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The Hug

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You’re anxious, but you know it’s not from the fact that you’re ‘bout to meet your all-time favorite actor and person. No. It’s ‘cause there’re so many people ‘round you, bumping into you as you wait in line. You don’t like being touched ‘cause of your past, and being ‘round this many people is nerve-wracking. But…you’d finally been presented with the chance to meet him.

You couldn’t let the chance get away. You wanted to go through with this. You just wished your anxiety would calm down a wee bit. Your fingers curl ‘round the small slip of paper you have tucked in your pocket. You decided last night that you’d print it off and give it to him when you get the chance to see him today. It was your one chance at getting a hug from him, and you were taking one of the biggest jumps you’ve ever taken.

As you fidget with the important but tiny piece of paper, the line slowly inches forward. After nearly an hour of waiting, patiently and extremely anxiously, you get to the front of the line. And. There he is. Standing in front of you, with another fan, posing for a photo. Your favorite actor. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The one man who has helped get you through some hard times.

And he doesn’t even know it. Your heart flutters as he flashes that pearly white, dimpled smile into the waiting camera. He pats the young girl’s shoulder once the camera’s lights flash and says something to her. She grins before walkin’ away. It’s your turn now. You fidget with the paper even more, trying to calm your nerves.

“Sweetheart?” He asks, calmly, his voice helping to calm your nerves.

You shake your head and take a nervous step forward. He gives you that same smile he just gave the camera, but you can tell it’s not the same. There’s something different behind it. Something almost akin to worry. He slowly reaches a hand out towards you. You try as hard as you can, but you can’t stop the flinch from happening. He stops his movements.

“Hey.” He says, softly. “It’s ok. You’re safe. I promise.”

You look up at him. He’s still standing in the same place, with his hand halfway between you and him. He nibbles lightly on his bottom lip, most likely thinking ‘bout how he’s gonna handle this.

“C’mere.” He says, still in a quiet voice. “I’ll stay right here and let you come to me. Ok?”

You nod and slowly take a step closer to him. He smiles. You take another step towards him. Just as you’re ‘bout to be standing right in front of him, a voice cuts through the air.

“Jeffrey! C’mon! It’s time to wrap this up!” An attendant for the convention says.

You stop moving and start to panic even more. You’d wasted your time and now you wouldn’t be able to get a hug, much less say hi to him. You take a step back. Jeffrey looks annoyed as he turns his head.

“Give me a fuckin’ minute, will you? I’m busy.” He says.

He looks back at you, his face softening.

“Hey, c’mon. It’s ok. We have time. I promise.” He assures you.

He must see the hesitancy on your face ‘cause he lets out a quiet sigh. He doesn’t seem upset with you, though.

“I promise. It’s ok. They can wait. I’m not in any rush.” He says, softly.

“P-p-p-pr-promise?” You stutter.

He smiles. “I promise.”

You nod and take another step closer to him. This time, you’re standing right in front of him. You have to tilt your head back to look up at him. He just smiles down at you.

“H-h-hi.” You stutter.

“Hi.” He says, grinning. “What’s your name?”

“(Y/N).”

“Well, (Y/N). It’s a pleasure to meet you. You ok?”

You nod. Someone bumps into you from behind, startling you, and making your anxiety worse. You quickly move to hide behind Jeffrey so you don’t get hurt.

“Hey. Watch where the fuck you’re goin’!” He says to the person who bumped into you.

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” The person replies.

Jeffrey turns ‘round to look at you, his back to the cameras and the rest of the people.

“(Y/N)? You ok, sweetheart?” He asks.

You shrug.

“Hey. It’s ok. I won’t let you anythin’ hurt you. Ok?” He assures you.

You nod. Your fingers curl ‘round the paper in your pocket again. You slowly pull it out and hold it out to him, nervously. He looks slightly confused for a second as he looks at it.

“I-i-it’s n-n-not m-m-my n-n-number. I-I-I p-p-promise.” You stutter.

He grins and lets out a chuckle. “Damn. Ok.”

You can’t help but smile. He’s silly. My he actually wanted your number, or maybe he was just teasing you, gently, as a way to get you to smile. His grin grows.

“There we go! There’s a smile!” He says, happily.

You can feel your cheeks heat up, and your nerves ease just a little bit. He reaches up to take the slip of paper from between your fingers. His brows furrow as he first starts reading the words on it.

“I know you don’t know me from Adam…but I don’t like being touched. At all. Yet…I’m taking a big chance here by asking this. Do you think I could have a hug? If not, it’s ok. This is the first time I’ve ever asked anyone for a hug, and I don’t want to overstep any bounds…but I figured I’d ask.”

As his eyes flirt across the typed script, you can’t help but feel more anxious. When he finally gets done reading it, he lifts his eyes from the paper to look at you.

“Of course, you can, sweetheart.” He says, softly.

You smile. He goes to hug you, but stops himself. He just stands in front of you, with his arms open wide.

“I’ll let you hug me. Deal? That way it’s on your terms and you don’t feel uncomfortable.” He says.

You nod. “T-t-thank you.”

He smiles and nods. You move closer to him and slowly wrap your arms ‘round him. Since you’re only 5’3” and he’s 6’2”, your arms wrap ‘round his waist, just above his belt. You rest your head against the middle of his chest. Once you’ve got your arms ‘round him, you feel him shift slightly. You start to pull back, but he stops you.

“Shh. It’s ok. You don’t have to pull back, unless you want to. I’m just lowering my arms. Ok?” He says, softly.

You nod your head against his chest, and he continues to lower his arms.

“Is it ok if I hug you back?” He asks, quietly.

You nod. A moment later, you feel his arms wrap ‘round you, holding you close to him. You immediately feel calm, safe, and protected. With your head still against the middle of his chest, you can hear the steady thumping of his heart. He takes a deep breath as he continues to hug you. Your body starts to shake as you cry. You try to stop yourself, but it’s no use.

If he feels the wetness of your tears on his shirt, he doesn’t say a word. Instead, he just tightens his arms ‘round you carefully.

“Shhh. It’s ok, (Y/N). You’re safe. I promise. I’ve got you.” He murmurs.

You nod against his chest. You know he’s right. In this moment, you’re safe. The safest you’ve been or felt in years. After a few minutes, you manage to stop crying, but he doesn’t let go of you. He does move one hand, but only so that he can tilt your head back. You look up at him.

“You ok?” He asks, softly.

“Y-y-yes, sir.” You reply.

He chuckles. “You don’t have to call me “sir”, (Y/N). Just call me Jeff.”

You grin and nod. “O-o-ok.”

He smiles. “You really haven’t had a hug in a long time, have you?”

You shake your head. “N-n-no. It’s b-b-been fifteen years.”

“How old are you?”

“T-t-twenty. Almost t-t-twenty one.”

“Well, shit. I’m honored that you let me give you your first hug in so long.”

“It took me a long time to get the courage to ask for it.”

“I’m glad you did. You’ve been through some shit, huh?”

You nod. “Since I was three.”

He sucks in a deep breath. “Fuck. That’s rough. I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“Well, no. I suppose not, but still. No one should have to go through shit like that.”

“You don’t know what happened, though.”

He shakes his head. “I know. And you don’t have to tell me. It still sucks.”

“You know what Dave did or tried to do?” I ask, partially changing the subject.

“Dave?” Jeffrey asks, confused.

I nod. “From the show. In the cell. Negan shut it down real quick.”

Understanding flashes across his face. His jaw tightens and so do his arms.

“Fuck. I’m sorry, sweetheart. No one should have to go through that. It’s understandable why you don’t want to be touched, though.” He says.

I nod. “Yep. So…this…me asking for a hug…was a big step for me.”

He nods. “I’m proud of you, (Y/N). And, like I said, honored that you were willing to let me hug you.”

I blush, which has him chuckling. I realize that I’m still hugging him.

“I guess I should let go of you now, eh?” I ask, slowly.

He shrugs. “Only if you want to, doll. I don’t mind. I know this is a big thing for you. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”

You smile and tighten your arms ‘round him. He chuckles as you rest your head against his chest.

“Thank you, Jeff.” You say.

“You’re welcome, sweetheart. Thank you.” He replies.

Eventually, you pull away from him, ending the hug. You’re calm now, your anxiety has gone down, you feel happy for once, and you still feel safe. Before you go to leave, Jeffrey stops you.

“Here.” He says, handing you a slip of paper. “If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call or text. Ok? This is my personal number.”

He holds his iPhone up, grinning. You smile. He just gave you his number.

“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.” You say.

He chuckles. “And, if you ever need another hug, just let me know.”

You giggle. “I will.”

“Oh. One more thing, before you leave…”

“Yes?”

“Selfie? Can’t let you leave empty-handed, sweetheart. Plus, we might wanna have contact ID photos.”

You laugh. “You’re right.”

He grins. You move to stand beside him again. He crouches down a bit so that he can get a pretty good selfie of the two of y’all. He takes another one where y’all make funny faces. You eventually leave, typing on your phone as you do.

“Hey. It’s (Y/N).” You text.

Not even a split second goes by before you get a response.

“Hi, (Y/N). It’s Jeff.”

You look over your shoulder to see Jeffrey grinning. Your phone vibrates again. This time it’s the two selfies he took of y’all.