Was Peter really back in Los Angeles? What was he doing back? Holly didn’t know much exactly why he had left. When she’d pulled herself back together enough to wonder where he was, he had already been long gone. She had even asked Evelyn, as casually as she could, if she had heard anything, but had received a negative.
She wished she could find a polite way to excuse herself from the party. She wanted to find out if Frank had been right. She glanced over at him. He was waving someone over to their table. She didn’t want to wait. An idea suddenly occurred to her.
“Frank,” she said abruptly. “I forgot I have to give Evelyn a call. I promised her I’d let her know about lunch tomorrow but I left my cellphone back at the house. Could I borrow your smart phone?”
“Sure.” He slipped it out of his pocket and handed it to her. There was a certain note of amusement in his voice. She looked at him sharply. Perhaps she should have waited little longer after his news to ask for the phone, but she wasn’t in the mood to play games.
“Thanks.” She took the phone and slipped down into the garden area, hoping for the most privacy. She took a small stone path that followed the curve of the house until she was out of sight of the terrace and a little of the noise had faded.
She pulled up the browser on the phone and typed in ‘Peter Glades Los Angeles, November’. The top result was to a celebrity gossip blog and she clicked on it. She scrolled down the page, scanning for Peter’s name. She froze as she spotted the first photo of him. Reading the paragraph below it, she knew Frank had been telling the truth. Peter was in LA.
Holly frowned. She knew exactly why he hadn’t told her he was back. A guilty feeling lurked in the back of her brain when she remembered the last time she had seen him, yelling at him to get out, blaming him for not telling her sooner about Alan…
To distract her own thoughts, she slid through the rest of the article. She stared at the last picture. It was blurry and obviously taken from a great distance away, but it was still clearly a photo of Evelyn and Peter at some kind of restaurant. Why hadn’t Evelyn mentioned he was back or that she had seen him?
Abruptly, Holly found herself standing in a flood of light and she jumped. She looked around alarmed, some vague notion popping into her head that Frank had followed her to confront her about the real reason she had wanted the phone. A split-second later though she realized that the light was of course coming from the house and the window she was standing in front of.
She looked up through the large glass windows and saw the room beyond was a now illuminated study or office, with rows of shelves, a desk, and a computer. Grant had just switched on the light and was walking across to the desk.
Holly raised a hand to wave and hopefully appear to have been snooping, when she realized that of course with the light inside and the dark night out, there’d be no way he could see her. Relieved, she turned her attention back to the phone, closing the browser and clearing the internet history, before switching it off and taking a step back towards the party and Frank. Movement from inside the room caused her to glance back, only for a second. She didn’t intend to stay, she hadn’t really meant to even look, but the sight of the second man entering the room made her freeze.
It was the man that had confronted her at the restaurant, the one who had had the message for Grant. She searched her memory for a name. Lionel wasn’t it?
She knew she shouldn’t stay. She should go back to the party and pretend she hadn’t seen any of this. She wavered; wanting to go, but also getting a nagging feeling that there was something important going on here. Something she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
Grant was frowning; he picked up the telephone and made a quick call. Lionel gesticulated, waving in the direction that Holly thought was the party, pointing at Grant, and then actually smiling. Grant slammed down the phone and stepped forward, it almost seemed intimidating.
Grant must have raised his voice. Through the glass she faintly heard the words “can’t pay you”.
Lionel shrugged and said something. Both men stood there, staring down the other, Grant angry, Lionel calm and confident as if he were sure he had already won. Suddenly the door opened and two security guards entered. Both men seemed startled, but Grant pulled himself together first. He waved at Lionel who scowled but after a few moments went with the guards quietly.
Left alone, Grant walked round to his desk chair and sunk down in it. He rested his arms on the desk, and leaned his forehead against his palm, looking worried and…something else Holly couldn’t quite place.
She stared at the man, trying to figure out what had just happened. What did Lionel want? Why would Grant pay him?
Grant looked up and out towards the window. Holly instinctively stepped back away from the light. He wouldn’t be able to see her, but just the same she should get back to the party and avoid any awkward questions.
She hurried back across the garden.