The room was small, bare and empty save for a table and two chairs. A guard had taken a post at the door, standing directly in Holly’s line of sight. Alan sat down across from her and looked…she wasn’t sure what he looked. She had somehow expected him to look noticeably and remarkably different, but he looked the same. He even smiled at her and it was the same smile. A little weaker perhaps but it still lit up his whole face and the room around him. It just didn’t light her up the way it used to.
She wasn’t sure what to say and he didn’t seem certain either. It suddenly hit her that the last time they had seen each other they had been talking about their wedding. It seemed bizarre to consider that now.
“This isn’t what I expected,” she said abruptly, nodding at the room around them, wanting to say anything to break the awful silence.
“What did you expect?” he asked. It was strange to hear his voice again. It made her relax a little.
“I don’t know. It seems in movies that there’s usually either a phone and window or lots of visits all going on at the same time.”
Alan shrugged. “Money can buy things even in here…namely privacy.”
“How have you been?”
He shrugged. “Lots of lawyers coming and going.”
“But,” He leaned forward and looked at her intently. “I’m more worried about how you are doing.”
“Holly please. I want the honest answer. No one in the whole history of the world has ever been fine. So, how are you?”
She held his gaze for one long minute, trying to figure out if she wanted to open up to him, if she really wanted to share her thoughts and risk him not understanding. But she was here wasn’t she?
“To be honest,” she admitted, “I’m not okay. I feel…lost. I don’t know where I should be or what I should be doing. It seems I turn around and no one is what they claim to be, so that I don’t know if I can even trust the people who appear to stick by me. I feel so very alone.”
“That’s my fault.”
He gave her a look.
“Alright, maybe you didn’t help matters but I think I’ve been running away from problems for some time and I don’t think it started with you. And now I’m all mixed up and I don’t know where to go.”
“You’ll figure it out.”
“I don’t know.”
He smiled and this time it was a little fuller, a little more complete. “I do.”
She ran her finger across the table, drawing patterns across the plastic. “Alan.”
“There’s something I’ve wanted to ask you. Something I’ve been wondering.”
“What is it?” he asked looking apprehensive.
“Why did you keep the gun?” she looked up at him.
“Yes. You knew that if anyone ever found it they’d be able to link you to Layla Glades’s death. So why didn’t you just chuck it when you could?”
Alan rubbed his hand vigorously across his hair so that it ended up in a tangled mess and Holly could tell he had asked himself the same question many times.
“I should have,” he agreed. “I know that. At first there were so many police crawling all over the apartment building I just wanted to lay low. I was worried if I drew any attention to myself, someone would have remembered seeing me with Layla. And then afterwards I was scared. I’d gotten away with it. If I tried to throw it away somewhere, it would be a risk. Someone could find it, someone could see me. I’d managed to avoid ever attaching my name to the case…I didn’t want-, I would have risked all that if I had tried to get rid of the gun. So I just tried to forget I had it. Tried to put it out of my mind. And it worked for the most part. Especially once I’d met you.”
Holly continued to make patters on the table. “A part of me almost wishes you had gotten rid of it. It’s awful to say, I know that. But…” she shrugged, “it would have been…I don’t know.” She shook her head and leaned back in her chair, removing her hands from the table.
“I don’t wish I’d gotten rid of it.”
She frowned. “You don’t? You might not be in here if you had.”
“Because I’ve thought about it. If I had thrown out that gun and hadn’t been caught doing it, nothing else would have been any different. I would have met you. I would have fallen in love with you and I would have proposed. I would have been traveling that weekend and you would have stayed at my house to avoid the paparazzi. And Robin would have still come. You would have gone into the library…and there would have been no gun. You could have been hurt. You could have been killed. But you weren’t. Because that gun was there and it protected you. I’ve thought it all through you see and I’m glad. Even if it means I’m stuck in here, I’m still glad the gun was in the safe that night.”
Holly swallowed hard, trying to keep her emotions in check. “I’m sorry.”
“What on earth do you have to be sorry for sweetheart? You’ve done nothing here.”
“I should have come to see you sooner. I should have visited as soon as you asked me to.”
“I killed someone. I can’t imagine what that shock felt like. To be honest I can only dimly recall the shock I felt as I did it. I had no right to expect you to visit. I hoped. But that’s it.”
“We were engaged. I was willing to vow for better or for worse to you.”
“But you didn’t. Thank goodness we never got that far if this was where we were headed,” he said gesturing to the room around them, “and you don’t owe me anything.”
“I owed you closure. I did love you Alan. I probably still do if I ever allowed myself to think about it.”
“Don’t,” he said. “Just know I love you as well. I wish I had met you before I ever laid eyes on Layla.”
She titled her head to one side and studied him. “Did you love her?”
“I thought I did. At least it was a kind of love. Love is an amazing thing. Powerful. For both good and bad. You’re always sure it the real thing until it finally is. I was certain. Until I met you. Even after. But I’ve had time to think. And I realize that you can’t possibly kill the thing you love with all your mind.”
There was a pause during which Holly felt an uncontrollable urge to run away, it’d be so much easier than staying to say goodbye, but she forced herself to remain in her chair and smile.
“Can I ask a question now?” said Alan.
“Why did you decide to come now? Raymond was pretty certain he’d never get you here.”
Holly shifted in her seat. “I don’t know exactly. I was upset and worried and confused. And I thought of you and I just wanted to fix one thing, to do it the right way. It feels like the last few months have been awful and confusing. And I thought if I went back to the beginning, the rest would start making a little more sense.”
“Is there something that’s been troubling you? Other then, well, the obvious?” Again Alan gestured to the room around them.
“Yes. And I have to tell you the truth. That was also the second reason I wanted to talk to you. Did you know that Grant Malcolm suspected you’d killed Layla?”
From the expression on Alan’s face, she could tell he did not. She explained about Lionel and the mugging and then watched as he slowly digested it all.
“It does explain the way he acted on the White Crusader set,” admitted Alan. “But I swear Holly, I had no idea.”
“I believe you.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know. I suspect Evelyn is going to try to convince me to drop the whole thing. Who knows what Victor will advise. Peter, well with Peter I think I could decide to build an igloo in the Sahara Desert and he’d be supportive.”
“I have heard of people building ice restaurants in Dubai.”
“I guess it would be kind of cool.” Holly suddenly burst out laughing. “No pun intended.”
“It is rather wonderful though, to have someone support you so unconditionally,” she said thoughtfully.
Alan seemed to hesitate a moment as if weighing what he was going to say next and then announced, “He came here you know.”
“Why did he- what did he say? I mean you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want I just-, I didn’t know.”
“I don’t mind. He didn’t say much. To be honest I don’t think it was really about me. Though I have to say it made me miss the lawyers’ visits.”
A minute ticked by, during which Alan seemed perfectly happy just to look at her while Holly organized her thoughts.
“The problem is,” she said at last, “I could just decide there’s nothing to be done. I could walk away and wash my hands of the whole affair. I could turn it over to the police even and leave, knowing they’re not going to do anything about it but that I’ve done my best. The problem with that is that I know they won’t do anything. Grant will get away with it. A man died because of him, there are children out there who have lost their father because of Grant and he doesn’t have any remorse, he’s going to get away with it and feel smug in the knowledge that in his own eyes, he’s in the right. It’s injustice. It’s immoral. And if I look away just because it’s easier, simpler, how is that any different than what Grant did himself when Lionel first brought those photographs to him?”
“So what do you want to do about it then?”
“I tell you what I really want to do. I want to tell people. I want to write it all out. I don’t care if no one believes want I say. I want it out there. So there’ll always be that question, people will always wonder, and maybe at some point, somewhere down the road, Grant will make a mistake.”
“You want to issue a public statement?”
Alan tapped the table thoughtfully. “How about this: write up an article, put everything in it but write it in third person. Don’t put your name to it; people will suspect, but they won’t know, and you said you found the photos with Peter, the paparazzo’s wife and another man: the article could theoretically all be from them or a journalist they told about it. Then give the article to my lawyer and he’ll make sure it’s released online in a way that can’t be traced back to you. People will have the facts and they can judge for themselves. Grant will know where it came from but if you really want to do this, there’s no way to avoid that. The important thing is he won’t be able to absolutely trace it back to you and therefore can’t sue you for liable. He’ll suspect, and you can be sure he’ll retaliate, but he won’t be able to use the law to do it.”
“And then it’ll be out there. I’ll have told people,” said Holly excitedly, leaning forward.
“Many of them won’t believe it. But if what you want is to have the story out there. This is the way to do it.”
Holly smiled, feeling relieved and happy.
“Thank you Alan. For everything.”
“But be careful Holly. Grant is a dangerous man.”
Holly left the prison half an hour later and got into her car. She stared up at the building through her windshield and thought for a moment about how different things could have been. But she also felt lighter and less troubled then she had been since…well since she’d first been told of Alan’s arrest. She sighed, an exhausted sigh that had been building up for months.
Grant was going to be trouble. She knew she was going to bring all his wrath down against her and he had proven this morning that he knew how to fight.
But still she felt an optimism that she wasn’t willing to crush just yet.
She turned on the ignition and drove away.
The end of Season Three.
AN: Yay! Season three is done! I’m going to take next week off so I have plenty of time to complete the outline for the next part. The fourth (and final) season will begin on the 24th.