Holly reached the restaurant a little early. A waiter showed her to a table in the corner and went to fetch her drink order.
It was a casual place, with checkered tablecloths and local artwork on the walls. Nikki had introduced Holly to it two months ago, and she’d been coming semi-regularly since then.
The waiter brought over her drink and retreated. Holly pulled out her phone, partly to check the time but largely to appear to have something to do. Recently, she felt uncomfortable when she didn’t have something or someone to look at or concentrate on. People were too often watching, and her thoughts were too often heading in directions she didn’t like. It was better to keep busy. Keep focused.
There was the scrap of a chair and someone sat down on the opposite side of the table. Holly looked up expecting Nikki and was surprised to instead see a large man. He was wearing a cheap suit without a tie, had a patchy beard and large, broad shoulders.
“Who are you?” she asked, her tone not entirely polite.
“Lionel Atwood. Please to meet you.” His voice was a little loud and grating. He looked almost familiar but she couldn’t place him. “I’m sorry to barge in on your dinner.”
“I think you have the wrong table.”
“You’re Holly Woods.” It was a statement, not a question. “I’ve got the right table.”
She crossed her arms and glanced towards her waiter at the far end of the room. He seemed to notice the direction she was looking and leaned forward, lowering his voice.
“I wouldn’t. I’ll only be here a couple minutes.”
“What do you want?” she asked, leaning farther back in her chair to put more distance between them.
“You’re working on that film aren’t you? Cold Wars?”
She hesitated and then shrugged. Anyone could learn that from a simple internet search. However she suspected the man had asked the question only to lead the conversation in a particular direction and the thought made her uncomfortable. “Yes. Along with a lot of other people.”
“And it’s being produced by Montell Studios?”
“Which is Malcolm Grant’s studio.” The man clearly thought this was an important point and he said it as if he had just made a significant connection. Holly however was still confused.
“I’m not sure what you’re getting at but I think you should probably go now. I have a friend coming-”
“What?” she asked, her temper beginning to flare.
“I’m just trying to figure out exactly what kind of girl you are.”
“And I don’t think it’s any of your business and this is done. Go. Now. Or I call the waiter.”
Lionel smiled and raised his hands. “I’m sorry. I was just curious. But I came here for a reason. I need you to take a message to Grant for me.”
Holly looked at him surprised. Curiosity got the better of her. “Why?”
Lionel ignored her and lowered his voice more, leaning closer. Holly could smell tobacco on him. “You tell him I know he’s ignoring my calls and I know he’s been getting my messages. But he can’t ignore me and hope this goes away. Tell him to get in touch with me soon or he’s going to regret it.”
Holly frowned and ran her hand across her hair. “Why are you telling me this?”
Lionel shrugged. “Someone has to tell him. And I just think it will have more weight coming from you.”
“If you think Grant and I have some sort of…” she shook her head. “You’re wrong. I barely know the man.”
“I don’t care. It’ll have weight.”
“I don’t understand.”
“But Grant will.” Lionel stood up. “Believe me Miss Woods. You want to pass along this message.” He gave a grin and a little wave and walked away.
Holly took a deep breath trying to make sense of it. She reached for her phone and nearly called Victor to get Grant’s number but she hesitated at the last second. Obviously there were things in that conversation she hadn’t understood and it frustrated her. If secrets were going to be kept, it could be done without involving her.
She stuffed the phone back in her purse. The incident kept playing over repeatedly in the head though and it bothered her. What had the man meant ‘it would have more weight’ coming from her and that Grant would understand that. Something didn’t make sense and it bothered her. She took out a phone a again and sent a quick text message to Evelyn. Mind if I come over tomorrow? – H.
A few minutes later, just as Nikki came through the restaurant door, Evelyn texted back.
Of course. Looking forward to seeing you. Evelyn