I was in high school and had recently moved, attending a new school. Joe was friends with some of the students I had become friendly with, which made me both nervous and excited; excited because I was developing a little crush on him, and nervous because I was acutely aware that I could and probably would make a fool of myself in his presence.
one evening after school I was attending a sporting event for my younger sister. the coach pulled me aside and handed me a touchscreen tablet, saying that I needed to fill out contact information for my sister. I took the device as I walked up the bleachers to find a seat and spotted Joe, who just so happened to be sitting on a bench with ample space around him. I sat down next to him but not too close, so it didn’t look obvious that I wanted to sit with him. the tablet wasn’t working correctly or maybe I just didn’t know how to use it, either way it was making me flustered, which I’m sure Joe caught on to since I had been told many times by others that I didn’t have a poker face. in the end, I just placed the tablet on the empty spot beside me, leaving it there at the end of the game so I wouldn’t be confronted by the coach for not filling it in right. the event ran really late, and I was tired already because I had come there from work; I was practically dead on my feet by that point. Joe was standing with me, engaging me in small talk while I waited for my sister to be done. maybe it was the over tiredness but surprisingly I wasn’t a nervous wreck around him and the mundane small talk soon moved into a flirty conversation. it started to feel more and more intimate, which surprised the hell out of me!
Joe was concerned that I was so tired and offered to drive my sister and I home. this meant we would have to ride the bus in the morning, since my car would already be at school, but I was more than okay with that because Joe was driving me home! and if that wasn’t great enough, he drove a small pick up truck with a bench seat, meaning I sat in the middle next to him. my sister was listening to her headphones, not paying any attention to us. the ride was quiet as we listened to the radio but we were both softly singing to the songs. I may have been sitting closer to him than was really necessary and I may have grabbed onto his arm when he took a bend in the road too fast. I never let go, but he didn’t seem to mind; that intimate feeling was still there. I heard his singing voice more clearly during a song and I really liked it. without thinking, I put my hand on his chest so that I could feel him sing, since it was hard to hear at such a soft volume. he curiously asked what I was doing and I playfully told him, so then he sang a little louder so that I could really feel it. he thought this was cute, funny even with the way I was acting, but I was more ‘awake’ than he thought I was. I wanted to take full advantage of the situation, so I laid my head on his shoulder, my mouth very close to his neck, and sang along with him.
when we got to my house, my sister got out of the truck and went right inside but I stayed to say good-bye. Joe said he would pick us up for school in the morning too, since I didn’t have my car. my house was out of his way, so this was more than him just being polite. I kept staring at his lips while he talked and he noticed, laughingly asking what was so interesting about them. I said they looked so soft. the air around us became charged but I had to get out of the car and go inside before my parents noticed. as I was getting out, I ducked back in quickly and gave him a kiss. when I walked around the car and came back close to his side he teasingly asked if his lips were as soft as they looked. I said it happened too quickly for me to tell, I’d have to take a longer try tomorrow. this made him laugh out loud and I gave him a big smile as we waved good night to each other. the next morning I was nervous, afraid that Joe would act differently, like nothing had happened. it looked like that’s exactly what was happening when I realized he wasn’t picking us up after all and we would have to ride the bus.
I was brand new to the school, hadn’t even finished a full week yet, so I still didn’t know my way around very well. I was pissed at the morning’s events and I wanted to search Joe out and see what his excuse was for breaking his promise. I found him and his friends in the cafeteria, laughing loudly and being annoying. I walked right up to the table and bluntly asked him what his deal was. he was still somewhat laughing at his friends but looked me up and down and said he had no idea what I was talking about. I was mad when I stormed in there but then I was just hurt, defeated, because I knew this would happen, I just knew it. nothing that good could actually happen to me and be real. he saw those emotions flash across my face and his cocky smile faltered. he asked in a nicer voice if I was okay, while his friends continued to say teasing things beside him. I looked straight into his eyes then and realized he looked different than he did last night. not just the hair, which looked chaotic on purpose instead of messily haphazard, but his eyes and his stance…something was wrong, he was wrong. I was so confused! did I really dream the whole thing and imagined a different version of him? I didn’t know what to do, so I gave a heartfelt “I am so sorry” and bolted out of the room. he followed me into the hallway, grabbing my arm to turn me around, and asked again if I was okay. I opened my mouth to speak but then I heard my name called from the other end of the hall. I quickly turned my head to see see Joe jogging up to us. I turned back to whoever was standing in front of me. what the hell was going on?! I started backing away from him as Joe came up to my side, and I flinched away from him as well. Joe looked from me to the other guy and back to me again. I was frozen. Joe then asked the guy what was going on and the guy said he had no idea, just that I came into the cafeteria and yelled at him. he also asked Joe where he’d been anyway. Joe said his truck wouldn’t start, and then he called the guy a dick for not waking him up on time. oh.my.god. they’re twin brothers! I felt so stupid. I was mortified! my lip started trembling and the brother said “oh shit, she’s going to cry!” in a panicked voice, like that was the worst thing that could possibly happen. that made me want to laugh and so I did, while still trying not to cry. the brother looked scared, which made me laugh harder. I pulled myself together then and addressed the brother, saying how sorry I was. I looked from Joe, who had moved closer to me in concern, back to his brother and said “I’m an idiot. I’ve only been here for a few days. I didn’t know there were two of you!” Joe pulled me into a side hug as my face turned tomato red and he laughed, placing a kiss on my temple. the brother was shocked for a moment but then he started laughing too.
the bell rang and the hall started filling up with other kids. the brother backed away while still laughing and said his name was Steve and that I should feel free to yell at him anytime, which would probably be often once I got to know him. he turned around then and disappeared into the crowd. I looked at the floor and shook my head, continuing to laugh at myself in embarrassment. Joe used his finger to bring my chin back up to eye level, glancing over my face to make sure I was okay. my blush came back and I rolled my eyes at myself. he pulled me into a full on hug and said I was adorable. we were going to be late for our classes, so we split up to go in different directions. Joe turned around as he was walking away and cheekily said his name was Joe and that I should kiss him anytime that I wanted, which would probably be a lot once I got to know him. then he turned back around and headed off to class.
this is what happens when you like both an actor and the fictional character he plays but you see them as two separate people, and you spend an undisclosed amount of time watching interviews of one and reading fan-fiction of the other…