Walking downtown was something that was an everyday thing for me: depending on who you asked, I was either fortunate or unfortunate that the office I worked in was located dead smack in the center of everything. Some people hated downtown more than anything but I enjoyed it for all it had to offer.
Plus, being there made me feel like I was in some sort of 80s/90s movie.
I had just gotten off work, I was running late because I had gone out of the way to make sure a customer’s account was reactivated. I could have just transferred the call to a manager but no, his situation was fucked up and I prided myself in finding the solution. It took an hour but it was done and I would be recognized for my hard work.
I was already late so I idly walked down the street, taking the scenery in. The sun was setting and the orange hues made for a beautiful backdrop on the buildings and trees. The next bus wouldn’t arrive for another fifteen minutes so I had plenty of time to stroll casually. Even if I missed it, there was no real rush to get home; I had no one there to tend to.
I was glad that for once, I paid attention to my surroundings. I would have missed the man above me on a scaffolding slightly attached to a building. I strained my neck to look at him and had to admit that he was a bit stunning. I loved a man in a suit and his was a bluish-gray that seemed tailored to fit him. The orange from the setting sun made a ring on his finger glint slightly but not enough to blind anyone, or even bring any attention to himself: I just so happened to have been looking around to see him.
Something made my heart thump hard though, and I knew it wasn’t the fact that he was a good-looking chocolate man. No, there was something a bit off about this and then I realized why. What was a man in a suit doing on a scaffolding: those were made for workers… right? He stared blankly ahead but I knew I had to do something to grab his attention.
This man was gonna jump.
I still had some do-gooder left in me from resolving that call and I made my way towards the scaffold. My voice caught in my throat for a second before I decided on what to say. “H-Hey! Mister, don’t do it! There’s so much to life, so much that you’re overlooking. Don’t end it like that, someone will miss you terribly! Life is so precious and for you to ju–”
“Cut!” a grumbly voice came from my left. The guy whose life I was trying to save just gave me a look of confusion before I spun around towards the voice. That’s when I noticed the camera crew and the director who glared at me. “How did she get over here?”
My cheeks ached as I slowly realized what was going on and I looked back up at the guy on the scaffolding. Now that I was in my right mind… the structure wasn’t even that high up: had he jumped, he would’ve only sprained an ankle or broken a bone, worst case scenario. A couple of people helped the man down and wow, he was much taller than I expected. He approached me with a chuckle.
“Don’t worry love, jumping was not in the plans for today.” a British accent rang out and it took everything for my toes not to curl. Instead, I did the next best thing: gawked and tried to form my words. Someone came by and grabbed me by my arm, escorting me away from the scene. “Be nice, she was only looking out for my well being.” the guy responded with a smile and I switched glances between him, the director and the guy escorting me away.
“I’m… I’m sorry. I thought…” it was pointless so I closed my mouth as the guy pulled me back towards the street. He eventually chuckled as he looked at me.
“Good to know there’s still some good Samaritans out here! Don’t worry about it, there should’ve been some signs posted about us filming. I guess not. This would be the part where I offered to make you an extra but one, I don’t have that authority and two, I think we’ve already filled the quota on extras.” he explained but I couldn’t help but look past him to the British dream.
“It’s, it’s okay. Is he… famous?”
“Who, Thomas? Depends on who you ask… and where you’re from. He’s huge in Britain and on Broadway. This is a short being filmed, a project of his, actually. Maybe you should be on the lookout for it?”
“Ah. Okay.” if I had to be honest with myself, I wasn’t a huge TV person, I didn’t even have cable in the apartment. But Thomas was good-looking, tall and charming, and that was in the few seconds he had spoken to me. I would definitely search the fuck out of Google when I got home.
“Well, take care and keep up the good work, talking people out of offing themselves!” the guy smirked and winked before turning to go back to the set. I kept my grumbling in, knowing that even strangers wouldn’t let me live the moment down.
His name was Thomas Lamb, and it took me a while to find him on the internet! To be fair, my search was limited to his first name and the fact that he was British: there were a shit-ton of British actors named Thomas. The rest of my night was spent following him on Instagram and Twitter as well as finding the movies that he made appearances in on a not-named but possibly pirate site for movies. He was never a main character, only a side character with just a few lines, if any at all (he played a mute character in one movie). But on Instagram, he was lively and I felt was well deserving of at least being someone’s costar. He received a follow from me automatically… after I made an Instagram account.
My real life and online friends got a kick out of the story I told, particularly when I told them how high the scaffolding was from the ground. But, I had good intentions damnit! Nevertheless, I got shit for it and I knew I would for probably the rest of my life. Well, at least I wouldn’t hear about it from Thomas because I knew for sure that would be the first and last time I ever saw him in person.
A week had gone by and the film crew no longer filmed in that area of downtown. I had a feeling that I ruined things and they had to find somewhere else to film whatever scenes Thomas was working on, which according to his Twitter, it was a “secret project” he was working on. The only reason why I even thought about it was because I never got a chance to apologize to him personally and really wanted to.
But, he was probably long gone from the area, possibly back in London spending time with his family.
Saturday was my grocery shopping day and I had an awful habit of letting my food get down to crumbs before I remembered to buy it. Despite my weight and figure, I was never the one to truly pig out unless I was depressed and thankfully, that happened far and in between nowadays. I still needed to get out of the habit of letting my cabinets become bare before going grocery shopping.
I never made out a list, I automatically knew what I needed to buy. My meals hardly ever changed and I stuck with the basics most of the time. Spaghetti, pork chops, some sort of chicken meal… nothing extravagant unless it was for a holiday meal and even then, I more than likely just went over to my parents’ and brought back a couple of plates of leftovers. So my shopping was mindless, even on auto-pilot as I threw items in my basket.
My mind was so blank that I just rounded the corner without a second thought… only to bump hard into someone else’s basket. “Oh, God; I’m so sor–” my words left me yet again when I looked to see who I had bumped into.
It was him. It was Thomas. And he carried the same smile from the last time.
I wanted to run the other way, I looked like complete trash in a pair of sweats that were a size too big for me, a novelty shirt that I had worn so much, it had holes at the bottom and on the right sleeve and of course, no bra. At least I had enough sense to throw a bandanna over my hair because my dreads were getting retwisted the next day. Not that it mattered because the rest of me was an awful sight.
“Oh, it’s you. The woman from the street.” great, he remembered me. I was hoping that he wouldn’t remember, that he was just another celebrity who didn’t give a shit about the commoners. It sure looked that way online because he only responded to those who he actually knew and worked with. It was a reason why I didn’t let myself daydream about the two of us meeting again; I knew that it would only make me highly disappointed as he brushed me off.
But, Thomas hadn’t brushed me off. He stood there, still with a nice smile perhaps fighting laughter because he remembered that day when I made a complete idiot of myself.
“I, uh… yeah,” I swallowed hard and blushed. Thankfully, I was a couple of shades lighter than him so it was hard to know that I was blushing unless one paid strict attention. I tried to stop myself because Thomas was possibly one of those perceptive ones. In doing so, I realized something. “W-What are you doing here?”
“Shopping?” he quirked a brow at me. I would’ve usually retaliated with an equally sarcastic reply but there was just something about Thomas that reduced me to a mere chuckle.
“I get that. I meant, well, aren’t you supposed to be filming somewhere?”
“Usually you’d be right but I’ve found myself a temporary resident here. I hate to sound egotistical but, do you know who I am?” he asked and it was a damning question. If I said yes then he would more than likely reveal something that I should have known.
I opted for the safe route and semi-lied as I shook my head. Had I not tried to save his life, I would have never came across him on the internet: Thomas was a good actor but he played in movies that I had little to no interest in. “Which means you’re not into soccer.” he lightly chuckled and I felt that it was a confusing acknowledgment.
To be fair, he was right.
“I know that there’s a team here but that’s about it. I’m more into basketball and hockey. Wait, are you gonna tell me that you play for the team here?” it was my turn to quirk a brow and Thomas laughed a bit.
“You sound surprised. Soccer is my first love, acting comes second. If I had a choice, soccer would be the only thing I do.”
“You don’t have a choice?” I asked and was caught off guard when he leaned over and gently grabbed my arm. My face was on fire for a moment until he moved me out of the way; I was standing in the aisle and someone had been trying to get past me.
“Perhaps… we should continue this talk elsewhere?” he asked and I knew that I had an awful poker face. Meaning, I had none and Thomas saw it because his face changed a bit. “Unless you have somewhere to be?”
“O-Oh. No. M-Maybe… we can get something to eat?” I stammered and looked away.
Did I just ask Thomas Lamb out on a date…?
Didn’t he ask first, though? I was pretty sure that I was overlooking things. He could just be an overly nice person, to me, a stranger who accused him of trying to end his life.
Thomas laughed a bit and I put my attention back to him, his eyes sparkling. “Sounds wonderful.”
I wasn’t worried about my groceries going bad; it was a cool day as it was and we wouldn’t be in the restaurant for long. So, they were the last things on my mind as we sat at the bar of what just so happened to be both of our favorite restaurant. If Thomas had ordered the same food as I did, I would’ve walked out because then I would know that this whole thing was a prank!
I didn’t know how to do conversations right and was glad that he picked up the mantle. “So, what do you do–” he made a face but then laughed. “–You never told me your name.”
“Well, this is the first time you asked,” I laughed along with him, more comfortable than I had been in a while in his presence. “Tamara.” I didn’t know what else to do other than stick my hand out at him. I was socially awkward, no matter how many friends I had. I made friends on accident, with them sticking to me until I had no other choice but to call them a friend!
Thomas took my hand and my cheeks suddenly ached with a fierceness as he gently kissed it. “A pleasure. Thomas, if you didn’t know already. Am I being too forward?” it felt like an eternity before he let go of my hand.
“You’re blushing.” he smirked and I stopped myself from rubbing at my cheeks in the hopes of making the rosiness disappear.
Instead, I pursed my lips and looked at my drink. “It’s not everyday someone kisses my hand.”
“That’s a shame. All beautiful women should experience that at least, a few times in their life.” the way he smiled at me made my entire body flush. All I could do was stare at Thomas’ kissable lips, and I wanted him to lean in so bad to kiss me, I could taste it.
It took me to blink a few times to break the trance he put me in and I cleared my throat. “I-Is that how you bait your women into sleeping with you?” it came out before I could stop it.
Thankfully, Thomas roared with laughter. “You are something else! What makes you say that?”
“You, um,” I took in a deep breath because I didn’t know how he would take what I was about to say. “Your voice is like ear candy, and then you know exactly what to say.”
“That is the first time I’ve heard anyone say that to me,” he continued to laugh but looked at me. “I don’t bait women into sleeping with me. Usually when I say what’s on my mind, it gets me in trouble.” he said and I bit my tongue to keep from blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
“Trouble like a smack across the face trouble or…?”
“I don’t just blurt things out, that would definitely gain me a slap across the face,” he chuckled. “American women are… strange. I’ve realized that the lot of you aren’t used to basic compliments, or feel those compliments mean a man wants to sleep with them. Are American men that barbaric?” he took a sip of his drink and I shrugged.
“No, just most, regardless of nationality.” I eyed him quickly but before I could turn away– because I was definitely being a smart ass– I saw that Thomas gave me a dignified look.
“You’re lucky you already made a lasting impression on me…”
“I suppose so. Glad you don’t think I’m some crazy person!”
“I’ve long figured that your heart is in the right place. Sometimes, that’s all that matters,” he nodded and gave me such a simple smile. “Now, what do you do for a living?”
“Oh! Well, it’s not as thrilling as playing soccer or acting. I’m just a customer service rep for a cable company.”
“I’ve heard horror stories. You poor thing…” Thomas shook his head and then grabbed the bartender’s attention. “She’s going to need a strong drink.” he said to her and I laughed heartily.