Peter paced the room quickly, going back and forth, walking within an inch of the wall each time before turning sharply around and starting back in the other direction. McCall stood by the window looking out, perhaps waiting for Holly to return as Evelyn sat on the couch, flipping through a magazine and sipping some coffee she had made for herself.
“Would you please stop that Peter?” Evelyn said at last, looking up. “She’ll come back and then we’ll discuss this calmly and coolly. Which won’t be possible if you don’t calm down.”
He glared at her and kept pacing.
“Really, it will be all right. We’ll do some damage control, play a little ball with Grant-”
McCall opened his mouth to say something but Peter just snorted.
“Good luck convincing Holly.”
“Surely she’ll see there aren’t any other options. Going to the LAPD without any proof against a man as influential as Grant was foolish to begin with, I can’t believe you actually supported it. It could never have ended well. But not that’s all over with there’s nothing to do except move on and try to salvage something here.”
“There’ll be salvaging alright,” said Peter, “I just doubt what Holly will decide what needs salvaging is her career.”
“What else is there? She must realize that the police won’t do anything now.”
“I think you’re underestimating Holly.”
“Surely,” said Evelyn turning to McCall, “At the moment, the important thing to do is to convince Holly to do what’s in her own best interests.”
Peter glanced over at McCall with sympathy. The poor man was looking a little shell-shocked.
“I honestly don’t know what should be done at this point,” said McCall. “I went to London and talked people, friends of mine, into working with Grant. I’ve made movie with him. And now he’s capable of all this?” He shook his head. “I never would have believed it.”
“Could you threaten to pull those friends back out of the merger?” asked Evelyn, “Force Grant to leave Holly alone in exchange for not taking the foreign studios with you?”
McCall shook his head. “He knows as well as I do, it’d be an empty threat at this point. It’s not in my power to carry it through.”
“If we can’t force Grant to back down and we fail to talk Holly into it, then she’ll end up with nothing,” said Evelyn grimly. “Grant will never face any kind of legal action and Holly won’t have a career. Not if we can’t get her through the next couple of years. Now if we could find some sort of way to-, where are you going?” Peter was headed for the door.
“I’m late for work.”
“Work? At a time like this?”
“Yes. Filming? I’m doing a movie?”
“Location filming that’s got to be done on the weekend. I’ve got to go.”
“Surely you’re not going to leave until we have a chance to talk to Holly though?”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Peter left before anyone else had a chance to say anything and got in his car. He drove to the studio, showed his badge to the guard on duty, parked and made his way to the soundstage.
There was general confusion as people loaded boxes and props into trucks and the director was talking animatedly to about anyone who he could get his hands on. Peter slipped past him and headed over to Henry who was holding, with understandable dismay, a purple monstrosity that looked suspiciously like a costume. As Peter neared him, Henry held it up and grinned.
“Did you see this? I’m supposed to wear it but….really? I mean there’s fringe. What space marine uniform has fringe?”
“We need to talk,” said Peter, ignoring the purple thing.
“Sure.” Henry dropped the costume onto a chair and ignored it as it slipped to the ground. “What is it?”
“Not here.” Peter nodded towards the outside. “Come on.”
Henry followed him, with some curiosity, outside and around back of the building where there were fewer people.
“What’s up? I thought you weren’t working today.”
Peter turned to him. “I need a favor.”
“Of course. Anything.”
“You said you’re putting the paycheck from this job towards funding your own project later this year.”
“That’s right. I’m doing Antigone.”
“Which, if I’m not mistaken, has a woman as the main character?”
“Well her and Creon, but yes.”
“I have your Antigone. You’re casting Holly Woods in the part.”
Henry’s eyebrows shot up. “Holly Woods? Isn’t that the girl who was dating Alan Ryder?” He said Alan’s name with uncertainty, as if he wasn’t sure how Peter would react to hearing it.
There was a very long pause during which Henry seemed to consider whether it was safe to ask anything else. “The tabloids also linked her to you if I remember.”
“Holly and I have never been anything more than friends.”
Henry looked at him skeptically. “Peter, you’re-, I mean it’s not, you’re wouldn’t-”
In other circumstances, Peter might have been amused at Henry’s attempts to ask him if Holly was a second Layla, he was so obviously finding it difficult.
“You’ll cast her.” It wasn’t a question but Henry took it as one.
“I don’t know. Look I saw the news this morning Peter. She leaked the film she was working on? I mean as far as no-no’s go, that’s a pretty big one.”
“She didn’t do it. She has gotten on the wrong side of Malcolm Grant and he’s gone after her in full force. She’ll be unemployable anywhere in Hollywood by the time the week is through.”
“Oh, now hang on a minute. You want me to go against Malcolm Grant? If he doesn’t want her employed and I cast her-”
“Henry, you owe me.”
Henry stopped talking.
“Let’s be honest,” continued Peter, “and we both know that it’s true.”
“I thought we’d agreed to leave the past where it belonged,” said Henry carefully.
“Which works out great for you doesn’t it?” Peter knew he was being harsh but he was willing to do what it took. “But we know it doesn’t change anything. You owe me. And this is how you’re going to repay.”
There was a long, tense silence before Henry sighed and shrugged in defeat. “Alright. Holly Woods can play Antigone. I just hope you’re not making a mistake yourself Peter.”
Henry looked unconvinced. “I’ll have a contract drawn up that she can sign next week. I have to get back.” He nodded towards the sound stage.
Peter tried to make his voice sound a little friendlier as he said, “Thank you.”
Henry gave him a halfhearted smile and walked away.