Holly could have kicked herself for not seeing it sooner. It had been obvious. There was more than one way to use the email. Cynthia had been focused on how the email related to herself, of course all she saw was the email being leaked to public. But she, Holly, should have been able to look beyond.
There were options. As far as she could see, two solid options. First off there was the obvious: Grant. Briefly she considered him. He probably had the most to lose. And going to him with the upper hand for a change was a tempting prospect. But she dismissed the idea. Grant was too much of an unknown. He reacted quickly and effectively and had a better chance of turning this around against her. Or at least neutralizing the threat. No. Grant wouldn’t be a good idea. But there was someone else with quite a lot to lose of that email came out.
But it would pay not to rush into anything. Think it through. Put together her plan. Wait a second there was a flaw. There had to be motivation. There couldn’t just be a complete retraction of the statement….
She got up and went to grab her laptop. She spent the next hour writing.
Finally she sat back, looked at the result and nodded with satisfaction. Yes. That would work. She printed it out and put the document in her purse before leaving the house and driving downtown.
As Holly rode up the elevator to the thirty-second floor she felt remarkably calm. She was confident. It felt rather nice.
The doors dinged open, and with determination she crossed the hall and entered the office opposite. The receptionist looked up and her eyebrows raised in surprise.
“Ms. Woods? What are you doing here? It’s so nice to see you again. Do you have an appointment I’m unware of? Wait Ms. Woods, what are you- you can’t go in there! She’s in a meeting!”
Holly had walked right past her and burst through into Eleanor’s office. A woman Holly’s age was sitting across from Eleanor, and both women looked surprised at the interruption.
Once she recovered a little, Eleanor managed a smile. “Why Holly, this is unexpected.”
“I need to talk to you.”
“I’m afraid I’m in a private meeting with Ms. Hale at the moment. A potential client. But if you talk to my receptionist before you leave I am sure she could find a time for a meeting.”
Holly opened her purse and pulled out a copy of the email which she placed down in front of Eleanor. “Sorry. This can’t wait. But Ms. Hale here might like to know exactly how you treat your clients, so perhaps it would be better if she stayed.”
“I really don’t know what…” Eleanor trailed off as she realized what was on the paper. “Um, well perhaps Ms. Hale and I have covered most of the important points…, I’m sorry Kennedy, if you have any more questions perhaps you could call?”
“Right. Sure.” The girl got to her feet. From the expression on her face, Holly was pretty sure Eleanor was never going to hear from her again.
Once they were alone, Holly took the vacated seat and crossed her arms. “So. You know what that email says obviously. It was sent to you originally.”
“Holly.” Eleanor tried to smile at her.
“I’m guessing your other clients wouldn’t be so thrilled to know how readily you’ll sell one of them down the river.”
“I would think this kind of thing could be a career killer for someone in your line of work.”
“You have to understand, if this gets out, you’d be breaking up a marriage. Adam and Cynthia just made a mistake.”
“But then again, the marriage is already pretty broken if he’s making those kinds of mistakes, isn’t it?”
There was a long silence. Eleanor was staring at Holly, probably trying to figure out if she was bluffing but definitely too scared to tell. Grant on the other hand, he would have seen through it immediately. And he still could. Which was why Holly had to make sure she didn’t give Eleanor time to go to him.
“Holly, if you’ll just listen to me. I can explain-”
“I don’t need an explanation. I’ve already figure out the why’s and wherefore’s. No what I want is to have this fixed.”
“Yes. I have this email. And I can have it proven that the email came from you. Easy. So it’s really up to you whether this gets released or not.”
“But what do you want me to do?”
“You released a statement claiming to be from me, admitting to leaking Cold Wars. You and I both know that statement was a lie. I want you to retract it. And I want you to make it convincing. And I want everyone to know that I never authorized it.”
“How can I do any of that without losing every client I have? You might as well release the email!”
“If that’s the way you feel…” Holly started to stand up.
“No wait! Please. Look, I’m willing to figure something out here. But you do have to realize that if I just come out and say that I made up that statement-, well. I’d hardly be any better off.”
“Then how about this.” Holly pulled out the paper she’d written and slid it across the desk.
Reluctantly, Eleanor picked it up and glanced over it. There was a long pause and then, “But won’t he-”
“What? Disprove it? How? He can’t show the email without implicating himself. And if he says it’s not true, well then we’ll release the email ourselves. His hands will be tied.”
There was a long silence. “You realize that Grant is a very powerful enemy to have in this town, don’t you?” asked Eleanor.
“I’ve already got him as that.”
“But I haven’t.”
“No. You’ve probably got him as a friend. But you got me as an enemy as soon as you released that statement. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t make a very good enemy either?”