Peter made his way out of the apartment building and to his car. He had tried his best. He’d hoped that if he could get Evelyn to reconcile with Holly it would be at least one thing less for Holly to worry about. Obviously it had failed and he couldn’t help but feel angry at Evelyn. The woman was stubborn, opinionated and more often than not interfering. But it would have meant a lot to Holly.
He pulled up outside Holly’s house and squared his shoulders. Holly had been emotional and upset last night. It was always possible that between then and now she had thought better about going to him for help. He hoped not. She’d be kind in sending him away, but it would still be a rejection.
He got out of the car, walked up to the door and rang the bell. It was answered quickly.
Holly looked calmer this morning but she still seemed happy to see him and greeted him brightly. She lead him into the living room and went to fetch them both a cup of coffee.
As he waited for her, Peter tapped his foot nervously on the floor. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to say when she got back. He’d promised to help her find information about Lionel Atwood but he didn’t know the best way to do that.
“Your new house is great,” he said, as she came back to the room.
“Thank you.” She handed him his coffee and sat down across from him, tucking her feet beneath her.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
Holly nodded. “Better. Thank you. For everything.”
“I suppose we’d better get down to business. The photographer’s death. We need to figure out what our first step should be. What time do you have to be on set today?”
“I don’t. Frank’s lip has swollen up to the size of what one crewmember described as a large marble, and there’s nothing the makeup artists could do to cover it so we’re taking the next couple days off to give him time to heal.”
Peter laughed. “That must have been some punch.”
Holly grinned a little sheepishly.
“That’ll be good too since it’ll give us some time. I’m not sure where we should start-”
“I’ve already figured that out.”
“Yes. A friend of mine knows a friend of Lionel’s. I asked her if she could put us in touch and she called back twenty minutes ago. She’s coming over to pick us up and take us to meet him.”
“So we can talk to this guy and learn a little bit about Lionel?”
“Yes. I thought it would be a good idea. Don’t you?”
“Definitely. And it’ll help us figure out where we should go next.”
There was a knock on the door and Holly leaped to her feet. “That’ll be her.”
She hurried out and Peter listened to the sounds of her answering the door, murmured voices and then footsteps as they came back towards the living room.
“Oh Nikki,” said Holly, as the two women entered the room, “Let me introduce you. This is Peter Glades.”
Peter stood up. “Nikki and I have met before.”
Nikki smiled and glanced between him and Holly. He wondered briefly how much Clint had told her about the two of them.
“Clint,” he said suddenly, pieces clicking together.
“Excuse me?” asked Nikki.
“Clint is the guy you’re taking us to.”
Nikki nodded and Holly looked interested.
“You already know this man we’re going to go see?” asked Holly.
Peter hesitated. He could easily have told her half the story and he certainly wanted to. Mentioning Alan’s name would hurt her and he still felt on thin ice where that subject was concerned. But if he only told her half the story now and she learned the rest, which she easily could do while they were at Clint’s, she’d never trust him again and probably no one else for that matter. She’d been told enough lies and half-truths.
“I worked with Clint. He helped me find the photographs of Layla.”
Alan’s name wasn’t mentioned but it was clear they were both thinking of him now. It was strange. Even up to a year ago, Layla’s name had hurt him just as much as Alan’s name could hurt Holly now. Yet here he was, using Layla to avoid hurting Holly and it didn’t even bother him.
Just realizing that fact, felt like a huge weight off his shoulders and it wasn’t just about Holly. It was so much more than that. He felt…free from it all.
For a moment he was elated, but he looked again at Holly and his shoulder’s sagged. He might have become free from the mess that Layla had made with so many lives, but Holly certainly wasn’t.
Nikki rattled her car keys. “Are we ready to go?”
“Yes,” said Holly, shaking her head as if she were shaking away a thought. “Ready.”