exactly what would be behind the door when he opened it. He wondered if he could just ignore the knock. Stand here, until whoever it was went away. A second knock brought him to his senses, and reluctantly he answered it.
Two men were standing on the front step, and if the police car in the driveway didn’t tip Alan off, the older of the two men flashed a badge.
“I’m Detective Donner with the LAPD. I’m sorry to bother you. Mr. Ryder is it?”
“Yes, how can I help you?”
“We had a few questions about the break-in and shooting that occurred here night before last. I was hoping you’d come down to the station with us so we could talk?”
Alan smiled calmly. “I didn’t think there was much left to talk about. The shooting was a very clear case of self-defense and I wasn’t even involved in it directly.”
“It’s just procedure. Need to check a few boxes, clear up a few things. That’s all.”
“I’m supposed to be on set right now.”
“I understand, but this is important.”
There was a long silence as they both stared at each other. Reluctantly, Alan nodded. “Alright. Let’s go.”
“Peter? Peter are you listening?”
Peter blinked at Matt. “What?”
“Is there something wrong? We’ve been here thirty minutes and you haven’t heard anything I’ve been telling you.”
“I’m fine. I just need more coffee.” Peter looked around the café they were seated in and waved over a waiter. “I’d like another espresso please. Thank you.” He turned back to Matt. “What were you saying?”
“If there’s something wrong you can tell me,” said Matt, with concern. “You know I’m here to help you.”
“And I appreciate that. But there’s nothing wrong.”
Matt deliberated a moment and then said carefully, “Is this about Holly Woods’ engagement?”
“Holly?” Peter blinked at him.
“I know you liked her. And I know it’s the first time you’ve liked someone in a very long time so reading about it in the tabloids was probably hard.”
Peter shook his head angrily and snapped, “I don’t care if she’s engaged.”
“Do you care that she was involved in that break-in? Is that why you’re upset? Because I’m pretty sure she’s alright. It would have been reported by now if she’d been hurt.”
“You know I really don’t want to talk about Holly,” said Peter firmly, “So just tell me why you called me so I can get out of here.”
Matt sighed and ignored the tone. “The network wants you to record your script commentary for the DVD release of Crocodiles in Space.”
Peter rolled his eyes. “Not this again. I would really like to never hear about that film again.”
“For someone with nothing wrong you’re awfully testy this morning,” said Matt, not unkindly. “But you are contractually obligated to do a commentary if they ask, and they’re willing to provide quite a nice bonus since you wrote the commentary. They’re expecting really good sales and this is going to be very good for you financially.”
Peter sighed. “When are we doing this?”
“No set date yet, but they want it to be soon. Why I ask you here though, is I want to use this publicity to sign you up for some more roles. This is a great opportunity. You’ve never been more marketable.”
“I think,” said Peter a little wryly, “I’ve been a little more marketable.”
Matt shrugged sheepishly. “Recently. I meant…recently. But now is the time to move on this. If we can get you-”
The two men looked up at the source of the interruption. Two uniformed police officers had approached their table.
“Can we help you?” asked Matt, clearly worried.
One of the officers turned to Peter. “Mr. Glades. We’ve been sent here to take you back to police station. If it’s not too much trouble, one of the detectives has a few questions for you.”
There was a long, dead silence. The officer, clearly young, coughed and looked back at his partner nervously.
“What’s this about?” asked Matt.
The officer straightened, trying to look as official as possible. “I don’t know that sir. We just happened to be on duty and the closest. But the detective did say it was very important. He also said if Mr. Glades objected, he would get a warrant.”
Matt turned to Peter concerned. “What is going on?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
“I don’t!” Peter sighed. “Look, I’ll go down with them. But could you-” He stood up abruptly, picked up his jacket off a chair and busied himself putting it on, embarrassed to meet Matt’s eyes. “Could you call my lawyer? I don’t…I can’t really afford…my last paycheck hasn’t cleared yet and-”
“Of course. I’ll call Louis right away. But maybe you should wait until-”
“No. I want to know what this is about,” said Peter. Holly…please let her be alright, he thought desperately, as he nodded to the police officers and began to walk out of the café. This all felt a little too familiar.