There is a girl and she’s standing right in front of him. She’s wearing a silly outfit, a ruffled shirt and black vest paired with a petticoat and a bustle. On her head is a small hat tilted at an angle, and her sultry red painted lips do not match the innocent open expression on her face. She is holding out a picture, his picture and waiting for him to sign it, just like everyone else for the past hour. Her hands are slim and delicate, he notices, as they push the glossed picture in front of him. She does not offer any comments or praises, just presses the picture in front of him with a questioning look in her eyes. She does not deign to ask because it’s pretty much self-explanatory at this point. Her eyes sparkle in the florescent lighting and she is lovely.
Gavin is mesmerized by her. She is not as classically pretty as most of the women he has seen but the quirk of her lips is stunning and the vibrancy of her eyes is beautiful. The way she cants her head is odd yet suits her and he is enchanted by the simple motion. He is shaken quite violently from his blatant staring when she murmurs a quick ‘thank you’ and pulls the picture from under his hands. Without his notice, he has signed it and she has left with her autograph, darting through the crowd without a glance back.
For some reason, he feels the need to chase after her, to talk more with her.
“H-Hey,” he moves to stand up and follow after her but the next person in line and his publicist urge him back down. He is not deterred though and roughly shakes them off with an apology and a promise to return soon. Without a care to the protesting crowd, he runs to the back of the panel room.
He runs after the girl and bursts through the door to the main convention area. It is packed and crowded with a mass of bodies in colorful costumes so it is hard to discern anyone from the rest of the crowd. Frantically, he searches left and right and manages to catch a glimpse of the golden beading on her hat wading through the crowd. He pushes his way through, muttering quick apologies to people he bumps and jostles into. He struggles to keep her in view, following a snatch of her vest or a flash of a multitude of chains she has strung into her corset.
“Hey, you there!” he shouts as loud as he can. “Wait!”
And it seems as if everyone but the girl turns and stares at him for a long moment before they realize who he is and start mobbing him. He is forced to weave and bob his way through the crowd, straining to keep the girl in his sight but it is hopeless as she turns around a corner and disappears. He groans internally and runs in the other direction to escape the crowd.
Later, as he is reprimanded for leaving early by his boss and as he is signing more autographs, he wonders who that girl was and what she is doing now. He deliberates on what she looks like without the silly costume, in regular clothing. He imagines her to be warm and comforting and sweet with the quirk in her expression.
After the signing session is done, he sits outside of the panel room, on a bench with his head in his hands and propped in his lap so that no one can recognize him and he can rest. Gavin stays there even after his co-actors bid him good bye and his boss inquires if he has a way back home (he does). He watches passing convention goers, dressed in oddly done up apparel and he can’t help but smile bitterly at a lost chance of meeting with that girl. He has no idea why he’s so hung up on her. She is a face in a million and nothing he can’t find on the street anywhere else but if he’s honest with himself, he knows that’s not true. Her smile is unique, one he’s sure will haunt his dreams for years to come.
A person sits next to him, their jewelry clacking loudly against the wooden armrest and he turns, ready to tell them to find their own bench to mope on when he sees who it is. The words catch in his throat as the girl smiles that quirky smile, a question in her gaze. There are two steaming cups of coffee in her hands, their bright red shells contrasting with the red of her lips. One of them is extended toward him and he mutely accepts it with trembling hands. She turns and people watches with him. The lid of her traveler’s cup is stained red and the air around them suddenly grows hot with the scent of brewed coffee.
“M-My name is Gavin,” he blurts out all of a sudden and she stares at him before bursting into peals of laughter. He instantly realizes why; he signed his signature onto his own picture after all. The thought makes his face turn bright red and he tries to hide it behind a sip of his coffee. He winces; it is very sweet and not something he would order but the girl got it for him and he needs the caffeine if he’s going to get through this with any lucidity.
“Hi,” she greets, thankfully ignoring his momentary lapse into stupidity. “I’m [Your Name].”
He thinks about what an odd name that is for a girl, ruminates on the dynamics of her name: the long syllable at the beginning of her name and the sharp sound of the last syllable at the back of his throat. It suits her. They continue to sit in silence, sipping their coffees and watching the crowd pass by. [Your Name] finishes with hers and jumps up, her skirts flouncing this way and that. She smoothes them down with her free hand and turns to him.
“It was nice meeting you,” she nods politely and turns back. Gavin panics. He can’t let her leave; he just met her. Before he can think it through, his hand darts out, catching the crook of her elbow.
“C-Can I buy you dinner?” he asks in a rush, the words tumbling over themselves in their haste to pass his lips. Her head tilts and he can see that she is pleasantly surprised.
She smiles and shakes her head.
“I’ve got to go,” she answers apologetically. “I’ve a previous engagement and I really don’t want to be late.”
And before Gavin can get another word in, she has melted into the waning crowd of con goers.