Holly waited until Grant had reentered the theater and then buried her head in her hands and took several long, deep breaths.
Well she had gotten her answers. Possibly it was a matter of ‘be careful what you wish for’ but that didn’t matter now. She had them and she had to decide what she was going to do with them.
She jerked and looked up. It was only Peter. She relaxed again.
“Are you alright?” he asked, “I saw you leave the theater and you didn’t coming back in.”
“I talked with Grant.”
“You didn’t say anything about-”
“I didn’t have to. He already knew. Linda told him.”
Peter frowned in worry and came to sit beside her. “What did he say?”
“He wanted to know what I wanted to drop the whole thing.”
“And what did you say?”
“That I couldn’t do that. I can’t Peter,” she said. She wasn’t sure if she was pleading with him or stating a fact. “I know what he did. I can’t just forget it.”
He nodded. “I can tell that.”
“Could you? Forget it I mean?”
Peter sighed and looked up at the ceiling as if searching for the answer somewhere up there. “I’m afraid I don’t really know at this point.” He shifted in his seat a little.
“What is it?”
“Peter.” She crossed her arms. “I can tell there’s something. So please, just tell me what it is? What do you think?”
“No. It’s not-, I don’t want to influence you.”
“But I’m asking for your opinion.”
“It’s not an opinion.”
“Then what is it?”
He hesitated a moment. “You asked if I could forget it. At the moment…no. But it’s not because of right or wrong. I’m just angry.”
“If Lionel-, if those photos had been published or taken to the police, the last six years could have been very different. But forgetting it and acting on it are two very different things.”
“I’m sorry Peter. I should have considered more how this affected you then I did.”
“No. I don’t want you to. It won’t last. Come on, do you want to see the rest of the movie?”
“No. I’m sorry I just- I can’t go back in there. Could you take me home?”
“Of course.” He smiled and took her hand.
Nikki winced and tried to subtly cover her face with her hand to avoid seeing as much of the screen as she could. Unfortunately there was no way to stop her ears and the dialog just kept coming. It didn’t help that the movie was about forty minutes too long.
When the screen went dark and the lights of the theater turned back on, there was scattered rather awkward applause and Nikki sunk down deeper in her seat. The only thing she knew was there was no way she was going to be able to endure the after party. She pulled out her phone, pretended to answer a call and talked into it animatedly for about sixty seconds until she was sure one of the producers had spotted her.
“Of course. I’ll be right over,” she said, moving an inch closer to the producer so she could be sure he’d hear. “Bye.” She made a great act of sighing and pocketing her phone. “Tim, hey, could you make my excusers to everyone it looks like I have to run off. It’s a bit of an emergency.”
“But the party-”
“I know! I’m so sorry, I was really looking forward to it, but I’m afraid a friend of mine is in a jam, and I’ve got to go help her.”
Alright, maybe it wasn’t the most mature option, thought Nikki a little later, as she drove back towards her house, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I have to figure out how I’m going to live this down though. I made a complete idiot of myself in that film.
As she pulled into her driveway she noticed another car parked there. She frowned, wondering who would be visiting her at this hour. A dark shape, sitting on the step in front of her door, moved and stood up as she got out of the car.
“Clint.” She moved closer, to be sure that she had correctly recognized his voice. “What are you doing here?”
“That’s…a very good question.”
There was a pause and Nikki laughed a little. “If you don’t know it, I don’t know who else will.”
“Your premiere was tonight.”
“Yes.” Nikki didn’t feel like laughing anymore. “You wanted to come say you told me so? Because you were right. It was dismal. There. You can rub it in.”
“No. I just thought- oh for crying out loud Nikki. How did you do this so easily?”
“Do what so easily?”
“Show up at my apartment and kiss me a year ago? I mean that takes a ridiculous amount of guts I’m finding.”
“Well I have been going on stage since I was fifteen and singing in front of several thousand fans on a regular basis that does hel- wait what?”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t understand why you wanted to make the movie. I’m should have understood how it was important to you and I should have been more open to talking about the idea.”
“It wasn’t entirely that.” Nikki crossed her arms. “I liked that you worried about me and told me when I was acting like a complete idiot. But I needed you not to treat me like one.”
“I never meant to. I haven’t done a lot in my life that I’m proud of. Helping you, I actually thought I was doing okay. Until I wasn’t. I’m always honest where other people are concerned. So here’s a little honesty about myself: I’m a failure.”
“No. It’s true. But I don’t want to wind up with an ex-wife, kids who live in another state and me mugged in some ally.”
“Why on earth-”
“And it’s not going to happen because I’m not going to back down from this. I’m not going to back down from you. I shouldn’t have been afraid to admit our relationship. When you asked me to join you on your tour I should have gone. It was a self-fulfilling mess. I believed it would fail-. no. I believed I would fail, and I did.”
“Just kiss me. Right now, that’s exactly what I need.”
Without missing a beat he stepped forward and wrapped her in his arms.