Holly knew that technically confronting Clint hadn’t accomplished much, but it did make her feel quite a bit better. At least it did until she was standing outside of McCall’s house, faced with the prospect of talking to him about the photographs.
She knew the photos were fake. And she knew McCall would know it as well. They both would be aware that everything the article had said was hogwash too but, at the same time, ugly accusations still had a way of painting innocent encounters ugly colors. They tainted things, distorted them, effected the way you acted even when you knew they weren’t true.
Shaking her head, she rang the doorbell. Hadn’t she once, a long time ago, accused McCall of more or less the same things the article had said, and it hadn’t mattered in the end. It wouldn’t matter now. That was the kind of person McCall was.
McCall smiled as he opened the door and Holly already felt relief flood through her.
“Holly, I’ve been trying to call you.”
“Yes. Sorry. I had to go shout at someone. Can I come in?”
McCall lead the way to the living room, poured them both some water, and sat down.
“First off I want to say I’m sorry,” said Holly, “about those photographs. Obviously we both know there’s no truth to the story. The photographs are a fake too. Someone I know did them. Someone I probably shouldn’t have trusted in the first place. And I am sorry that that lapse in judgement has resulted in something that hurt you.”
“Holly this isn’t either of ours fault. And I certainly don’t blame you for it. Nor did it particularly hurt on any personal level that you have to apologize for.”
“I’m going to have the pictures looked at by an expert. Since they’re faked, there has to be a way to prove it.”
“And as for the insinuations, eventually people are going to realize there’s no truth to that story as well.”
“Yes. But I fear by then it will be too late for Antigone.”
McCall sighed. “I have started to notice some rather blistering comments online. I don’t think the companies we have lined up for the premiere are going to back out because of this but…”
“But it’s less likely to be successful. I know. I’ve already thought of that.” She set down her water glass. “It seems every time things are looking good, something comes along and messes with our plans all over again.”
“And you know what, every time that happens, you figure out a way to fix it. You’re brilliant at this Holly.”
“Brilliant may be a stretch. But thank you.” She smiled. “And I am sorry that you got dragged into it.”
“I wanted to back Antigone. I admit I didn’t expect my personal life to get dragged into it. But your personal life has been as well. It’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world but not unbearable. Besides, my daughter’s phone call this morning with her trying to tactfully ask if I was suffering a midlife crisis was quite amusing.”
“Your daughter saw the photographs? Oh my word, I didn’t even think about your family and what they must have thought. Look if you need me to talk to them or anything-”
McCall chuckled. “I’m actually rather enjoying it. My daughter has decided she should come visit me next month, just to make sure I’m alright. I think she’s worried this is all a result of deep depression. But if it gets a visit out of her, I’m not complaining. She might even bring my granddaughter.”
“Still, I’d rather not consider what your daughter must think of me.”
“I admit she’s probably not feeling too favorably towards you. She probably won’t be a big supporter of Antigone. But once she’s here, we’ll clear the whole thing up. After all, if you decide to take me up on my offer…”
“I’ve been considering it. I just don’t know. Especially in light of this.”
“This doesn’t change things in the slightest.”
“Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. But one thing is certain: this does change our Antigone prospects. We can’t afford negative public opinion at this point. We need to fix it. And I was thinking on the way over here. There is something that might change things. I recently…got some information. I don’t want to go into details because, well it’s complicated. But it could change things if I released it. Swing public opinion back in our direction. I didn’t want to use it, but now…”
“Holly, don’t let this force you into any hasty decisions. We’ll see which way the wind blows once the storm dies down a little.”
“I promise that I won’t do anything in haste. But I can’t promise that I won’t do anything.”
AN: I am taking next week off for Thanksgiving. Mostly because I really want to take Thanksgiving weekend off and to do that I have to cram all most normal freelance writing work into the first three days of the week, which doesn’t really leave me any time to get Holly done. So Happy Thanksgiving everyone!