The Tucson airport was small, with only one terminal and a handful of gates. Holly led the way past the luggage carrousels towards the exit. Past the sliding doors was a covered walkway that ran to the car rentals. Peter waited as Holly checked out their car and then the two made their way to the parking garage.
Holly had mostly been silent that evening. Peter had picked her up in the late afternoon at the set and they’d driven directly to the airport. She’d been distracted at the airport. Peter vaguely recalled seeing photos in the tabloids of her waiting for Alan when he’d returned from a trip. He wondered if that’s what she was thinking of and then was angry at himself for the thought. What Holly thought about was her business.
The flight was only a little over an hour and the Arizona sky was just darkening as they drove away from the airport and pulled out onto the highway.
They headed south, away from the city and out into the country.
“It’s only about half an hour from here,” said Holly. “I called ahead to the neighbors. They said they would be out tonight so they’re leaving the keys under the mat for us.”
Peter nodded. “Do they live out in the country? Your parents?”
“No,” Holly shook her head. “They live in Green Valley. It’s a quiet town, mostly full of retirees.”
“Is that where you grew up?”
“Yes. Practically my whole life until I moved to LA.”
They pulled off the highway twenty minutes later. They passed a couple of grocery stores, a movie theater and a few restaurants before Holly turned down a side street and entered the driveway of a one storey house. The front lawn seemed to be overrun with flowers. It was too dark to be sure, but there seemed to be a motley array of colors, splashed together haphazardly.
Peter got out of the car and grabbed their bags from the trunk, while Holly knelt down beside the welcome mat and pull out a set of keys. She opened the door and held it for Peter.
Holly flicked on the hall light as she followed him in and led the way to the living room.
“Ta da. Here we are. Make yourself comfortable, while I grab us some water. Unless you’d like something stronger?”
“No, water’s good.”
As Holly left, Peter looked around. The room was cluttered, with knickknacks, figurines, throw blankets and magazines everywhere he looked. None of it was messy, they were all in neat stacks, carefully folded or arranged, but there was just so much of it.
He noticed a line of photographs on the mantel and went over to investigate. There was a picture of a couple he assumed where Holly’s parents. They looked older then he’d expected. There was a baby photo. A picture from the beach. Another from a high school graduation.
He picked up one of the frames. It was a photo of two girls. Holly was one of them. She looked about fifteen in it and was wearing cowgirl boots and hat, her arm around the other girl. He realized that the other girl’s face looked almost exactly like Holly’s, but her hair was dark, almost black, her eyes were a different color and she looked a few years older.
Peter looked up as he heard Holly enter the room.
“Sorry,” he placed the photo back down. “Couldn’t resist the curiosity to see what you used to look like.”
“Not much different,” said Holly, coming over to hand him his water.
“Who’s the other girl in the photograph?” he asked.
Holly turned around and took a seat. “My sister.”
Peter blinked. “I didn’t know you had a sister.”
Holly took a drink of water. “Della died…about three years ago.”
“Oh. I’m so sorry.”
“I didn’t realize I’d never told you that. I used to talk about Della all the time. But you get to the point where you realize no one else wants to hear it anymore.”
Peter opened his mouth to respond but Holly stood up quickly. “Look I’m going to grab my laptop, see if we can’t hunt down Linda Atwood.”
“Sounds good,” said Peter, recognizing and understanding the desire to switch the topic.