“And we are here with Stranger Things’ star, Jamie Campbell Bower,” a reporter was speaking on the television in Marlena’s apartment. “Jamie, we are super excited to see you and the cast of Stranger Things here in London at the fan expo. How are you feeling about the past season?”
Jamie grinned. “I’m thrilled! The season went so well and a lot of love has been shown to my new character, along with another new character that stole the hearts of the fans.”
“Do you have anything exciting to announce about season 5?” the reported asked.
Jamie chuckled. “Darling, I can say much about the new season except it is going to be amazing.”
“He’s so good looking,” Kyra said, shaking her head and staring at the television.
Marlena smiled and nodded. “Mhm…”
“Girl, go to that expo… didn’t you hear Jamie and his girlfriend broke up?” Kyra said, munching on popcorn. “I bet you could steal his British heart.”
Marlena laughed. “Your hilarious if you think a woman like me is even his type. And I can’t afford to go to London for an expo. Funds are tight.”
Kyra snickered and grabbed her purse. “Don’t hate me, but I’ve already booked you a flight and nabbed a ticket to the expo for you.”
Marlena’s eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped as she stared at the tickets in her best friend’s hand. She had been talking about the expo to Kyra and a group of other friends since she found out about it.
“No… shut up…” Marlena said, taking the tickets from her friend and staring at them in disbelief. “How? Why? When?”
“Don’t ask questions. Your flight leaves in three hours. This is something you’ve been wanting, and I just wanted to do something for you since you’ve done so much for me and others,” Kyra said, wiping a tear from her brown eyes. “You need to go there and meet your soul mate.”
Marlena chuckled. “Kyra, I’m not even pretty enough to be his type. He likes taller and thinner woman.”
Kyra tilted her head to the side. “Mar, you don’t know Jamie Campbell Bower at all, so you can’t label him in that way. If you’re so sure, then go to London, meet him, and tell me he won’t fall for you.”
Marlena shook her head with an eye roll and hugged her friend. “I’ll go, but only because you asked me so nicely and already bought the tickets. But I’m telling you, I’m not his type.”
Kyra stuck out her tongue. “Once you get there and see Jamie, call me and let me know how his reaction is to your absolute natural beauty. Now go pack or you’ll miss your flight.”
Marlena went to her room and grabbed a small bag big enough to fit clothes for a couple of days. After she packed her essential items, she hugged Kyra and raced out the door. Her mind was racing as she climbed into the back seat of the Uber. Why would a guy like Jamie ever be interested in a girl like her? There was nothing special about her, she thought.
The flight seemed as if it took longer than it was announced. It wasn’t long after she had landed, Marlena was already in a cab to the expo. Although jet lagged, she weaved her way through the enormous crowd towards the building. Kyra had definitely pulled through for her by getting VIP tickets. Just as soon as she walked through the doors and saw a backdrop where photos were being taken, she felt her stomach in her throat.
The rate her heart was racing made it feel like it was beating out of her chest as the crew of the expo went through person after person in thirty seconds. This wasn’t enough time for someone to even grasp and wrap their brain around what was going on. Marlena had felt nerves before, but this was a whole new level of nervousness.
“Oh, God,” she whispered as she realized she was next in line to grab a photo with Jamie Campbell Bower.
Marlena threw her hands in front of herself. Resting one hand over her mouth and the other just below her chin, behind her other hand. Her eyes were wide, and she appeared to be terrified. Her eyes rested on Jamie, who was smiling at a fan and giving them a hug, thanking them for coming.
“It was lovely meeting you, dear,” he was saying, wrapping his arms around a small little girl.
Jamie stood up straight, and his and Marlene’s eyes met. A smile crossed his handsome face as his blue eyes danced with excitement and wonder. Marlena didn’t move, even though someone working at the expo was trying to shove her forward. She just stood there, petrified. Marlena was practicing what she would say to him on the way to the expo and even went through it again in her mind while she waited in line. But now she was standing only a few inches away from him and his blue eyes stared into her soul, and she couldn’t speak or move.
“Is everything okay, darling?” he asked, taking a step forward.
It was as if something sparked inside of her at this moment and she spun around and took off, disappearing through the crowd.
Jamie stared after her, confused. “That’s never happened before.”
The expo worker shrugged with the shake of her head and pushed the next person forward. Jamie couldn’t help but glance in the direction she had run. He hoped she was alright, considering she looked spooked.
“I’ll be right back,” Jamie said, making his way through the crowd towards the front entrance of the building. He hoped he wasn’t too late and he could find her.
Marlena found a quiet spot outside on the side of the building. She stared blankly at the ground and fixed her teary eyes on some ants that scurried around her feet in search of food. She knelt down and watched them, her mind wandering to the scene she must’ve caused inside.
“What the hell, Marlena?” she said to herself. “Why did you freeze up like that? He was right there… You’re not like this at all…” She shook her head, her long brown hair falling in front of her face. “So stupid…”
“Pardon me, miss?” a familiar voice filled her ears. “Are you alright? You ran out of there pretty quick.”
Marlena froze, yet again, at the sound of Jamie’s voice. Her heart pounded as she remained motionless. She could feel his blue eyes on her as she shifted, trying to feel her legs under her.
Jamie knelt down in front of her, tilting his head to one side and gently touching her hair that created a curtain in front of her face. “Hello, love? Want to talk about it?”
Marlena shook her head vigorously. She met his eyes and could feel her entire body become hot and cold at the same time as he met her gaze with a gentle smile. As hard as she tried, Marlena couldn’t break eye contact.
“It’s alright, darling,” he said, still smiling. “We can go inside where it’s cooler and you can relax and calm down.”
He stood up straight, extending a hand towards her. Marlena spaced out when she slide her hand into his and stood up. He wrapped an arm around her trembling shoulders and ushered her inside through a side door. Her brain seemed scrambled as he led her through a hallway to a nicely furnished room.
“You can stay in here and wait until I get back,” Jamie said, handing her a bottle of water. “Everything is alright, darling.” After putting an all-access pass over her head, Jamie smiled and disappeared.
“What the fuck just happened?” Marlena asked herself out loud, dropping onto a sofa. “What… the…. fuck.. just happened? Something is wrong with me.”
She nearly jumped out of her skin when her phone vibrated in her pocket. The caller ID showed that it was Kyra calling. Marlena sighed before answering.
“Okay, I assumed you’ve already met Jamie! So, give me the details,” Kyra sang through the phone.
Marlena wiped her face and sighed. “Oh yeah, I met him all right.”
“Well? How did it go? Tell me everything!” Kyra sang.
“I froze up as soon as we met eye contact,” Marlena said, chuckling nervously. “Then I ran off…”
“You ran?” Kyra said after a moment of silence. “That’s not meeting him, though! What the hell, Marlena?”
“I know. I know,” Marlena said, shaking her head. “He came after me, though, and I’m sitting in a lounge room. He gave me an all-access pass and told me to wait for him in here.”
“He’s into you,” Kyra said, a smirk in her voice. “I knew he’d be into you!”
Marlena laughed. “He’s just being nice. Probably feels sorry for me. I feel like an idiot for running off like that. Every time he’s around me, I can’t speak or move.”
“That was unlike you,” Kyra said, wonder in her voice. “I’ve never known you from doing that… What was going through your mind?”
Marlena sighed with a shrug. “I don’t know. It felt strange just being there and being so close to him. I can’t really explain it.”
Kyra was silent for a few seconds before saying, “I think you have a crush on Jamie, Mar.”
“Yeah, well, so does the large amount of fans that are here,” Marlena said, rolling her eyes. But, I wouldn’t say I do.”
“I don’t know, girl,” Kyra added. “I’ve never seen you act like this before, so my only explanation is you have a huge crush on him. Try to open up with him. You never know what might happen.”
Marlena dropped her shoulders and ran her fingers through her hair. “I’ll try to keep you posted.”
After hanging up, Marlena stood up to stretch and looked around the room. There wasn’t anything for her to do and an hour had already passed. Surely, there wasn’t much left time with the expo? She tapped her foot and looked at a clock that was hanging above the door. Marlena stood up and paced the floor. She heard talking outside of the room and leaned her ear against the door to listen.
“Wouldn’t hurt to peek,” she said, slowly opening the door and looking to see who was talking.
Jamie had his back towards her, and he was speaking to someone she didn’t recognize. They were talking too low for her to hear what they were saying. Marlena leaned against the wall and watched them. Eventually, Jamie turned slightly. A bright smile crossed his face when he saw her.
Marlena stood up straight and tried to run back into the room, but her feet wouldn’t move from where she was standing. Jamie shook the man’s hand and walked up to her, his blue eyes never breaking eye contact.
“Feeling a little better?” he asked, leaning against the wall.
Marlena slowly nodded and looked at her feet. She felt so awkward and small standing close to him as he towered over her five-foot frame. She thought of his ex-girlfriend and how pretty and thin she was compared to herself. This thought made her insecurity show on her facial expression. Jamie tilted his head and lifted her face with his finger under her chin.
“Are you alright, dear?” he asked, concern in his voice. “You’re pale.”
“I…” Marlena whispered. “I’m just jet lagged. As soon as the plane landed, I came straight here.”
As if she believed it herself, Marlena nodded. That had to be the reason she was feeling this way. Jet lag with no rest could really mess with someone’s mind. Marlena’s eyes grew wide as if she remembered something and she put her palm to her forehead.
“My friend booked me a plane ticket to come here and a ticket for the expo, but she didn’t book me a place to stay…” Marlena said, a bit aggravated. “I don’t have the funds for a hotel, food, or a plane ticket back home.”
Jamie rubbed his chin in deep thought. “I can take of that, dear.”
“I can’t ask you to do that,” Marlena said, shaking her head. “It would be too much for me to ask. And I’m sure you have a lot of other things on your plate to even worry about some random person you don’t even know.”
Jamie leaned over to her eye level and smiled. “You don’t have to ask. I want to help and get to know you. Recently, I just cleared up my schedule.”
Marlena blinked, her hands up to her mouth as a comfort thing. She looked away. “Thanks… I guess.”
Jamie smiled. “It’s no trouble at all. Welcome to London, darling. Let’s get your accommodations taken care of.”
He led her through the building that was now empty, and to a black sedan. Jamie opened the back door for her and slid in after her, closing the door behind him. Embarrassingly, Marlena couldn’t get the seat belt to work. Jamie grinned and reached across her and grabbed it. Marlena got a scent of him as his hair brushed against her cheek. Her heart skipped a beat when he paused inches away from her face and he searched her face. Marlena held her breath as he smiled and clicked her seat belt. When he sat back and strapped in, Marlena stole a look his way and smiled to herself.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” she thought. “He’s just being kind… you’re not his type.”
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