Authors: DD Cooper
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
First edition. April 7, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 DD Cooper.
Written by DD Cooper.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
t was just like any other day when I met him. It was quiet in the diner. We had our regulars in their usual places. Mr. Bottoms was still complaining about the pie, though he had no trouble eating the whole thing as the rest of us watched in horror, which soon turned to amusement.
Now, I will tell you something you might not believe: The day I met Jack Stark I did not know who he was. But I will tell you something that I know for certain, the day I met him, my whole life turned upside down.
It was just like any other day. I was still not used to my new role as a waitress in a diner in the middle of nowhere, and out of habit, my head still hung down, as if I still needed to hide.
I did not look at him when I approached his table with a hot thermos full of steaming coffee in my hands. He was just a blur to me then, just like everybody else I encountered. You might find that sad, but it was the only way I knew of protecting myself. From the world, and its many inhabitants, some of which had shown me no kindness.
Shit, now I’m starting to sound like one of those desperate heroines in those classic novels I used to read as a kid. I promise to keep that sort of thing to a minimum.
Naturally, since visually the man was a blur to me, the first thing I noticed was his voice. That deep husky tenor that still sends shivers down my spine, and makes the butterflies in my stomach dance.
“Coffee?” I had inquired.
“No, love,” he replied. “But I would like your number.”
And that’s when I looked up and saw him. The slightly disheveled onyx colored hair, the beard that had just started to grow, and those piercing green eyes.
I blushed. Which gave me time to notice the way he filled those jeans so nicely. His leather boots. The leather jacket that matched his hair in color. Warning bells went off in my head: this was not a man I needed in my life. In fact, I didn’t need any man at all. That was one of the reasons I moved to the middle of nowhere.
“Sorry,” he said, looking me over. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
And that’s when I noticed that his accent was no longer British. He was American, too, just like me.
He held out his empty cup. “Coffee would be great.”
I had it in mind to pour him some tea instead but thought better of it. I immediately went to the back and asked Lucy to take over his table for me. I did not need some stranger flirting with me, not now, or ever.
The rest of my day passed quite normally without any further incidents. It was getting dark outside and I needed to walk home. The house I shared with Lucy wasn’t too far away, though I still needed to wear my thick jacket. I never counted on England being so damn cold. When I told Lucy that exact same thing she laughed in my face. “If you didn’t want cold, you shouldn’t have moved to wonderfully rainy England, and especially not a coastal town in the middle of nowhere. Our seas aren’t warm, they’re cold as a witch’s tit!”
She had a point there. But England seemed like such a magical place from all the books I’d read, but now that the reality had overshadowed the fantasy, it was pretty clear to me that England, or really any other place in the world, wasn’t much different than the town I left in America. The only difference was the distance, the miles that separated me from my past, and here I felt safe.
I tightened my coat closer to myself as I trudged on through the piercing cold wind. Note to self: next time you plan on running away, pick somewhere warm!
I was just making my way nicely through the wind when a shadow appeared out of nowhere and my heart jumped into my throat.
I wanted to scream, but the icy wind made sure that wouldn’t happen.
I backed away from the shadow, whoever it was and immediately had my hand in my bag, searching for that damn bottle of pepper spray.
Just as I had my hands on it and was ready to spray the bastard, the shadow turned into a familiar face.
His hands went up in defense.
“Whoa, whoa, there’s no need for that,” he said in that deep tenor than sent shivers down my spine, and not the ones you get from the piss cold wind.
It was the guy from the diner.
He towered over me as the wind blew and as the sun slowly disappeared from the horizon. Soon it would be pitch dark and I didn’t want to stay out here for much longer. Especially not with this freak.
I still held my can of pepper spray to his face.
“Could you please get that thing out of my face?” He asked, looking a bit worried.
I hesitated. “And why should I? Why the fuck are you following me?”
“I wasn’t. I live down here. I just saw you walking home and thought maybe you’d need some company.” He ran his hands though his hair and I had a chance to admire the fine physique that showed itself through his white shirt. He definitely worked out it seemed.
I shook the thoughts away. I put down my hand, still holding the pepper spray just in case.
“I can walk fine by myself. I don’t need your protection.”
He smiled. The kind of smile that could bring any girl to her knees, but I held my own. “I can see that,” he said as he looked down on the hand that held the can of pepper spray.
I continued walking, and to my surprise, he ran to catch up and walked right beside me.
“You really don’t know who I am, do you?” He asked me, looking me over with a strange look in his eye. As if I was some kind of species he’d never seen before. I let my hair cover half my face and looked at him like he was crazy.
“No, and why should I?”
“You are American, right?” He asked me. “I’m especially known over there, though I have fans all over.”
“Wow,” I said. “You’re one of those.”
“One of what?” He looked genuinely perplexed by my observation.
“Forget it,” I said. I didn’t want to talk to this guy anymore. I just wanted to be left alone. I told him as much.
“Sorry if I bothered you,” he said, this time seeming completely genuine. “I’ll leave you alone after you tell me your name.”
“I had a name tag earlier, and you don’t know my name?” Some people.
“I’m a world famous actor, and you don’t know mine, so I guess we’re even.” He smiled that smile, and I forced myself to turn away.
“I’ve gotta go,” I said and high-tailed it out of there. I was never good at conversations with strangers, and I really wasn’t in the mood for games. Life was much simpler when you didn’t invite other people into yours, and kept your head down. It helped you avoid the cold hard wind, and it also helped you avoid pain and misery as well. And as long as it continued to be useful to me, I wasn’t going to start changing now.
Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t afford to.
closed the creaky door behind me, making sure it was shut properly, just in case that strange (though very attractive) fellow decided to follow me. I rubbed my hands vigorously to keep myself warm.
The place Lucy and I shared wasn’t much more than a cottage really. A small house on the hill overlooking the vast ocean below. It really isn’t as beautiful as you might think. Yes, when I first moved here I did admire the view for a bit, but now that I’m used to it, it just makes me think of all the freezing wind that the ocean sends our way. What use is an ocean if you can’t swim in it?
I kept my coat on as I worked on starting a fire in the small fireplace. It didn’t heat the whole place, but if you huddled by the fire, it was more than enough.
As I went through the motions the words of the stranger echoed through my mind. Don’t you know who I am? I wish I could say that I felt better for not knowing, but I didn’t. There are so many things I missed because of my upbringing. We had no television, we weren’t allowed to socialize with anyone from out of our little group. I always wondered what the world outside would be like, and now that I was finally free, I really had no chance to catch up on anything that happened in America, or anywhere else in the world.
Once I stepped onto this wretched island, I knew that it was the perfect way to hide. From him, and from the world.
Ironically enough, the town I found myself in now was much like the town I left in America. A close-knit community that doesn’t really have much contact with the outside world. You’d be hard pressed to hear anyone blast any modern music or talk about any new TV shows. Here, people liked to keep to themselves. The only things I managed to learn about the outside world are the ones Lucy shares with me, as she always does after a hard day’s work, telling me how one they she was going to move to London or another big city and start to actually live her life. I nodded as she spoke, but to be honest, I rarely understood any of the things she talked about. Movie stars, celebrities, it all went over my head. If it didn’t directly affect me in any way, I didn’t make much effort to learn about. What was the point?
I just kept my head down and hoped for the best.
But now this stranger has come into my life, and it seems I can no longer ignore the outside world.
The front door opening sent me out of my reverie, and I immediately stood up, expecting the stranger, or someone worse, to step through the door and do their worst. But it wasn’t either of those. It was Lucy. Her shift had just ended and it made sense that she would be the one to step inside our little abode, keys in hand.
She closed the door behind her. Once she saw the startled look on my face, she turned back and locked it.
Lucy had told me a million times that we were probably living in the safest town in England, but I still felt safer with the door locked.
I settled back by the fire and waited for her to join me, which she soon did, a glass full of wine as usual in her hand.
“I can’t believe Jack Stark has decided to hide out in our shitty little town!” She beamed as she said the words. It seemed this was big news for some reason.
“Who?” I asked, even though I had a sneaking suspicion what she was talking about.
“Girl, you never cease to surprise me! Jack Stark! Only the biggest, hottest movie star working today! I can’t believe you don’t know who he is. I guess it makes sense now why you gave me his table.”
“I gave you his table because he was being a jerk.” I said without really meaning to.
“How so?” She seemed genuinely curious.
I hesitated, but told her what had happened anyway.
“He’s a flirty little bugger, isn’t he? If he’d come on to me that strong, you’d know we’d be shagging in the Lou at the diner! Or maybe even his place, wherever that is!”
“I’m a woman with sexual needs, sweetie, and I’m not ashamed to voice them.”
That was one of the many reasons I loved Lucy. She was such a hoot to be around. It helped that she was so different from me. To be honest, I enjoyed living vicariously through her. All her dates, and once she came home, she’d tell me all the juicy details and I’d imagine I was her for a bit. It never lasted long, though. I’d always remember who I was and where I came from, but it was fun to lose myself for just a little bit anyway.
“He also followed me after I left the diner. Or rather he ‘walked’ with me.”
“Wow, you must be like the luckiest girl in the world!”
“Not really. I almost pepper sprayed him!”
“I did! I was this close, but he knew I meant business and backed away, thankfully.”
“And you’re not interested in him at all?” She asked, looking very surprised that anyone could refuse this fellow.
“No, not really. Why should I be? Because he’s famous or something?”
“Umm, no, it’s because he’s hotter than a fucking firecracker! I’d shag him if I just met him on the street,” she took a long sip of her wine before continuing. “So you don’t find him attractive at all?”