Sign Your Name on My Heart

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Chapter 9

I’d been holding out hope that he hadn’t actually seen me at the Q&A Panel, that the girl who grabbed my arm had been mistaken and that Evan had been winking at someone else. But that hope evaporated with his question, and I was afraid he would think I might be turning into one of his fangirls. Heck, I was afraid I was turning into one of his fangirls.

Honesty seemed like the best policy, even though I couldn’t know if he’d believe me or not.

“Well, I was feeling a bit peckish, and I just happened to see a sign as I wandered the halls,” I told him with a shrug. “Thought I would have a peek at you. After all, you came to my booth.”

“Oh, yes?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. “Are you sure you didn’t come to try nabbing me for an autograph or a quick selfie?”

I knew he was joking by the tinge of red in his cheeks and the upward curve of his lips, but I could barely restrain rolling my eyes. “Yes, actually, I definitely wanted to catch you for an autograph, but it was only because I was hoping you would sign your name on my heart.”

I crisscrossed my finger in the center of my chest, and he squeezed me closer with a little laugh. “Sorry,” he said, “But I don’t do those at the Panel; you have to come to the autograph table.”

“Yes, well, I realized that as soon I came in and found you slithering around like an awfully long snekky-snek. So, then I decided I might as well get back to my booth because, clearly, I wasn’t going to get what I came for,” I lowered my eyelids to highlight my sarcasm.

“Oh, is that where you disappeared to?”

“Yes, the art isn’t going to sell itself, is it? And if I can’t get my autograph, I might as well earn some money.”

“Well…” he began, lowering his head toward mine, and I almost thought he was going to kiss me, but he was interrupted by a light rap at his door. Evan pinched his brows together as he glanced at me with a small sigh. “Sorry, I don’t know who that is.”

Letting go of me, he walked over to the door and peered through the peekhole. He seemed to momentarily freeze before giving me a look that I couldn’t quite read. Sucking in his cheeks, he twisted the handle, and stepped back as he pulled the door open wide.

“Samantha.” It was a statement, and he didn’t offer that warm smile he always wore when he opened the door for me.

At first, I thought it was a persistent fan who’d figured out his room number and couldn’t comprehend boundaries. Letting her into his room seemed like an odd gesture, but he did often seem perhaps too gracious. This time, though, he appeared more displeased than he’d been even when I had first subjected him to my snarky attitude.

“You’re so hard to get ahold of,” a woman said as she entered the room. “I had to call Steve just to find out where you were.”

“Steve should have...” Evan was interrupted this time because the woman wrapped her arms around his neck and covered his mouth with her lips.

Evan didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands, but he finally rested them on her back. I couldn’t help but note he didn’t push her away, nor did he pull away from her. Plus, she clearly knew not only Steve but his phone number. Neither Evan nor Steve had given me Steve’s phone number. I couldn’t see Steve giving out Evan’s room number or any other information to a fan. I observed her a little more closely, noticing the way she leaned into him with a familiarity that made her seem like his second half.

Suddenly my short stature felt even smaller and made me feel dumpy to boot.

She had perfect blonde hair flowing past her shoulders, and she was as lithe as he was with the long neck and elegance of a giraffe while I was…well: ME. Her tailored clothes and dainty shoes practically shimmered the word affluence like an aura, and when she finally broke her kiss and followed Evan’s gaze to me, I saw that her face was expertly painted in makeup that probably cost at least a week’s worth of my wages. If I wore eyeliner, which was almost never, it was the cheapest brand I could find at the drugstore, though occasionally I did like to add a sparkle of gloss to the organic lip balm that ran me an exorbitant price tag of $5.99 at the farmer’s market. I doubted that was even a quarter of what she paid for the paint on her lips.

Her eyes started at the top of my humidity-induced frizzy hair and slowly trailed down to my patterned Skechers, then finally rested on my helpless gaze, not bothering to hide exactly what she thought about the sight of me. I felt like the dumbest girl on the planet. No wonder he never made a move on me. I let myself think for half a second that I’d found a guy I had loads of things in common with who was witty, sweet, and fairly handsome on top of it all. that might actually like me even though I wasn’t really looking for anyone. Of course, he already had someone. I’d never even asked him; I'd just assumed he was lonely. And maybe he was lonely while he travelled.

I was fairly sure that she was an actor as well, though I couldn’t immediately place her face.

“Have you taken to letting the fans in your room?” Her question was for Evan, but she was staring straight at me.

His brows pinched together again. “She’s not—”

OH. I was the fan now. Apparently.

Sharply, I breathed out a short laugh. “Oh. I, I was…just, uh, leaving.”

Evan began to protest, but my brain barely registered the words as I slipped past the perfect couple. I thought he said Please wait, but I couldn’t be sure if I’d heard it or just wanted to hear it. Either way, I remained steadfast in the leaving statement.

The patchouli blend clinging to his skin and the breeze from each step of his long legs followed behind me, but I picked up the pace, scurrying down the hallway to the elevator. From the room’s doorway, the woman’s voice said his name like a reprimand. Much to my relief, the elevator door opened right as I approached it. I didn’t want to stand around, forced to hear excuses or apologies. As the doors closed, he came to a halt in the middle of the hallway, rifling a hand through his hair. I was almost convinced by the lines of anguish across his forehead yet not enough to stop myself from crossing my arms defensively over my heart.

Actors never stop performing, I chastised myself. It was the whole reason I avoided them. How could I be so stupid to fall for all his charms when I knew so much better? I didn’t know what I’d been thinking would happen anyway. For all I knew, he’d been stringing me along hoping for a little something between the sheets before he moved on to the next city and next convention, just like I’d thought at the beginning. The girlfriend was obviously not expected to arrive.

Well, I hadn’t been interested in fawning over him like a fan. I told myself I wasn't interested in anything else to do with him, either. And none of it mattered anyway because I certainly wasn’t any match for the perfection of a woman who’d sauntered into his room.

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