As George opened her door at the reception location, she began to get nervous again. Once again he gave her directions regarding leaving and heading back to her hotel. If she elected to leave with someone, all she had to do was tell him so he wasn’t worrying about her. She thanked him and slowly made her way toward the entrance. She was stopped and had to be checked on the guest list to be let in – it was so Hollywood and had to admit she loved it.
The crowd was not nearly as bad as she had anticipated; most of the stars were already there. She began to move toward the bar to get a drink when she ran into Amanda. “Oh, there you are, I was afraid you had gotten lost. Kevin wants to meet you and have you meet the cast. Are you ready?”
Her nervousness was showing, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Amanda led her towards a side room that had been set up for the meet and greet. As she walked in, the entire cast was chatting in a small circle but stopped and turned to watch her walk in. She wanted to shrink and run in the other direction. Before that could happen, Kevin Feige was on his way over to say hello.
“Ms. Proctor, it is such a pleasure to meet you. I trust that you enjoyed the movie.”
“Please, call me Daisy; Ms. Proctor sounds so formal. It is a pleasure to meet you, sir. Thank you for this fantastic opportunity and, yes, I did enjoy the movie.”
“The question is; did you cry?” Kevin asked with a wicked grin.
Sebastian and Chris answered in unison, “Yes she did!” They could tell she looked embarrassed and before they had a chance to apologize, Robert was giving them the evil eye. They both quickly hung their heads.
“Well, we wanted to draw on emotions of the audience, glad to see it worked. So let me introduce you to everyone,” Kevin said as he began to walk her down the line. As he introduced each person they shook her hand and exchanged pleasantries. The end of the line held Robert, Sebastian and Chris. Kevin stopped just short and then turned to look at Daisy, “I am taking it that you have already met these gentlemen?”
“I have not been formally introduced to any of them, although I did sit between Mr. Evans and Mr. Stan during the movie.”
Robert stepped forward and then looked at the Chris and Sebastian and then back at her, “So instead of a rose between two thorns, we had a Daisy between two thorns. Not quite the same ring to it but the truth all the same. It is a pleasure to meet you,” Robert said as he took her hand and then offered her a hug.
She had not been a big fan of his but she had to admit that he was quite charming and she now understood his appeal. “It is very nice to meet you as well.”
“Did they keep their hands to themselves during the movie? Do you need me to defend your honor in any way?” He asked playfully.
“They were gentlemen,” she said looking at them and then turned back to Robert, “Who knew they had it in them?”
Robert began to laugh, “Okay, I like her. We need to keep her around. Kevin, find her a job!” He gave her another hug and then said, “It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope you have a good time tonight.”
It was then Sebastian’s turn and he stepped forward and extended his hand, “I guess I am going to be known as thorn number one. It is nice to meet you, Daisy.”
She had not expected his smile to be so intoxicating; it took a minute for it to register that he had his hand out. She finally responded, taking his hand, “It is nice to meet you.” She released his hand, albeit a little slowly and stepped back.
Then Chris stepped forward and Daisy’s pulse began to quicken. She was surprised at this since she had already held his hand and had a private moment with him. But to be honest, he was the reason she even entered the contest to begin with. He had already made her skin tingle and flush warm when he seductively whispered in her ear. Did he do that on purpose? Did he know he would have that impact on her?
He flashed that million-dollar smile, “Hello, Daisy, was it? I am so glad you decided to join us for the party,” He turned to look at Kevin, “Did you know she was considering going back to her hotel and skipping this?”
Robert stepped forward again, “Daisy, I take it you are a little shy and this entire situation is a bit overwhelming, would I be right in that assessment?” She slowly nodded her head, unsure of herself to answer. He walked over and put his arm around her, “Keeping that in mind, Evans, you should be a little nicer to this young woman. Don’t embarrass her so much.”
“I’m not trying to embarrass her, I swear. I am attempting to have a little fun, though. I’m sorry Daisy,” He offered.
“It’s okay, I am just not real comfortable in big crowds. I come from a small town and I honestly know everyone there so this is a little daunting. I come off as weird and awkward, so I am sorry.”
“Don’t ever apologize for who you are,” Robert offered, “We are all a bit weird and awkward. Just be you, Daisy!” Now she really understood his appeal, damn he was charming.
With that, Kevin stepped forward, “Now that we have the introductions out of the way, do you want to have a group photo Daisy? Something to remember your trip by?”
“Um…well, I don’t really like to have my picture taken, but if I could just get one of the entire group without me in it. Well, that would be fantastic!”
“Ok, consider it done!” Kevin waved the photographer over and they corralled the cast for a group photo. They had already had several taken that night so they had the routine down pat. Once the picture was taken, they began to slowly exit the room. Each person taking the time to acknowledge Daisy as they left. Except Chris, he lingered for a few moments as he walked toward the doors. He didn’t approach her and he didn’t speak. Instead, he just watched her and her stomach flipped; she was unsure of what was going on and what his game he was playing.
Kevin approached her and asked if he could talk to her for a few minutes. She couldn’t say ‘no,’ he did fly her out for the premiere and had afforded her the opportunity to live out a dream. The conversation was short, he just wanted her honest opinion on the movie and to gauge her interest in the other areas of Marvel and the MCU and how they are received outside of large metropolitan areas. She did what she could to draw out the conversation; the longer the conversation, the less time she would have to spend in the crowd at the party.
Unfortunately, Kevin wanted to be in the party so he wasn’t interested in an extended discussion. He stood up, “Daisy, it was a pleasure meeting you and having this chance to speak. Please, enjoy the rest of your trip and have a safe trip back home.”
She rose and extended her hand, “Thank you, Mr. Feige. I am so thankful for this opportunity.” She watched as he walked out of the room. She was alone and began plotting her escape when the door opened once again and Amanda entered.
“Daisy, part of the contest package included a photo opportunity with the cast of the movie as well as an autograph. We had them sign a poster for you in advance and have actually made arrangements to ship it to your store for you. Figured that would be easier than you trying to carry it back on the flight. And we have already taken care of the photo opportunity so the official contest duties for the evening are complete. Please go out and enjoy the party as well as the rest of your time in Los Angeles. Have a safe trip back home, as well.”
Amanda then turned and left the room, Daisy checked her watch and realized it was still early so it would be stupid to go back to the hotel when she could open the door and enjoy this party. She walked back into the crowded room and made a beeline for the bar. Maybe getting a drink would calm her nerves and make the night go a little easier. She was waiting for the bartender when she felt him walk up alongside her.
“So, what are you drinking?” His voice was velvet smooth and instantly made her wet. No other man had that sort of impact on her.
She couldn’t even look at him, “Um, I hadn’t made up my mind yet. Do you have a suggestion?”
“Hmmm. Well, Daisy, you are from the South, right? I think I hear a bit of a southern drawl in your voice, so I am going to guess you can do bourbon,” He gazed into her dark brown eyes hoping to see if she gave off any hints but she didn’t. He motioned for the bartender, “Bryan, give the lady an old fashioned and I’ll have another gin and tonic.”
“First name basis with the bartender, huh? Keeping him busy tonight?” She was trying to keep it light, she was nervous and didn’t really know what else to say.
“So why don’t you want to be here tonight, Daisy? I thought you entered the contest because you were looking forward to coming out here to the movie and to hob-knob at this fancy party?”
“Well, I entered the contest because I wanted to make the trip to LA and because I wanted to see the movie but hob-knobbing is not my thing. Not sure if you’ve picked up on it or not, I’m not exactly comfortable with the crowd.”
Bryan delivered the drinks, Chris said thanks and dropped some cash in the tip jar. He handed Daisy her drink and then offered up a toast, “To the beginning of what will be a delightful evening.” The two clinked their glasses and Chris arched his eyebrow and gave her a wicked smile. “So maybe if we drink one or two of these, the crowd won’t be an issue.”
“So your idea for me to have fun is to get me drunk?”
“Would it work? Because I am definitely willing to give it a try.”
She took a big swig of her drink, she needed the liquid courage to keep up this conversation. He watched her with wide eyes, not quite believing what he was watching. “I’m trying to figure out why in the world you even care to talk to me? I’m confused, that’s all.”
“Well, I have to admit that I’m a little confused by you. A lovely young woman comes to LA alone for a movie premiere. She seems out of her comfort zone in the crowd of people and wants to do nothing more than blend into the wallpaper or hide in her hotel room. You are an enigma Daisy Proctor and I have to admit that I am intrigued.”
“I’m shy and backward, from a small rural town and thought it would be fun to come to LA. I am way out of my comfort zone and don’t fit in with the beautiful people of Hollywood. I think it was a mistake to enter this contest and come out here,“ she swallowed the rest of her drink. She slammed the glass back down on the bar and noticed that another drink was already waiting for her. He really did intend on getting her drunk.
For some reason, the conversation with Chris was coming easily. While they stood at the bar talking, several of the other actors from the movie came over to join the conversation. After several drinks, Daisy’s inhibitions were gone and she was comfortable with everyone, something she would never have imagined. She lost track of the number of drinks – Chris had just made sure she always had a fresh glass.
Actually, Daisy lost track of everything because when she opened her eyes, she realized she was in her hotel room. She tried to sit up quickly but the throbbing pain in her head made her realize that was not a good idea. When she finally made it to a seated position, she checked to see if she was alone. It appeared so, there was no one else on her bed and she didn’t see anyone on the guest bed or on the floor.