Frank didn’t see her immediately. He was on his phone, typing a quick text and it wasn’t until he was halfway across the room that he glanced up and saw her.
“Holly.” He stared at her. “What are you doing here?”
Holly took a seat in one of the armchairs, crossed her legs and tried her hardest to look casual. “Henry Donne and I had a meeting with Gloria. How about you?”
“Same. But how on earth did you snag a meeting?” He took a seat nearby.
“She was the one that asked for it.”
He laughed. “Right. I bet she was just dying to meet with you.”
Holly rolled her eyes. “Very nice.”
“Oh come on Holly. She does work with Grant and he’s taken a pretty active dislike to you. Everyone knows it. Playing dumb just makes you look…well, dumb. So you might as well drop the innocent act. It’s worn a bit thin by now.”
“Well the dislike has rapidly become mutual,” snapped Holly, feeling annoyed by the combination of both Frank and Gloria.
“Hey, there’s no need to get mad.” He held up his hands in mock defense. “I didn’t want you kicked off Cold Wars so don’t take it out on me. Now I’ve got to re-film everything and as a general rule I don’t support any plan that means more work for me.”
“How terrible for you.”
“What did I do to you?” asked Frank, frowning. “I get why you might be sore but not at me. I know I gave you a bit of a hard time after the punch but come on that hurt and you weren’t very apologetic. But come on. Why don’t we let bygones be bygones. We’re friends.”
“Are we?” Holly couldn’t resist the temptation. She had wanted to leave things where they were with Frank, she’d even dissuaded Evelyn from starting a fight with him, but he made it so darn difficult.
“My friends don’t leak private photos to the press and make out that I drove drunk.”
There was a long, still moment and then Frank grinned.
“You found out about that, huh?”
Holly had thought he might at the very least look sheepish if she confronted him, even if he was only acting; she hadn’t expected him to lean back in his chair and look so pleased himself.
“Look it’s nothing personal,” he said with a shrug. “I’ve done it lots of times. When I was nineteen that was the only way I managed to pay some of the bills to be honest. And if you’re caught in a, shall we say ‘compromising’ position, there’s not a paparazzo alive who won’t sell the photograph just because you asked nicely. But if you can offer them something in exchange, they’re at last open to negotiation. Don’t look so horrified. Come on. It’s not that big a deal.”
“It’s a very big deal.”
Frank let out a snort of laughter. “You’re one to talk. You leaked an entire movie.”
“I did not.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. It was only part of a movie.” Frank shook his head. “I guess that’s supposed to be better?”
“I didn’t leak anything.”
“Oh come on Holly. What’s the point of denying it? Embrace it. We all screw up; we might as well revel in it a little bit.”
“Because you hurt people that way. And I didn’t leak the film. Grant did.”
“Right. And that’s why he immediately fired you.”
“Only because-,” Holly stopped herself. She didn’t trust Gloria and she certainly didn’t trust Frank. She’d been wondering hadn’t she, why Gloria invited her here? And now suddenly Frank showed up. Something didn’t add up. And even if it did, she should know better than to say anything to Frank that she didn’t want to end up in the tabloids. And that’s exactly where it would end up if she talked to him about Grant. “Forget it.”
She watched him to see if he appeared annoyed, like Gloria did when she hadn’t discussed Grant, but Frank seemed completely unconcerned and simply turned his attention back to his cellphone and started texting.
After a few more minutes of silence, during which the only sounds came from Frank’s phone, the office door opened and Henry and Gloria both stepped out.
Relieved, Holly jumped to her feet, eager to get out of there as quickly as possible, feeling like she’d barely dodged a bullet even if she wasn’t exactly sure what that bullet was.
“Thank you so much for coming by, you too Holly. I hope to see more of you both, very soon. Frank, come on in.”
Frank stood up and nodded to Holly. “If you ever feel like a fun night out, you can always call. No hard feelings on my front. And since I came away from our friendship with a split lip, I think that’s pretty grand of me.” He grinned and winked before following Gloria into her office.
As Holly and Henry walked away she frowned as she just barely overhead, before the office door shut:
“I’m glad you could get here early Frank.”
“Early? You asked me to be here fifteen minutes ago.”