Grant straightened his jacket and adjusted his tie in the mirror. He could feel a sense of foreboding. It was almost as if he could see the whole board meeting play out in his mind’s eye. He knew how this was going to go. And if Gloria’s manner over the past few weeks were any indication, she knew too and was relishing it. She’d been in seventh heaven, in a disgustingly good mood, and excessively friendly to him.
Since the photo scandal, she’d also been insufferable, flitting about, rubbing it in at just the wrong moments, whispering suspicions and accusations into everyone’s ear. At least Holly Woods was willing to let well enough alone.
Looking back, Grant wondered where exactly he had gone wrong. He’d been in control. He’d held all the cards. And then somehow, somewhere along the line he’d missed a step and now he was attending a board meeting that had been made clear to him, not so subtly, was likely to wrest control of the studio out of his hands. He wasn’t sure who to blame for it: Holly or Gloria. But it didn’t matter.
Over the past month he’d fought tooth and nail to rebuild his influence after the combination of his leaked email to Eleanor and Clint’s photographs, but those scandals had ensured he wasn’t just a target in the studio; he was a target to the paparazzi and media. People who never knew the name of studio heads and producers, suddenly knew his name. And they didn’t like it.
Gloria smelled the blood in the water.
He realized he’d started to crumple the tie and smoothed it back out. He had to stay in control. It wasn’t over until it was over and he still had one last fight. The board meeting. He could still turn things around.
Grant picked up his briefcase and pocketed his phone. He would be driving himself today. There was something humiliating about slinking away with a driver after a defeat, and you needed to plan for every eventuality.
For once the LA traffic was nonexistent and he got to the studio earlier than he’d expected. The atmosphere there was tense. It was as if no matter how quiet the board meeting had been kept, every employee down to the janitor had still heard some whisper or hint of what was brewing.
Grant made his way to his office. He didn’t actually have any business there but…
He sat at the desk and looked around. This was his office. This was his studio. And Gloria was nothing but a parasite and he’d rot before he let her infest everything he’d built.
There was a knock on the door.
“Grant. I saw you drive in.” McCall entered the office and stood hesitantly in front of the desk.
“What do you want Victor?” Grant didn’t mean to sound quite so tired.
McCall sighed. “We’ve known each other a long time Malcolm. We’re not friends. But we’ve never been enemies. At least not until recently.”
“Holly,” said Grant. “That was the start of it. I knew the day Ryder was arrested I should have gone with my gut and dropped her from Cold Wars. But you wouldn’t let me. I should have called your bluff.”
“But you didn’t.”
“True. Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve. My sister used to say that.”
“I never knew you had a sister.”
“…a wannabe hippie that never realized she’d missed the era before she was even born. Pathetic really.” There was an awkward pause. Goodness he was tired wasn’t he? Grant rubbed his forehead. “Antigone has its premiere tonight.”
“Yes it does.”
“I bet Holly is quite pleased.”
“Of course. The press has really come out strong in support of the film. And the online communities are buzzing. It looks like it’s going to be a hit.”
“Good. For. Her.”
“I have some phone calls I have to make before the board meeting. I’ll see you there Victor.”
“Wait. I didn’t come in here to fight. I came here to warn you. We both know what this board meeting is about.”
“If we both know then I don’t need a warning.”
“You’re going to lose the vote. You can’t change their minds. I know you were making calls last night; Donald told me you phoned him trying to get his support. But whatever people told you…you’re not going to get it. Japan backed out of the merger at the six o’clock this morning.”
“Gloria has made sure everyone says it was because of you. And let’s face it, it probably was. I know what people are going to vote. I’m sorry Grant. But…I thought you should know before going in there.”
There was a long dead silence.
“Thank you Victor.” Grant glanced at the time. “Now I have to make my phone calls.” He nodded towards the door.
McCall sighed and left.
The door closed behind him and Grant was left alone in an empty office. He looked around idly. So … Gloria had won.