I was awoken again by the sound of laughter, doors shutting and a heavy trolleys being carted down the hallway. It was becoming intolerable. There were a multitude of guests moving in and out of the room next door. Gales of laughter and chatter signalled their arrival and departure. In hindsight, all the paparazzi and security downstairs should've tipped me off that something was going on in the hotel. Suddenly I heard a female voice call out rather loudly from just outside my door,
"Are we done yet?"
"Almost, I'll send the next one up," replied someone further in the distance.
To their credit, they were both clearly trying to keep their voices down. But I could still hear them clearly. The clock read 11:45 pm. I had been falling asleep and waking up for over an hour.
Frustrated, I stormed out of my room and into the hall and knocked angrily on the door of the room adjacent to mine. The door opened quickly and before I even laid eyes on the person inside, I said,
"Excuse me, but it's almost midnight and I'm REALLY sleep deprived and you and your friends have been making a lot of noise."
"I'm so sorry. I'm almost done for tonight. I'll try to keep the noise down," replied a female English accent.
I had seen the person standing before me countless times on TV and in magazines, and yet despite that, I couldn't quite believe it was really her. She looked me right in the eyes, and gave me a beautiful smile. I know it's cheesy to say, but Emma Watson was more beautiful in person than in the movies.
She clearly realised I wasn't in the best of moods and decided not to say anything further. But when Emma Watson looks you in the eyes and smiles, any anger you might have had vanishes in an instant. Eventually, I said,
"Okay, this explains a lot. You're Emma Watson aren't you?"
"So they tell me."
"And all those people were-"
"Journalists," she said. "My flight came in late so I missed the press conference earlier today. And my publicist thought it would be a good idea to let the top tabloids and film blogs get one-on-one interviews with me. We've gone way over time."
"I'm sorry, I hadn't realised it was you. I just figured with all the noise coming from your room and all the men apparently lining up..."
A bemused look crept across her face and suddenly I realised how I sounded. I would not blame her if she were to hit me.
"Fuck. I'm sorry, I'm not implying...it's just...fuck. I'm really tired," I stammered.
To my surprise, she laughed and said, "No no, don't apologise. I get it. If there's a long line of men entering a girl's hotel room late at night; that girl's likely to be an actress or a hooker."
'Just remember that you said that and not me,' I chuckled.
I was glad to see she was apparently not the stuck-up diva I was half expecting. In fact, she seemed anything but a huge movie star. She was shorter than me, my age and wearing a surprisingly pedestrian jeans and shirt ensemble. She could've passed as an average university student.
"I would've thought someone of your stature would be up in the penthouse," I said.
"Some foreign diplomat has booked out the place," she replied before asking, "You know my name, but I'm afraid I don't know yours."
She leaned against the door frame in a manner that was strangely alluring. For a moment, I actually forgot my own name. But I recovered quickly and replied,
"Emma," she replied and extended her hand.
"Yeah, I know," I laughed nervously, still very much star struck.
We shook hands. Her grip was firm, and her hand was smoother than I thought possible. She felt real, she looked real and her perfume smelt real, but this whole exchange still felt like it was a dream. Meeting Emma Watson just should not factor into my daily schedule. I mean, the mere geographical distance between where I live in Australia and her home country of England should be enough to guarantee a lifetime of separation between us.
"I hope I didn't wake you," she said with surprising sincerity.
"I'm glad you did, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. I love your work," I said, whilst trying hard to curb my enthusiasm.
"That's very nice of you to say. What do you do for a living?"
"Lawyer. Well, a graduate lawyer anyway. I'm still at the bottom of the food chain."
"Still, you're a lawyer. That sounds exciting."
"Says the famous actress."
She laughed. "You sound Australian."
"What's with the hotel room? Did the girlfriend kick you out of the house?" she asked with a wry smile.
In the back of my mind, a small part of me wondered if the girlfriend remark was just to see if I was single. Another part of me thought I was a fucking idiot for even thinking she would be interested. But then, she did seem very normal. And I know many relationships that have started with innocent conversations like this. But the mere thought of the word "relationship" entering into this train of thought meant I was having delusions of grandeur.
"Actually, I'm from out of town. I'm just in Sydney for a few days on business; mainly observing court proceedings. What about you? I swear I saw you on the news earlier tonight."
"Film premiere. I was suppose to fly into Sydney this morning, have a press conference and then attend the premiere, but my flight was delayed and I only arrived about 5 or 6 hours ago. I barely made the premiere. And now I've been subjected to almost two hours of interviews."
"Time to get a new publicist I think."
She gave a tired laugh. "I think you're right."
There was a momentary pause. She continued to lean against the door frame and look down the hallway absently. I had eyes only for her. It was strange to be this close to her. I could smell her intoxicating perfume, see every strand of hair and every tiny detail on her face. She wore a lot of makeup, but considering she was giving interviews and had a premiere only several hours earlier, it wasn't much of surprise.
"How much longer are you in Sydney?" I asked.
"I have a few more interviews tomorrow, a photo shoot and then I'm off to New Zealand the next day. You?"
"Attending a trial tomorrow from about 9-5 and pray to God the matter doesn't drag onto the next day. But more likely than not, I'll probably leave Sydney the same day as you."
Suddenly, a female voice called out from down the hall, "Emma! Empire Magazine is here for you."
Further down the hall by the elevator stood a professional looking middle aged woman, and with her, presumably the Empire Magazine interviewer and a cameraman behind her.
Emma turned to me for a moment and whispered, "Kill me,' before waving them over.
"Nice meeting you Miss Watson," I said.
We shook hands again as she said, "Please, you look the same age as me. Call me Emma."
I smiled and turned to leave but suddenly found her still gripping my hand. I turned to face her again and for a moment, she looked as if her words had left her. Dare I say she even looked slightly nervous. It was a strange sight to see a famous celebrity like her at a loss for words. It was even stranger given the fact she was talking to me. Eventually, she blurted out,
"I'm not doing anything tomorrow night."
This took my by surprise and I struggled to play it cool. "Neither do I."
"Great," she said sounding relieved.
"Just knock anytime after 5."
Suddenly her publicist was pushing her into the room and the Empire Magazine crew quickly followed. Neither of them gave me as much as a glance.
I walked in a daze back to my room, not quite believing what had happened. Should've grabbed an autograph or a photo I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
My first thoughts upon waking up the next morning were of Emma. Last night felt like a dream. I had woken up, got out of bed, went across the hall, talked to one of the biggest movie stars on the planet and fell asleep again two minutes later; it could've very easily been a dream. But then, my dreams of meeting beautiful actresses usually involve more nudity.
This was real. Emma Watson was next door. That was reality. A wide array of fantasies went through my head; each one more ridiculous and unlikely than the last. Eventually, I put these thoughts aside and grabbed my iPad and Googled "Emma Watson". Most of the results were expected.
"EMMA WATSON- WIKIPEDIA" "EMMA WATSON- THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE" "PEEK-A-BOOB: EMMA WATSON'S LATEST RED-CARPET WARDROBE MALFUNCTION"
The latter really wasn't a big deal; just the tabloids spouting their typical drivel and blowing something way out of proportion. Other search results were more recent but not exactly interesting.
"EMMA WATSON SHINES AT SYDNEY PREMIERE OF NEW MOVIE" "EMMA WATSON RUMOURED FOR ARONOFSKY'S NEXT PROJECT"
Some other search results however...
"EMMA WATSON BREAKS UP WITH BOYFRIEND"
I clicked on the link immediately. The article was dated only 3 months ago. The subheading read:
"SOURCES CLOSE TO HARRY POTTER STAR CONFIRM SPLIT CITING ERRATIC FILMING SCHEDULES AND LACK OF COMMUNICATION IN RECENT MONTHS"
For some inexplicable reason, this excited me. But even I knew this excitement made no sense. This was Emma Watson after all. Her being single doesn't exactly mean I get to fill the void. That's like saying I get to play in the English Soccer team because David Beckham is out injured; it just doesn't work that way. But then I remembered her words to me last night: "I'm not doing anything tomorrow night" and "just knock anytime after 5".
The thought continued to occupy my mind all morning. I continued to think about it while I was eating breakfast, while I was at work and every other second of the day. Was this a date? Was it just a drink? There was only one certainty; if I wanted to do something, I needed to do it quickly. We would both only be in Sydney for another day and God knows when she'd ever return to Australia. But even as these plans and schemes ran through my head, I knew how ridiculous they were.
I sat through the trial in Court that day and barely paid attention. Closing arguments are MUCH longer in real life than in the movies. I was just as restless when the judge came to a decision and delivered his verdict late in the afternoon. I sat in the public gallery taking notes and thinking about Emma. Where do I take someone like her on a date? Her million dollar pay checks aside; should I be chivalrous and pay for the meal?
Court was adjourned at 4:45 pm. I found myself practically running back to the hotel. I arrived at 5:05 and almost knocked on her door then and there. But I decided it probably didn't look good if I knocked only five minutes after five o'clock, sweating, out of breath and still in my work clothes. So I went inside my room, showered, picked out a nice set of clothes and spent about 20 minutes trying to look impeccable. The whole time I wondered what she was doing. Was she going above and beyond preparing a potential date like I was? Was she anxiously waiting by the door for me? Did she forget?
I knocked on the door at 5:30. I had butterflies in my stomach, I was sweating and I was unable to keep still. Funny thing though; no one came to the door. In answer to my earlier question; it turns out she did forget.
It was 8:00 pm. I sat at the hotel bar sullenly drinking a beer and eating a burger. To be honest, I was enjoying the beer much more. For the entire day all I thought about was Emma. I concocted all these unlikely fantasies in my head, but I now considered them all completely impossible. I missed what ever tiny and insignificantly small chance I might have had.
To get over this monumental disappointment, I turned my attention back to the reason I was in Sydney, my work. My mind turned away from Emma and back to case law, fresh evidence and grounds for appeal. On the one hand, appealing the verdict would be relatively easy. However, given the fact that this matter was moved to a different jurisdiction and my firm already briefed the matter out to an independent barrister, no one is quite sure who should-
"This seat taken?" said a familiar voice.
It was almost frightening how attuned I was to Emma's English accent. Every word was so precisely pronounced giving her diction an air of sophistication. I turned around to see her; even in my dreams she didn't look this beautiful. I tried to find one imperfection but I couldn't. She wore what appeared to be a Burberry coat and beneath, just regular jeans and a sleeveless blouse. While she dressed like any other twentysomething year old, she also exuded a very glamorous Hollywood quality. It's probably her makeup and very elaborate hairdo; not to mention her absurdly large sunglasses she wore, at 8:00 pm no less.
"I'm not interrupting you am I?" she asked after I didn't respond.
"No, God no," I said, instantly forgetting all my dull musings about work.
She sat down next to me as I tried to think of something clever to say. As before, my words failed me and the only quip I could come up with was,
"Nice sunglasses. Do they only come in extra extra large?"
Emma smiled tiredly before replying, "It's all part of my never ending game of hide and seek with the paparazzi"
"Who won today's game?"
"Considering the hotel concierge is outside shouting that only patrons are allowed inside, I'll give them this one."
The scent of her perfume filled the air; it lured me in and I didn't want to leave her side ever again. She smiled at me and casually took some chips off my plate before ordering a beer for herself. How the hell can she make something this ordinary look so damn sexy?
"You look really pretty," I said dumbly.
"Thank you," she replied in an almost shy manner.
"Seriously, you look really good."
"Hair and makeup courtesy of Vogue Magazine. Just got back from a photo shoot."
"Oh. I just assumed you were going somewhere nice."
"I am. I'm having a drink with you. Sorry I missed out date, the photo shoot and interview ran overtime like always. I would've called, but I didn't have your number."
There was so much to process in so little time. Not least of which was the fact she used the word "date". I decided to seize the opportunity.
"Not too late to go somewhere. Pick a place."
She flashed me a very endearing smile and said, "Sorry, but I'm really tired, I think I'd prefer to spend the night in the hotel. And also, don't take this the wrong way, but if I'm seen leaving this place with you, TMZ will be running an article about how I have new boyfriend by dawn tomorrow."
"I'd actually be perfectly fine with that."
She laughed before subtly changing topics and asking, "How was your day in Court?"
I smiled at her question; partially because I didn't expect her to remember our conversation. Despite the very good impression she made, I still expected her to act very stuck-up and elitist. But aside from her Burberry coat which I could only assume was as overpriced as anything bearing the word "Burberry", she still exuded a very down-to-Earth vibe.
"Well, my client is completely fucked. So there's that. How was your day?"
"Pretty good. Interviews went well and I learnt some kick-arse hair and makeup tips from the girls at Vogue."
"So you're enjoying Australia then?"
"I love it. The people here are great. People here have much less of a "fuck you" attitude than the States and are less snooty and pretentious than England."
"You've clearly never been to Melbourne."
"And you've clearly never been to Brown University or London," she replied, laughing.
She took a few more chips off my plate which brought a smile to my face. I hadn't expected to be sharing food with Emma Watson. Such small innocent acts like this brought me more joy than I thought possible.
"I'm sorry I seem to be eating all your food but I've barely eaten a thing since breakfast. The studios been running me ragged. I'm starving."
"Don't worry. I like watching you eat."
This time she visibly blushed. I sat there for a moment trying to figure out if what I just said was charming or creepy. I suspected the latter. In order to change topics, I said,
"Oh, I almost forgot."
I reached into my bag on the barstool beside me and pulled out a copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". She laughed the moment she saw it and took my pen without question.
"You didn't think you'd get away without signing something did you?" I said.
"Don't worry, I'm use to it,' she laughed, before adding; "Such a shame though, I was starting to like you, but you just had to bring up Harry Potter didn't you?!"
"What wrong with Harry Potter?!" I chuckled.
"You obviously don't like talking about your work. I don't like talking about mine. And seriously, of all the books you got 'Deathly Hallows' "
"I would've gotten 'Prisoner of Azkaban' but they were sold out."
"Shame, it's my favourite."
She finished writing something on the inside of the book and handed it back to me. I put it back into bag without another word. Emma ordered another drink having already finished her first. We lapsed into a momentary silence. I looked at her carefully for a moment and realised she was tapping her foot on the floor furiously and simultaneously tearing apart a napkin. I realised just then that for whatever reason, she was nervous. Why, I could not say. But then it dawned on me that for all her fame and riches, she was still a 23 year old girl having a drink at a bar with a guy she just met. Could it be that she was just as scared of me as I was of her? Even the mere notion seemed ridiculous, but here we are. After a moment, she said, and I suspected more to break the silence than anything else:
"A signed copy of that book will fetch you a few hundred quid on eBay."
"I'll keep that in mind."
More silence. She just sat at the bar leaning heavily on one elbow sipping her beer. I peered beneath the makeup and realised how tired she was. I just sat in Court all day but now that I actually thought what she said, I realised she must've been on the move constantly.
"Tired?" I asked.
"Very. And jet-lagged," she explained.
I watched her as she brought the cold beer to her lips and drank almost a third of the pint at once. I loved that she could just sit at the bar and have a beer; somehow I had expected her to be the Cristal drinking type.
I finished up my dinner as she looked around the bar for a moment before turning to me and saying;
"That guy sitting at the end of the bar on my left."
I looked past her down the bar to see an ordinary guy in his 30s looking at us. Not surprisingly, he appeared very interested in Emma but seemed harmless enough.
"What about him?" I asked.
"Is he taking photos of me with his phone?"
I looked at him carefully and saw his iPhone was sitting on its side on the bar. He subtly had his finger on the camera button and appeared to be furiously taking photos stealthily.
"Well I'll be damned," I muttered, "should I call security?"
"No, let's just go," she sighed.
"I thought you didn't want to go out."
"I don't. We'll head up to my room. It'll give us some privacy. We'll have a few drinks."
I didn't hesitate to say "yes" and was already on my feet before she could say another word. Before we left, Emma got the bartender's attention and said,
"Can I grab two of those bottles!" Emma said, pointing to some champagne bottles on the top shelf with labels didn't recognise.
This took the bartender by surprised, I assume partly because Emma Watson was speaking to him but also because no one probably asked to buy that brand of champagne. "Two? One bottle is quite pricey."
Emma just chuckled and raised an eyebrow at him. He caught on pretty quickly that price wasn't going to be an issue for this girl. He grabbed two bottles from the top shelf while Emma placed what appeared at least eight $50 bills on the counter.