Holly rolled over in bed and checked the clock for what felt like the millionth time. It was seven in the morning. She closed her eyes for a split second and then snapped them back open. She’d been tossing and turning all night and sleep had been practically impossible. It wasn’t going to be any easier now and she might as well get up. She pulled herself out of bed, feeling that uncomfortable, uneasy mixture of a tired that couldn’t fall asleep. She got dressed and went to the kitchen to make some coffee.
She hadn’t been able to turn off her thoughts last night. They’d kept banging around her head, worrying, fretting and feeling oddly guilty. She knew intellectually she had nothing to feel guilty for, but Alan certainly had. She banged her mug down on the counter. It was partly his fault after all, wasn’t it, That Lionel was dead? And hadn’t there been some small part of her, that had wished Alan had never been caught?
She glanced at the kitchen clock and sighed. She wished she’d made more exact plans with Linda last night. Sure, Linda had said she’d come by sometime in the morning, but morning was a long time. Especially if you’d been up since five.
Her muscles were tense and she noticed as she poured the coffee that her hand gripped the handle a little too tightly. She set it down, took a deep breath and tried again. She took the filled mug into the living room and, deciding she had nothing better to do, switched on the TV. She barely focused on it though and time crawled until the doorbell rang. She jumped at the noise, placed her coffee mug down and ran to answer it.
“Linda, I’m so glad you’re here, I was-” Holly stopped.
It wasn’t Linda. A delivery man stood at the door.
“I have a package for you. Sign here.” He handed her a form. She scribbled her name. “Thank you. Here you are. Have a nice day.” He handed her a large yellow envelope and she looked at the sender’s address as she shut the door.
It was from Montell Studios. Holly frowned and ripped it open. She pulled out a DVD and a note. The note was from the Cold Wars director and read:
Holly: Grant suggested you might be interested in seeing a rough cut of what we’ve filmed so far. Enjoy!
Holly frowned at the note but then shook her head. She was being overly sensitive. Grant was mentioned sure, but probably Frank had gotten one of these too, and lots of other people. She placed the DVD down on the side table and went back into the living room to sit and wait.
It was a very long morning. She made several more pots of coffee and actually drifted off to sleep at some point only to wake up at noon and find Linda still hadn’t arrived. She pulled out her cell phone and called Peter.
“Holly? What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” she said, standing up and going to look out the window. “Linda still hasn’t showed up and I’m getting worried. She should have been here by now.”
“Maybe she had trouble finding the place. LA is a big city.”
“It’s not like she’s never lived here before though, she should be able to find her way around. I’m just worried that…maybe something’s happened to her.”
There was a pause. “I don’t see how it could have. No one else knows she’s in town or why.”
“What is it Holly?”
“I don’t know. I just wish she’d show up. I felt uneasy last night and it’s just gotten worse.”
“Would you like me to call Clint? He has her number. He could try and get in touch with her.”
Holly nodded. “I think that would be a good idea, I’m really worried-, wait there’s a car pulling up. Yes it’s her!” She left out a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry to bother you Peter.”
“No problem. Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to go with you to the police station?”
“No thank you. I know you don’t like the police and I’ll be alright. I’ll call you if we need anything.” Holly hung up and went to meet Linda at the door. She beamed at her. “It’s good to see you. I was beginning to worry.”
Linda gave a strained smile. “I’m sorry I’m late.”
“It’s no problem. Where’s Lionel’s laptop? Did you leave it in your car? Let me just grab my purse and I’ll be ready to go.”
“Could we talk in the living room for a moment?” asked Linda abruptly.
Holly blinked, surprised, but nodded. “Of course. Follow me. It’s right in here. Take a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?”
“No. No thank you. I just wanted to talk for a moment and then I’ll be leaving.”
“You mean we’ll be leaving. For the station.”
“No,” said Linda firmly, squaring her shoulders as if preparing for a fight. “I’m not going to the police station. And neither are you.”
Holly stared at her. “What do you mean? We’re going to take the laptop, to show them-”
“There is no laptop. Not anymore.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I have children. They need to be taken care of.” Linda’s tone had changed from firm to pleading, as if she were desperate for Holly to agree with her. “I have to think of them first. And their futures aside…I also have to think about what the truth would do to them. This is the best all around.”
“What’s the best?”
“Lionel was mugged. It was a tragic, unfortunate truth, but there you have it. What’s done is done, and raking up a lot of dirt isn’t going to change that.”
“Have you talked to Grant?” asked Holly suddenly.
“The matter is closed.”
“Don’t you care about what really happened? You know he wasn’t mugged!”
Linda stood up sharply. “There’s no laptop. There’s no pictures. There’s no backups. Everything’s gone. It’s all been deleted from his cloud account. You can go to the police all you want but there’s nothing to show them so I doubt they’ll listen. Goodbye Holly. I don’t think I’ll hear from you again.” She turned to the door but hesitated as she reached it. She looked back at Holly. “You understand-, I just-.” For one fraction of a moment she looked terribly lost but then it was gone and her face and tone were expressionless as she said simply, “Goodbye.”
Holly stared after her as she walked out of sight and then heard the front door shut behind her.