S4, Ep 16, Sc 4: The Answer

Nikki cleared off the coffee table, using the tried and true method of pushing everything onto the floor.

“Really?” Clint raised an eyebrow.

“What? We needed to clear off the table and it’s cleared. Job done and time spent on it…oh roughly a minute? I think it’s very efficient.”

Clint chuckled. “It seems like there’s a point there, though if I wasn’t so tired I might be able to figure out why there isn’t.”

“Maybe I’m just right.”

“Often. But I don’t think pushing things onto the floor should ever be the best option.” He rubbed his eyes.

“Was your day really that bad?” Nikki sat down next to him.

“It wasn’t great. Reporters have been trying to contact me. Several of them even made it to my front door. And the phone has been busy to put it mildly. I had to turn it off eventually.”

“I could kill Tobin.”

Clint laughed. “I think Tobin could kill me. It wasn’t his fault. I gave him the story, he couldn’t leave me out of it. Not without making people doubt what he did tell.”

“Pah. He could have tried. He at least could have minimized it a bit more than he did.”

“Maybe. But I did put him in a pretty tough position. I can’t blame him for being ticked off.”

There was a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it,” said Nikki.

“No, don’t bother. It’ll be the Chinese food. Why don’t you go grab us some beers from the kitchen?”


Clint pulled out his wallet and several bills as he crossed the room and opened the door. And then froze.


Grant wasn’t looking angry. He wasn’t looking vindictive. He wasn’t looking really much of anything. If Clint had to describe his expression it was one of a daze.

“Can I come in a moment?”

“Sure.” Clint stepped aside to let him enter.

Grant looked around the apartment for a moment. Clint waited, stealing himself for a possible bombshell. He’d made an enemy. And Grant was the kind of person who moved quickly.

“I’ve had quite a day,” said Grant at last. “Donald, Gloria, Eleanor, the press…and it’s not looking too good I have to admit. So I would really like to know one thing. Why? Because I don’t choose people hastily. You, I learned about. Tobin told me all about those photos you took of Glades back in the day. Plus you’re ambitious. You want to make it in LA as a photographer. What could you possibly have to gain from what you just did? I honestly don’t understand it. Why did you do it? You’re burning too.”


“Yes. I mean just…why? I think at the very least I have a right to know that much.”

Clint hesitated. Why not? There were somethings you should own to, no matter what it said about you. “The truth is, it was about Lionel.”

Grant blinked. “That git?”

“Look, I didn’t like Lionel. He rubbed me all the wrong ways, every single time. But the thing is, he saw why long before I did.  The reason he got under my skin like no one else ever has was because he was everything I hate about myself. And you know what? I wouldn’t like to be killed off and have the man responsible get off scot free for it. I’d like to think there’d be someone who’d make that man pay the price in one way or another.”

“So at the end of the day…you just did it for yourself?”

“I never said I did it for perfect reasons.”

“I worked for my studio for years. I worked, and I sweated, and I sacrificed. You have no idea what that kind of commitment is like, do you?”

“No. I probably don’t.”

“No.” Grant shook his head. “And you might have taken that away from me, because some hack, blackmailing photographer had a weak heart.”

“It looks that way.”

Grant stared at him for one long minute and then strode to the door and walked out.

Clint heard Nikki clearing her voice and turned to see her standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“I guess you would have heard all that?” he asked.

“You guess right. You know you’re wrong don’t you? You’re not Lionel.”

“A part of me is.”

She came over and wound her arms around him. “Not anymore. And for what it’s worth: I would absolutely make anyone pay to hell and back if they ever killed you off.”

Clint tucked a strand of Nikki’s hair back behind her ear. “Then you’re the first person who would.”

“Well you know me. I can kick up quite the fuss when I need to.”

“I do know you. And one, when that one is you, is more than enough. Nikki.”


“Marry me.”

Nikki blinked. “What did you just say?”

“Marry me. I’ve thought about this. I thought it about it a lot. And I was going to wait until I had built up a photography career that I could be proud of. And I could come to you a success. And now, that may never happen. My career just took a grave hit. One that I inflicted myself. Maybe I can salvage it. Maybe I can’t. Maybe I don’t even want to anymore. I do know I have a lot of things to decide. But there’s one thing I don’t have to decide. I do want you. I want us. And I want it from here on out. Marry me Nikki. And I swear we’ll face the world together come hell and high water.”

Nikki kissed him in answer.



AN: Proposals are probably on the top five things I find the hardest to write.

Posted in Clint Morgan, Episode Sixteen, Nikki Steele, Season Four | Leave a comment

S4, Ep 16, Sc 4: The Control

Grant slammed his phone down. For an hour now Eleanor had been ignoring his phone calls. He wasn’t used to it and he didn’t like it.

His intercom buzzed again but he didn’t bother to answer. It would just be his secretary telling him once more that Donald was trying to get through.

Well Donald could wait.

What on earth was Eleanor thinking? Why did she think she could get away with this?

He’d been on damage control since six o’clock in the morning when he had been alerted to the statement.

It had been simple, short, and to the point. Eleanor was retracting the statement she had released some months ago on behalf of Holly Woods concerning the leaked footage from Cold Wars. The statement had not in fact come from Ms. Woods, but from the studio producing the film, and while at the time there had been an implication that Ms. Woods had given the statement her approval, Eleanor claimed to have since learned that this was false and Ms. Woods had no knowledge of the leak. There was a brief apology and an expression of remorse that this had occurred. And that was that.

Except that wasn’t that. It was Grant’s studio that had been producing Cold Wars, and it was before the merger. He’d been solely in charge. And there were plenty of people who knew about his feud with Holly and how quickly he’d moved to black ball her around Hollywood after the leak had occurred. And then there was that blasted article she’d written about Lionel Atwood that Gloria had been sure to hint to every board member had come from Holly.

There were plenty of people already making all the right connections.

Grant had been halfway through crafting his own scathing response to the statement when Eleanor had sent him an email. It said simply:

Holly has this.

And attached was his own, original message to Eleanor about the leak.

How on earth had Holly gotten a hold of that?

That was why he’d been trying to get a hold of Eleanor. Had Eleanor supplied it to her? Either way he needed to get Eleanor back on his side and fast. This needed to be fixed.

But the infuriating woman wouldn’t answer her phone. Why did this have to happen now? What with that board meeting looming in a couple of weeks…

“From what I gather, they wanted to make sure everyone could be there. I heard we’ll be discussing restructuring,” Gloria had said.

He wondered. Could Gloria have been behind this? If she’d known to speak with Eleanor…

Blast it. Gloria and her meddling-

The intercom buzzed.

He reached for his phone, but stopped as his office door swung open.

“What the-, Donald?”

“Malcolm, I’m been trying to get through to you for the past hour.”

“Donald I’m rather busy at the moment.”

“We have to deal with damage control.”

“I’m on it.”

“The entire studio has to be on it. Don’t you know how this looks? You need to communicate with the PR department. You’re not the only one in trouble here.”

“Donald, don’t you think you’re exaggerating this a little?”

“No I don’t. Why on earth did you do it?”

Grant blinked. Certainly the statement had raised some implications, but for Donald to come right out and accuse him…

“I didn’t do anything,” he said icily. “Whatever rumors have been circulating-”

“It’s not a rumor Grant! There’s the email. How do you explain that?”

What? Holly had released the email? He’d interpreted Eleanor’s message as a warning, a threat at most. Why the delay then between the statement and the email? It didn’t make sense.

Donald was continuing: “And McCall? He’s one of us. He’s on the board. He’s a good friend. Why on earth would you try to do that to him?”

“Excuse me?” Grant frowned, at a loss now. What was the idiot talking about?

“I mean, I know you’ve taken this vendetta with Holly Woods to an insane length already, but McCall? Really Malcolm.”

“What exactly are you referring to?”

“The photographs of course. The ones you got that paparazzo to fool around with.”

Grant stared at him. Donald returned the gaze doubtfully.

“You have seen the article from Tobin Makem haven’t you? It was posted a little over an hour ago. That’s why I was trying to get through to your office.”

Grant turned to his computer and pulled up the web browser. A quick search found the article. Right at the top of the page was one of the photographs Clint had given him of Holly with McCall. Right next to it was Holly with Peter Glades. Once glance told Grant the whole story and his heart sank.

He should have been more careful. He should have covered more bases. But he’d been stretched so thin trying to combat Gloria and he thought he’d known what kind of man Clint Walker was.

Apparently he’d been wrong. So very wrong.

As he scrolled down the article, it was with grim satisfaction that he noticed Clint wouldn’t get off scot-free for his part in any of this either.

“An interesting read?”

Both Grant and Donald glanced towards the doorway. Gloria was standing there and smiling.

Grant shut the web browser and pulled himself together.


“You have been having a busy morning haven’t you Malcolm?” She came into the office and took a seat. “It’s all quite a mess. Of course it’s all dreadful timing what with the statement about the leak coming out this morning as well.”  Grant opened his mouth to respond but she raised her voice and ignored him. “Not that I would ever imply that you would sabotage a film being produced by your own studio. But it does look bad what with this…oh, shall we call it a lapse in judgement on your part? And you know how people love to come up with wild stories in Hollywood.” She beamed towards Donald.

“Oh, are the vultures out already?” Grant asked pleasantly.

“What does that make you I wonder? Carrion? Apt.”

Donald coughed and cleared his throat. “Shouldn’t we be discussing how best to handle this situation?”

“Yes, Malcolm how do you think we should handle this situation exactly?” It came out as positively a purr.

Posted in Episode Sixteen, Season Four | Leave a comment

S4, Ep 16, Sc 3: The Camera

Enough was enough. It was time to make the call. Clint just hoped he hadn’t miscalculated. But as long as you gave people an even better story then they’d quickly forget the old one.

He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Tobin Makem’s number. The call was answered almost instantly.

“Makem speaking.”

“Tobin? This is Clint Walker.”

“Clint. It seems I’ve been hearing your name a lot lately. And now you call. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine.”

“And Nikki?”

“She’s fine,” said Clint, a little shortly.

Tobin chuckled. “No need to get jealous. She did go back to you, didn’t she?”

“You know I really didn’t call you to talk about Nikki.”

“Why did you call me then? Because first I hear from Malcolm Grant, asking about you. Then I hear from him again, with some photographs and him saying you recommended he send them to me. And what was interesting was those photographs definitely were of the variety I thought you didn’t take any more now that you’ve gotten into quote, unquote: serious photography. And now here you are calling me up. So, what is going Clint. Because I would love to know.”

“I just sent you an email five minutes ago. That should explain some things.”

“Hold on.”

Clint could hear the sound of Tobin typing on a keyboard and then there was a long, drawn out sigh.

“Tell me this isn’t what I think it is.”



“What are you going to do with them?”

Tobin swore quite eloquently. “Why on earth did you do this to me?”

“This isn’t about you. But you do have to release them. I mean if someone else did it for you, it would look pretty bad wouldn’t it?”

“This was about Nikki wasn’t it? You wanted to get back at me or something?”

“Actually, no. I already told you, I’m not calling you about Nikki.” Clint was annoyed. He didn’t like her being brought into this. “In weird way this was a compliment.”

“And how on earth do you see that?”

“I knew you’d do the right thing.”

There was a very long pause.

“What exactly do you expect me to do?” asked Tobin.

“How did Grant give you the photographs?”

“He emailed them over.”

“Perfect. Then what I expect you to do is release these new photographs and release that email. I think people will have far too much to talk about to care about you and your magazine’s involvement.”

“Oh, my boss will care. You can be certain of that.”

“Eh. Bosses.”

Tobin snorted. “Says the freelancer.”

“Look, its better your magazine exposes the truth than someone else, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” he agreed reluctantly. “Though it’d be best if we weren’t in this mess to begin with. Why did you do this Clint?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Look, if I do this, if I release that email…well you’re mentioned in it. It sounds very much like you and Grant both are responsible for it. Which, actually apparently you are.”

Clint hesitated. He’d known he was playing a dangerous game to begin with and that this was always this risk. He’d been prepared to take it.



“Yes, fine.”

He heard Tobin sigh again. “I swear Clint, I knew you were ruthless but this…my career is on the line here.”

“Your career will do just fine. You didn’t do anything unethical.”

“You certainly did. This is playing dirty. I just don’t know what the game is.”

“The game doesn’t concern you. The only thing that should concern you is putting out the truth before someone does it for you.”

“Alright. I’ll start working on the article and inform my boss. But one thing Clint: never, do anything remotely like this to me again.”

“I doubt that would even be an option.”

Clint hung up and set aside his phone. Well that was that then.

A part of him felt guilty. He knew he’d traded on Tobin’s standard of ethics. That probably wasn’t right. But he had done what he had to do.

Standing up, he walked over to the side table and picked up his camera. He weighed it in his hands. And suddenly, a surprise burst of hatred for it swept over him. It seemed every crappy thing he had ever done in his life, he’d done with it. He slammed it back down on the side table and heard something crack.

Posted in Clint Morgan, Episode Sixteen, Season Four | 1 Comment

S4, Ep 16, Sc 2: The Enemy

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?”


Posted in Episode Sixteen, Holly Woods, Season Four | 2 Comments

S4, Ep 16, Sc 1: The Bluff

The next two days were not great. Holly and McCall still worked on arranging the premiere. There was a lot of back and forth with the websites that would be streaming the film. Each and every one of them was still open to hosting the movie but there was a marked decline on how much they were now willing to promote it.

McCall insisted on booking a theater for an official premiere for friends, cast, and crew. Holly suggested they hire Amy for the catering. But while the arrangements should all have been quite exciting, there was that  one big cloud overhead that was raining not just on the parade, but also seemed to be the cause of a few skunks getting into the picnic.

Maybe Evelyn was right, that the pictures didn’t show anything actually wrong. But they’d shown enough that anyone on the internet that had been talking about Antigone, where no longer talking it were the same excitement. In fact now they weren’t talking about it at all. They were talking about Holly. And not in a particularly flattering way.

It was all very well for Evelyn to wave a hand airily and chalk them all up as sexist. But that didn’t solve the problem that the narrative Holly and McCall had worked so hard to create in people’s minds was starting to crumble.

McCall had had the photographs sent off to an expert to look over, but Holly was beginning to worry that the report wasn’t going to be completed before the damage had been irreparably inflicted. Besides, she was also beginning to wonder if people were going to believe what the expert said anways. It would be, after all, their expert.

But if they could change the story people were talking about…if they could give people a new gossip to share and debate, and one that cast herself as the victim…well…

Yes. Holly knew instinctively that releasing Grant’s email to Eleanor would cause the whole thing to change again. It was frustrating really how easy it was to change things. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t make it work in their favor.

And yet, every objection she had had previously wasn’t really changed now because of those photographs. The need was just greater.

Which was why she found herself, sitting in her living room and staring at the phone in her hand. All she had to do was call Cynthia. Authorize her to release the email. That was what Cynthia wanted after all, wasn’t it? To be told what to do with it.

In one stroke Holly could remove an objection people had over working with her (even some of the streaming websites had ‘discreetly’ warned McCall that the film had better not be leaked before the release date), deal Grant a blow he’d have trouble recovering from, and stop Antigone’s downward descent.

It was all so tempting.

Holly dialed Cynthia’s number and steeled herself as she heard the phone ring. But then Cynthia came on the line.


Holly stared at the phone.


What was she doing?


She hung up and pushed the phone away.

Hadn’t, not too long ago, she’d been talking to Peter about her fears that maybe she’d gone too far? He had assured her no. But if she did this, she would have gone too far. Far, too far.

And yet, she did owe McCall. She had a way to save the situation. Certainly he would have told her that she didn’t owe him anything and that he didn’t want her to do something she’d regret, but the fact that he would say that and be so darn nice about, just made her more determined not to let Antigone become a black mark on his career.

She glanced back at her phone. She couldn’t call Cynthia back. Even for McCall she couldn’t bring herself to make that phone call and release that email. There were just too many people it would hurt. And there had to be a point when the reward wasn’t worth the cost.

Holly sat up straighter, a smile slowly spreading on her face. There were so many people that email would hurt. She’d just been looking at this the wrong way around. And they didn’t have to know that she’d never release the email. It was time for a little bluffing.

Posted in Episode Sixteen, Holly Woods, Season Four | Leave a comment

S4, Ep 15, Sc 3: The Accusations

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?”

“Of course.”

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!

Posted in Episode 15, Holly Woods, Season Four, Victor McCall | Leave a comment

S4, Ep 15, Sc 2: The Trust

Nikki gave a contented side and scooted a little closer to Clint. He had one arm wrapped around her, his boots propped up on the coffee table, and the two were watching a movie. It was, all things considered, probably the perfect way to spend an afternoon, she thought.

Or it was until the banging on the front door started.

She sat up. “Who could that be?” Nikki looked at Clint and suddenly got the oddest feeling that he had a pretty good idea who that could be and wasn’t overly eager to tell her. “Clint?”

The banging kept coming.

Clint sighed. “Nikki, I have an explanation.”

“That’s horribly un-reassuring.”

More banging.

“I’d better get that before the neighbors start complaining.” Clint got up and reluctantly went and answered the door. Instantly someone burst past him into the apartment and was whirling around on him.

“I have a bone to pick with you Clint.”

“Holly?” Nikki stood up. “Holly what’s going on?”

“Oh. Nikki.” The sight of her seemed to stop Holly in her tracks a little. She frowned. “You didn’t know did you?”

“Know what?”

Clint shook his head. “No she didn’t.”

“What didn’t I know that everyone else seems to?”

“Nik I can explain it to you later-”

“That you’re a sneaky, lying rat?” asked Holly.

“Holly, I understand that you’re upset-”

“Those pictures are a lie and you know it. You edited them and I am going to prove it!”

“Look, if you’ll hear me out-”

“Hear you out that you invited me and Peter to that café under false pretenses? That you manipulated the situation so you could take photos that you could then edit and sell as a pack of lies? Or hear you about how you did it all for Grant.”

Clint sighed and rubbed his forehead. “You’ve thought this through I see.”

“You know, I know what you did to Peter all those years ago. And he’s told me about how you helped him with the evidence against Alan. He thought you had changed. But I guess he was wrong, wasn’t he? You’re still the exact same person who would take advantage of someone at their lowest point. You’re a coward if you helped Grant because you were afraid of him. You’re a coward and I’m disgusted.”

“Fine. Don’t hear me out,” he snapped. “So what did you come here for then? Just to vent your righteous rage?”

“You’re an idiot if you think you are possibly going to get away with this, and you’ve got another think coming. We’re going to take those photos and we are going to prove that they’re completely and utterly fake and then we are going to trace them right back to you! Good bye Clint.”

The door was slammed shut behind her before Clint even had a chance to blink.

He turned to Nikki. She was staring at him and he got the distinct impression that the storm wasn’t quite over.

“What was that all about?” asked Nikki carefully.

Rather than bother explaining, Clint pulled his phone out of his pocket, brought up the photos, and tossed it over to her. She caught it.

For a long minute she stared at them.


“Alright?” he raised an eyebrow. “That’s it?”

“No. I’m just trying to decide where to start.” There was a dangerous edge to her voice. “Are they fakes?”

“What does it matter?”

“Because I’m trying to figure out why you would fake photos. But then again, I’m also trying to figure out when you returned to the paparazzi without telling me or why you’re apparently working for Grant!” Nikki was building up steam.

“Nikki I’m doing something I have to do.”


“Because Grant’s here. He’s a threat. He’s threatening you.”

“He is?”

“Yes. You and your career.”

“Don’t you think that’s something you should have talked to me about then? Something you should have let me decide?”

“But he brought the threat to me. Just trust me Nikki. I have this under control…sort of,” he amended.

“That,” she said, gesturing after Holly, “didn’t look like control.”

“Trust me.”

There was a long beat. “Okay.”


Nikki smiled. Suddenly, it didn’t seem like there had ever been a storm there at all. “I think at this point, trust is the least you can ask for.” She came over and kissed him. “Here’s your phone back.”

“You know for a second there I thought you might throw it at me.”

She laughed. “I like to think I’ve outgrown throwing things.”

“Good. Because it’s a new phone and I’m not sure if the warranty covers girlfriends.”

He couldn’t quite believe it when Nikki led him back to the couch and they returned to watching the movie. He’d been sure they had been about to have a blazing, storm-out-of-the-apartment row, and they hadn’t. She’d accepted what he had to say. She hadn’t even insisted on a full explanation.

Clint took hold of Nikki’s hand, tangling their fingers together, and despite Holly’s blistering attack, felt completely content. With Nikki here, he knew exactly where he stood.

Posted in Clint Morgan, Episode 15, Holly Woods, Nikki Steele, Season Four | Leave a comment