Clint made sure to arrive at the café a good two hours early the next day. What he didn’t need was some college kid sitting at the table he needed for hours on end, working on the next ‘great American novel’. He needed the table at the window and he was going to get it come hell or high water.
In fact someone was sitting there when he came in, but left after fifteen minutes and he quickly snagged the spot. Perfect. He checked his cellphone, ordered a coffee, and then waited.
Holly and Peter showed up exactly at three. Clint wondered if they had driven there together.
“Clint.” Peter nodded at him.
“Hey, how are you?” Clint stood up and shook hands. “Hi Holly.” He pulled out a chair for her and she took it. “Thanks for coming. Hope you found the place alright.”
“Oh yes, we didn’t have a problem. I was actually here just a couple of weeks ago for lunch with Victor.”
“So what is all this about?” asked Peter, after they had each ordered a drink. “What’s up with Grant that you wanted to talk about?”
For one split second Clint considered whether or not he should just tell them everything but then mentally shook his head. No. It would get too complicated that way.
“What are you doing about Grant?” Clint asked, turning to Holly.
“Well last time I saw you, you were all convinced he couldn’t get away with what he did to Lionel. Do you still care about that?”
Holly frowned. “I wrote that article. I told people what he did. I don’t see that there’s much else I can do at this point. And frankly lately I’ve just been focused on trying to keep him from ruining Antigone. Why?”
Clint hesitated and shook his head. “Nothing. I was just curious.”
“You asked us here because you were ‘just curious’?” asked Peter skeptically.
“No. I asked you here because Grant showed up at my art show and threw around some threats.”
“What? Why?” asked Holly. “You and I barely have a connection to each other. What does he want from you?”
“What he wants isn’t important. What he threatened, was Nikki’s career. And that is important. So you can understand why I’m concerned about this little feud the two of you have going on if it’s going to drag her into it.”
“And what exactly do you think Holly can do about this?” asked Peter. “It sounds to me like you’re accusing the wrong person here.”
“I am not accusing anyone. At least no one here. But I am worried.”
“Grant must have wanted something from you. What was it?”
“I already said, it’s not important.”
“Which makes me suspicious.”
“Alright, he wanted me to convince Nikki to talk to Holly. They’re friends. I guess he thought Nikki could get through to Holly or something.”
“There’s nothing for me be talked out of,” said Holly. “All I want at this point is for Antigone to be a success if I can at all make that happen. He’s the one blocking me on that. I’m not doing anything against him at the moment.”
Clint frowned. “Maybe you should be.”
He rolled his eyes. “Look maybe you were right about Lionel and Grant. Grant seems to think he can do whatever he wants because he’s powerful in this town and has a lot of money. It’s that simple. You really think that’s right?”
“I don’t know. But I also know that a lot of people put a lot of work into Antigone. McCall bought the entire film away from Grant so that he could save it for me. If I can make that film successful I think I owe- oh.”
“What is it?” asked Peter, concerned at the expression on Holly’s face. She was staring between him and Clint with a look of horror.
“I just…what I was about to say I…” Holly glanced towards Clint and shook her head. “Never mind.”
Clint’s cellphone rang. “Hold on.” He pulled it out of his pocket. “This is Nikki. I need to take it. I’ll be right back.” He got up from the table and exited the café.
“What’s wrong Holly?”
“Nothing I just…I just realized I was making practically the same excuses Grant made to me about why he paid off Lionel in the first place…Peter? Have I made a horrible mistake somewhere along the line?”
“No!” He reached over and took her hand. “Holly you have never once backed down from Grant. You published the article about him. And you have fought for Antigone beyond any call of duty. You have done everything you can do.”
She smiled. “Thank you…” But her smile faltered.
“I guess I wish this whole mess was simpler.”
Outside, Clint was hurrying across the street to his car. “Thanks for calling on time Nikki. Look I’ll talk to you later.”
“What’s all this about Clint? Why did you need me to call you at three fifteen exactly?”
“I’ll explain later. I’ve got to hang up now.”
He pocketed his phone as he reached his car. He opened trunk and pulled his camera bag out.
Moving round to the opposite side of the car so there’d be an obstacle at least partially blocking him from view should Holly and Peter look out the window, he took out his camera and trained it on the café window.
“An online premiere?” Peter grinned. “That’s brilliant.”
“You think so?”
“Yes. What did Walsh and McCall say about it?”
“McCall took a bit of convincing but Walsh was immediately on board and they’ve both agreed now that it’s our best shot at getting the movie seen.”
“It is a good plan.”
“There’s actually something else I wanted to talk over with you-”
“Hey, sorry about that.” Clint was back. He took his seat and glanced between the two of them. “Nikki had a work question.”