I STEP OFF THE RED CARPET.
The couture dress I have been 'encouraged' to wear by my boss, Jonathan, catches under my converse as I veer off toward a discretely positioned, draping velvet rope. Out of sight from the flash of camera lenses, the rope, and the diligently complied guest list, are the only things preventing the chancers from gaining entry into the V.I.P area this evening. Well, perhaps they would be if it were weren't for the fact that for some reason now, both are in the hands of our department intern...
"Why are you on the door?" My words rush forth, hitting the winter air, and rising like tobacco smoke. It serves as an unkind reminder that I am overdue a nicotine hit. I push up the mic attached to my wireless headset, which is doubling as an alice band for my long, wavy brown curls.
At a mere five foot nothing height, it is the iPad's bespoke branded case, being clutched with white knuckles below Will's chest that I notice first. His red face, is the second.
My focus shifts to the lapels of an expensive suit jacket the gentleman stood next to Will is now neatening. My gaze rises, beyond broad shoulders, and dipping dimples, to the bemused expression of the a list actor himself. The navy knit of his herringbone jacket brings out the blue of his piercing eyes, which soften as they meet mine. He opens his mouth, but then says nothing. I realize I'm staring, but it's almost impossible to do anything but.
I remember myself.
My hand slaps down on Will's forearm, and I say in a short, sharp rasp, "Why is Henry Cavill being made to stand in the cold?'
In a last attempt to assert himself, Will glances in the actor's direction and says, 'He's not on the list."
Henry Cavill tips his chin, and his lips stretch in playful smile.
Still, he says nothing.
Meeting my horrified expression, Will leans into my ear and mutters, "Janine said she'd tear me a new..." he coughs, pauses and then repeats himself, 'only the people on. the. list.'"
I might have asked where the bloody hell Janine had buggered off to, if it weren't that, right now, words, just like a helpful hole in the ground, eluded me. I turn the ipad over in our hapless intern's hands. I'm still looking at the A-list actor, only now it is his image underneath the movie's tag line staring back at me. I tap the wrap of the case and return the laboured enunciation. "His. face. is. on. the. poster."
Will shrugs sheepishly.
My gaze flits back to Henry's. His brow is furrowed and he's chewing the edge of his lower lip, while shaking his head. I can't say I know whether he finds this amusing or offensive.
I blink away the young lad's stupidity, while pushing past him to unclip the rope's golden clasp. Standing aside, I eyeball the ground, and once again hope for that hole to form. "So sorry. Have a good show, Mr Cavill." I say politely. I don't dare look up. If I'm lucky, he might not remember my face, perhaps then I might stand a chance of avoiding a royal rollicking from Jonathan tomorrow morning.
I assume that the A-lister's feet are not really moving as hesitantly as I am perceiving them to be. That it's just me, wishing for this moment to end, which is making it seem like it never will.
I fiddle with the mic on my headset, bringing it back toward my cheek until finally, Henry Cavill is where he should be-on the right side of the rope. But, before I can turn and leave...
"I didn't get your name." His voice is level and sure.
Shit. He is offended. He's going to complain. Months of meticulous planning for nothing...
I release the rope, and Henry's hand finds mine as it falls. My fingers are trembling, and he notices, offering a small squeeze. On this bitter November night, his touch is the only thing that can warm me, and I realise then that his question, his intention is not a cold one.
His eyes widen, asking my name again, and my breath catches in my throat as I mumble, "Pippa."