“Sure.” Holly stepped aside to let Cynthia enter, and lead the way towards the living room. Holly considering offering her a cup of coffee but before she was able to decide whether or not she was feeling that friendly, Cynthia began talking.
“I have to tell you this. Ever since Adam told me I’ve been living with this, feeling awful about it.” She wasn’t looking sheepish after all. She looked overwhelmed and fighting for control. Holly remembered their previous meeting and Cynthia’s rushed apology during it. Peter had thought it was about Cold Wars, but looking at Cynthia now that didn’t feel right. Wait a second-
“Adam?” Holly frowned. “Adam as in our costar a couple of years ago?”
“Yes.” Cynthia sunk down onto the sofa and buried her face in her hands. Holly had never seen her look so vulnerable and it shocked her.
“Cynthia, are you alright? Can I get anything? Coffee perhaps?”
“No. Thank you, but no.” She pulled herself together and straightened a little, looking Holly square in the face. “I owe you an apology.”
“I know,” said Cynthia, ignoring Holly’s expression, “that I have not kept my dislike for you much of a secret.”
Holly snorted. “I’d more say you waved it around with pride but both statements get the point across.”
“But then again I did blame you for those photographs that leaked when it was Frank all along, and I kept you out of Cold Wars. Or I did until I got fired myself and you replaced me. I think there’s enough murky water under that bridge by now that maybe we should just call it even or at least a day.”
Cynthia shook her head. “I wish-, but there’s something you don’t know. And I hope you believe me when I tell you that I had no idea until recently.”
“I know you weren’t the one that leaked Cold Wars.”
Holly sat down.
“How on earth could you possibly know that? Everyone else is so sure I did it. I would have thought you’d be one of the first to be convinced.”
“I know because of Eleanor. She released that statement saying you’d admitted to the leak. But I found out recently that someone made her do that.”
“Made her? I always thought someone paid her for it.”
“Not exactly. Someone gave her a choice. Either she release that statement or a scandal would break involving one of her other clients.”
“Her more successful, famous clients obviously bring her in more money and put on top of that fact that she didn’t want to make an enemy out of the person giving her the ultimatum in the first place…well.”
“I don’t understand. How do you know all this?”
“The only reason I signed with Eleanor in the first place was because Adam recommended her. Adam was the client. And…” she sighed heavily. “I was the scandal.”
“I’m sorry I don’t understand.”
“Adam and I were seeing each other.”
“Hence why it was a scandal,” Cynthia said a little icily.
“Oh right. I’m sorry.”
“I never thought I would end up in that kind of situation. But everything felt like it was falling apart in my life and he was the only constant. I was stuck in the same kind of pathetically small roles over and over again. If I had a significant part, it was in some indie movie that no one ever saw. It felt like everything I had ever worked towards was constantly just barely out of reach. It was maddening. And he was there…I don’t know why I’m explaining all this to you. I suppose the past couple of years have just been such a mess that there wasn’t any other person I could explain it to.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I can’t tell you why Adam did it. I thought I knew him…but I’m not sure the man I knew could have done the things he did. But talking about it isn’t why I came here. The point is Malcolm Grant found out about the affair. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem only when Cold Wars was leaked he went to Adam and Eleanor and said our affair would be in all the tabloids if Eleanor didn’t release a statement saying that you’d admitted to the leak.”
“Oh.” Holly let all this information sink in. “Is that why they gave you my role?”
“I am a good actress. I could earn that part!” Cynthia snapped.
“I didn’t mean to imply you couldn’t, I just think it’s a strange coincidence if it didn’t have something to do with it.”
There was a long and heavy sigh. “I know and you’re right. I didn’t know about it at the time but yes. I think Adam knew I wouldn’t be happy with what they did. And he hoped that if I got the career I wanted out of it, then if I ever found out I’d be able to turn a blind eye. But like I said, I only recently learned all this. Adam and I have…ended things. And there was a big argument and he let it slip. After that I confronted Eleanor. And she showed me a copy of one of Grant’s emails, to prove me that she acted for the best, for both my interests and Adam’s. And while she didn’t say it obviously, it was in her best interests too. The thing is I have that email.”
“You have it?”
“Yes. She left the room briefly and I sent it to myself. It could theoretically prove that you didn’t leak the film. But it also talks about the affair. I know if Adam’s wife knows, or if she should know, or I should be the one to tell her, or if she does know and this in tabloids will just hurt her more. The truth is that for once I just don’t know. I don’t know what I should do with this; I don’t know how I got here. But then let’s be honest, you’re the one whose career was killed by Eleanor’s statement. And Grant keeps going after you and your film. And I realized that this, this could hurt him. So here I am. Asking you, what do you want me to do?”