Holly slipped her arm through Peter’s, automatically without giving it much thought, and the pair started walking towards the theater. A waiter passed with an empty tray and she placed her glass down on it, and the two walked on, Holy absently looking about the room.
Suddenly she pulled to an abrupt halt and dragged Peter a little sideways, behind a large, rather loud group of people.
“Grant’s here. He was looking in my direction.”
She saw Peter frown but he said, “You’re acting in his movie and went to a party at his house. It’s not unnatural that he would look in your direction.”
Holly nodded. “Let’s just get to our seats quickly.”
Seating was reserved and the ushers led them in two different directions, but both relatively near the front. Holly’s friendship with Nikki had obviously got her a good seat and the producer was clearly trying to pull out all the stops to get into Peter’s good books.
More and more people started trickling in and Holly spotted Grant make his way up the stairs to a seat somewhere behind her. He didn’t look her way, but somehow she still couldn’t shake off the impression his expression had left on her out in the lobby.
After a good twenty minutes the room was filled, a few speeches were made (Nikki rushing through hers at breakneck speed, as if she hoped a short speech might help people forget she was the star of the film), the lights dimmed and the movie started.
Holly tried to watch, but she couldn’t keep her attention focused. She was supremely aware that somewhere behind her Malcolm Grant sat and she couldn’t help but wonder: what had Linda told him? The movie felt extremely disjointed, with new characters randomly appearing out of nowhere, abrupt cuts between scenes and confused dialog but she figured it was probably her own fault for not concentrating.
In the darkness, she turned around to try to spot Peter but couldn’t make him out in the gloom. It suddenly felt unbearable, sitting here in dim light from the screen and she stood up, slipped pass the few people between her and aisle and made her way out into the lobby. She approached the bar and ordered a drink. As she waited for it to be mixed she heard her name and turned.
“Grant.” She tried to keep her voice level and friendly.
He smiled and came to stand beside her. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Just thirsty.” She took the drink from the barman and took a small sip. “How have you been?”
“Quiet well. I heard there was some friction on set.”
“Oh the punch?” Holly gave a strained laugh. “It was just an accident. I got caught up in the scene that’s all. I think Frank was a bit miffed but there wasn’t any friction.”
“Really? The director told me that ever since the Christmas break things haven’t been quite the same. I thought maybe Frank was giving you a hard time over it.”
“Not at all. Everything’s fine. I was just a little sick this week that’s all, probably didn’t do a very good job because of it.” She took another nervous sip of the drink and then pulled out her most charming smile. “But I really do have to get back. Nikki is a very good friend of mine and I really should be watching her movie. After all that is why we’re here, isn’t it? Maybe I’ll see you after.” She turned to leave but Grant held out a hand and stopped her.
“Actually, I was hoping we could talk.”
“You were?” Holly suspected there had been a certain strained tone in her voice and tried subdue it. “Maybe after the movie-”
“Now. If you don’t mind.” Grant was still smiling but there was an edge to his voice.
Holly weighed her options. Grant certainly couldn’t keep her here; there were waiters, the barman and a scattering of other staff. She could insist on going back into the theater. But this could be entirely innocent. Maybe all he wanted was to discuss work more. She could make him suspicious if she acted too antsy. Or…maybe he had answers…answers she desperately wanted to know…
She leaned against the bar. “What is it you wanted to talk about?”
“Let’s go somewhere more comfortable. Over there?” He gestured to a sofa, pushed back into a small alcove. Holly examined it. It was still safe enough but would put them out of earshot of anyone else in the lobby. Still, it was a harmless enough spot.
“Alright.” She followed him across the room and they each took a seat. She straightened her skit, ran a hand across her hair and smiled. “So, what is this about?”
“I think you know what this about Holly.”
She turned to look at him and noticed he was staring at her intently. “I do?”
“Oh.” She glanced around the room nervously, making sure once more that there were people around. “Linda Atwood?” Her thoughts were racing but one thing was clear: she should wait to see exactly what he knew before she gave anything away.
“She came to see me. She told me everything and gave me a very interesting laptop and account information for her ex-husband’s cloud account. She also told me that you knew about them.”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do. You went to Arizona and saw her. There’s no point denying it. There’s just the two of us here. I’m not fishing for information. I already have it. So please, let’s be honest.”
Holly considered it for one brief moment and then made a decision. He was right about that. And she wanted answers dreadfully.
“Alright.” She squared her shoulders. “You want me to be honest, you start. You paid Linda off didn’t you?”
“Yes. It wasn’t hard. She was very accommodating. She wanted to be paid off. It was better for everyone. She needed the money. I needed her quiet. And she wanted to protect her children from the truth. A win all around. The question now, is what do you need?”