Joseph looked at his phone and let out a deep sigh. The screams of fans were so loud, it was almost deafening. He looked up and smiled a huge smile, only causing the enormous crowd to go crazy as his chocolate button eyes met the eyes of different fans.
“Joe! I love you!” a girl who was standing directly behind him screamed.
He could feel her hand grip his black leather jacket, nearly pulling him backwards. As Joe tried catching himself, one of the security guards stepped in and pushed him forwards just in time. The man became aggressive with the young fan and yelled for her to not touch Joseph.
Guilt set in as he locked eyes with her, as she stood there holding her phone close to her breast, crying. Joseph stopped in his tracks and turned to look at her with a huge smile.
“Would you like a selfie?” he asked her, extending his hand for her phone.
She beamed and wiped the tears away. This was a good thing he was doing. He thought. Joe didn’t want anyone crying out of hurt feelings. He wanted everyone to be happy and heard. But sometimes doing a good deed has precautions. The girl suddenly wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight hug and kissed him all over his face. The crowd went crazy as she nearly took him down to the ground.
Joseph felt a bit of embarrassment and a hint of anger as he tried pushing her off without hurting her.
“Love, please let go,” Joe said, nuzzling her away. “I don’t want you getting hurt by the security.”
As if she was ignoring him, she just tightened her grip around his neck, making him see small flashes of light as darkness set in around him. Shit. Was all he thought.
“Let him go or I will escort you to the back of a police car!” a security guard was yelling. “Do not touch him! Do not grab him!”
All Joe could think of right now was this; why did certain people have the audacity to do these things? Where were their brains in this moment? He couldn’t wrap his mind around why people acting like such idiots. He was just a person and wanted to be treated as such. Joseph gasped for air once they removed and carried her away. He shook his head in utter shock and rubbed his neck where she had a death grip. His leather jacket had a slight tear in the sleeve from where she tried grabbing him when they pulled her off.
“That was embarrassing,” someone said, grabbing someone’s phone as they recorded and turned off the screen. “Y’all need to be more respectful!”
Joe locked eyes with a young woman who looked to be around his age. He held eye contact as the security ushered him inside of the building. The young woman appeared to be still yelling at the large group of people. Joseph smirked as the crowd grew silent to hear what she had to say.
“Stop acting like idiots!” the woman was yelling as the doors to the building closed behind Joe. “The lack of respect is embarrassing!”
Someone Joseph worked with shook her head in dismay. “These people are crazy. I don’t see how you do it, Joe.”
Joseph gave her an awkward grin and shrugged. He wondered the same thing sometimes. He didn’t really have a clue what he was getting himself into when he became an actor. Fans weren’t like this when he first started. Did he have a fan following this big? Probably. After he starred in Stranger Things as Eddie Munson, that’s when his fan base grew. Joe loved it, going to fan expos, meeting fans, taking photos with them, and seeing their smiling faces. He loved meeting children as well. Hearing them thank him for being Eddie Munson always brought a smile to his face.
But a question kept boiling up in the back of his mind as he stepped in front of flashing lights almost every night; Who was thankful for him just being him? There were times people called him Eddie instead of Joseph. The first few times he didn’t mind it, but the more it happened, the more he felt vexed. He was Eddie, but wasn’t at the same time. Eddie Munson was a fictional character he played in a fictional action series. Joseph Quinn is who he is. He was born with that name, so why couldn’t people call him by that name? He wondered.
The crowd outside seemed to have gotten angered by the young woman. Joe watched from the window of the hotel as the crowd swarmed her. It wasn’t long before she had disappeared. The angered horde of people was so loud to the point of nail-biting concern.
“We should send someone out there and make sure that young woman is alright,” Joe said, concern in his voice.
No one did anything. One of the security guards huffed and scrolled through his phone. Not one person showed any alarm about what was taking place outside. The desk clerk at the hotel turned her nose down and stared at the computer screen. Joe searched the faces of the people in the room and growled. No one was willing to go out there and make sure the woman was okay…
Fuck it. He thought as he unlocked the hotel doors and sprinted through the gigantic mass of people. The only thing going through his mind was getting to her and hoping she wasn’t hurt… or worse.
“Let go of me!” Joe heard someone screaming. “Let me go!”
The screams grew louder the closer he got. Suddenly, he saw a figure crouched down and a few people gathered around the person, kicking and slapping them. Joe found the person’s hand and pulled hard. Without even looking to make sure he grabbed the right person, he pulled them towards the building.
“It’s Joseph Quinn!” someone yelled, causing all eyes to be on him.
He stopped in his tracks as someone in front of him stepped into his path. People started grabbed for him and pulling out their phones to take photos or videos. When he felt the hand he was holding slip out of his, panic set in. Joe searched the sea of people for this woman but couldn’t find her. Shit. He thought as he tried making his way towards the hotel.
Just then, he felt someone grasp his hand. Joe was about to react and pull away, but he saw the face of the girl from earlier. She maneuvered past him and pulled him towards the building. Security guards filed out, one holding open the door and two others keeping the crowd outside.
“You stay outside!” a security’s booming voice filled their ears. He grabbed the girl from behind, making her yelp. “You stay out!”
“Wait!” Joseph yelled, grabbing the girl’s arm and getting in between her and the guard. “She just helped me. I went out there to save her because none of you wanted to do your job.”
“Mr. Quinn, our job is to protect you. What happens outside of that isn’t our concern,” the man holding the girl said.
Joseph felt anger boiling up at this statement. “Your job entitles protecting me, yes. And people around me. Making sure everyone is safe, not just me. You failed at this. Now let her go.”
The man’s jaw clenched as he released her arm. She fell into Joe and quickly backed up. The way her faced changed as if she wore the word on her forehead.
“Are you alright?” Joe asked, searching her face for bruises.
“I’ll be okay,” she said, moving her dirty blonde hair out of her face. “I have brothers, so that was nothing.”
Joe held a look of concern on his face as he watched her limp to a chair. Her legs had a few cuts and her cheek looked bruised. Joseph felt triggered as he watched her try to doctor it. He could feel it boiling up like a pot of hot water that was left on the burner for too long. If someone would’ve helped her when he asked, she wouldn’t be injured. Joe didn’t want to blame anyone, but he knew and had people who had jobs to do, and they didn’t want to get involved.
He knelt down in front of her after finding a first aid kit behind the desk. Without a word, he helped her doctor her legs first. Once he made it to her face, they locked eyes. She avoided eye contact and gave him a small smile of thanks.
“I feel like an idiot,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean for you to get out in that crowd like that.”
Joe stopped dabbing her face and looked into her brown eyes. “Don’t feel like that. This wasn’t your fault. In fact, I’d like to thank you for what you did. I’ve been feeling low lately. As if no one really cares about the real me. Don’t get me wrong, I love knowing that the characters I’ve played have brought joy into people’s lives…”
She looked deep into his eyes. “But you feel like something else is missing? Like, your own happiness.”
Joe smiled and nodded. “It’s hard finding genuine love when you’re famous. There are people out there who will use you and abuse you.”
“I think it’s hard to find love even if you’re not famous. Being used and abused can happen to anyone.”
Joseph nodded his agreement. “You’re right…”
They continued to talk a few more minutes later before he had to leave for an expo. Joseph gave her a VIP pass so he could spend more time with her and get to know her. He felt like he could finally be himself around someone. Around her. She was a huge fan of his, but she was very understanding and tried to see the world through his eyes.
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