A/N: A fuller, more satisfying summary of more than 250 letters for this story: Lillian Harwick, a young woman no different from any other, lives in an apartment in town. Just like most young women, she also admires a man. However, this man happens to be the world-famous actor Connor MacGowan, whom she knows she will never get a chance to meet or talk to, especially since he is already surrounded by hordes of adoring fans and often seen in the company of supermodels. But by some freak chance she meets the man himself on his way back from a photoshoot, and then begins to see quite a lot of him during the days that follow. Soon Lillian finds herself actually becoming friends with Connor, as she sees a more personal side of him. Then her ordinary life is completely changed when he returns her admiration with love of his own, even though they are from such different worlds. But what will Connor's army of fangirls have to say about their idol no longer being single?
The beginnings of this little story have been sitting patiently on my laptop for a few months now, and I'm having such fun with it that I've decided to post it here. Although I've been in fanfiction for about a year now, I haven't posted any of my original stuff before, so here goes!
One of this story's many sources of inspiration is from the trip to Scotland I went on around Halloween last year...I'm completely in love with the place now, I'd love to live there! The people are so kind...
Right, enough rambling, and on with the show!
It happened just like that, when I was least expecting it, on a very normal Saturday morning when I was simply walking through the town and minding my own business. The weather was of the typically English, overcast type: grey, cloudy, and with no sun to speak of. It had been a long morning indeed; even though I didn't have to go to work, there had been groceries to buy, and my flat to tidy up. Now I was just on my way home from the post office, where I had gone to send off a package to my mother containing a cardigan she had seen in a catalogue and fallen in love with. Seeing as my parents lived far off in a little secluded suburban area, my mother didn't have much access to the shops I had here in town. On her very rare visits, she would soon forget to complain about the state of my flat when she saw the shops I lived so close to. She had such a firm wishlist that Christmas and birthday present-shopping was very easy indeed for me...
I made my way along the pavement with my hands in the deep pockets of my long black coat, face turned to the ground. It was quite cold today, and I was glad I had remembered my scarf. A chilly breeze blew my long brown hair back from my face as I passed the familiar, sleek building that I knew to be some posh, professional studio of some sort. I turned my head to the side, staring up at the big dark windows. That was the moment - the very moment - when it happened.
'Sorry...! You OK?'
A tall, well-built man wearing black jeans and a dark, fleecy coat suddenly bumped into me. His face had been more or less out of sight because of the cap he had pulled low over it, but when he accidentally ran into me, he looked up in shock, revealing a pair of rather nice clear-blue eyes.
No, I was most certainly not OK. My brain had ceased to function correctly, and my thoughts had jammed due to the shock of realising I had just come face-to-face with the actor I had admired for years. At first I doubted my own sight, but when at last my mind caught on my pulse began to flutter so rapidly I felt in danger of a heart attack. It was him! It was really him! I would know those ruggedly handsome, slightly unshaven features anywhere, with their crown of dark curls. I had seen them countless times on TV, in movies, in magazines...and I had heard that voice of his so often there was no doubt at all; that gravelly but very pleasant Scottish burr was unmistakeable. I blinked several times, suddenly very aware of his close proximity and my own dishevelled, windswept appearance.
'Er...y-yeah, yeah, I'm fine,' I stammered all too breathlessly, painfully aware of the blush that threatened to steal over my cold-pinched cheeks. This was Connor MacGowan right here before me, in the flesh! He was taller than I had imagined him to be, and his face was full of tiny imperfections I had never noticed before - a freckle or two here and there, expressive lines around his mouth, slight wrinkles at the corner of his eyes...the mild shininess of natural skin, an old razor-cut upon the stubble on his chin, a small, darker blotch on the pale blue disc of his iris...tiny imperfections, insignificant and curiously endearing, that showed how real, how human he was. Overwhelmed by the detail in which I was now seeing him, my eyes fell to his lips. Well-shaped, wide, with shallow cracks and darker, slightly sore areas that betrayed some recent lip-nibbling. I was surprised at the revelation of this little nervous habit I also happened to have, and looked back up into his eyes. As I breathed the lovely, distinctly masculine scent of him along with the crisp, biting winter air, I searched desperately for something clever to say to him that wasn't "Ooooh! Oh my God! You're Connor MacGowan, my favourite, favourite actor!".
You look familiar,' I murmured in a casual and offhand manner, narrowing my eyes slightly with a pensive frown. 'You're Connor MacGowan, aren't you?'
No shit, Sherlock, I thought to myself. Still, it was better than hysterical screaming.
Was that a look of weariness in his eyes? I certainly hoped not...
'Aye, that's me,' he affirmed crisply with a brief, emotionless smile, deepening those beautiful dimples and giving me another heart-stopping taste of his lovely accent. 'I'm also in a bit of a rush, so please excuse me...'
My excitement suddenly cut off, I tried valiantly to hide my disappointment.
'Oh - yes...of course,' I replied hurriedly, and let him pass. The man, whom I had admired so intensely since the moment I had first seen his face in a TV magazine, walked away from me, head down and hands in pockets. My heart was still thumping wildly in my chest, and the nagging, desperate urge still raged through me - the urge to say something that would make him remember me, like I always remembered him; to make the image of me stand apart in his memory from the insignificant blur of all his other fans. But there was nothing I could do now but watch him go, watch him make his way as discreetly as possible, perhaps already having forgotten all about me.
He would certainly not give me a second thought, and yet I knew I would remember this moment for the rest of my life. As I slowly recovered my senses and started off my own way, I found I was shaking. I had actually met him! In real life! After so many weeks of watching interviews of him, of seeing endless photos of him, I had come face to face with the man himself, all alone, not surrounded by clamouring people. And he had spoken to me, too! To me! And run right into me, as well...I tried to remember the softness of his fleece against me, the lovely, musky scent he had...
When I arrived home, however, the excitement had given way to despondent depression. I had been thinking of calling my friends and telling them everything, but now the memory of my brief encounter made me feel slightly disheartened. I knew he had definitely forgotten me already, and given me as much thought as any random stranger he happened to bump into on the street. Yes, there had been a brief contact between us, but nothing to make him remember me. To him, I was just a fan. Just another person who had seen him on TV. Just another bothersome nobody.
The more I thought of him, though, the more my mind burned. I desperately wanted to meet him again, to make him remember me somehow...to talk with him properly, and find out what he was really like. However, I knew very well about the fans who surrounded him, the paparazzi who harassed him, and especially the multitudes of girls who had sworn undying love to him. Who was to say I wasn't just one of them? Who was to say I was different in any way from all those inane fangirly types? The thought was depressing. I would always be one of the crowd, for as long as I lived. My brush with this famous person would certainly be my only contact with him for my entire life, unless I became a celebrity overnight or kidnapped him at a film festival...
I remembered the way he had excused himself, the way he had walked away from me briskly as if I was simply another pestering fan. Oh, it was hopeless thinking about him...
I dropped my bag on the floor and discarded my coat, trudging wearily in my socks to the kitchen. Despondently I began to make myself a cup of tea, watching the rain begin to patter against the window while the kettle brewed. Talk about pathetic fallacy...
With glazed eyes I watched the rivulets of rainwater running down the windowpane, unable to stop myself from thinking of Connor MacGowan. If I was rich and famous, I would be able to socialise with him and talk to him casually, as an equal. But as this was not the case, I would always remain just one of the multitude...
Once my tea was steaming in the lime-green mug, I took it over into the living room, where I sank into the sofa. Since when had life become so difficult? Surely not all single young ladies went through this...If I had a boyfriend, I wouldn't have to worry about any of this dull Love Unrequited businness. But as I hadn't been in a relationship for many years now - probably because I was neither blonde nor particularly busty - I had to content myself with other forms of distraction. I picked up the remote from the coffee table and turned on the TV, looking through the channels to see what was on. Nothing seemed to catch my fancy. All the usual programmes I sometimes found interesting suddenly appeared so banal and petty all of a sudden...what was wrong with me? Restlessly I flicked through channels, sipping my tea and beginning to think about getting up and -
I almost choked.
No way...there he was! Right on the screen, a few years younger, with a different haircut, but recognisibly him. My aimless channel-hopping had landed me on a film, a film which starred as its lead actor Connor MacGowan himself. The coincidence was positively creepy. Was this some sort of sick way of reminding me just how out of reach he was?
I glared at the slow close-up of his handsome face, suddenly enraged. 'Why do you have to be so bloody famous?' I growled angrily, feeling my insides twist into knots as the woman in the film fell prey to his charms. I changed the channel mutinously, but after only a few seconds and two angry sips of tea, I simply had to change back. I couldn't resist feasting my eyes on him, with the knowledge that I had bumped into him barely two hours ago. I remembered the bone-melting sensation I got when he had looked straight at me with those Highland-blue eyes...
I ran a hand irritably through my hair. Honestly - I was behaving just like a lovesick, fawning fangirl! The fact that he had only looked at me didn't mean anything at all. I might as well have been a brick wall for all the romantic interest in his eyes when he had looked at me. The only women likely to capture his attention were the beautifully made-up, perfect model-girls built like gazelles who owned half of Australia and who looked good all the time in their expensive, dazzling designer outfits. I felt so insignificant compared to them - I was not the tallest girl in the world, and although I was reasonably curvy, I had always wished for better legs and eyes that weren't a depressing muddy green. I was also terribly shy sometimes, I got frequently ignored, and most days was a bad hair day...As for my clothes, they were alright, but nothing anybody ever seemed to notice. I was also far from stinking-rich.
Actors, I thought with bitter derision. I had read the Wikipedia pages of many of them on the Internet, and to me it seemed that hardly any of them ever married only once. They divorced and remarried and had fathered different children left right and centre...no, I could never have a relationship with an actor, let alone a famous actor who would attract so many other girls, far more desirable than me. Celebrities were too unpredictable...
I turned off the TV right in the middle of a soppy moment between Connor's character and the other actress's, and went off to read instead.
It was evening when I finally picked up the phone. Heart racing, I dialled the number I knew well and waited.
'Hi, Kate, it's Lilly,' I said, sitting myself down on the arm of the sofa.
'Listen - you know that guy...the one who plays in that movie we went to see two weeks ago?'
Kate had trouble remembering. 'Remind me,' she said.
'You know - Connor MacGowan, the one who played the dark-haired guy in Heyday?'
'Oh, him! The really fit one? God, he was a real hottie...what about him?'
I took a deep breath.
'I met him. Today. On my way home.'
There was a long pause.
'Yes, I did!'
'Outside that big studio place!'
Kate gave a shocked laugh at the other end of the line.
'Jesus, Lilly - how did you get so lucky? Oh my God! Connor Mac-What's-his-face? Does he really have abs like that in real life?' she asked.
'He was wearing a coat, Kate,' I told her with a smile.
'A swanky one, I bet,' she said. 'Did you at least get his autograph?'
My smile faltered.
'No...no, I didn't.'
'What?' Kate was horrified. 'You met the lead actor of Heyday and you didn't even get his siggie?'
'I only bumped into him,' I murmured. 'I didn't have any paper, anyway.'
'Paper? He could have signed you, woman! I can't believe you passed up such a chance...'
'I didn't actually get to talk to him much, Kate,' I explained. 'He had stuff to do and so I had to let him go...'
'Damn whatever he had to do! You should have just grabbed him by the lapels and forced him to have a proper conversation like a decent person!' Kate cried. 'You really are too shy for your own good sometimes, Lilly. You need to be more outgoing - no wonder he just walked away!'
That stung, but I didn't contradict her. I knew she was right - I had always been terribly modest.
'Well, it's a bit late now,' I said. I must have sounded perfectly miserable, because Kate took on a kinder tone.
'At least you did meet him...' she reasoned. 'Not many people get the chance. Well. They do, but not random people who are just on their way home...'
'I suppose, yeah,' I replied absently. 'I just wanted to tell you it, really. I'd better go now.'
'OK, then Lilly,' answered Kate. 'It was nice to hear from you. Bye!'
'Bye,' I said, then hung up, giving a sigh. Kate was right; I had passed up a golden opportunity to talk to this great man. But he had looked as if he was in a rush, and I just wasn't the type to be pushy and insist he stay and have a chat. I might be shy, but I could never do such a thing.
I put the phone back and then looked idly out of the window. The rain seemed to have cleared up, and although it was getting dark I decided I might as well go for a walk to clear my head and forget about all of this.
It was cold outside but I didn't care. It took my mind off things, which was a relief because I was beginning to wish today had never happened. If I hadn't bumped into Connor, then I wouldn't feel so bad now...but then again, I would also never have met him in real life. As I made my way to the local park - mercifully devoid of young junkies at this hour - I tried to focus on the good points of our meeting. Even though it had only been a few seconds long, it preoccupied me. I thought about how exhilirating it had been to have him look straight at me, and talk to me, as well. He had been so close...he had stopped being some mythical TV personality and had appeared before me as real as anyone could be. God, what wouldn't I give to relive those precious few moments...
A/N: Review? Pleeeease? It is my first post, after all...(smiles beseechingly)