"You can never be too careful," his agent, Scott, told him.
He continued to walk through the lobby towards the front desk. It was early in the morning, but the hotel seemed to be alive with people. A sparkling, glass chandelier hanging in the middle of the lobby from the ceiling added glints of brightness and light to the room. A couple sat on one of the couches setup around the lobby reading the morning paper. A few of the staff was working. One stood opening doors for people entering and exiting through the west wing. Another was standing at the elevator waiting to assist people up. Then stood one at the front desk, Dawson's destination. A youth group was just coming in.
"Note to self," he whispered quietly to himself, "stay away from entering teenyboppers if you want to keep your shirt, Dawson."
But it was too late. A gaggle of girls started to approach him. They were bubbly and high in spirits with paper and pen in tow despite the hour. Not know, he thought, not after the day I've had. He smoothly detoured around them leaving them confused. There's goes my reputation as Hollywood's golden boy, he thought. He continued to make his way to the desk.
"Do you have any mail for Dawson Leery?" he asked the man behind the counter upon reaching the desk.
"Yes, sir. One moment," the man answered going over towards the rows and columns of boxes labeled by name and room number.
"Do you know how long that group over there will be staying?" Dawson asked pointing to the girls still standing distraught in the same spot.
"Approximately a week," the man replied from the boxes. "Sorry if they cause you any inconvenience, Mr. Leery. We hope you will stay with the hotel. We do appreciate your business."
"Oh, of course. I've been staying here so long, I can't imagine staying anywhere else," he said.
"Glad to here it. Here's your mail, sir," the man said handing Dawson a pile of envelopes. "How was your day?"
"Despite the fact that my lead actress can't get the scene right and that those reporters over there," Damson said pointing to a group of paparazzi that had formed by the elevator, "are gonna eat me alive as soon as step away from this desk, it's peachy keen."
"Well, sir, just remember we're not all like that," he said.
"Thank goodness," Dawson said heading toward the elevator. "Wish me luck, I'm going in."
"Good luck, sir," he replied. "Have a goodnight."
Dawson turned and nodded to him. He continued to walk taking a big breath in for what he knew was to come. He hated the London tabloids. They were determined, eager, and cruel. They had made it almost unbearable to film in London. They went to all lengths and didn't stop until they got their story or picture. They made the National Enquirer look like an angel. It seems that the press had lost it's dignity too here. Of all the London journalists Dawson had met, not one asked about his movie. They all wanted to know about his life, personal life, and appearances, so they could increase publicity. No one had any respective for themselves or their job. He was inches within them now.
"How long do you plan to stay in London?" a reporter yelled over the others.
Dawson recognized his voice from the press conference. It's was scratchy, like nails across a blackboard.
"Until filming is done," he replied not facing them.
That was the last thing he needed. It was late and he was tried. It was only fair he looked like crap, but that didn't mean he was going let them get a picture of him looking like this. He didn't want to wake up and see his picture in the biggest London tabloid with the headline, "Dawson Leery: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. The Real Story." He smirked to himself at the thought. It would eventually end up in the states, as did everything that was printed over seas. That's why Scott constantly warned him to be careful and aware at all time.
"Is it true the film's leading lady is yours in real life too?" asked a petit woman with an overly big mouth.
"Absolutely not," he replied nonchalantly. He had become so used to these questions that the answer was automatic. He didn't even need to think about what to say.
"Is it true the reason you've never had a girlfriend is because you've never moved on from your high school sweetheart?" a man asked.
Dawson froze in his path. His whole body went numb. He was not prepared for that question at all. The crowd went quiet all in an anticipation of his answer. Dawson turned to face the reporters. A cluster of light bulb flashes went off before his eyes filling his vision with nothing but brightness. He squinted against the light to make out the man. Then he saw him. Their eyes met and there was no doubt in Dawson's mind it was him. He was a middle-aged man with a scruffy appearance. His hair was jet black and it was obvious his beard was just starting to grow out. And his eyes. They were dark and frigid.
Like a pool of smoke in which nothing could be clearly seen, but they were definitely not pure or of the kindest intentions. It was the same man who had made camp outside his hotel room for two days and refused to leave. Finally the security guards took him away as he yelled in frustration that he didn't get anything and would surely be fired leaving his family homeless. Oh, how many times I've heard that one, Dawson thought.
"Where'd you hear that?" Dawson finally spoke. The reporter smiled at him as if to say good luck, you're gonna need it to get that out of me. His eyes remained cold and his face delighted. His intended plan had been accomplished. His target was hit. He had hit Dawson where it hurt most and he knew it. But worst was that he was happy about, ecstatic to a point that revenge had been bestowed. Dawson was dazed and confused. He was a little boy lost among the big wolfs of the game.
"Dawson, come one," someone said grabbing his arm. "Let's go."
Dawson turned around and saw Scott, his agent. Scott grabbed his arm and hurriedly pulled him through the crowd of onlookers that had formed. Scott had a well-built body that often came in handy to get through crowds. He also had the blue eyes and dimples that often made girls forget Dawson existed. His personality reminded him a lot of a mix between Jen and Pacey, which was comforting since he didn't get to see his friends a lot.
"We'll go up ourselves, thank you," Scott told the bellhop as they entered the elevator. He hit 12th button and the doors closed as the elevator started moving.
"How'd they find out about Joey?" Dawson asked angrily. He never wanted to get her involved. Joey…, his thoughts trailed off.
"I told you to change your name," Scott replied. "I warned you about this. It's a godsend they didn't find out sooner. All they have to do is look up your high school files and go to your hometown. They talk to a few people and one of them is bound to spill for the money."
"I've said this a thousand times and I'll say it again, I'm not going to change my name," Dawson said sternly.
"Why?" Scott asked annoyed. "So this Joey person can change her mind and find you one day?"
"Joey's light years away from here and long forgotten," Dawson lied.
"I'm Dawson. I'll always be Dawson and I'm not going to let some back stabbing, manipulative, lying paparazzi change that."
"Fine, have it your way," Scott said giving up as the doors opened. He knew a lost fight when he saw one. Dawson's wasn't going to change his mind anytime this decade and Scott was pretty sure he wouldn't make it to the next. Dawson and Scott both walked out of the elevator and down the hallway towards Dawson's penthouse room. "It's late and you're tried. Go to sleep and I'll take care of the reporters."
"Thanks," Dawson said opening the door to his hotel room. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"See ya," Scott yelled walking back to the elevator.
Dawson walked into the living room and swung the door shut behind him. He was relieved to finally be alone in peace and quiet with the chance to sleep. He dropped the pile of envelopes on the table besides the phone, unbeknown to the letter lying on top. He walked into the kitchen to get something to eat before heading off to sleep. In fours hours he'd have to wake up again to resume shooting. He opened the fridge and realized there was nothing to eat except an apple and a carton of milk. He picked up the phone and began to dial the number for room service when he suddenly dropped the receiver. He looked back at the mail he'd just dropped a few minutes earlier.
At the top of the pile sat an envelope addressed to him at this address from Joey. Joey in the states. Joey in California. Joey in Los Angeles. Joey in a house within a couple of hours from his own. He picked up the envelope and looked at closer like it wasn't real. He walked around the living room aimlessly. He walked in circles until he was dizzy. He held it up to the light trying to see what was inside. Damn, he thought, nothing. He sat down on the couch and flipped it from hand to hand mentally judging what to do with it. Finally curiosity got the better of him. He ripped the envelope open and took out a letter. He began to read to himself.
November 15, 2010
Hi. God that sounds stupid. You're probably wondering how I got your address. I'm a journalist, so I did some research and well here I am writing to you. My hand is trembling and my heart is beating a thousand times a minute. I've never been more nervous. It's weird because I'm not even facing you right now. I've contemplated for weeks whether or not to write to you.
For weeks I had your address and I'd look at it every hour of everyday. Weeks. I feel like a little child. It used to be the other way around, but, boy, have the tables turned. Life is like the whirlwind cycle of the washer.
Truth is I know why I'm writing this, I just don't know how to write it. In all my nervousness and fear, I've seemed to have lost my articulatism. Mind me if I fumble with my words and repeat myself. It's been years. Years since we've spoken. Year since that day in college. I've been thinking a lot about it lately. Was I wrong not to have forgiven you? Did I make the right choice or could I possibly be in a better situation with you right now? While I think I had every right to be mad at you, I'm putting my feelings aside. I letting down all feelings of hurt and betrayal I have towards you. And I'm running to you. I'm letting myself be seen as helpless by you. I'm letting myself sound like a helpless child. It's so hard for me to ask for help, but I know I have to do this. And you know why? Because I miss you. You, not our relationship, just you. I miss my best friend. I miss our friendship from pre-kiss. I need you. I need my best friend. I need his wisdom and guidance. I need his advice.
I'm so desperately lost, Dawson. I'm successful, engaged to a wonderful man, and all around full of life from what people tell me. They say I'm smart, beautiful, and sharp. They say I'm amazing. They say I love you. Then why do I feel so alone? I'm engaged to a man I love, but I feel as if I couldn't be farther from him. I feel like I don't know him at all and that he doesn't know me either. I haven't told him anything of my past. That's everything there is to me. That's 90% percent of my life. If he doesn't know my past, how can he possibly know me? I need you.
I need your advice, Dawson. I need you so badly as a friend. Please, do this for me. Put aside your feeling. Put aside what happened that day. What happened in our past and do this for me. Be my friend. Do what we did best. Give each other advice, support, and love. Critique, talk, and analyze till we were blue in the face, like we did once. Why can't we do it again? Why can't we just be Dawson and Joey?
Please. I understand if you don't write back, but it would mean the world to me if you did. The world's a scary place. I'd like it if you'd hold my hand as I make my way through it.
And if you want, I'll hold yours, too.
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