THIS IS JUST A STORY. I do not know anything about Catching Fire or the cast. I’m making things up as I go.
Also, Megan is NOT me. She’s just a character I made up. (Although I do live in Connecticut. I just use that because I know enough about CT to be able to write accurately).
This story is NOT a representation of how I think Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Action Item, Francis Lawrence, James Newton Howard, or any other person mentioned in this story actually acts. I can’t stress enough that this is JUST a story.
Chapter 12 contains some mature content. Don’t read if you’ll be offended by a little fooling around and references to sex. There are subtle references to sex in the chapters following 12 as well.
And thank you SO much for reading!
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I was dressed as Katniss. My friends and family dressed as other characters, but no one else could be Katniss. It was my party, and I made the rules.
I never could have guessed the three people who were going to show up. I’ve always known my grandmother was a powerful person, able to effectively use words to make anyone do what she wanted them to. I never thought it would lead to the actual lead characters from The Hunger Games to show up at my Hunger Games themed party.
When Jennifer, Liam, and Josh got out of their car, I started to panic. I was terrified. I’d never met anyone like them before.
Jennifer told me that I looked like a better Katniss than she ever did. I laughed and replied that I am nowhere near as beautiful as her. I noticed Josh glance at me, but I wrote it off.
Later, Liam told me I was the nicest person he has ever met. I replied that I’m far from the nicest person. Josh glanced at me again. I caught his gaze, but he looked away quickly.
We all spent some time talking until it was time for the big event. My cousin, who was dressed as Peeta, and I had written a song together based on the Hunger Games and we were going to perform it.
We sang and played the piano while the rest of the room sat quietly and listened. When we finished, everyone clapped and we stood to take a bow.
“You have a beautiful voice,” Josh told me.
“I don’t, but thanks.”
“You do though! I bet our music director would love to have you sing that song for the Catching Fire soundtrack.”
“He’d take one listen of my voice and cry.” I was starting to get worked up.
“No! He’d love you. I’m going to give him a call. Can you play it again?” He starts to take his phone out.
“No Josh. Just no.” I got up and ran up the stairs.
I wasn’t there for this part, but my best friend Cory told me what happened. Josh started to follow me, but my mom told him to give me some time.
“Why did she run off?” he asked.
“Because her idol, her celebrity crush, and someone she has the utmost respect for just told her she has a voice good enough to record,” Cory told him.
“Which is which? Wait, let me guess, I’m the one she respects. She hates me,” Josh answered.
“No, that’s Liam,” Cory laughed.
“I knew she hated me!” Liam said.
“She doesn’t hate you, she hates Gale. And she thinks you’re a bad Gale. No offense.”
Josh and Jennifer looked at each other and started to laugh.
“I think I’m a bad Gale, too!” Liam said.
“If you tell her that, her respect for you will go up even more,” Cory tells him.
“Okay, then who are the other two?” Josh asks.
“Well, Jennifer is her idol. She looks up to you so much,” Cory tells them. “And she’s been crushing on you, Josh, since Bridge to Terabithia.”
I’m not sure if Cory is telling me the truth, but he said Josh blushed after her told him about my crush.
Josh stood up then and asked if he could go talk to me. My mom nodded and told him I’d be in the first room on the left.
He walked in and sat next to me.
“Your mom said you’d be here.”
“This used to be my aunt’s room. It was red and there was Disney stuff all over the place. Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Daffy. You know, the classics.”
“You don’t like change.”
I looked at him and answered, “I hate it.”
“And you can’t take a compliment. I noticed that when you first met Jennifer and she said you made a better Katniss. And when Liam called you nice. And when I said you had a good voice.”
“I just don’t see myself as any of those things.”
He brushed some hair behind my ear. “You should. I think you’re beautiful, kind, and talented.”
“You’re the only one.”
He leaned in and kissed me. I was so in shock that I didn’t pull away.
Josh Hutcherson Kissed me.
I didn’t know what to do or say. I let him kiss me and found myself kissing back. When he finally pulled away, I couldn’t look into his eyes. I stared at my hands, trying to make some sense of what had just happened.
“I’m glad I got to be your first kiss,” he told me. I looked up at him.
“How did you…” I’m nineteen years old, but he was right, he was my first kiss.
“I could just tell,” he told me. I looked down, embarrassed. “Don’t worry, though. I’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, my mind going places it really shouldn’t have gone.
Josh got to his feet and held out his hand to me. I let him help me to my feet.
“You go back down,” he said as he kissed my cheek. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
I looked at him, confused, but turned and went down the spiral staircase to where my friends and family were keeping up a happy conversation. I wiped the goofy grin from my face and joined them.
Cory gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “I have a lot to tell you.”
“I have a lot to tell you, too,” I whispered back. He looked at me and I gave him a face that said “later.” He nodded, and we sat down on the couch.
Josh returned to the party but didn’t say what he had been doing. I avoided his gaze for the rest of the day.
When Josh, Jennifer, and Liam had to go, we took pictures and hugged goodbye.
Jennifer was first. She held me tight and said she was honored to be my idol. I was confused at first, then I realized that this must be what Cory had to tell me. If he told Jennifer that she was my idol, what else did he tell them? Oh, no, I thought. No wonder Josh kissed me. I made a mental note to kill Cory later.
Liam came next. His hug was much softer than Jennifer’s, and when he pulled away, he started to talk. His Australian accent made me smile. “Just so you know, I don’t think I’m a good Gale. I couldn’t say no to this movie, though.”
I started to laugh and pulled him in for another hug. I caught him smiling.
Then it was Josh. I didn’t even want to look at him, having realized that the only reason he kissed me was because Cory told him that he was my celebrity crush. I think he sensed my hesitation. But then he climbed up on a chair and called for everyone’s attention. I felt a strong urge to push him down, but I decided to listen to what he had to say instead.
“I made a call earlier,” he started, “Which was a pain because there is like no service here.” Everyone laughed. I just stand there, my arms crossed, expressionless. “I called the director and the musical director for Catching Fire. They both agreed that Megan should work as an intern and help with the soundtrack and score for Catching Fire.” He turned to me, “If, of course, you’re willing to fly to California with us next week and stay for the summer.” I felt his eyes, as well as everyone else’s, on me as they waited for me to answer. I couldn’t process what had just happened. This is my dream job. Everyone in the room knew that, except maybe Josh, Jennifer, and Liam.
I looked at my parents. “What do you think?”
My mom’s voice cracked as she said, “You’d be crazy not to go.” My dad nodded in assent.
I looked back at Josh. “Then I guess I better start packing.”
He smiled at me, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling back. I gave him my number and he said he would call me later to give me the details on the flight and everything I would need to know about California.
After everyone left, Cory and I went back to my house (the party had been at my grandparents’ house), and sat in my room talking about everything that happened. He told me what they had talked about while I was gone. As much as I wanted to be mad at him for telling Josh about my crush, I just couldn’t. I told him about kissing Josh.
When he went home, I lied down on my bed, phone in hand, waiting for Josh to call. When it rang, my heart jumped.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
“Hey… It’s Josh.”
“Hi, Josh.” I smiled in spite of myself.
“So, our flight is at 7:30am on Monday. I know that’s insanely early, but they want us all back in LA and ready to do some press for that afternoon.”
“It’s fine. I get up at 5 every morning.”
“I’m a student!” I protest.
“Well, I’m a teenager.”
“Josh, you’re 20.” I pointed out.
“Details, details,” he says with a laugh. “Anyway, you’ll be sharing a hotel room with Jennifer, if that’s okay with you.” He stops talking and I realize he’s waiting for me to answer.
“Oh. Right. Yeah, that’s fine. I don’t mind.” I try to hide the sheer terror I feel. How could I, little miss nobody, share a room with famous actress Jennifer Lawrence?
“Great. I think that’s really all you need to know…”
“Okay. Thanks, Josh. I really appreciate this. Working on a movie soundtrack is… well, it’s a dream come true.”
“It’s my pleasure, Megan. You deserve it. I meant what I said today. Every part of it.”
I didn’t want to even try to decipher what he meant by this. “Goodbye, Josh.”
With that, we hung up. I spent the rest of the week (it was Saturday when my party happened) packing and getting ready for my first trip to California.
Josh made it a point to call every night telling me the itinerary for the trip. Finally, on Wednesday morning, I called him out. He had been repeating things he had already told me.
“You know, it’s okay to just call to talk to me, Josh. You don’t have to make excuses.”
I was in my room, folding clothes, trying to figure out what to pack. I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was smiling behind the phone.
“Okay. So…what’s up?”
“Packing. Hey, you live in LA, right? What should I pack?”
“What if I come over to help you?”
I drop my phone. Is he being serious? I pick it up fast. “What?”
“I mean, if you want…” he says, quickly. “It could be fun.”
Again I find myself grinning like a fool. I don’t know why, but I say, “okay,” and give him my address.
Waiting for him to show up, I realize this might have been a mistake. I change it three times, dab on some make up, and throw my hair up in a tight pony tail. I never care about my appearance. He’s just a guy, I tell myself. But who am I kidding. He’s Josh Hutcherson.
My doorbell rings and I try to keep calm as I answer it. My parents are both at work and my younger brother still has school, so I’m home alone. I open the door and try to hide my relief when I see Jennifer standing next to Josh.
“Hi! Come on in!” I move to the side and let them in.
“I hope you don’t mind I brought Jennifer. I figured you should get to know each other since you’re going to be roommates.
Looking in his eyes, it’s almost like he’s trying to tell me something else. Like he knew I would be more comfortable having Jennifer there too. I shake off the idea. “It’s fine! I need all the help I can get,” I smile at him. “Before you see my disaster of an attempt to pack, are you guys hungry?” It is getting close to noon, and I’m starving. “My mother left her famous ziti. It won’t take long to heat up.”
“I’m starving,” Jennifer says, eyeing the pan I took out of the fridge.
“Same here,” Josh says.
I put the pan in the oven for 10 minutes and set the kitchen table. As I put out three placemats, I nod to the fridge. “You can go in there and grab something to drink.”
Josh opened the door and stands in awe. “This is like…a grocery store.”
I smile. “My parents own a restaurant. They’re very into food.”
They each choose a drink from our overflow of supply. “What would you like?” Josh asked me.
“I’ll just have a water. Thanks.”
To be honest, I hate eating and drinking in front of people. Water seemed like a safe choice. Josh looked at me and raised his eyebrows, but grabbed me a bottle of water anyway.
I jumped when the timer on the stove went off. “Ugh. Every time.” Josh and Jennifer laughed. “I’m very jumpy. You’ll learn.” I pull the pan out of the oven and put it on the table. “Dig in.”
We all sit down and eat. I take small bites of my food, unable to enjoy it the way I would if I were alone.
“This is delicious,” Josh says, stuffing his face. I stifle a laugh.
“Well, my mother is the head chef at the restaurant, so it better be.” They both laugh, and we finish our lunch with minimal conversation. When we’ve all finished, I say, “So how about a grand tour?”
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I lead them from the kitchen to the dining room, which is hardly ever used except for holidays and my parents’ cocktail parties. Then we go to the living room, where they entered. From there, I take them up the main staircase to the second floor. “This is where guests stay,” I point to a bedroom that is decorated in all different hues of blue. Sometimes I like to sleep in there. It reminds me of the ocean. “And this is the game room, where my brother spends most of his time.” I open the door to the large room that contains a pool table, air hockey, and every video game system you could ever imagine. There is also a section to the side where my family sits down to play board games.
My brother, Damon, insisted that we have a game room. My parents, being very family oriented, decided this was a good way for us to spend time together. I like it because it keeps Damon out of my hair.
The next door we come to is the music room. We have a drum set, a piano, guitars, and every other instrument you could ever want. This was my idea, since everyone in my family loved music. Damon got his game room, and I got my music room.
As we were continuing the tour of the second floor, which included my parents’ offices and another guest room, we heard a dog bark. “Guess the dogs are up. Come on.” I take them to the back staircase which leads up to the third floor, where all of our rooms are located. The first room we pass is Damon’s, which I choose to leave out of our tour. He’s a sixteen year old boy. You can imagine what his room must look like.
The next room is mine. I had forgotten that I left our two dogs asleep on my bed when I went to open the door for Josh and Jennifer. As soon as I open the door, they run towards it, eager to go outside. They stop when they see the guests, though. They love people.
Josh is immediately on his knees, playing with them. He talks to them like their humans. I must admit, I find this really cute. “What are their names,” he asks.
“The St. Bernard is Strike. My brother is a huge baseball fan. Strike is his. And the Husky is…” I stop, realizing how embarrassing it will be to tell him my dog’s name. I swallow my pride and tell him. “PT. Short for Prince Terrian.” I hide my face in shame, and he smiles. “I was a huge fan of Bridge to Terabithia. And I had just finished watching that movie when my parents took my brother and I out to get our dogs, so it just made sense that he should be named after the dog in the movie.” I smiled, still embarrassed.
“I think it’s perfect,” Jennifer says, breaking the awkward moment and kneeling down to play with the dogs. Once they’ve had enough attention, PT and Strike look at me for permission to go outside.
“Go on, go outside,” I tell them, pointing to the staircase. They run down two flights and out their doggy door, into our large fenced in backyard.
“Your house is huge,” Josh says as he stands back up.
“It’s excessive, in my opinion. My parents built it five years ago. It’s their dream house,” I say as I look around the hallway. Honestly, I’m procrastinating having to go into my room. “On that note, I must warn you, I was fourteen when my parents built this house. They said I could decorate my room however I wanted to, but I wasn’t allowed to change it after it was finished. They try and make everything into a lesson. I, of course, being a fourteen year old girl decided that I was going to make my room fit for royalty. I’ve always wanted to be a princess. And my parents agreed, but they won’t let me change it. Not that I mind sleeping in a canopy bed. It’s just a little embarrassing.”
“You have a canopy bed?” Josh says, as if this is the most important part of what I just told him. I laugh.
“Yes. I also have… well, you’ll see.” I step inside and they follow. The walls are a soft pink with white stenciling. My bed is huge, with a canopy of course, just like a real princess. The thing that catches your eye right away, though, is the castle. “You can go inside it. It’s my walk in closet.”
When you walk inside, it looks just like a castle. There’s a short staircase that leads up to a walkway. I used to like to put on dresses and pretend I was a princess descending the stairs for a ball. Upstairs there is another set of doors that open up into a huge closet, with separate sections for shoes and accessories. Downstairs there are mirrors on each wall.
“This is like, every little girl’s dream,” Jennifer says, rummaging through my clothes. I agree, it is every little girl’s dream. But it wasn’t mine. I mean, I love the castle and the canopy and everything about my room. But I hardly ever wore any of the clothes other than when I was playing dress up. “I can see why you’re having trouble deciding what to pack.”
Josh hasn’t said anything, he just keeps looking around. I wonder what he’s thinking, but I don’t want to wonder that. Instead, I blurt out, “There are crowns.”
“What?” he asks, as if I just woke him up.
“Over there, behind that door. There are crowns and tiaras.” I walk toward the door and open it. The space is the size of a normal walk in closet, so we can all fit comfortably. There are hundreds of crowns, lined up on shelves from floor to ceiling, and the far wall has a mirror. “I’ve been collecting them since I was six. Every birthday, Christmas, and basically every other event, I got a new crown or tiara. In my old house, they were just scattered around my room. So when they built this house, my parents decided they should have a room of their own.”
I picked up my favorite and put it on, looking into the mirror. It’s light silver with fake diamond accents. I pulled my hair out of the pony tail, so it flowed just beyond my shoulders. I felt like a princess, until I flashed back into reality.
I looked behind me and locked eyes with Josh, before quickly taking off the tiara and going to put it back. “Keep it on,” he told me, taking my hands and leading them back to my head. I felt weird and didn’t know what to do.
“Fine,” I blurted out. “But you have to wear one, too.” I pick up my favorite crown from the bottom shelf. It’s also silver, and matches my tiara perfectly. I place it lightly on his head. “You, too, Jennifer. Pick whichever one you like.” She picks up another one of my favorites, a gold tiara lined with real rubies and emeralds. We look like a bunch of fools, but none of us seem to care. We look like royalty.
“Can I try on some of your dresses?” Jennifer asks, hesitantly.
“Of course! Upstairs, through those doors, and on the left. You can try on whatever you want. I hardly wear them except for special events.” I didn’t tell her that I had designed most of the dresses in my closet. I hated admitting that to anyone. She would probably figure it out when she noticed the lack of tags.
“Let’s see what you have packed so far,” Josh says, turning to me. I can’t help but notice how the silver of his crown compliments the hazel in his eyes.
“Sure. Come on.” I lead him out of my castle to where my three (pink) suitcases are sprawled out on the floor. One of them is half full, the other two completely empty.
“Wow, you’ve made real progress.”
He laughs, and then starts to rummage through what I’ve packed so far. It’s mostly tank tops and T-shirts, a few pairs of jean shorts. Clothes that I have no use for in Connecticut, unless it’s the middle of summer. I’ll be in California for the summer, though. And California summers are hotter than Connecticut summers.
“Well this is a good start,” he says. “Let’s go take a look at what else you’ve got to choose from, shall we?”
“Okay…” I take him back into the castle and up the stairs to the room where my normal clothes are. I see Jennifer walking out of the dressing room in one of the dresses I designed when I was sixteen. She looks stunning. “Wait a second, Josh.”
We walk over to where Jennifer is standing, looking into the mirror. The dress is a soft gold with a Toule skirt. It has a sweetheart neckline that is lined with rubies and emeralds, just like the tiara she’s wearing. I walk into my accessories closet and pick up the scarf that goes with the dress and drape it around her shoulders. “There,” I say, taking a step back. “You look gorgeous.”
She smiles, “Thank you. I love this dress. Where did you get it?” Of course she would ask. I look down, contemplating lying to her. We’re going to be sharing a room in California though, and lying is no way to start a relationship.
“I made it,” I tell her. I feel my cheeks turn red as she looks at me in awe.
“You can have it, if you’d like. I haven’t worn that dress since Christmas when I was sixteen.”
“Yeah. You can have the scarf too. It looks really good on you.”
“Thank you!” She squeals and pulls me into a hug.
“You’re welcome. If you find any other dresses in there that you really like, you can keep them. I seriously don’t wear them anymore. I only have them because I was really into making dresses for a few years. I would rather have them go to someone who actually has a use for them.”
“You’re seriously an incredible human being.” I smile at her, and then Josh and I go back to the other room to look through my clothes. He starts taking things off their hangers and handing them to me without a word. Once my arms are full, we go back to my room and he helps me fold them and put them in my suitcases. Most of the stuff he chooses is the clothes I usually wear. I’m surprised, since there are so many choices in my closet. Somehow he knew exactly what I would choose.
After an hour, two of my suitcases are completely full, and Jennifer comes out of the castle with three dresses in her arms.
“That’s it? There are like a hundred dresses in the castle and you only take three?” I say, laughing.
“There’s so many to choose from! These are my favorites. Did you design them, too?”
“Yes. I made these when I was seventeen,” I tell her, running my fingers along the pink fabric of the dress I made for my aunt’s wedding. I didn’t end up wearing it, since she asked me to be a brides maid and the dresses were already picked out. The other dress she had chosen was a light blue. I smile.
“What?” she asks, noticing my face.
“Nothing. I wore this to my best friend’s birthday party. That night, she decided we weren’t going to be friends anymore. I haven’t talked to her since,” I say with a laugh. “Glad you’re taking it.”
Jennifer, Josh, and I continue to pack my suitcases until all three of them are completely full. Then we sit on my couch (which is also pink) and watch TV (yes, you guessed it, my TV is pink as well). It felt really good to have them there.
When it was time for them to go, we all hugged goodbye. Jennifer thanked me once again for the dresses, and I told her that she is more than welcome to come back and take more if she wants. I thanked them both for their help with packing, and Josh promised he would call me tomorrow, just to talk. I hide my smile and they leave.
I go back upstairs and call Cory, telling him everything that had happened. He always listens to everything I have to say. He’s the best, best friend a girl could ever ask for. Then I lie in my bed and think about all of the things I haven’t let myself think about. Like the way Josh keeps calling me, just to talk. Or the way he told me that he meant everything he said at my party. Or the way he looks at me.
I fall asleep, completely confused, until Damon comes to wake me up for dinner. I tell them about having Josh and Jennifer over and how they helped me pack. My mom has to hide the fact that she is crying, still not quite ready to let me go to California for the summer, even though I am nineteen.
Josh calls me the next day, just like he promised, as well as every day after. We decide that I should stay in Jennifer’s hotel on Sunday night, so that we’re all together when we go to the airport bright and early on Monday. The rest of the week passes slowly. My parents throw a going away party for me on Saturday night, even though I’ll only be gone for a couple of months. Then finally Sunday arrives and my parents drive me to the hotel where Jennifer, Josh, and Liam are staying. We say a tearful goodbye and I promise to call as soon as I land. It’s hard to leave them. The farthest away I’ve ever been is a few hours while I’m at school. They know that this is my dream, though, and I couldn’t say no.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
We had to wake up at 4am, which is only an hour earlier than I’m used to, so I wasn’t too tired. Jennifer, Josh, and Liam, however, are not used to being up before the sun. I suggest we stop for some coffee on our way to the airport to wake them up. No one objects. I also offer to drive, since I’m the only one coherent enough to keep us alive. I hate driving, but I would rather it be me than the three sleepy heads I’m traveling with.
After getting coffee in their systems, they seem to wake up a bit. We get to the airport at 5:30, giving us two hours before our flight is scheduled to take off. It’s good, though, since the lines at security are extremely long.
Those two hours go by too quickly, and before I know it I’m seated with Liam next to the window, Jennifer next to him, then Josh and me across the aisle. He sat next to the window, although he asked me first. I know my face is pale, but I try to hide it from my fellow travelers. Josh doesn’t buy it, though.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, clearly concerned. I look at him, wondering why he cares so much, but my brain starts to do that thing where it thinks too fast and I’m worried I might cry or start laughing hysterically so I look away.
“I’m terrified of flying,” I tell him honestly. I have only ever been on a plane twice before, and both times I had a panic attack. Josh’s left hand finds my right, which is clinging tightly to the armrest, and his thumb gently caresses it. It feels really good.
“I won’t let anything happen to you,” he says, giving my hand a light squeeze before continuing his caress. I want to tell him that this is comforting, but I can’t. What is he really going to be able to do if the plane comes crashing down? I don’t want him to stop holding my hand, though, because it is actually helping to calm me down just a little, so I don’t say anything more.
As soon as we take off, I begin to relax, and Josh moves his hand. I’m a little sad, since I liked his gentle touch, but I’m not about to tell him that. I lean over and find my carry-on bag which holds my book and my iPod. I had planned on putting my ear phones in and ignoring the rest of the passengers, but with Josh next to me, I feel like I should at least make an effort to be reachable. I leave my iPod in my bag, but take out the book: Catching Fire.
I open it to the page I have bookmarked and start to read. I can feel Josh looking over my shoulder, and I can’t help but smile a little. When I turn the page, he says, “Wow, did you read that in school?”
I guess he noticed all of the notes in the margins and the multi-colored highlighters that I used to pretty much destroy the page. The entire book looks like this, but the page I started with happened to be empty.
“No… I just like to take notes of important events,” I tell him.
“Does each color have a meaning?” he asks, pointing to the blue and green paragraphs.
“Of course,” I laugh. “Blue is for moments between Gale and Katniss, Green is for important facts that come into play in other parts of the book or in the rest of the series. I also use Pink, which is for moments between Peeta and Katniss, Yellow, which is for physical descriptions, and Orange, which is for quotes I like. And sometimes, if I think it needs something extra, I write little notes in the margins.” I am very proud of the system I came up with. I used it in all three of the Hunger Games trilogy, and of course I brought all three books. Since we’re on our way to the Catching Fire set, I figured this is the most important book to be reading right now.
“Wow. I’m impressed,” he says, catching my eyes. I quickly look away, but I’m smiling.
“Thanks.” I continue to read my book for a while longer, but eventually I can’t keep my eyes open. I lay back against the seat, trying to keep comfortable and take a nap. It’s no use.
“You can lay on my shoulder… if you want…” Josh tells me, clearly noticing my struggle. I hesitate, but I’m so tired and his shoulder is so tempting, I slowly lower my head.
“Thanks,” I say. In no time, I’ve fallen asleep. I wake up an hour later, right as we hit a patch of turbulence. That panic-y feeling is back, and I wish more than anything I hadn’t woken up yet.
Josh’s hand finds mine once again, this time he just holds it, as if his grip can protect me from anything. For a few moments, I almost believe it, until I realize he’s Josh Hutcherson and I’m Megan McAlliston and things like this don’t happen to me. I don’t let go until the turbulence ends, though. No matter how many times my brain tells me to release his hand and run away (metaphorically), I certainly can’t when I’m so stricken with fear. Thankfully the turbulence only lasts a few minutes.
When we finally land, I breathe a sigh of relief, and Josh laughs. After I severed our connection, he didn’t try to hold my hand again, not even while we landed. I was a little upset, but I just held tight to the seat until we were safe on the ground.
I felt like Miley Cyrus, walking out of the airport in LA, although, I wasn’t wearing a cardigan. “Have you ever been to California before?” Josh asks as we pile our luggage into the back of the limo that had been sent for us.
“Nope. This is my first time,” I say with a smile. He helps me lift my last bag into the trunk and we walk around to the door, which he opens for me. I try not to read too much into this simple gesture.
As to avoid any more awkward moments of contact between Josh and I, I quickly take the seat next to Jennifer and fasten my seat belt. Josh and Liam sit across from us.
I don’t want to look like a tourist, but I can’t help look out the window in awe of this beautiful city. I’ve only ever seen it in pictures, and they did not do it justice. A few times I catch the others staring at me, which makes me blush, but the scenery keeps calling out to me.
We get to the hotel and Josh, Jennifer, and I get out. After the concierge takes our luggage to bring it to our rooms, I ask Jennifer, “Where is Liam going?”
“He’s staying at the apartment he and Miley share. His is the closest to where we’re filming, so they allowed it. It’s still a 45 minute drive for him every day though. For Josh and me it would have been an hour to an hour and a half, so we have to stay in a hotel for the extent of filming.”
Our rooms are on the same floor but on opposite sides of the hallway. I’m not used to Pacific Standard Time, so I have no idea what time it is, only that it’s early in the morning.
“You girls get settled and take a nap or something. We have to meet at 11 to go to the set for a press shoot. They want some before pictures of us, without all of the changes they have to make to get us in character. And they want to meet you, Megan,” Josh says when we get off the elevator. I look at him, trying to figure out how many hours we have until 11. “It’s 8:30am, Megan.” I swear he can read my mind.
“Oh. Okay. Perfect. See you at 11.”
“I’ll probably be ready first, so I’ll just come to your room to get you, okay?”
“You can come earlier, if you want… I mean, I probably won’t be able to sleep now that I’m here,” I say without really thinking. Josh smiles.
“I’ll come after I’m settled in, then.”
He goes left and we go right, walking to our rooms. Jennifer and I are sharing room 2202. When we walk in, I’m in a momentary state of shock. I definitely wasn’t expecting a huge hotel room (or should I say suite), with two rooms and two bathrooms, plus a full size kitchen and a living area. It’s like an apartment.
“They always get these huge places for us to stay. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary. But it is nice to be able to cook homemade meals every once in a while. Why don’t you take the room with the better view? I’ve seen this city a million times,” Jennifer tells me.
“Thanks,” I smile.
We take time unpacking our belongings and making our rooms feel more like home. I quickly take a shower and when I go into the living room, it’s only 9am. I sit on the couch, exhausted, but not tired, if that makes any sense. Jennifer comes and sits next to me a few minutes later.
“So, what’s going on with you and Josh?” she asks me. This question takes me by surprise, but my answer takes me by surprise even more.
“I have no idea. One minute he kisses me, the next it’s like we’re barely acquaintances. Then he gets me this internship and calls me every day, telling me the same things over and over, until I finally call him out on it. Then he offers to come help me pack. Then he’s holding my hand on the plane. And then he’s acting like a friend again. I honestly have no idea. I’m not good at this.”
“Woah wait, he kissed you? Start at the beginning!” she turns to face me, one leg on the couch and her elbow leaning on the back.
I tell her everything, starting with him sitting next to me in my aunt/cousin’s room and ending with the plane ride. She listens intently, stifling a few yawns, and when I’m done, all she can say is, “boys are confusing, but a lot of fun.” Then she gets up and says she’s going to take a nap until it’s time for us to go. I catch her wink at me, and I have a horrible feeling that she’s only leaving so I’ll be alone with Josh. Sure enough, he knocks on the door just moments later.
I open it and tell him to come in. “You all settled?” he asks me, looking around our room, even though I’m sure his looks exactly the same.
“Yeah. It’s nothing like my princess palace at home, but this will do,” I say with a laugh. “Come see the view from my room!” I lead him into the room that is designated mine. It occurs to me that he might get the wrong idea, but I really want him to see what I see from my window.
He stands next to me, the shades are drawn and the window is about as wide as I am tall (which is 5’8). “Beautiful,” he says. We stand there looking at the view, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and he slowly lifts his hand and places it on my lower back.
I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the “boys are confusing, but a lot of fun,” way of life. I need answers. So, I do what I’ve never been able to do before. I ask.
“Josh, what are we doing?”
“We’re standing in your room looking out the window…” he says in that sarcastic way that I find really cute, but really annoying when I need him to be serious. He used it a lot in our phone conversations last week.
“Seriously,” I push his hand down and turn to face him. “You kissed me last weekend, and then it was like we barely even knew each other. And all of the phone calls. And then today on the plane, you were so quick to hold my hand and let me lay on your shoulder. You know I’ve never done this before, whatever this is. So please, help me out. If you kissed me that day because Cory told you that I had a crush on you and you thought it would make me happy, then fine, but please stop with the PDA if that’s the case..” I had more to say, but Josh stops me with a kiss. I pull away. “Stop.”
He pushes my hair out of my eyes, the same way he did that day on the floor, and looks deep into my light blue eyes. “It would be crazy to think this is going to be easy, Megan. That’s why I’ve been avoiding this entire conversation. But, I want to give it a shot. Slowly, of course. Going on dates, holding hands, like a real couple. What do you say?”
I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to say, but I have a pretty good idea as to what I should do. I lean in and kiss him. His hand finds the back of my neck and his other the small of my back and we stay there, kissing, for a while. “So, can I take that as a yes?” he asks when we finally break apart. I can only nod.
We leave my room and sit on the couch, flipping through channels until Jennifer wakes up and we have to go. Butterflies start to form in my stomach, but Josh grips my hand and my nerves vanish. I see Jennifer give a sly smile, but I just flash her a look, which makes her laugh. “I guess you figured out what was going on,” she says. And with that, we all walk out the door and climb into yet another limo that is waiting to take us to the set.
Josh assures me that he will have his car by tomorrow so we won’t have to ride in limos everywhere we go. I’m glad, because I really don’t like limos. I’m always afraid they’re going to break in half like the Titanic.
When we get to the set, we get out and walk through the gates. I’m not sure what I expected, but it definitely isn’t what I saw. Josh and Jennifer were both just as surprised and amazed as me, since it was their first time seeing it as well. I’ve never seen anything as brilliant.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places, I did grow up in New England after all, but nothing compares to the set that they have built. It’s District 12, I can tell right away, pointing out the bakery, The Seam, and the Victor’s Village. It’s different than it was in The Hunger Games, since a lot more time is going to be spent here in Catching Fire, and they decided to film in California for this one instead of North Carolina and Georgia. Honestly, it’s exactly how I pictured District 12 to look.
I want to explore, but I know that Josh and Jennifer are on a schedule and Josh is holding my hand with no plans of letting go until it’s absolutely necessary, so I guess I’ll explore later. The photo shoot is happening inside one of the many buildings on the lot. I’m getting that nervous feeling again, but I try to ignore it, because I have to seem like a very mature adult upon my first meeting of the man that I’ll be working with for the next few months.
I know a lot about James Newton Howard, since he is basically who I have always wanted to be. I’ve looked up to him since The Sixth Sense, which is strange for a girl with a princess themed room, but we all have our guilty pleasures, right? As we walk through the door, Francis Lawrence (the director of Catching Fire) is the first to greet us. I manage not to stutter, which is an accomplishment for me, and he leads us over to the rest of the crew that is gathered for today.
My heart skips a beat when he introduces me to James Newton Howard. I seem to have lost my ability to speak, taking in the image of my hero standing before me. When I’m back to my senses, everyone has already turned their attention to the backdrop that has been set up. I take this moment to breathe, something I seemed to have forgotten in the last few minutes.
At some point between walking into the building and meeting James Newton Howard, Josh let go of my hand. Which is probably a good thing, because it would have been broken if he hadn’t. I’m still not quite used to the idea of “hand holding,” and when I’m nervous I tend to ball my hands into fists. I make a mental note to warn Josh about this habit.
Liam arrives a few minutes after we all met the crew, and the photo shoot officially begins. The first few pictures are of each of them separately. Then the artistic director (anyone else notice that there are a lot of directors involved in movie production?) asks Jennifer and Josh to get in the scene together. He tells them to be playful, as if they’ve known each other for years and are madly in love. I bite my lip.
Liam is standing next to me, noticing how tense I am. “What, afraid your boyfriend is going to fall in love with her instead?”
I don’t even try to figure out how Liam could know about Josh and me, since he hasn’t been with us since last night. Apparently it was obvious to everyone, except me. “No, I’m not the jealous type. I just think this is wrong. I mean, in the book, Katniss still isn’t sure how she feels about Peeta. In the beginning they aren’t even speaking. Assuming the director is keeping the same vibe from the book and transferring it to the movie, this shoot should reflect that. Even though they’re not in character, people seeing these photos will react to them; maybe not consciously, but subconsciously. They’ll see the way that Jennifer and Josh are together and when the movie comes out, they’ll see that it isn’t the same as the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, so they won’t react as strongly,” I say, matter-of-factly. Liam just kind of looks at me.
I didn’t realize that Francis Lawrence was standing within earshot and listened to my entire rant. “I completely agree,” he says, patting me on the back. “Come with me.” He drags me to the artistic director and tells him about my idea.
“So, what did you have in mind?” asks the artistic director, surprisingly open to suggestions.
“Well… it would be easier to show you…”
“By all means, go ahead!”
I walk over to Jennifer and Josh, who are doing some strange thing that makes them look like siblings, not lovers. I shake my head in disapproval. Without a word, I push them apart, and start to rearrange them. I have Josh standing with his right hand tucked into the pocket of his jeans halfway, the other wrapped around Jennifer’s waste. Then I move Jennifer’s arm so that she’s leaning on his shoulder with her elbow, her head on her hand, and her other hand in her pocket the way Josh’s is. I take a step back and examine my work.
“See, this way, it’s like, Josh, or Peeta, is completely comfortable with Jennifer, Katniss. But Jennifer is still a little skeptical about being with Josh, but she is willing to lean on him and let him help her, because she can’t deny the connection they had in the arena.”
Everyone looks at me the way Liam did after my first rant, and I know I’m blushing. The directors circle Jennifer and Josh, who are holding true to their position.
“You were right, Josh,” Francis Lawrence says, “This girl is going to be a major asset on this set. Good work.” He gently pats Josh on the back and I smile, proud of myself.
“You heard the girl! You may be Josh and Jennifer, but I want you to act like Peeta and Katniss,” the artistic director, who I learn is named Mark, tells them as he motions for the photographer to snap the pictures.
As they finish the shoot, Francis Lawrence and James Newton Howard usher me into a room that is clearly set up for important meetings. We all sit down and start to talk.
They tell me that they want me on set every day, giving any type of input I might have, as well as looking for ideal places to put music. They also ask if I have any other talents. I hesitate, but then I remember how I’m supposed to try and brag more about what I can do. “I design clothes, dresses mostly.”
They look at each other and then back at me. “Do you have any samples?”
“Jennifer has a couple that I let her have from my closet. I’m sure she’ll let me bring them.”
“Better yet, why don’t you have her wear one tomorrow?” Francis Lawrence, who has asked me to call him Francis instead of “Mr. Lawrence” as I have been, asks.
“I’m sure she’ll be up for that. What is going on tomorrow?”
“Pre-filming cast party. Everyone is meeting each other. It’s a very formal event. Dresses are a must.” I have a feeling that he’s only telling me this because he wants me to convince Jennifer to wear one of my dresses, but I nod in agreement.
We spend another hour or two discussing production and everything they want me to do, and then Jennifer, Liam, and Josh join us along with the crew of the shoot. Josh takes the seat next to me and puts his hand on my leg. I have to stop myself from laughing at this very corny gesture. I look at him and see he’s smiling, even after the very long and probably extremely tiring photo shoot. We spend yet another hour discussing more things that are probably important but I don’t really remember any of them, and then we are finally allowed to leave.
It’s 5:30pm now, an ideal time for dinner. I’m surprised when Liam decides to join us, but also pleased, because his accent brings a sort of light air to every conversation. When we pull up to a fancy restaurant and get out, I start to laugh. Everyone looks at me.
“Remember how I said my parents own a restaurant? Well, they do. They have one restaurant in Connecticut that they work at full time and my mom is the head chef. But they also own a separate chain of restaurants, there’s one in every state in the United States, and a few in some other countries,” I say after I’ve caught my breath.
“Let me guess, this is one of those restaurants?” Jennifer asks, understanding my fit of laughter. I nod.
“Well, this is perfect. We don’t have a reservation, but I’m sure they’ll let us in if we have the daughter of the owners,” Liam says. Of course I know he’s joking, but I also know he’s right.
I walk in first and the woman at the front desk looks at us and asks if we have a reservation. I tell her no, but I’m sure there’s an open table for four. She starts to protest until I tell her that if she tells the manager that Megan McAlliston is asking for a table, he will certainly be able to find a space for her. I notice her face turn white and I can’t help but laugh as I whisper, “I’m sorry. I hate dropping my name, especially at restaurants that I’ve never been to before. I hope you don’t hate me.” This makes her smile, and the color returns to her ashen cheeks.
The greeter, Marisol as her nametag states, leads us to a nice table and tells us our server will be here shortly. I let out a small laugh and Josh, who is sitting next to me, asks what I’m laughing at.
“I just think it’s funny that I’m with three famous actors, but we wouldn’t have gotten a table if I hadn’t told her my name.”
My three dinner companions all shoot me looks, but I know they’re all trying to hold back from laughing. We look at our menus and quickly decide on what we want. Our waitress, a young woman named Carly, comes and swiftly takes our orders. She is being overly nice, and I have a feeling Marisol told her that they were serving the owners’ daughter. Before she leaves to give the chefs our orders, she looks at me and asks, “How is Damon doing?” I laugh and answer, “He’s doing very well, thank you.”
“I thought this was your first time in LA?” Josh asks, probably assuming I lied.
“It is!” I tell him. They all look at me, clearly expecting more of an explanation than this. “My parents send Damon and me to random restaurants to order food and report on the service. We always finish our meals and pay the bills before we introduce ourselves. Damon takes all of the restaurants that require a plane. I prefer the east coast anyway. My reports are always better.”
This is apparently enough of an explanation for them, and the conversation quickly shifts to my least favorite topic: me.
“You were a superstar at the shoot today,” Jennifer says.
“You should have seen her before her intervention. She was all tense and biting her lip. She went off on a really long rant, too,” Liam tells them. Josh slips his arm around my waist.
“I knew it was a good idea to bring you along.” I smile at him.
“Oh!” I remember. “Jennifer. Francis was wondering if you would wear one of the dresses you took from my closet to the set tomorrow. He wants to see my design.”
“I was planning on it! I already have my outfit picked out.”
I smile at her, happy that she agreed to wear a dress.
“You’re on a first name basis with the director already? You work fast,” Josh says, kissing my cheek. Liam is staring at us.
“What?” I ask him.
“When I said that thing earlier, about you being worried that your boyfriend is going to fall for someone else, I was joking,” Liam says. Well, that does explain a lot. I cough and sit up straighter, trying to hide my embarrassment.
“Well, I haven’t officially asked her to be my girlfriend yet, but hey why not. What do you say? Too soon to ask you to be my girlfriend?”
Now my cheeks are burning red and I’m trying to use words, but nothing is coming out of my mouth. Jennifer kicks me from across the table. Say no, she mouths. I look at Josh. “No. It’s not too soon.”
“Good. Will you be my girlfriend?”
“Sure” I say with a slight giggle. Jennifer squeals and gushes about how happy she is and how cute we are. Liam reaches across the table and pats Josh on the back.
We finish our meals and pay our bill, even though the manager insists that it’s on him. “I can’t,” I tell him and the others. “My parents have a set of strict rules about the restaurants. Number one is that we must pay our bill.” I try to pay the entire thing, offering up my credit card, but Liam insists on taking this one.
“You’re a guest in our city. It’s the least I can do,” he says. I decide against pointing out that he is from Australia and he hasn’t really lived her for very long, so he’s just as much a guest as I am. I think Josh and Jennifer notice this too, because they’re trying not to laugh.
We get back in our limo and it drives us to our hotel before it will take Liam to his apartment. I notice a bunch of fans outside, mostly young girls, hoping to meet Jennifer and Josh. Josh looks at me silently asking a question, and I shake my head. I’m not ready for that yet. He nods and we get out of the limo. He doesn’t take my hand; our unspoken agreement said that I didn’t want his fans to know. Yet. There was no risk of anyone seeing us at the restaurant, so PDA was okay. But not here, with all of these people.
Jennifer and Josh talk to the fans and I stand awkwardly off to the side. One girl waves me over to where she is standing, having already met the stars but still hanging out.
“Who are you?” I laugh at her forward question.
“I’m… Megan,” I laugh. “I’m interning with the music director for Catching Fire.
Her blue eyes get wide. She can’t be more than fifteen, her hair long and dark. I see a lot of myself in her. “I would love that job.”
“You know what, sweety. You keep dreaming and you keep believing and you work hard, and you can do whatever you want.”
“That sounds really cliché,” she says with a smile.
“I know, but it’s true. Look at me, I’m living proof.”
“Will you sign my autograph book?” she asks me, holding it out with a pretty pink pen. I’m taken aback. I certainly didn’t expect this.
“Of course!” I take the pen. “What’s your name?”
“Nicole,” she answers shyly. I smile and start to write.
Never forget what I said. You can be anything if you set your mind to it. Never give up.
Xoxo Megan McAlliston
I even put a little heart over the “I” in McAlliston and hand the book back to her. We continue to talk; we have a very similar taste in music and fashion. Slowly the crowd dissipates and I hear Nicole’s mom calling her name. I tentatively give her a hug before saying goodbye and heading inside with Jennifer and Josh.
“Did you know her?” Josh asks, taking my hand once we’re safely in the elevator.
“No,” I tell him, leaning my head on his shoulder. “She called me over after she met you two and asked me who I was, so I told her about interning for James. She was so much like me when I was fifteen, with big dreams that seem so unrealistic. She even asked for my autograph.” I have a goofy smile on my face now.
“Look at you all famous!” Jennifer says, looking at me and smiling. We reach the twenty second floor in no time and get out, ready to go to our separate rooms. “I’ll see you when you get back to our room okay?” I nod and Jennifer walks ahead to our room.
Josh pulls me closes and kisses me softly. “Tomorrow night we’ll do dinner. Just the two of us. Our first official date. Sound good?”
“Perfect,” I respond, kissing him. “Goodnight.”
I walk to the suite I share with Jennifer, fighting the urge to look back. I feel Josh’s eyes following me until I’m safe in my room.
“Okay, we need to have a major girl talk. Right now,” Jennifer says the second I’m inside. Usually I would keep this to myself or tell Cory, but I really want to talk, so I sit down on the couch next to her.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I’ve never really had many girl friends in my life; most of the time I hung out with guys, like Cory. I always had bad luck with girls. Guys are so much more reliable.
However, that doesn’t mean I dated them. Actually, I never dated them. I always ended up with a crush, but either I got over it or they didn’t feel the same, so we just stayed friends or parted ways. I don’t feel like I missed out on much, though. I mean, Cory and I always went to school dances together. I should probably mention that Cory is gay, so there was never anything more than friendship between us. Sure, having a few terrible high school relationships probably would have better prepared me for the future, but hey, I always liked a challenge.
This is what I told Jennifer as we sat on the couch in the living room of our suite. She listened intently to all of the stories of failed crushes, only interrupting once when she felt we should have ice cream, which of course she requested that we have a stock pile of because we’re girls and ice cream is our best friend. Finally, I finished telling her about the past and we focused on the present.
“So, Josh is your first boyfriend,” Jennifer says, clarifying what I have already made completely clear. I nod. “Aww! That is so cute!” I roll my eyes at her.
“Yeah, yeah, I get it. It is so cute. But also horrible. My first boyfriend is a famous actor with crazy fans. How am I ever going to survive?”
“Well, it’s not going to be easy, but I see the way Josh looks at you. There is no way he’s going to let you go easily. So you better be all in. He’s one of my best friends. If you hurt him, well, I can’t promise you won’t end up asleep in the hall one morning.”
I laugh, because I know she’s right, but also because I can’t wrap my mind around the whole Josh situation. “I would never hurt him.”
“I know,” she tells me. For some reason, I can tell she means it, even though she barely knows me. I guess it’s just a hunch. “So, what are you going to wear?”
“I don’t even know where we’re going, so I have no idea what to wear. Plus there’s the fact that I have never been on a date before, so I don’t know what I’m supposed to wear…” Jennifer takes out her phone and texts someone. “Come on, this is serious! You’re better at this than I am. I mean, you’ve been on dates before. Please help me?”
“I am helping you!” she says, showing me the text she just sent to Josh. Hint. Wardrobe planning. I won’t tell. “He’ll know exactly what I mean.”
Of course he responds, but she won’t show me what he wrote, insisting that she can’t break her promise not to tell. Instead, she drags me into my room and flips through my closet and drawers, throwing her choice of an outfit at me.
When she’s done, I’m holding a white tank top, a black jacket, and a pair of faded blue jeans. I try to decipher where I might be going based on this outfit, but it’s impossible. I look at her, trying to stare a hint out of her, but she won’t give. Instead she hugs me and heads into her own room. “Wait!” I call to her. She turns around.
“What are you wearing tomorrow, to the party?”
“The gold dress that you gave me. Why?”
I assumed that would be what she would wear, but I had to ask just to make sure. “Wait here,” I tell her, slipping back into my room, leaving her in the short hallway that connects our doors to the rest of the suite. I come back holding something wrapped in a neat box. “Because you have been so kind to me, I wanted you to have this.” I hand her to box and watch her open it. Her eyes light up.
“Megan, I can’t accept this! It’s part of your collection!”
“A beautiful tiara like this deserves to be worn, and it belongs with that dress, on your head. Please, take it. And wear it tomorrow?”
She nods and gives me a huge hug. “You’re seriously incredible, Megan. I’m so glad to have you as a friend. Sleep well, okay? Goodnight.” She smiles and goes into her own room.
“Goodnight,” I say back before lying in my bed. I think about Jennifer and how she called me her friend. I like the sound of that, and I definitely need some friends in LA if I’m going to survive. If I’m going to befriend anyone, I’m glad it’s someone as nice as Jennifer. I drift to sleep, only to awaken at 5am, as usual. I don’t want to wake Jennifer, since I know she is not a morning person, so I quietly dress in sweat pants and a tank top and slip out of our suite to go to the gym. I spend an hour on the treadmill. It isn’t quite the same as my usual run when I’m at home, making my way through the town and taking in the beautiful scenery, but it will have to do. When I’m done, I go back to my room and take a long shower, dress in jeans and a t-shirt, and lay out my clothes for the party. We don’t have to be there until 10am, and it’s only 7am when I’m finished. I decide to do something to make our room seem a little homier.
I noticed a flower shop when we were in the limo yesterday that I could easily walk to, and a grocery store on the way. I went to the flower shop and picked up a bouquet of colorful daisies, my favorite, and then stopped at the grocery store on my way back to the hotel. I picked up everything I would need to make a delicious breakfast for Jennifer and Josh, who I would invite over to share the meal.
I get back to our room at quarter till 8 and Jennifer is still asleep. I start breakfast, making pancake batter, cooking the bacon and starting a pot of hot coffee. At 8, I text Josh telling him to be at our room at 8:15, hoping he’s awake, and then I go to wake up Jennifer. She isn’t too thrilled, but the smells of bacon and coffee quickly get her out of bed.
I finish breakfast, making pancakes and eggs, putting some bread in the toaster. Then I set the table and fill the glasses with orange juice. In the center of the table is a vase, filled with my daisies. It feels just like my family’s traditional Sunday breakfast back home. I’m very proud of my work.
Sure enough, Josh knocks on the door at 8:15 and I let him in. Jennifer comes, dressed in regular clothes, grabs the mug of coffee that I just poured for her, and sits down at the table. “You made all of this?”
“Yeah. I mean, I wanted to do something special. Do you like it?”
Jennifer is pouring syrup all over her pancakes, nodding in approval. I smile. Josh kisses me on the cheek. “Thanks for breakfast. It looks delicious.”
We eat and keep up casual conversation. Of course, Jennifer asks me what else I did this morning, so I list off everything from waking up to cooking breakfast. She proceeds to call me insane for waking up so early. I can’t help but laugh, since Josh said the same thing when I told him about my habit of rising early.
After breakfast, Josh offered to do the dishes, which I didn’t argue because I hate doing dishes. Jennifer and I sit on the couch, flipping through channels trying to find something good to watch. At 9:30, Josh leaves to get ready, and tells us to meet him at the elevator at 9:45.
I go to my room and quickly slip on the dress I had laid out earlier and used my iron to create some spiral curls in my pin straight hair. I put on one of the tiaras I brought from home, this way Jennifer wouldn’t be the only princess, and went to the living room to meet her and walk to the elevator. Surprisingly, we beat Josh there. Who says girls take longer than boys to get ready?
He shows up dressed in black, except for his light blue tie, which actually matches my dress perfectly. He holds out his arm for me and I drape mine underneath. I feel like I’m going to prom again. Outside, Josh’s car is waiting, just as he promised, and there are no fans lined up. They’re probably at school.
Josh drives us to set and we go inside. He lays off the PDA, since there are going to be a lot of photographers and press people at this party and he knows I’m not ready for that kind of pressure. When I walk through the door, I’m intimidated, to say the least. I recognize most of the people from the last movie, but I’ve only ever seen them on screen and in interviews. Being in the presence of so many incredible names is crazy.
I’m standing off to the side, since I’m literally the least famous person in the room, when James comes over and tells me I have to mingle and meet these people that I’ll be watching and spending time with for the next few months. I don’t particularly want to, since I’m sure there are millions of people in the world that these people would rather talk to, but he is my boss so I let him introduce me to them.
First, he brings me to the important behind the scenes people, like directors, make-up artists, set designers, and the wardrobe crew. Then he leads me to the people who are in charge of getting food to the cast and the assistants that work with all of the people I just met. They kind of remind me of little puppies. I make a mental note to be nice to them, since it seems like no one else is.
Finally, James decides I need to meet the entire cast. I smile and shake their hands, trying to ignore the sixteen year old girl inside me that is dying to scream. We get to Jennifer and Josh last, who are in the middle of an interview with someone who looks important because he has a camera crew, and I don’t want to interrupt, but James insists that I be seen with them. I stand next to Jennifer, this way I avoid the urge to grab Josh’s hand when I feel like I’m going to pass out.
The guy, who never tells me his name because I am obviously not important, asks me who I am and then quickly moves back to questioning Josh and Jennifer. I stand, quiet, seen not heard, until the guy asks Jennifer who designed her beautiful dress. In my mind I beg her to lie and tell him some famous name, but she can’t read my mind so she tells the truth.
“She did!” she says, pointing to me. “Isn’t it beautiful?” She gives a quick turn, showing off the gold and the gemstone accents.
“You’re a designer?” the guy asks me.
“Not really. I dabble in it, I guess. I spent a few years making dresses and other clothes, but music has always been my passion. I still make sketches, but I’m more focused on the music.” I don’t really recognize myself, because I sound almost like someone who is important enough for the guy to tell me his name. I’m still not. He asks a few more questions about my designs and then wraps up his interview with Josh and Jennifer.
This happens a few times more, after James ditches me, insisting I stay with Josh and Jennifer. I’m becoming an expert at the whole “seen but not heard,” thing. I wonder if this is how the Avox people in The Hunger Games feel.
After a bunch of awkward interviews, Josh pulls me into a side room, claiming he couldn’t take being so close but not being able to kiss me. I laugh, but if I’m being honest, I felt the same. After a few minutes of kissing, which lead to making out, I pull away. “They’re going to be wondering where you are.”
“I’m sure they miss you terribly out there,” he says to me, and I laugh, because I know he noticed the lack of interest the press have in me. “Actually, I need to ask you…”
“No one has asked yet, but just in case it comes up, what am I supposed to say if they ask if I have a girlfriend?”
“I don’t want you to lie. So, tell the truth. If it comes up, well, say yes. But don’t bring it up. I’d like to keep my sanity for as long as I possibly can.”
“Okay.” This is the end of the conversation, and apparently an invitation for him to start kissing my neck. I feel him getting a little carried away and pull back.
“Josh! Stop! If you give me a hickey, there’s no way I’ll be able to cover it up,” I say in a hushed voice. It makes him laugh, and he moves his kisses back to my lips. I stop fighting for a while, enjoying having him all to myself, but when I realize we’ve been gone for twenty minutes, I cover my mouth with my hand so he has no choice but to give up and go back out to the party.
Lunch is being served as we walk out of our hiding place. I was right about Josh being missed, made very evident by an angry Jennifer yelling at him for leaving her to fend for herself against a very grabby interviewer.
“I told you they needed you out here!” I whisper to him.
“And apparently they needed you, too. I’ll see you later.” I’m not sure what he’s talking about until I see James walking toward me.
“Where have you been?”
“I needed a break. It’s pretty intimidating for someone who was born and raised in Connecticut to be around all of these famous people. I’m good now though. Who am I supposed to meet next?”
James raises his eyebrow, but decides my excuse is legitimate enough. “We’re having lunch with Francis and the executive producer and a bunch of other people who are in the crew. I know it’s only noon, but most of them are very drunk. So try and laugh at their jokes and keep up a pleasant enough conversation, okay?”
“I’m good at that.” Which is true. My parents always throw parties with their friends, which Damon and I are expected to attend, and about halfway through everyone has had too much to drink. It does make things pretty interesting, but it’s also annoying.
“Good. Oh, and the executive producer, he tends to be a bit grabby. Nothing inappropriate, but he might put his arm around you or something. If you get too uncomfortable… do this,” he puts his finger to his nose and taps it twice, “And I’ll help you.”
“Great,” I say, rolling my eyes. James ignores this and we go to our designated table, which is surrounded by a few of the important people I met earlier, whose names I don’t remember. Some of them seem sober, but James was right, clearly the liquor was plentiful, because the smell is strong and the effects are obvious on my lunch companions.
I take my seat next to the executive producer. He tells me his name, but I can’t make it out between his slur and the distraction of his arm on my shoulder. I look at James and he just gives me a smile that says “I told you so.” I ignore the EP and focus on my food, doing what I always do in public places and pretending to eat but really just pushing it around on my plate.
Halfway through lunch, I look up, desperately searching for Josh or Jennifer or Liam, or really any friendly face that would help drown out the drunken garble coming from the people around me. I see Josh, sitting at a large table surrounded by the cast, staring at me. His glare is intense, but not angry. It’s almost like… I shake the thought from my head. There’s no way. I look back at my plate, which basically looks the same as it did when we started, and decide that I’m too hungry and the food looks too good to keep up this charade. No one at the table is paying me any attention, anyway. I take a few small bites, and then look around to see if I’m being watched. When I assure myself that no one cares about my eating, I start to take larger bites. For the first time since I was sixteen, I actually finish everything on my plate in public. I wipe my face, not sure if I should be proud or disgusted. I have to fight the urge to go to the bathroom. I haven’t done that in so long, I definitely don’t want to start again.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I don’t want to sound like one of those girls who have been through so much in her life. It wasn’t like that. I mean, I have self-esteem issues and I can’t take a compliment to save my life, but that had nothing to do with it.
I’ve always been normal sized, if that makes any sense. I’ve always been within the healthy weight range, and my height is average for a girl. I’m just socially awkward, hence my inability to eat in public. It was like that for as long as I can remember. I would only eat in the comfort of my house. I was able to eat in front of Damon and our parents, and our extended family when it wasn’t too big of a group. Other than that, though, I couldn’t do it. I would never eat lunch at school or dinner at friends’ houses, but I maintained a healthy diet because I ate at home.
When I was twelve, people started to catch on. They noticed that I wasn’t really eating the food on my plate, and they would get worried. It was even worse to have people noticing me, since the entire reason I couldn’t eat was because I thought people were watching me. So, I ate. I would clean my plate, just so people would stop worrying about me. After, though, I would realize that all of these people just watched me eat, and my stomach would turn in knots. I would excuse myself at a reasonable moment and go to the bathroom, retching everything that I just ate. I felt a lot better, as if getting rid of the food I ate with all of those people watching made it so they had never seen me. My mind was pretty messed up. Over time, I would eat, and then force myself to throw up. No one really noticed, though, because I didn’t lose any weight. I always ate again when I got home.
It wasn’t until I was sixteen that someone caught on. It was an extremely stressful family reunion, at least four hundred people (my parents’ families are really close, so it was like an extended reunion; both sides of the family were there, and everyone brought some friends) were gathered at lines of picnic tables. I was convinced that every single pair of eyes was watching me lift my fork into my mouth. I hastily left halfway through the meal, unable to hold my food down any longer. I sloppily checked under the stalls in the bathroom of the pavilion where our reunion was being held. I didn’t notice anyone, but I was in such a rush that I didn’t look close enough.
The person I missed, of course, just happened to be my mother. She asked if I was sick, and I said “no,” because I am a terrible liar and she would have known I wasn’t being truthful. She locked the door to the bathroom (I didn’t even know you could do that) and made me tell her everything, so I did. After the reunion, when we were back home, we all sat down, Damon included, and talked about what to do next. Since my parents believed that I wasn’t trying to be bulimic, which I wasn’t, they agreed that I would just have to start counseling. They also agree that I don’t have to eat in public if I don’t want to, as long as I keep up a healthy diet, which won’t be hard since I seriously love food, just, not in public.
The counseling helped with the throwing up, but not the anxiety. The anxiety isn’t really the problem, though, since it isn’t really hurting me. The throwing up could cause serious damage to my esophagus, but a little anxiety wasn’t going to kill me. I stopped going to counseling after a year because she decided there wasn’t really anything else she could do. I haven’t thrown up since that reunion, though. Well, not on purpose. I did have a really bad case of the flu when I was eighteen, but that’s beside the point.
Now, sitting with all of these important people, I have to remember my counselor told me about the damage I could do if I force myself to throw up and how getting the food out of my system doesn’t really change anything. I breathe, letting the moment of weakness pass, and stay seated. My counselor would be quite proud.
When dessert is about to be served, James tells me that everyone is going to start mingling, so I don’t have to stay at this table anymore. I sigh, relieved, and untangle myself from the EP so I can find Josh and Jennifer, hoping there will be room at their table. Thankfully, the person who had been sitting next to Josh left, so I take her seat.
“That was horrible,” I say, picking up a spoon and taking a bite of the vanilla ice cream that is placed in front of me.
“Really, it looked like you were having a blast,” Jennifer says, clearly sarcastic.
“Oh yes, it was so much fun having a drunk old man drape his arm around you. He kept calling me Morgan, too, which just made it even better. Your table seemed to be having a good time, though,” I say, licking my spoon clean. Josh’s face softened, and I begin to wonder if I was right about what I saw in his eyes earlier. “Oh my God… Josh.”
“Please tell me you weren’t jealous of the executive producer’s arm being around my shoulder,” I say, looking at him. I’m trying really hard not to laugh.
“I… well… I mean…” he tries to come up with something, but he knows he’s been caught.
“I never pegged you for the jealous type,” I say, leaning in closer to him so I can whisper in his ear. “Don’t worry; I think it’s kind of cute.”
A smile creeps across his lips and he picks up his spoon, using it to take a bite of my ice cream.
“Hey! Get your own!” I pull the cute bowl away from him. He laughs, licking the spoon clean. I want to kiss him, right here, even though I know that it would cause a huge uproar among the press, who are already keeping an eye on us. I wonder what they’re thinking; probably something along the lines of ‘Why is Josh talking to that girl?’ because I guarantee none of them remembers my name, or anything about me for that matter. “How much longer will this go on?”
“Not much longer. After dessert, Francis will gather the whole cast and crew for a “pre” picture. Then he’ll do a toast, telling us how honored he is to be working on this film, and then we have to wait until most of the other people start to leave, and then we can go,” Josh tells me, taking another bite of my ice cream. I don’t even bother fighting him off this time, knowing it’s no use.
“Seems you’ve got it down to a science.”
“It’s the same for every movie. Just change the director’s name, and if you’re not an important character or crew member, you’re allowed to leave earlier,” Jennifer chimes in. “Extras leave first, then minor roles, then smaller crew members, like make-up and wardrobe, then we’re allowed to go, and then the directors and everyone else leave. They’re usually very drunk.”
“Trust me, they are. You don’t even want to know the kinds of things I heard at that table.”
“Probably better than this table. All we really talked about was how excited everyone is to be playing whatever character they’re playing. Apparently actors and actresses are incapable of normal conversation.” Jennifer says with a mouthful of ice cream.
“Well, you’re not. We’re having a normal conversation right now. Well, kind of.” I take another bite of my ice cream, surprisingly comfortable with eating in front of Jennifer and Josh. It doesn’t help that I have a major weakness for vanilla ice cream. “Where is Liam?” Josh flinches.
“Relax, I’m not interested in him,” I say with a laugh. “I was just wondering where he is. He’s always MIA.”
“He’s over there,” Jennifer points to a group of actors that I don’t recognize. “They’re bonding over being foreign.” This makes all of us burst out laughing, which in turn causes a lot of confused looks to come our way. We laugh harder.
“You have a pretty laugh,” Josh tells me, sneaking his hand on my leg. No one will be able to see, with the long table cloths.
“No I…” I start to protest, but I’m supposed to be working on taking compliments. “Thank you.” He smiles.
“You have a cute smile.”
Jennifer lets out an, “aww,” and I stick my tongue out at her. Someone with a large camera and a short guy who looks like he might be important come over and Josh quickly moves his hand. The short guy (who is wearing a very nice red and white polka-dot tie) asks Josh and Jennifer some questions while I sit there quietly. He doesn’t even bother to ask who I am.
“Someday, I’ll be famous, and you two will have to stand by while all of these important polka-dot tie wearing guys ask me questions,” I say when he leaves. They both laugh, but I can tell they think that I’m probably telling the truth. Maybe one day I will be famous. I shake the thought out of my mind. Josh moves his hand back to my leg.
About twenty minutes later, as if on cue, Francis asks for everyone to gather around for a picture. I stand to the side, unsure if I actually count as a part of the crew since I’m just an intern, but James waves me over to stand next to him. The drunken EP puts his arm around me, and doesn’t move it after the picture is taken and the speech begins. I get James’s attention and tap my nose twice. He gets the EP talking about something that I can’t understand, which gets him off of me. I smile at James and mouth thank you. He nods a silent ‘you’re welcome.’
After the speech, which is very nice if I do say so myself, the extras start to leave. I guess Josh and Jennifer aren’t the only ones who have figured out the pre-party exit formula. I wonder if there’s a handbook or something that everyone has read.
James lets me leave with Jennifer and Josh, even though I’m technically supposed to stay with the directors and producers until everyone has left, because they’re my ride to the hotel. It’s nearing 6pm when we pile into Josh’s car. “Oh, man, I didn’t say goodbye to Liam or the executive producer!” I say, obviously teasing Josh. Jennifer is driving and Josh is in the front seat with me sitting directly behind him. I can’t see him, but I now he’s rolling his eyes. I reach forward and massage his shoulders and I can see his smile in the rearview mirror.
When we get to the hotel, Josh tells me to get changed into what Jennifer helped me pick out and meet him at the elevator at 7pm. I had honestly forgotten about our date in the excitement of the day, but now the butterflies are attacking my stomach and I’m feeling some combination of ecstatic and scared out of my mind. In our room, Jennifer helps me do my hair and gives me some pointers as to how to act.
“Hey, Megan…” she says as I’m pulling on my black boots, just about ready to leave. “Don’t… don’t do anything you’re not ready for, okay? Josh is a great guy, he isn’t going to force you to… well, he won’t force you to have sex with him. He’ll let it be your decision. Take your time to make that decision. You don’t want to just give it away to someone who you don’t love.”
I’m fighting tears, partially because my emotions are crazy in light of my first date and partially because Jennifer’s words are so sweet and sincere. I pull her into a tight hug. “Thank you, Jennifer.” I should say more, but I can’t think of anything else. She just nods and pushes me toward the door.
“Have fun, Megan. And I want to hear all about it tomorrow, okay? I’ll probably be asleep when you get back.”
“You’ll get every detail. I promise.” And with that, I’m off to the elevator to meet Josh. He’s dressed in a simple t-shirt and jeans, but I can’t help but notice how attractive he is. I mean, there is a reason he’s been my celebrity crush since I was fourteen.
“You look great,” he tells me, holding out his hand to me.
“You don’t look so bad yourself,” I say with a smile. “So, where are we going?”
He gives me a sly smile. “It’s a surprise.”
“I hate surprises,” I say, rolling my eyes. It’s true, I do hate surprises, but I still feel really excited. And nervous. And nauseous. Maybe all that food was a bad idea.
He lets go of my hand before we leave the elevator, just in case there are some fans waiting outside. There are, but not nearly as many as there had been the night before. Josh signs autographs and takes pictures after asking me if it’s okay. I would never keep him from his fans, though, coming from someone who was one of the girls standing outside of hotels in New York City just a few years ago. I glance around at the crowd that has gathered today and notice Nicole, the girl I had met the other day. I immediately go over to her and give her a hug.
“Hey!” I say, although it’s more like a scream over the loud chatter around us.
“Hi! It’s so good to see you!”
“You, too! Have you talked to Josh yet?”
“Not yet. I already met him yesterday, so I figured I should wait in the back and let everyone else meet him first. If he has time, I’ll talk to him.”
“He’ll have time. Trust me,” I tell her with a smile. She smiles back.
“What are you doing?” This question could mean anything, but I know exactly what she’s asking me.
“Honestly? I have absolutely no idea. He won’t tell me,” I laugh. “Can you keep a secret?” I don’t know why, but I really trust this girl. I think it’s because she’s exactly like me.
I bend over and whisper in her ear, “We’re going on our first date.”
“Aww! That’s so cute!” she exclaims, a little louder than she should. I clasp my hand over her mouth before realizing that everyone is so intent on watching Josh that they are paying no attention to the two of us talking. We start to laugh.
“Thanks,” I say because I’m not really sure how to respond. We continue to talk for a while, and the crowd dies down. Josh has signed an autograph and taken a picture with everyone when he comes over to Nicole and me.
“Hey! You’re Nicole, right?” he says, holding out his arms to give her a hug. She smiles, and I can tell she’s shaking. I know the feeling. She manages to nod. “How about a picture?”
“I’ll take it!” I say, holding out my hand for the camera.
“No, wait. I want you to be in it,” Nicole says, handing her camera to a woman that I’m assuming is her mother. “Can you take our picture?”
Nicole stands in between Josh and I and we all smile for the camera. Josh signs her autograph book again, and then her mother says she has to go.
“Wait, will you be back tomorrow?” I ask her before she walks away.
“Probably,” she smiles. “If… that’s okay. I don’t want us fans to annoy you guys too much.”
“Of course it’s okay!” Josh tells her. “We love meeting fans. And I’m not just saying that, I swear.”
“Okay. Then, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“See you tomorrow!” I say, and Josh adds, “See you tomorrow, Nicole!” which I know has completely made her night.
“She’s a really sweet girl,” he says as we walk to his car.
“Yeah, I know.”
“She reminds you of yourself a lot. She reminds me of you, too.”
I want to tell him that she reminds me of myself in more ways than he could possibly know, but we’ve only been together for two days. It’s definitely not time to share all of my personal information with him. Plus, he probably hasn’t noticed what I noticed. I just nod. “So, will you tell me where we’re going now?”
“Nope,” he says simply, opening the passenger side door and waiting for me to sit down before closing it. “You’ll see soon enough.”
He was right, I did see. I couldn’t believe it, even though I could see it. It’s, well, it’s the perfect first date I could ever imagine. He parks the car and jumps out, running around to open the door and help me out. I’m speechless.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
It’s pitch black outside, but the candles let off a light glow. I don’t know any cities in California other than Los Angeles, so all I know is we’re on a beach. It could be the smallest beach in California for all I care. It’s beautiful. There’s a blanket on the sand a hundred feet away from the water. It’s surrounded by candles on three sides and there is a picnic basket set up in the middle. The sky is clear and I can actually make out a few stars.
Josh looks at me, trying to read my face, since I still haven’t said a word. I smile to let him know I’m pleased. This is enough to make him smile, too. I love his smile. “Shall we have a seat?” he says, ushering towards the blanket. I nod and let him lead me to one side. I sit as far away from the candles as I can – I have a thing about fire. He pulls a couple of sandwiches and two bottles of water. He hands one of each to me and keeps one for himself.
I’m glad Jennifer had the sense to choose this jacket for me, because there is a chill in the air. Josh and I keep up a fair amount of conversation as we eat. I take bites from my sandwich and small sips of water, but I don’t want him to think I don’t like the food he’s prepared (although, I’ve been with him all day, so I know he didn’t actually make any of this), so I finish the entire sandwich. My nerves and happiness at being in the presence of Josh Hutcherson overpower my usual anxiety.
Thinking about Josh and his fame and how we’re on a date and he’s my boyfriend threatens to send my mind into a frenzy, so I push it away. “This is perfect, Josh,” I say, wiping my face with a napkin.
“We haven’t even gotten to the best part!” he says and he pulls a bowl and two spoons from the basket. I can tell it’s vanilla pudding – my favorite. He hands me a spoon and I don’t even hesitate before digging in. He smiles as I lick my spoon clean and I notice he has a little pudding on the corner of his mouth. I’ve seen enough movies to know what I’m supposed to do.
“You have a little…” I point to my mouth to show him what I’m trying to say. He tries to wipe it away with his hand, but he doesn’t get it. “Here, let me,” I say as I lean forward and kiss him, letting my tongue find the pudding and lightly brush the edge of his lips. I may not have much (or any) experience, but I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
Josh pulls me onto his lap and kisses me, first lightly and then a little harder. All of my references say he should be moving his hands up my shirt or elsewhere, but he keeps them wrapped around my waist. I think about what Jennifer said earlier, about how he would let how far we go be my decision, and I realize just how right she was.
I’m not really sure how long we sit on the beach kissing before Josh pulls away and lets out a small laugh. “What?” I say, wondering if I did something wrong.
“I was just thinking about how, in Catching Fire, there’s that part where Peeta and Katniss make out on the beach. Kind of like what we’re doing,” he says, still laughing. I start laughing, too, because I know he’s right and I kind of feel like Katniss sitting on Josh’s lap right now.
“I guess it’s like practice, for when you film the scene for real.”
“I guess, but while I’m kissing Jennifer, I’ll be thinking about you.”
This is the cutest thing a guy has ever said to me, and I can’t wipe the smile from my face. He kisses me again and I move my arms, which have been awkwardly on my lap, up around his neck. I pull him as close to me as he can possibly get and run my fingers through his hair. His hands never move from my waist, which I appreciate. When you get over the whole famous thing, Josh is definitely the best first boyfriend I could ever have.
“I think your fans deserve to know,” I say when we both have to come up for air. “This is coming from someone who was in their position just a couple of weeks ago. It sucks when celebrities keep secrets. I know that a lot of your fans will not be happy at all, but they still should know…I know I said that I wanted to keep my sanity, but I think it would be better if we tell them.” I’m thinking about Nicole and her reaction when I told her about the date. It reminded me of how I felt when I found out the celebrities I loved were in a relationship.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I say. “But I need to tell my family first. They won’t be happy if they have to hear it from some tabloid in a grocery store.”
“Okay. Well, how about you call them and tell them tomorrow morning. I have some press to do tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll tip off the interviewer that he or she should ask if I’m in a relationship. Sound good?”
“That sounds perfect,” I say, smiling and kissing him. Now I really feel like Katniss, the way she described her “hunger” for more kisses on the beach. I don’t want our lips to be apart for more than a few moments.
At 11:30, Josh and I get back in his car and he drives us back to the hotel. There’s no one waiting outside as we enter. In the elevator, Josh pushes me against the wall (not hard, but in that cute romantic kind of way) and kisses my neck until we reach our floor. We say goodnight and go to our rooms. Once inside I quietly change into my pajamas, wash my face, and brush my teeth before climbing into bed. I’m asleep as soon as my head hits my pillow.
I wake up later than usual the next morning (okay, so maybe it’s 5:30 instead of 5, but I still consider that late) after hitting snooze on my alarm clock a few times. It’s 8:30am in Connecticut, so my parents will be awake having breakfast right about now. Before doing anything else, I pick up my phone and dial my mom’s number. I realize I haven’t talked to her since we landed in LA, and hearing her voice makes me miss her.
“Hi mommy,” I say when she answers.
“Hello, sweetie. How’s California?”
“It’s amazing. You never told me how beautiful it is here.”
“I figured no matter what adjectives I used to describe it, I could never do it justice,” she says with a laugh, and I smile because she is definitely right.
“So, mom, I just wanted to tell you something before you read about it in a magazine…” I start. How do you have this conversation with your mother? I’ve never had it before.
“And what is that?” I notice a hint of a smile behind her words, and I have a feeling she already knows what I’m going to tell her.
“I have a boyfriend. And his name is Josh Hutcherson.”
“That’s wonderful, sweetie. I knew you two connected at your party. I am so happy!” my mother says, squealing the way Jennifer always does.
“Can you tell daddy and Damon, too? I’ll call Cory and tell him. I wanted you all to know before Josh officially announced it in an interview later.”
“I’m glad you did. I’ll spread the word. Listen, I have to go get dressed and head to the restaurant. I love you, sweetie. Enjoy California and keep me updated.”
“I love you, too, mom.”
We hang up and I immediately call Cory. He’s probably still asleep, but I know for a fact he keeps his phone ringer on full blast all the time, so it should wake him up.
“Hello?” he says groggily.
“Cory!” I say. I haven’t talked to him since my going away party. He’s always so busy, and we keep missing each other.
“Meg! It’s so great to hear your voice, babe. What’s up?” I cringe at his endearment. I know it’s meant to be sweet, but I’ve always hated it. He knows I don’t like it, which is why he keeps using it.
“Well, let’s see. Since we last talked I have met hundreds of people and I don’t remember 90% of their names, I had to sit through lunch with a bunch of drunk producers and directors, I signed an autograph, oh and I got a boyfriend.”
“WHAT? MEGAN JULIET OPHELIA McALLISTON. You signed an autograph?”
I laugh because obviously he knew Josh and I would end up together at some point, so really my signing an autograph was the most interesting part of what I told him.
“Yeah, this girl, she asked me to sign her autograph book. She’s so much like me. In every way.” I hope he gets what I’m trying to say without really saying it.
“Well, then I’m glad she has you to look up to,” he says and I know he understood. “So you and Josh are official now?”
“Yes,” I say, smiling. “Crazy, right? Me, Megan Juliet Ophelia McAlliston dating Joshua Ryan Hutcherson.” I only use my full name because he did.
“I knew you were destined for great things, babe.”
“I miss you, Cory.”
“I miss you, too, Meg. But hey, you’ll forget about me soon with all of your new famous friends.”
“Not a chance. You’ll always be my number one.”
We talk a bit more, he updates me on things that I’ve missed at home and I tell him about how amazing California is. We agree to stop missing each other’s calls and hang up.
Now it’s 6am and I decide I should go to the gym and do a short run, so I put on my exercise clothes and head down. I finish at 6:30 and take a shower, getting dressed for the long day ahead of me. Jennifer is up at 7am, already drinking a large cup of coffee. She looks at me as I walk into the kitchen.
“Megan! Oh, sweet Megan. How was your date?” I know from interviews that Jennifer is a strange person but the morning seems to bring out her even stranger side.
“It was… amazing,” I say wistfully, trying to mimic her tone, which reminds me of old English and the Little House on the Prairie, if such a combination is even possible. She raises her eyebrows at me and I shake my head. She smiles.
“Good, I knew you’d make the right decision,” she says in an accent I can’t even begin to describe. It’s kind of like the Capitol accent, but with a hint of Australian. I’m beginning to wonder what is in that cup of coffee. “It’s much better if you wait. Trust me.”
I do trust her. She’s proven to be extremely valuable with her fashion tips and knowledge of pre-parties.
We sit down at the table and eat a small breakfast of toast and grapefruit. By 8:30 we are at the elevator to meet Josh. He kisses my cheek and whispers, “good morning,” in my ear. His breath tickles and I laugh. “Morning.”
“Did you talk to your family?”
“Yes, and I called Cory, too. I hope that’s all right.”
“Of course. I told a couple of my friends. How do you think I made last night happen?” he says with a grin. I laugh and we walk to the car hand in hand, not worried about who might see. It’ll be out in the open soon enough.
At the set, the first part of my day consists of meetings. I assumed I was going to be sitting quietly, like with all of the interviews at the party, but everyone was eager to hear my opinions.
We are all gathered in the same room that I had gone to on the first day, with the big table that implies it’s a room for important meetings. Francis Lawrence is sitting at the head of the table with the EP to his left. Thankfully, everyone is sober. On Francis’s right there are some people who I should know but for the life of me can’t remember. James is sitting next to the EP and I’m sitting next to him, nervously fiddling with my pencil.
We (and by we, I mean Francis and the EP, because the rest of us don’t really have a say in any of this) discuss production and which scenes should be filmed on which days. I’m not sure why James and I are in this meeting since none of the things we are talking about seem relevant to the music score and soundtrack. Then I realize it’s probably because I’ll have to be watching for parts of the movie that I think should have music.
After the topic of filming has been talked to death, we move on to wardrobe. Apparently the woman across from me is the wardrobe director (okay, so that’s not actually her official title, but it’s a lot easier to remember things when I add director to the end). I notice her eyeing me hastily and I am suddenly afraid she might accidentally strangle me with a piece of silk. “Everything is all set for production, except of course the wedding dress. We still haven’t found a designer that Francis thinks is suited to create the perfect gown.”
“Up until recently, that is,” Francis says, and I notice a pointed look in my direction. I fight the urge to run away before he can say anything more. “Did everyone see the dress that Jennifer Lawrence was wearing at the party yesterday?” He presses a button on a remote that apparently he’s been holding this entire time and a picture of Jennifer pops up on the screen behind him. “I think we can all agree this dress is stunning.”
“Yes, we can. Who designed it?” the wardrobe director asks, although by the look she’s giving me, she already knows.
“I am so glad you asked,” Francis says, a little too enthusiastically. “Our very own Megan McAlliston designed this dress. And I want her to design Katniss’s wedding dress, before and after it turns into the Mockingjay gown. What do you say, Megan?”
“But sir,” the wardrobe director speaks up, clearly not pleased that he has asked a lowly intern to do this job. “She’s working in the music department.”
“Well, if you read the copy of Megan’s resume that everyone on staff was given, you would know that she is an established designer and writer as well as a musician. She’s perfect for the job.”
“I’d love to design that dress,” I say. I’m not sure if it’s because I want to spite the wardrobe director or if it’s because since I read Catching Fire I have wanted to design the Mockingjay wedding dress. Francis gives a small clap.
“Perfect! We’ll need three sample sketches by next week. We’ll vote on them during our weekly meeting next Wednesday, and the winning design will be made in Jennifer’s size.”
A week to design six dresses? I’m going to have to work all day and all night in order to get this done, but no one ever said dreams were easy to reach. “I won’t let you down.”
“I know you won’t,” he says. We move on to discuss other things, but honestly I’m not paying attention because I’m trying to come up with a few ideas before I sit down with my sketch book. When Francis declares the meeting over, it’s almost one, and I have a half an hour until I’m expected to be back in the same room to sit in on the first read through of half of the script. I should find Josh, but I need to talk to James first.
“James!” I call before he can get too far away. “I have a favor to ask you.”
“Wow, Megan. Only here three days and already asking for favors?” he says, but I can tell he’s kidding. “What can I do for you?”
“I met this girl; she’s a huge fan of the movies and stuff. We got to talking, and she said her dream is to work on a soundtrack for a movie. She’s even taking music production classes so that she can be ahead of the game. I was wondering if I could bring her to set on Saturday and show her around, and introduce her to you and the artist that we have coming to record.”
James thinks for a second, and then answers me. “I was expecting you to ask for something really difficult, Megan. Of course you can bring her! Get her mom to sign this, though,” he says, reaching into his briefcase and handing me a piece of paper. “It’s a permission slip. This way we’ll have contact information and stuff.”
“Thank you, James.” I fold the paper and put it in my purse.
“No problem, Megan. Hey, do you mind if I call you Meg?”
“Knock yourself out.”
He laughs and we both leave to get a quick lunch before the read through. I find Josh and he wraps his arms around me. I think about telling him everything that happened in the meeting, but he looks tired so I don’t want to bother him.
“It’s only one…”
“Is it really? Lovely.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
“I would much rather do this,” Josh says, kissing me.
“I would rather know you’re okay,” I say, pulling back. “Tell me what happened.”
“Fine, come with me.” He pulls me into the room we made out in yesterday. I smile at the memory, but quickly snap out of it when I realize how upset Josh is. “I’ll tell you, but you have to promise not to get mad.”
“I promise,” I say, holding out my pinkie. It’s old fashioned, but everyone knows you don’t go against a pinkie promise.
“Okay, well, you know how Jennifer and I had a bunch of stuff to do this morning like costume fittings and other boring stuff. And then after, we had an interview with some magazine or something. I told the guy who was doing the interview to ask me about my personal life at some point, and he agreed. So it’s going great, we’re talking about how successful The Hunger Games was and how much we’re looking forward to Catching Fire.” He stops to take a deep breath, clearly starting to get worked up. I’m wondering if I really want to know why he’s so upset after all. “Then he made a really smooth transition, and I was impressed, but he asked a stupid question and I got pretty upset…”
“What did he ask?”
“How long have you and Jennifer been dating.”
I can’t help but laugh. “But she’s dating Nicholas…”
“I know! For someone who does celebrity interviews, he certainly isn’t up with celebrity gossip.”
“What did you say?”
“I told him that we’re not dating, and he didn’t believe me. Jennifer kept telling him that she was happily dating someone else until finally he bought it. So then he asked if I was dating anyone, and I said yes. And he said ‘It doesn’t matter who she is, she can’t compare to Jennifer Lawrence’ and I kind of went off on him.”
“You promised you wouldn’t get mad!”
“I’m not mad! I’m honored that you would go off on him for saying that, but you really don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t. That’s why I did.”
“So what exactly did you say?”
He smiles from ear to ear, and I’m afraid of what his answer is going to be. “Well first I told Jennifer that she is amazing and not to be offended by anything I say. And then I listed off everything I like about you. I might have ended with a few explicatives just so he knew how upset I was.”
I wrap my arms around his neck. “You’re really sweet.”
“And you’re really close,” he says, wrapping his arms around my waist.
“Would you like me to go farther,” I say, taking a step back but not moving my arms. He pulls me back.
“I never want you to be far away from me.” Butterflies take over my stomach as he lifts me up and turns around, sitting me on the table. His lips brush my neck, leaving a trail of kisses up to my ear, which he stops to nibble before finding my lips. I have a sudden urge to tear off all of his clothes right here and now, but I think about what Jennifer said and decide against it. She’s right; I shouldn’t have sex until I’m sure I’m in love. Do I love Josh? We’ve only been dating for a few days, but he kissed me a week and a half ago. Plus I’ve had a crush on him since I was fourteen. But does that constitute love? I make a mental note to ask Jennifer when we get back to the hotel. I also make a mental note to start making real notes, since I usually forget my mental notes right after I make them.
There’s a knock on the door that causes Josh to pull back. “Read-through time,” I hear Jennifer say. I don’t know how she knew where we were, but I’m glad it’s her and not James or Francis or the wardrobe director who hates me.
As we walk to the room that I decide to just call a conference room, hands locked together, Josh points out that I didn’t tell him what happened during my meeting this morning.
“We were kind of busy,” I tell him. “I’ll tell you everything later, okay?” He accepts this response and we enter the conference room. I have to sit with James and the other important people (does that make me important? I’ll have to ask the next press person I see) while the main members of the cast sit across from us. There are recording devices set up on either side of the table. I wonder if this is what an audition is like. If it is, I never want to audition for anything. I’m afraid to make even the slightest noise, unsure of how much the recording devices will pick up.
The cast, which is really only Jennifer, Josh, Liam, and a few other people who have big parts in Catching Fire, start to read the script from the beginning. Francis stops them over and over again, making them repeat scenes with more inflection or different tones. He doesn’t make Josh kiss Jennifer, though, despite the cue that is basically on every page. He glances at me and I think I see him wink, so I assume he heard about Josh’s outburst earlier. I wouldn’t mind watching Josh kiss Jennifer, to be honest. I don’t get jealous easily. I have a feeling that if the roles were reversed, Josh wouldn’t even be able to sit in the same room with me kissing another guy. I have to suppress a smile.
Finally, after what seems like forever, Francis gives everyone the go ahead to leave. James stops me before I walk out the door. “Don’t forget to get that paper signed,” he reminds me. “And don’t tell her who is recording on Saturday. We’re trying to keep it under wraps.”
“I don’t even know who is recording on Saturday,” I point out.
“I’ll tell you tomorrow. You’ll be very excited. Also,” he says, handing me a large stack of paper. “Read this. Don’t share it with anyone who isn’t on the cast. And come up with a few places that you think would be appropriate to put music, other than parts where there’s no dialogue. Okay?”
“Will do. Thanks.” With that, he nods and walks out the door. I adjust everything in my purse so the script will fit. I make another mental note to buy a planner so I can keep track of all of these things that I’m supposed to do.
“Give it another week, and you’ll be more famous than me,” Josh says when I finally leave the conference room. My purse is three times heavier than it was when I left the hotel this morning. I’m glad I’m not an actress.
“A week? Please, I’m already there,” I respond playfully. He puts his arm around my waist and we walk outside. Jennifer runs up from behind us (scaring the crap out of me) and yells something about how we were going to leave her here. She of course forgets this when a very handsome man is standing outside with a bouquet of beautiful roses.
“NICHOLAS?” she yells, running into his arms. He drops the roses, but it doesn’t seem to matter, because they’re embraced in a deep kiss. “You didn’t tell me you were coming back to California!”
“I wanted to surprise you,” he smiles. Josh and I walk up now, and Nicholas shakes his hand. “What’s up, Josh? Hope life is treating you good.”
“Couldn’t be better. This is my girlfriend, Megan,” he says, ushering toward me. Nicholas holds out his hand and I shake it.
“Nice to meet you,” he says with a kind smile. I feel Josh’s grip around my waist tighten. Most girls would probably find his jealousy annoying, but I think it’s really cute. Maybe I’m just making up for nineteen years without any human contact other than my family and my friends.
“You, too,” I say, returning his smile. Jennifer decides now would be a good time to say she has to go to the bathroom and asks me to come with her. I may not have many girl friends, but I know we’re not really going to the bathroom to use the bathroom.
“Megan…” she starts, and I know exactly what is going to come next.
“Let me guess, you want me to stay in Josh’s room tonight so that you and Nicholas can have the place to yourselves?” She does one of those smiles that makes it very clear that I am very right.
“I just don’t want you to feel awkward, you know. And I mean it’ll give you and Josh some alone time…”
“It’s fine, Jennifer! But I have to get some stuff from my room first. They asked me to design your wedding dress. Well, Katniss’s wedding dress. I’m supposed to have six sketches by next Wednesday.”
“You’re designing my dress? Oh my gosh. That’s perfect. If it’s anything like the dresses in your castle, I know I’ll love it.” I smile at this, convincing my head to tell my mouth to keep quiet and just accept a compliment for once. “And thank you, for clearing out tonight. It means a lot.”
“Don’t mention it. Oh but wait. How am I supposed to ask Josh if I can stay in his room tonight, without implying that I want to have sex? Because I’m not sure I’m ready for that step yet.”
“I’ve got you covered, hun,” she tells me, showing me her phone. Megan’s staying in your room tonight. Don’t rush into anything.
“You’re my hero,” I say. We walk together to where Josh and Nicholas are standing, catching up on what’s been happening since the last time they saw each other.
“So, what do you say we go get some food, and then I’ll take you back to your hotel?” Nicholas says to Jennifer, sliding his arm around her waist. She folds into him and I see a light that I hadn’t noticed was missing glow around her. She has missed him more than I knew.
“That sounds perfect. I’ll see you guys later.” And with that, they’re off to Nicholas’s rental car, leaving Josh and I to our own devices.
“So I guess you’re rooming with me tonight. What do you say we order pizza and watch a movie? Corny, but not bad for a second date.”
“That sounds great. I have to stop by my room first though. I have to grab my sketch book.”
“Your sketch book? Got some new ideas you want to work on?”
“Not exactly, but I better soon. They asked me to design Katniss’s wedding dress.”
We had been walking leisurely toward Josh’s car, but this makes him stop abruptly. “What? Megan that’s awesome! I can’t believe you didn’t tell me until now!”
“Well, I mean, it’s a pretty impossible task. I have to come up with three white gowns and then three that are transformed to black like the mockingjay, all by next Wednesday. Plus, I have to read the script and make notes on where I think we can add music over dialogue, without actually seeing how the scenes are being filmed. I feel like it’s finals week all over again. Only at least my finals seemed manageable.”
“You’ll be able to do it. How about if we skip the movie and I help you read through the script? I have to practice anyway. But we need to order pizza. I’m starving.”
“Okay.” We finish our walk to Josh’s car and get in. “Oh, one more thing. I got permission to bring Nicole on a tour of the set on Saturday. And she’s going to come to the first recording session that we have for the soundtrack. So if we see her outside the hotel, remind me to talk to her mom. My mental notes are getting all jumbled. Also, I need a planner so I can keep track of all this stuff.”
“Maybe we should just get you a personal assistant,” he says, but he pulls into a small store and gets me a pretty pink day planner anyway. When we get to the hotel, I’m happy to see a large group of fans. Nicole catches my eye right away, so when I get out, I go to talk to her.
“Hey, is that your mom?” I nod to the woman standing back, watching intently.
“Yeah,” Nicole tells me.
“Would you mind if I talk to her quickly?”
“Sure, go ahead. Mom!” she calls and the woman comes over. “This is Megan. She wants to talk to you.”
I lead Nicole’s mom away from the crowd so no one will overhear what I have to say. “I’m Megan McAlliston,” I start, holding out my hand to shake.
“Barbara Collins, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“You, too. So, you probably think this is really weird, but I’ve been talking to Nicole a lot over the last few days, and I realize just how similar we are.” Barbara looks into my eyes and I can tell she’s wondering what I mean. I don’t want to explain, so I return her intense look, hoping that’s enough. “I was hoping you would let me show her around the set of Catching Fire on Saturday. It’s the first day of filming. And then after I want her to sit in on the first recording session for the soundtrack.”
Her face falls. “I have to work on Saturday.” I can tell she’s searching her brain for a way that she can get Nicole to the set.
“I could pick her up,” I say. “If you’re comfortable with that. Josh will let me use his car.”
“That would be wonderful. I know Nicole would absolutely love this opportunity.”
“Yay! I’m really excited. I need you to sign this permission slip, so we have contact information and everything.”
“Of course!” She takes the paper from my hand and fills it out with a pen that she dug from her purse. “Here you go.”
“Perfect. Thank you so much.”
“No, thank you! This will make Nicole so happy.”
“I hope so,” I say with a smile. “If you don’t mind, can we keep this a secret? I mean, I’ll tell her that I’m taking her to the set for the day, but I don’t want her to know about the recording session or any of the major details. I want to surprise her.”
“Your secret is safe with me.”
“Thank you, again, Ms. Collins.”
“Please, call me Barbara.” I smile and walk over to Nicole. I see that Josh is standing with her, and I hope he hasn’t spoiled the secret.
“Hey guys,” I say. “What are you talking about?”
“Josh was telling me about your date. I saw on E! earlier that you’re officially a couple.” Josh slips his arm around my waist. I can’t help but notice how much more comfortable Nicole looks today compared to the first two times I met her.
“Yes, that is true. However, more importantly, I have a surprise for you. I’m going to pick you up at 7am on Saturday morning and take you to the set of Catching Fire. How does that sound?” Josh looks at me, pretending to be offended that I said this was more important than our being a couple. I roll my eyes and focus on Nicole. Her eyes are wide, and I can see all of the different shades of blue.
“Seriously?” she looks to her mother for confirmation, and her mom nods. “Oh my God, this is incredible! I can’t even believe it!” She hugs me.
“Well, believe it, ‘cause it’s true! Here, give me your number,” I say, handing her my iPhone. “I’ll text you tomorrow with more details.”
She’s shaking again, and I feel kind of special that it’s because of me and not Josh. Well, it’s because of what I’m doing for her. Mostly because of the fact that she’s going to the set of Catching Fire. I guess it isn’t really me at all. But I let myself feel special anyway. She quickly puts her name in my phone and hands it back to me, as if she’s afraid I might change my mind.
“See you on Saturday,” I tell her as her and her mom walk away.
“See you Saturday!” she replies. I wonder if she’ll scream and jump on her bed when she gets home. I know that’s what I always did after meeting someone semi-famous.
Josh and I go inside and take the elevator to our floor. He goes to his room and calls to order pizza while I go and gather everything I need from my room. I decide I should bring an outfit for tomorrow, plus my gym clothes since I didn’t do my full workout this morning, and obviously I need my pajamas and my tooth brush. I also grab my purse, my sketch book and pencils before knocking on Josh’s door. I probably look kind of strange, and I realize maybe I should have put my stuff in a bag or something instead of just carrying it all. Whatever.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
Josh is laughing when he opens the door and sees my hands full with various clothes and other things. I stick my tongue out at him, wishing I had put my stuff in a bag since my undergarments are clearly visible in my pile. I try to hide the blush on my face.
“You can put that stuff in a drawer in the extra bedroom. There’s no room in any of mine.” I’m nervous, wondering where I’ll end up sleeping. I wouldn’t mind cuddling next to him in his bed. Will he make me sleep in the extra bedroom because of Jennifer’s text? I tell myself to relax, since it’s still early and I have plenty of time to figure out where I’m going to sleep. I go to the spare bedroom and sloppily toss my clothes into one of the drawers. I leave my purse but remove the script and take my sketch book and pencils with me back into the living room.
The pizza has just arrived when I’m taking a seat at the table, flipping to an open page in my sketch book and staring at it, hoping if I wait long enough a design will just appear. I don’t have any luck. Josh slips a plate with a slice of pizza in front of me. Oh right, I’m supposed to eat. I fold the pizza in half the way my dad always does and take a bite. Josh reaches for my sketch book, which I pushed aside in an angry huff when I realized I had absolutely no idea what I wanted the dress to look like.
“Don’t get grease on it!” I yell, slapping his hand. He wipes it on a napkin before reaching again. I don’t bother stopping him, even though I know a napkin isn’t enough to get rid of all the grease on his hand. He starts flipping through the pages. This is my most recent sketch book; all of the designs are from the past year.
“I thought you said you stopped designing?” he says, looking at one of the dresses that I had drawn in about five minutes. My eyes find every flaw, but I know he doesn’t see them.
“I stopped turning my designs into reality, but I could never stop drawing. The ideas didn’t stop forming in my head, even though I was focusing on music. You should see the books from when I was still making the clothes, though. They’re much fuller than this one is.” He turns the page to another badly drawn dress and I want to tell him to just stop because none of these designs are good, but he keeps making remarks about how impressed he is and how gorgeous the pictures are so I don’t want to take the book away. When he gets to the last one, he hands the book back to me. “Wait,” I open the book from the back cover. “There’s one more.”
He stares at the page without saying a word, taking in everything that I put on the paper. I spent at least three weeks perfecting that picture. I’ve never been more proud of a design in my life.
The dress is simple, elegant, and perfect for an evening out. It’s made of a dark blue silky fabric, but when the light hits it, you can see that there are hidden gems all over the bodice. The bodice is loose fitting with open shoulders, and a belt pulls the waist in tight. The belt is silver, lined with pearls. The skirt flows out before pulling in tight at the knees. The gloves match the belt, with a simple pearl design on the back. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still breathtaking. This is coming from a girl who will never say anything she does is good.
“This is amazing. Why didn’t you make it?”
“I was afraid that if I made it real, it wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful,” I tell him honestly. “Plus I have no idea what I would ever wear it to.” He closes the book again and slides it across the table. I don’t mention that he’s one of two people who have seen that sketch, other than me. We finish our pizza in silence, then I go to sit on the couch while Josh finds his script. I leave my sketch book on the table, hoping that inspiration will strike me if I don’t look at it.
Josh comes back and sits next to me and we start going through the script. I read all of the girl parts out loud and he reads all of the boy parts. He uses funny accents and weird inflection on everything that isn’t his real lines. For those, he is serious and tries to say them the way he’s going to when they start filming. I try to read Katniss’s parts the way Jennifer would, but I’m no actress and I could never compare to her. Every time the script calls for a kiss, Josh leans in and kisses me.
“I hope that’s not how you’ll be kissing Jennifer,” I say when he lightly nibbles my bottom lip.
“Now who’s the jealous one?” he smiles. “Don’t worry, you’re the only one who gets my special kisses.” He kisses me again, but Josh knows better than anyone how important it is that we focus on this script. Especially since he starts filming on Saturday and he only has about half of the scene that’s on schedule memorized. By 11pm, though, we decide that we’ve read enough and decide to call it a night. I go into the spare room and grab my pajamas and toothbrush before going into the bathroom to change and brush my teeth.
“I’ve been avoiding this conversation all night,” Josh says as soon as I come out. “But, where do you want to sleep? I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable in my room, but I don’t want you to think I don’t want you to sleep with me. So it’s up to you.”
I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to say. Movies don’t really prepare you for this moment. Usually if two people sleep together, they sleep together. But Josh is just saying we can sleep together. “I wouldn’t mind sleeping next to you,” I say, not really thinking about how strange this might sound.
“Okay,” he says, taking my hand. “Come on.”
Josh sleeps on the left side of the bed normally, which is good because I always sleep on the right. We both end up somewhere in the middle, though, his arms around me. He feels so warm, and the sound of his heart beating is like a lullaby. I make a mental note to make a real note to stop thinking about Katniss and Peeta’s relationship and how similar it is to Josh and me. Who can blame me, though, when I’m lying next to Josh, both of us asleep but fully clothed? It’s just like Catching Fire.
I wake up at 5am, even though I didn’t set my alarm the night before. I carefully slip out of bed, not wanting to disturb Josh, and go to the spare bedroom to change into my gym clothes. I spend an hour and a half on the treadmill, making up for the half hour I missed yesterday. After, I take a quick shower, put on my clothes for the day, make a pot of coffee, and sit down at the table determined to finish at least one dress before Josh wakes up.
I put my pencil to the paper, and to my surprise, I start to draw. I remember exactly how the dress is described in Catching Fire, but I try to add my own flair to it. An hour later, Josh comes up next to me and kisses my cheek. I wonder how I didn’t hear him coming, but when I draw I tend to tune out the world, so I must have really been in the zone.
“That looks great,” he says, looking at the rough drawing in front of me.
“It’s not even close to being finished,” I say, although I’m not sure what else I can add to it. I just have to smooth out the edges and adjust the shading. “But thank you.” I turn and kiss him on the lips. He walks to the counter and pours a cup of coffee, which is still warm since I left the pot on. “What time is it?” I ask him, realizing I haven’t paid any attention to the clock.
“A little after 8. We have to go meet Jennifer in ten minutes.”
“No we don’t. She texted me this morning, Nicholas is giving her a ride to the set,” I remember. I got the text somewhere between my trip to the gym and sitting down at the table. I wondered why she was awake, and then realized I probably didn’t want to know.
“Well, then. I guess it’s just you and me. Have you eaten?”
“Nope. Too focused.”
“Well. I’m going to get dressed quickly, then we can grab something on the way to set. All right?”
“Sounds good,” I say, although I’m only half listening. I decided after staring at my picture for the last few minutes that I didn’t like the sleeves. Now I’m erasing and starting over. When Josh comes back, dressed and ready to go, I’m very pleased with the new look.
“You ready?” he asks me. “You should probably take that with you. You never know when inspiration might come.”
“Already planning on it.” I grab the book, pencils, and the script that I left on the couch and stuff them in my purse. “I’m ready.”
We stop at a small bagel shop and make our orders to go. When we’re back in the car on the way to the set (which is a 20 minute drive), I remember that I told Nicole’s mom that I would pick Nicole up on Saturday. Josh has to be on set by 6:30am to be transformed into Peeta.
“Can I use your car on Saturday after we get to set so I can pick up Nicole? Her mom has to work so I offered to pick her up.”
“Sure, that’s no problem,” he says, never moving his attention from the road. I’m very impressed by how good he is at driving, especially in LA. “So you’re going to miss me getting my hair dyed?”
“Yep. I don’t really want to see that. I love your dark hair too much,” I say ruffling his hair.
He laughs and fixes his hair before resting his hand on my knee. I open the window and let the cool California breeze hit my face as I eat my bagel. It’s good, but nothing compared to the ones I get in New York. I think about how I want Josh to taste them. Then I remember that I need to have a serious conversation with Jennifer before I do something stupid.
The sun is bright, so I take a pair of Josh’s sunglasses that are in the middle console and put them on. “Those look good on you,” he says, glancing at me quickly. “But I prefer to see your pretty blue eyes.”
I smile, but keep the glasses on because I can’t see without them and I want to look at all of the pretty scenery. I decide I want to take a day to be a tourist and explore Los Angeles. Maybe Josh will show me around, if either of us ever get a day off. We pull into the set all too soon and I return the glasses where I found them.
Inside, Josh is whisked away to do who knows what and James takes me to the conference room. “So, Josh, Jennifer, and Liam told me you wrote a song for the soundtrack.”
“Well, I wrote it with my cousin to perform at my party. The soundtrack thing was Josh’s idea.”
“Do you have the song on you?”
“I have a really rough recording on my phone that my cousin and I did while we were practicing,” I say, taking out my phone.
“Let’s hear it!”
I press play and immediately cringe as my voice comes through the tiny speaker. I fidget in my chair until the song is over.
“That is very good!” he says, patting me on the back. I feel the urge to bark. “What would you say if I asked you and your cousin to record this, in a studio, for the soundtrack?”
At first I want to tell him that I can’t sing, but I remember that day on the floor of my cousin’s room when Josh told me I was talented, so I don’t. Instead, I say, “I’ll have to call my cousin. He lives in Connecticut.”
“Give him a call! We’ll fly him out here and do the recording next weekend if he agrees.”
“Do you want me to call him now?”
“Well he answer?”
“Yes. He’s homeschooled.”
“Perfect. Call, call, call!”
I pick up my phone from the table and dial his number. After two rings, he answers.
“Hi, Max. How are you?”
“Bored. You?” That has always been Max’s answer, every time I ask him how he is.
“Extremely busy,” I laugh. “Is your mom home?” I know he’ll have to ask my aunt for permission and it’ll be easier if she’s with him. It’s still early enough in Connecticut, so I don’t think she’s left for work yet.
“Yeah, do you want to talk to her?”
“No, but you will. The music director wants you to fly here next weekend to record Over and Over. You’d leave early Friday morning and go home Monday.”
“Seriously? That’s awesome! Mom!” I hear him yell and tell his mom everything I just told him. She thinks for a little while, but ultimately says yes. She knows I would never let anything happen to Max. “She said yes! Text me details! I’ll see you Friday!”
“See you Friday. I love you!”
We hang up and I tell James that Max is going to come. James makes a mark on the paper in front of him that I assume is a checklist, and then he starts in on the next task.
“Today is your first writing session. The artist that is recording on Saturday is here to work with you on her song. You’ll work until one, then have a half an hour break for lunch, then meet back here for the second reading. Sound good?”
“Great,” I say, although really writing a song is just another thing on my ever growing lists of things to worry about. James goes to the door and lets the artist in. I have to work very hard to contain my squeal.
“Demi Lovato, this is Megan McAlliston,” he says, introducing us. I shake the hand of my hero, trying to keep steady. I can’t find any words. “You’re going to focus on lyrics today. Tomorrow we’ll be in the studio so you can do the music. Have fun!” James leaves us alone with a lot of paper, writing utensils, and water. We sit down at the table and I finally remember how to speak.
“Do you have any ideas about the song?” I ask a little tentatively.
“A few. I want it to be relevant, but not too literal, you know?” I nod, completely in agreement. “I was thinking about calling it ‘Burn.’ What do you think?”
“I think we can definitely work with that.” I write the word “Burn” at the top of one of the sheets of paper. “This is a good start.” Demi laughs and I smile.
“I was thinking it should be more a power ballad, you know? Because a lot of the soundtrack is probably going to be love songs, so I want this to be that song that is different.”
“So like, ‘you can set me on fire, but I’m not gonna burn’ kind of thing. In Katniss’s point of view?”
“That’s really good, write that down.” I do as she says, although my handwriting is terrible. I try to make it as legible as possible. “And then how about, ‘once the spark is lit, it has to grow, and fire hurts worse than thorns on a rose.’ I know that’s kind of really literal, but it’s also metaphorical.”
“That’s perfect!” I write it down. I try to ignore the fact that I am currently writing a song with Demi Lovato. It’s very hard. We continue to add random lines and lyrics to the paper until we have a decent first draft of our song. It’s just in time, too, since Josh knocks on the door saying it’s 1pm and time to break for lunch. “Are you sticking around?” I ask Demi.
“I don’t want to get in the way of anything,” she tells me.
“No way! You could never. Come, have lunch with us!”
“You’re so sweet! Okay, I’d love to.” Demi follows Josh and I to the main part of the building where tables have been set up and food (all catered, of course) set out for us. I think that maybe inviting Demi to lunch was insensitive, but I know that she’s recovering, and maybe inviting her to lunch will help in a small way. We each fill a plate and find a table that has room for all of us. The only other people at the table are Jennifer and Nicholas.
“I’m beginning to think Liam doesn’t like me,” I say, sitting next to Jennifer. “I literally haven’t talked to him since we had dinner the other night.” I look at Josh and notice how tense he’s getting. Subconsciously, I might have brought up Liam just to see how Josh would react, since I think it’s really cute when he gets all jealous. But consciously I’m just really curious where Liam always disappears to.
“He’s probably calling Miley,” Demi tells me. “They hardly spend any time apart if they can help it. It’s cute. And annoying when we’re hanging out and she is constantly on the phone.”
“Ah, so that’s where Liam always disappears to,” I say with a laugh. I’m glad Demi decided to join us for lunch.
“Where do I disappear to?” Liam’s voice makes me jump. I didn’t see him coming.
“To call Miley,” Demi says for me.
“She’s at a photo shoot right now, so she didn’t answer,” he tells us; not even trying to cover up the fact that he was calling her. Liam is a really good boyfriend. I wonder if Josh will call me a lot when I’m back in Connecticut and he’s still in LA. The thought makes me sad, so I push it out of my mind. I don’t even know if Josh and I will still be together after the end of the summer. Maybe this is just one of those summer romances that I read about. Suddenly I’m very aware of everyone in the room and the amount of food I’ve consumed. I excuse myself and go right to the bathroom.
I don’t go into a stall, knowing that if I do all of my hard work will be over. Instead I stand, gripping the sink, trying to calm myself down. I splash water on my face, but it doesn’t help. I wonder how long I can stay in the bathroom before someone comes to find me. Apparently not very long.
The door opens and I assume it’s going to be Jennifer, but to my surprise it’s Demi. “Hey, are you okay?” she asks me. I know what she must be thinking.
“I’m… I didn’t… I don’t… I used to… but not because…no. I’m not.” The words all stumble out and I’m not really sure what I said. Demi wraps her arms around me in a sweet embrace.
“It wasn’t to lose weight, was it?” she asks in a way that says she knows, but she’s asking anyway. I shake my head. “Then why?”
“I get nervous. I feel like everyone is watching me. For a while I just wouldn’t eat at all when I was in public, but then people started to notice. So I would eat, and then I would be so nervous that I got sick to my stomach. Eventually I would throw up on purpose. But I haven’t in a long time. My mind races a lot, and today I was thinking about Liam and how good he is with Miley. Which lead to me thinking about my relationship with Josh, and wondering if I even mean anything to him or if I’m just some summer romance. I’ve never… he’s my first boyfriend. I’m nineteen and he’s my first boyfriend. Wow, I am such a mess. And you… you’re standing here listening to me talk about my problems. I can’t even believe this is happening.”
“Take a breath, Megan. Just relax for a second. I don’t know much about you and Josh, but based on the way he reacted when you said Liam’s name, you are not just some summer romance to him. And what do you mean you can’t believe this is happening?”
“I guess you would have figured out eventually,” I say with a laugh. “I’m kind of a Demi Lovato super fan. I have been since… well, As the Bell Rings.”
“Aw! That is so sweet! I’m glad you’re a fan and not one of the people who despise me. That would make this whole thing quite awkward.” Demi reaches up and gets me a paper towel so I can wipe the water off my face. I’m not really sure if it’s from the sink or from the tears that no doubt started to fall. “Are you ready to go back out there?”
I don’t think so, but I nod my head anyway. We return to the table and I sit back next to Josh. He rubs my back with his hand. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I say, smiling. I know he doesn’t buy it, but he won’t say anything here. I’ll talk to him about it later. I’ll even write it down in my planner so I don’t forget.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
Sitting down in the conference room listening to the script being read over and over is incredibly boring. I pull out my planner and write down everything I need to remember to do instead of paying attention like I should be.
1. Talk to Josh
2. Design black Mockingjay version of first dress
3. Text Nicole
4. Read the script and pick out places for music
5. Buy some sunglasses
The sunglasses are really just because I don’t want to have to steal Josh’s every morning when the sun is shining bright. I close my planner and try to focus on the cast, but it’s no use. I keep thinking about the conversation I have to have with Josh later. I wish I could talk to Jennifer first.
Nicholas had to leave before the read through to do some work. I didn’t ask what he was going to do, figuring it’s probably supposed to be a secret. Jennifer rides with Josh and I back to our hotel when everything is finished. There’s a really awkward feeling in the car and I know it’s my fault. I’m grateful that there aren’t many fans waiting outside the hotel today so we can get inside quickly. It’s still too early to eat.
“Can we talk?” I say to Josh when we get to our floor. He nods and I look at Jennifer. “I’ll be in our room in a little while.”
“Take your time,” she says as she walks down the hall. I follow Josh to his room.
“Why did you run off earlier?” he asks as soon as we walk through the door.
“One thing at a time,” I tell him. “Good news first?” This isn’t exactly the best choice of words, since I don’t really have anything bad to tell him. He nods. “They’re flying Max out here next weekend so we can record Over and Over. All thanks to you.” I smile, trying to lighten the mood.
“That’s great! I knew James would love the song.”
“I never would have played it for him if it weren’t for you…” I tell him. “Which brings me to the other thing I want to talk about…”
“Let’s sit down.” Josh walks over to the couch and I follow him, taking the seat beside him. “What’s going on?”
“I think too much,” I tell him. “When we were talking at lunch today about how Liam and Miley are always on the phone when they can’t be together, I started thinking about us, and how I’m only here for the summer. And… Josh, do I actually mean anything to you?” I feel my throat tighten like I might cry, but I manage to hold it in. “Or will you forget about me when the summer ends?”
“When I first met you at your party,” he starts. “I had no idea what to expect from you. You were dressed in that black dress with your hair up in a braid and you looked just like Katniss. I’m not usually one to fall based on looks, but I have to admit you had me right from the moment I saw you. I decided to pay attention to you, because I knew that if your personality was good, I wanted to take you out. I noticed how you wouldn’t take compliments, and you get really nervous in crowds of people. And you absolutely hate change. I knew that even before we were in your aunt’s old room. The way you looked at the furniture in the room with the piano, I could just tell. But I also noticed that you were funny and kind and you genuinely love people. You were, and still are, perfect. So yes, you mean a lot to me. And no, I will never forget about you.”
I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to respond to this. I think about how perfect he is, and I know I’m going to start crying. I bite my tongue before I say something stupid, and give him a light kiss. “I should go. Come to our room around 7 for dinner?” I say as I stand up. It’s only a little after four, which gives me plenty of time to get groceries and cook.
“I’ll be there.”
“Good. And Josh… you mean a lot to me, too.” With that, I’m out the door and walking down the hall to the suite I share with Jennifer. I realize how close I came to telling Josh I love him. We’ve only been dating for a few days. That would have been such a big mistake.
Jennifer is sitting on the couch watching something on TV when I get back. “I’m going to the store down the street to grab some stuff so I can make dinner. Any requests?”
“Pasta,” she says simply. “I’ve been craving Italian food all day.”
“Your wish is my command,” I say, giving a slight curtsy. She laughs and I grab a jacket before heading out the door. The few people who are outside get excited when I come out, until they realize I’m not a celebrity. I may be dating Josh Hutcherson, but that doesn’t make me famous. Most of these girls hate me for taking away their celebrity crush.
I probably should have asked Josh to borrow his car instead of trying to carry heavy groceries back to the hotel on my own. I got chicken to make the only dish my mother ever taught me to make, chicken parmesan. I’m not a very good cook, but this much I can handle. I also got pasta to suit Jennifer’s craving. I was going to bake fresh bread, but I decided I had to choose between homemade bread and homemade sauce. Bread from stores isn’t usually too bad, but the sauce is awful. I grab some tomatoes and spices for my secret recipe. My mom didn’t teach me this one; I came up with it on my own. I also buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, so I can check another thing off my list.
Back at the hotel, the doorman gets a concierge to help me with my bags. I went a little overboard, getting a special dessert and a ton of snacks. Growing up in a house that had full cabinets all the time has had a major effect on me. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to tip someone for helping you carry groceries, but I hand him some money anyway. Inside, I get to work. Jennifer offers to help, but I don’t let her. When she insists, I tell her she can set the table. The daisies I had gotten a few days ago are wilted, so I picked up a new bouquet of flowers on my way back. This time it’s a combination of all kinds of flowers. It’s perfect and smells beautiful.
I heat up the bread in the oven the way my mom always does when she doesn’t bake it fresh. This makes it seem like it was just made, even though it wasn’t. My sauce simmers in a pan, the pasta boils in a pot, and the chicken bakes in the oven. Soon enough, it’s all finished, and I arrange the food on each plate, placing a sprig of parsley on top to make it look fancy. I put each plate back at the three seats at the table, get some freshly grated cheese in a small bowl, and toss the salad (which, I must admit, came in a bag). I do add some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to make it better. By seven, everything is ready and Josh is knocking on the door. I quickly slip dessert in the oven. It has to cook while we eat.
“I brought sparkling cider,” he says, handing me the bottle. “I was going to bring champagne, but I try not to drink when I’m filming a movie. Plus, I don’t know if you drink, since we’re both technically underage.”
“I do, but only at my parents’ parties. They think that if they allow Damon and me to drink cocktails at their parties, then we won’t go out and get drunk without supervision. I guess it does work since neither of us do go out and get drunk.”
“Well, then I’m glad I got the cider,” he says, kissing me on the cheek. I tell him and Jennifer to have a seat while I pour the cider into some flutes from the cabinet. This hotel has every kind of dish and cup you could ever need.
We eat and keep up a casual conversation, and when we’re done I take dessert, a fresh apple pie that I made from scratch, out of the oven. We decide to sit on the couch and watch TV while we eat the pie topped with hefty dollops of vanilla ice cream. I take out my phone and text Nicole before it gets too late.
Hey! It’s Megan! I’ll be at your place to pick you up at 6:45am on Saturday, so be ready! Bring your autograph book and camera; you’ll be meeting a lot of people! See you then!
Okay! I can’t wait! Thank you sososososososo much!
I smile at her text. I’m not sure who is more excited: me or her.
I sit down next to Josh on the couch and we watch some reality show until it starts to get late. I have my sketch book on my lap and I start to work on the black version of the first dress. My Wednesday deadline is creeping up way too fast, and I only have one dress done. I need to start cracking down. At 10:30, Josh declares it’s time to for him to go.
“We have to be up early tomorrow,” he says as he heads for the door. He kisses my forehead and leaves. Jennifer goes to sleep shortly after, but I stay awake to finish my dress. Before I know it, 1am creeps around and I decide I should go to bed if I’m going to be of any use to anyone.
Friday goes by slowly, of course, since I’m extremely excited for Saturday to come. Demi and I finish the song we had been working on, putting our lyrics to music. Everyone is really tired, so we get a quick dinner and Josh and Jennifer go to sleep. I stay up late again, finishing two more dresses. This time I don’t call it a night until 2am.
I have a restless sleep for the first time in a long time, and I’m a little worried, but I quickly shake it off. It was probably just excitement. Nothing to worry about. I get up and take a shower before finding Jennifer in the living room. She’s on her third cup of coffee, at least. I can tell it’s going to be a long day for her.
“Hey, Megan, can I ask you something?” she says when I sit next to her on the couch.
“Of course. What’s up?”
“Why did you run off at lunch the other day?” I realize we hadn’t talk about anything in a while, and it makes me kind of sad.
“Oh, that. I was… freaking out, for lack of a better phrase.” She looks at me, silently asking for more explanation. It’s funny how I’ve learned to read her expressions even over such a short period of time. “I was thinking about how Liam and Miley have such an amazing relationship, and I started to wonder if Josh and I would ever be like them. And my thoughts just went downhill from there. We talked though, and it’s all good. I could use a girl talk later, though, if you’re up for it.”
“I’m always up for a girl talk. Tonight we will talk about whatever you need,” she says with a smile, putting her hand on my shoulder. “I should go get dressed. See you in a few. Call Josh and make sure he’s up.”
She goes to her room and I give Josh a call. He’s up, but barely. It’s clear our lives are very different. I’m used to getting up early every morning, even when I don’t have school. Josh and Jennifer only have to get up early when they’re doing a movie.
After my talk with Josh, I take out my planner and look at the things I didn’t do and cross off the things I did. I remind myself that I have to finish tasks or I’ll start to feel overwhelmed. I rewrite my list on a new page and add some things that I have to get done today.
I drive to set and Josh and Jennifer jump out before I put Nicole’s address into Josh’s GPS and drive to her house. I text her before I leave that I’ll be there soon, and then I’m on my way. I get there at 6:45am on the dot. I’m proud of my timeliness.
When I pick her up, she gets in the passenger seat. She sits as if she doesn’t want to touch anything. We talk a little, but I can tell she’s nervous, so I don’t pressure her. I know exactly how she’s feeling.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
I should explain how Nicole and I are so similar. I noticed it on the very first day I met her, although she tried really hard to hide it with her bracelets. She had scars on her wrists that showed what she would never say out loud. Nicole was a cutter.
I was, too, for many years.
It started when I was twelve. I had a best friend named Caroline. We had known each other since kindergarten. We were like sisters. Then Caroline and her parents were in a car accident that killed them all. A drunk driver ran through a red light and hit their car going at least 75 miles per hour. Her parents were both killed instantly, but Caroline ended up in the hospital. The doctors tried everything they could, but she died a few days later. I was holding her hand as the monitors stopped beeping a steady rhythm and her heart stopped. No twelve year old should ever have to watch someone die.
I fell into a deep depression when I lost Caroline. The only other best friend that I had was Cory. He tried to help, but he knew Caroline too, and he was broken. Not as broken as me, but he was still in bad shape. No one knew what to do to help me, and I didn’t know how to help myself.
I had heard about cutting in books and movies, and the night of Caroline’s funeral, I decided to give it a try. It felt so good that I kept going. It blocked out the pain I felt over losing Caroline. I was unable to sleep and I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything that I had once wanted to do. I was lost and I just felt so sad all the time. Cutting was a way for me to escape.
This went on for two years before anyone realized what was going on. At fourteen, I slipped up and my brother walked in on me taking a razor to my arm. He was only eleven at the time, and the look on his face completely broke my heart. It was a mix of terror and sadness and confusion, and I didn’t want to make anyone else feel like that. So I got help. I went to grief counseling to learn other ways to cope with losing Caroline. I was put on anti-depressants to help with my mood. I haven’t cut since.
Before I left for college, I sat my family down and told them I was going to stop taking the medication. They resisted at first, but finally decided that I could stop because I had been doing so well. I had to promise that I would start again if I felt the sadness creeping back.
This is the real reason why I look up to Demi Lovato so much. She talks about how if she had a role model, she would have been able to cope with her issues a lot better. I feel the same way. Like, if I had someone to tell me that I shouldn’t be hurting myself when I was twelve, it probably wouldn’t have gone on for as long as it did. Or maybe I never would have even started.
I want to be a role model to Nicole, or at least I want to try. I want to help her get passed whatever it is that makes her feel like she has to hurt herself. This is why I see myself in Nicole, not just because we have the same eye color and the same hair, but because we both struggle with self-harm.
When we get to the set, I can tell Nicole is about to explode with nerves and excitement. I lead her through the gates and her jaw drops just like mine did when I saw District 12 for the first time. The set designers should be very proud of themselves.
The first people to come say hi to us are Jennifer and Josh, who have been transformed into Katniss and Peeta. It’s funny how they basically have to trade hair colors for their roles. I ruffle Josh’s newly bleached hair and sigh. “This is going to take some getting used to. I guess I’ll just have to pretend I’m dating Peeta now. Not that I mind. Peeta’s pretty hot.” He laughs and moves his attention to Nicole, who is clearly trying to wrap her mind around everything that is happening.
“Come on, I want you to meet some people!” Josh tells her. Nicole and I follow him and he introduces her to every cast member. She gets pictures with them and has them sign her autograph book. I can tell she’s in heaven, and I smile as I watch her light up with every new face she meets. Josh is really great at making her feel welcome.
We get to watch the first half of filming before we have to go to the studio, and Nicole is intently following every camera, every character, and every cue. I find myself watching her more than I watch the actual filming. There’s just something amazing about watching a dream come true. I can’t wait until it’s finally time to go to the studio.
Lunch is served on set, so we eat with the cast. Then we have to go to the studio. Nicole still doesn’t know who is recording, but I know from our previous conversations that she’s going to be ecstatic when she finds out. In the car on the way to the studio, I turn on the radio and turn the volume up as high as it can go. Nicole looks at me and smiles as we start to sing along to every song that plays. In no time, we pull into the studio parking lot. When she sees the studio, her eyes widen. I had just told her we were taking a drive somewhere. I didn’t mention that it was to a studio.
“So, we’re here to hang out and sit in on the first studio recording for the Catching Fire soundtrack,” I tell her as I put the car in park. She doesn’t say a word. We get out and head for the door. I’ve only been here once, yesterday when I was writing with Demi. I don’t remember much about the place though.
“Are you nervous?” I ask her as we walk inside.
“Yeah! It’s my first time in a real studio with a real artist. I mean, I’ve done studio work with people before for school and stuff, but never anything like this. I’m scared out of my mind.”
“That makes me feel a lot better,” Nicole says with a smile. I can almost see the anxiety slowly leaving her body. I smile back.
The first person we see when we get inside the studio is James. He holds out his hand to Nicole, welcoming her, and leads us both to the booth. “Has Meg here told you anything about who is recording today?”
“She didn’t even tell me we were coming here!”
“Good,” he says, winking at me. He opens the door and Demi is there waiting for us. I see tears start to form in Nicole’s eyes. I take her hand and give it a light squeeze. I think that’s what friends are supposed to do, right?
Demi comes and gives me a hug, and then she does the same for Nicole, who has lost her ability to talk. And breathe.
“This is Nicole,” I tell her. “We met a few days ago and just kind of clicked. I figured she would enjoy sitting in on the first recording. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not!” Demi smiles at Nicole, and I know Demi sees the scars on her wrists. Nicole smiles back and seems to come to her senses.
“Can I have your autograph? And maybe a picture? Before we start…”
“Duh!” She signs Nicole’s autograph book in the same pink pen that I used. I notice she writes a little something extra, but I can’t read what it says. I take Nicole’s camera and snap a picture of the two of them, both of them with smiles that are almost so wide that they come off the edges of their faces. Then James interrupts and tells us it’s time to get to work.
Recording goes amazing, and we manage to get the entire song down in just a few hours. It helps to have a room full of seasoned professionals and an artist who has been recording for many years. Nicole and I sit back and watch. At one point, James asks for our opinion on a certain line, and I answer but Nicole stays quiet. When he says, “What do you think, Nicole?” her face lights up and she offers some input that is actually really helpful. James tells me it was a good idea to bring her along, the same way Francis had to Josh that first day. I let myself feel proud.
After recording, Nicole and I go back to the set to pick up Josh. We (meaning Josh, Jennifer, Liam, Miley, Nicole, and I) are all going out for a special celebratory dinner to congratulate the actors on their first day of filming. I invite Demi along and she accepts, which makes me really happy since I enjoy spending time with her and I know Nicole does, too.
I’m not surprised when we end up at my parents’ restaurant for dinner. I have to admit, the food is delicious, although I might be a little biased since I was involved in creating the menu. My parents tend to make everything a family matter, even the restaurants. We get a large table to seat all of us, and I know Nicole is feeling overwhelmed, so I take out my phone and send her a quick text.
Hey, we’re the least famous people at this table. If we unite, I’m sure we can take them.
She reads the message and smiles, some of the tenseness in her shoulders fades away. I’m nervous because this is the first time I’ve ever met Miley, another one of my major influences ever since Hannah Montana started years ago. I avoid telling her that, since I don’t want to make things awkward. I’m really happy to meet someone who helped me through so much just by being the star of a Disney Channel TV show.
The conversation is steady and upbeat, even though we’re all completely exhausted from the days spent on set and in the studio. Finally, after dessert, Josh calls for a toast.
“To starting something new,” he says, lifting his glass. “And to surviving the first of many long days of filming.”
Everyone cheers and taps glasses, letting the excitement flow from one another. “I’d like to propose another toast,” Demi says, and I’m surprised. “To Nicole and Megan, for joining us today and being amazing in every way. You are two beautiful women and I am so honored to have spent time with you both.” Everyone cheers and taps glasses once again and I have to hide the tears that have formed in my eyes. Demi has no idea how much this means to me, and how much it probably means to Nicole.
We take a group picture on Nicole’s camera so she can have something to remember the entire evening by, and she gets Miley’s autograph and a personal picture with her, and then Josh, Jennifer, and I are off to bring Nicole home and drive back to the hotel.
When we drop her off, I tell her to never hesitate to call or text me if she ever needs anything. She promises she will and I give her a tight hug before getting back in the car and heading to the hotel.
When we get inside, Josh kisses me goodnight and Jennifer and I go back to our room. We stay up late, having a long ice cream filled girl talk, before it’s time to go to bed. I sleep soundly, and when I wake up the next morning, I know my restlessness must have just been because of excitement, not foreshadowing anything bad.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
“It’s not really a big deal, Megs.”
“Yeah, to you. That guy couldn’t be bothered to pay me any attention at the pre-party, and now all of a sudden I’m important enough for his attention, because I’m dating you? It’s sick.”
This conversation was sparked by a press guy stopping me to ask about my relationship with Josh. I recognized him right away from the pre-filming cast and crew party. I realized I still didn’t know his name. He only acknowledged me when Jennifer told me I designed her dress. Today, he acted like we are and always have been best friends.
“We both knew this would happen, Megan. We talked about it, remember?”
Of course I remember. We had been dating for a month when Josh gave me “The Talk” about how the press would start to focus on me and try to get information on Josh and my relationship. It’s been a month since then and filming is halfway over.
“I know. It’s just annoying.”
“I know, baby. I’m sorry.” He kisses me before I can yell at him for calling me ‘baby.’ It’s one of the many endearments he has started to use over the course of two months. He knows I hate it but he uses it anyway. “I’ll see you later.”
I nod and get back in Josh’s car. I just dropped him off at the set and now I’m expected to be at the studio for our last soundtrack recording. The score is a whole other endeavor that we begin work on first thing tomorrow. Today, the focus is on our final band, and I couldn’t be more excited that it is Action Item. They have been on my radar for a few years now and when James asked me for suggestions as to who should be on the soundtrack, I dropped their name right away. We worked with tons of major artists and bands after Demi, but Action Item is the only other one that I have a deep connection with.
I pull into my designated parking space (James insisted I have one since I was driving Josh’s car to the studio every morning. It even says my name!) and head inside. I’ve gotten really close to everyone who works at the studio, so I greet them by their first names as I walk to the booth. Nicole, who has been welcomed to the studio every weekend since her amazing input during Demi’s recording session, is in the hallway outside the door. Action Item is already inside warming up, but they put down their instruments as soon as they see me walking in.
“Megan McAlliston, look at you,” Dan says, twirling me around. “I always knew you’d be a superstar.”
“I’m far from it, hun,” I tell him. Although I guess I kind of am, since I recorded the song that Max and I wrote and it’s going to be on the soundtrack. I don’t feel like a superstar, though. All of the guys introduce themselves to Nicole. “Are you guys ready to get to work?”
We spend all morning recording the track and when we’re done, the guys are starving.
“Can we take you out to lunch, Meg?” Anthony asks me when we’ve finished. Nicole had to leave about halfway through recording for her soccer game.
“No,” I say and his face sinks. “But you can let me take you out for lunch. Josh is going to meet us there.”
We meet Josh at my parents’ restaurant, which has become a regular place for us to get lunch since he can walk there from the set (although I guarantee he could get a limo or a private jet or a hovercraft to take him anywhere he wanted to go). Plus the fact that everyone loves the food. He’s still covered in make-up and I can tell he must have died today, since his hair is singed and his clothes are blackened.
“Has Finnick revived you yet?” I ask when we’re all seated. Josh has me about as close to him as he possibly can. The presence of five extra guys has him nervous.
“Of course not. We all know you specifically requested to be present for that scene. Weirdo.” He kisses me on my cheek by my jaw, right where he knows I like it.
“You two are too cute,” Mark says. “Stop it.” We all laugh, but I notice Anthony’s laugh sounds forced. I make a mental note to talk to him later.
We finish our food quickly since Josh has to get back to set. I hug Mark, Dan, David, Anthony, and Brian goodbye and they all shake hands with Josh before we head our separate ways. I won’t see them again until the premier.
On set, I get to see Finnick kiss Josh, which is really hot. Okay, so it isn’t exactly a kiss, but still. I enjoyed it. Once they’re done filming for the day, we go back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. As I’m doing my hair, my phone rings. It’s my dad.
“Hi, Megs,” my dad’s familiar voice says through the phone. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Busy,” I tell him, adjusting the phone. Josh is going to be here soon so I’m trying to finish my hair while I talk to my dad.
“Not too busy, I hope.” I can hear the concern in his voice.
“I’m fine, dad.”
“I know we agreed you could stay off your medication if you did well in school, but you can start taking it again if you feel like you need it. I could send your prescription to a drug store near you right now if you want. You could pick it up in the morning.”
“Dad, I swear, I’m fine. I’ve been sleeping regularly and keeping up with my work. The doctor said I would probably grow out of it as I got older.”
“Megan, depression doesn’t just disappear. You…You tried to kill yourself.” I hear that crack in his voice and I know he’s crying. I can hear my mom consoling him, which means I’m probably on speaker right now. I still address just my father, though, since he’s the one who called me.
“I wasn’t trying to kill myself,” I say in a whispered yell. Jennifer has no idea about my past, and I don’t know how much she can hear through the wall. “Caroline had just died. I was upset. Cutting was an escape. I haven’t done it in five years.”
“And then there was the eating thing. I’m worried about you, Megs.”
“The eating thing was different, Dad,” I say, still keeping my voice quiet. “We talked about this. You, mom, Damon, and I, we sat down before I left for school and we all agreed it was my decision. You have to trust me, daddy. I’m fine.”
“I do trust you, Megs. I just don’t ever want to lose you.”
“You’re never gonna lose me. I love you.”
My dad reluctantly hung up, but I lost any desire to finish getting ready. I put down my brush and sit on my bed, just in time to start crying. Jennifer finds me there, still crying, and immediately calls Josh. He comes over, half dressed, and sits next to me. Jennifer leans against the dresser in front of us.
“What happened?” he asks her as I bury my face in his shoulder. He isn’t wearing a shirt.
“I don’t know. She was on the phone with her dad and then after they hung up she just sat here. She hasn’t moved in like ten minutes.” I look up at her.
“How much did you hear?” I say.
“Not much…” she tells me, but I can see the concern on her face. I decide it’s time to tell them. I tell them all about Caroline and how her death affected me. They sit patiently, listening to the words I get out between heaving sobs.
When I was done, Josh just held me. I know they probably thought I was some crazy girl now, but I don’t care. I’m glad they finally know the real me.
“What about the food thing?” Jennifer asks. I just look at her. ”Maybe I heard more of the conversation than I let on…” I let out a laugh, which makes them both smile.
“I get nervous about eating in front of people. I used to make myself throw up after eating in public because I felt so nervous. It was like being bulimic, but not to lose weight. I don’t do that anymore either, though.”
Josh continues to hold me and Jennifer gets up to order pizza. It’s probably good, since I am in no shape to go out now. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see my eyes are bloodshot and my entire face is red. I laugh at how pathetic I am.
“I don’t want this to change anything,” I tell Jennifer and Josh when the pizza has arrived and we’re sitting at the table. I took another shower to fix myself up so I’m much more presentable now. “I’m not some crazy little girl. I went through a rough patch for a while, but I’m okay now.”
“Of course it won’t change anything, Meg,” Jennifer says. “We’ve gotten to know you so much over the last few months. It would take a lot to change that.”
I smile, thinking about how Jennifer has become one of my best friends, and Josh and I have gotten so close. I couldn’t be happier.
The next two months seem to fly by, between working in the studio to record the score for the scenes that have already been filmed and spending every available moment I have with Josh. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Nicole, not just in the studio, but out and about when she isn’t busy with school. I told her about my past and she told me about her problems. I feel like I’ve really been able to help her in a way that no one could help me. I get to watch a lot of the filming, too, but my favorite is the one where Jennifer is wearing the dress that I designed.
I finished all six drawings in time for my presentation, and the directors all voted on their favorite, kind of like how the Capitol voted on Cinna’s designs for Katniss’s wedding dress. Except in this case everyone knew it would turn into a black mockingjay gown during her interview, using movie magic of course. The dress didn’t actually burn the way it did in the book. Although I really wish I could have designed something like that.
The dress looked perfect on Jennifer. They decided that this scene would be the final one that they filmed, so it was especially bittersweet. After filming, we went out to dinner at my parents’ restaurant, just like we did after they finished the first day. Nicole and Demi even joined us, since they were there for the first one, and they deserved to be there for the last one.
When we were back at the hotel, everyone was sad, but everyone was happy at the same time. Nicholas had come back to LA and was going to spend the night in our hotel room. Jennifer promised it wouldn’t be awkward, but I knew it would. As we stepped off the elevator, Jennifer looked at me.
“You two say your goodnights. I’ll see you in a few.”
“Actually… I think I’m going to stay in Josh’s room tonight,” I tell her before looking at Josh. “If that’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay,” he says with a smile.
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow before you leave.” Jennifer and Nicholas head to our room (although I guess it’s their room, since we’re all leaving tomorrow, and they’re using it tonight).
Josh leads me into his room and as soon as the door is closed I push him against it, kissing him deeply. His hands move up my shirt and hold my back. Chills run up my spine. I take his hand, breaking apart our kiss, and leading him to his bedroom. I push him down on his bed and straddle him.
“This is your congratulations for finishing yet another movie,” I say in the most seductive voice I can muster up. I unbutton my blouse, revealing a red lace bra. I hear Josh try to hide a groan.
“Are you sure about this, Megs?” he asks me. I can tell he wants me to say yes. Instead, I answer with a kiss, only breaking it to lift his shirt over his head. That’s all he needs to attack my neck with kisses and nibbles as he pushes my blouse off my shoulders.
In no time he has my bra unclasped and thrown aside and he starts to work his mouth around my bare breasts, taking extra care to suck on my nipples. I make barely audible sounds telling him to keep going. When I can’t take it anymore, I unbuckle his belt and unbutton his pants, slipping them off his legs. He does the same with mine, revealing flimsy panties that match my bra. I wore them both especially for tonight. He groans again.
“Josh,” I say, begging him to do something. I make the next move, pulling down his boxers, and he follows suit, removing my panties.
The rest, well, I’m sure you can figure it out. We were safe, of course, and Josh was so nice. He did everything he could to make my first time perfect. And I must say: he succeeded.
The next day, I had to catch a flight back to Connecticut. I was sad that I had to leave so soon, but I had a lot to do to get ready for my next semester of college, so I had to get back as soon as possible. I wanted Josh to come with me, but I knew he couldn’t. There was a lot for him to do still in LA, and this is his home, I couldn’t very well ask him to leave it, even for a little while.
He came to the airport to see me off. We sat together until an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave. He gave me a long, slow kiss, and when he pulled away, he looked me straight in the eyes. I knew nothing good was about to happen.
“Listen, Megan… we need to talk.”
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
“This summer has been great,” Josh starts. I want to tell him to stop. I don’t want to hear what he has to say. I stay quiet. “I’ve had a lot of fun. Spending time with you was incredible. But I don’t think we should stay together. Long distance relationships are hard. We’ll probably break up after a week or two anyway, so really this is just saving time. It was a great summer fling, but… it’s over. I’m sorry.
There’s so much I want to say to him. So many words I want to let spill out. I want to beg him to change his mind. I want to remind him about that day when he told me I wasn’t just half of a summer romance. That he cared about me. Instead, I say, “Okay.” That isn’t enough. I need more closure than this one word. I look him dead in the eyes, hiding all of the pain I’m feeling and holding in the tears that are about to fall, and say, “Goodbye, Josh.”
As if on cue, the intercom blares out my gate number. I gather my things and turn around, walking away from Josh Hutcherson and everything I thought we shared this summer. I wait for him to follow me, to tell me he’s sorry and he doesn’t want me to leave. He doesn’t.
I get a row to myself on the plane, and as soon as I’m settled in, I let myself start to cry. I numbly follow the instructions given by the flight attendants and we take off. I’m too upset to be afraid. My mind races and I don’t bother trying to stop it.
I go back to a night about a month ago. Josh took me back to the beach where we had our first date. He prepared a simple picnic and we sat wrapped up in each other, trying to spot a few stars. The sky was clear and the moon was full. It was perfect. Suddenly, he looked at me. I took in every shade of green and brown in his hazel eyes. He kisses me very lightly, letting it linger. As he pulls away, he whispers something barely audible, but I could hear him. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
If I wasn’t on a plane, I would scream and throw things and let myself get angry. But I am on a plane, so I have to hold it together. No one is paying any attention to the emotional girl sitting alone, but I wipe my eyes anyway and try to compose myself. I let my mind take me back to another memory from even earlier than the last one.
Jennifer and I were sitting on my bed eating ice cream after the first day of filming. We had a movie on in the background, but neither of us was paying any attention. Instead, we talked. Jennifer told me about Nicholas and how much she loves him. She told me about how they met and how she immediately fell for him. Looking at her, I saw the happiest girl in the world. I remember smiling, as if her happiness was contagious. After gushing about her relationship, Jennifer quickly shifted the focus to me. I told her about my fears that I was just Josh’s flavor of the summer. I told her everything that I’ve been trying to ignore.
“I know it’s only been a few days, but I feel like I love him,” I admit to her, and myself. “There’s just something about how I feel when I’m with him. The way his arms hold me and make me feel strong. I’ve never felt like this before. Am I totally crazy? I just want something that lasts, you know? I want to mean something. He told me that I mean a lot to him, and I believe him. I’m just afraid that my heart is falling too fast.”
“You’re not crazy, Megan. You two are perfect together. He’ll never hurt you. The heart wants what the heart wants. I know that’s really cliché, but we kind of live clichés in Hollywood. Don’t be afraid to fall in love.”
I remember that conversation so vividly, as if Jennifer is sitting next to me right now. I wonder if Jennifer knows that Josh and I are over. I wonder if she was ever even my friend. I make a mental note to stay single forever and stop trying to make new friends, and then I manage to get myself to fall asleep for the rest of the flight. My dreams are filled with more memories of Josh and me, every time he made me feel special, including last night. They may have been good memories just a couple of hours ago, but now they’re just nightmares that haunt me in my sleep.
When we land, I step off the plane and sure enough there are cameras waiting for me. I take a breath. Josh works fast.
The press people ask me why Josh and I broke up. I could make him look like the jerk I think he is, but I don’t want to hurt him. Not the way he hurt me. I’m glad I took that nap because my eyes are no longer red and puffy from crying. I put on the most sincere smile I can manage.
“We decided it would be easier to break it off, with me here and him in California. There are no hard feelings.” My voice remains calm and even, making what I say seem so true. This, of course, isn’t the story the press wants. They keep pestering me for more information, but my family shows up to take me home so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.
My parents and my brother are worried about me, but I assure them I’m fine. I assure myself, too.
Life continues for me as it always did. I still work with James on the soundtrack and score while I juggle my college course load. By early December, the soundtrack is released including the song that Max and I recorded as well as many more that I helped write. I enjoy my five minutes of fame that doesn’t involve Josh for the first time in my life. People like me for me, not because I have a celebrity boyfriend. Well, I had a celebrity boyfriend. If you could even call him my boyfriend. I’m still not really sure what we were. If we were ever anything. I milk my own celebrity status for everything it’s worth.
After Christmas and New Year’s, I go back to California for the last two weeks of my winter break to do some work with James on a few music videos. He’s trying to expand his expertise to more than just movie scores and soundtracks. He also invites me to join him full time this summer and forever after as a paid employee. I accept graciously, even though it means working on Mockingjay. I’ve managed to avoid Josh since that day at the airport, staying away from every place in California that I know he spends time. I found out after my first week in LA that he actually was in Kentucky spending time with his family until the beginning of February. Maybe avoiding him will be easier than I thought.
I’m not unhappy or depressed like my family thinks I should be. I’m taking everything with a kind of poise that I didn’t know I had. Honestly, I’m just pretending that this summer never happened. Except for the parts where I met Nicole, who I still keep in touch with, and all of the incredible artists I got to work with for the soundtrack. Other than that, I definitely just imagined it all. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Jennifer called me when she found out I’d be going to California in December. I thought about ignoring her call, but I still didn’t know how much of our friendship had been real, so I answered. We talked and she genuinely sounded like she was sorry about how everything turned out for me. We spent some time together when we were both free, but there was an awkward air between us since she is still friends with Josh and they’re still filming another movie together. I don’t ignore her texts or calls when they come, though. Even if we can’t be friends, it’s still nice to have some acquaintances in California.
After this summer, I won’t be returning to Connecticut. I mean, of course I’ll come back for holidays and to visit my family, but I’m not going to be living there. I’m finishing my degree in California and getting an apartment so that I’m closer to where I need to be for my new job. My parents protested, of course, because they think my emotional state is too fragile for a change this big. I only get them to agree when I promise to keep my running prescription for anti-depressants and tell them I’ll start taking them again if I feel overwhelmed. The biggest struggle is going to be living in the same state as Josh. I make sure my apartment is as far away from his as it can be without going too far away from James’s studio. At least we won’t be neighbors.
Until I officially move, though, there are still a few things I have to deal with. Finishing my second semester of college is obviously extremely important. But before I can do that I have to survive spring break. Which just so happens to be when the Catching Fire premier is happening in New York City.
Anthony Li, the guitar player of Action Item, asked me to be his date for the premier. He and the rest of the band are all really excited to be a part of their first red carpet. I am, too. Apparently Anthony was thrilled when he found out Josh and I broke up. I remember about how I forgot to ask him why his laugh was so fake back at lunch that day months ago. I guess I have my answer.
Josh is obviously going to be at the premier. I don’t want to see him, but it’s inevitable that we’ll be involved in some kind of press together. The world has this horrible way of being cruel like that.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
“Megan, this just came for you in the mail,” Damon says as he walks into my room, placing a large box on my bed. It’s the morning of the premier, and I’ve been avoiding all of my responsibilities until the last possible second. “What is it?”
“How should I know?” I tell him, starting to open the box. “It doesn’t even say who it’s from.”
I get the box open and move the tissue paper, and I gasp as my heart sinks. It’s the dress. My dress. The one from the back of my sketch book, the one that I’ve only shown to two people in the entire world: Damon and Josh.
“That’s…” Damon starts, and I just nod. There’s a note in the box. I pick it up and read it.
Every princess deserves the perfect dress. I guess you finally have an occasion important enough to wear this one. I hope it’s up to your expectations.
“Is that from..?” Damon doesn’t have to finish his sentence, because he knows I know who he’s talking about.
“Yes. I can’t believe he… I feel like Blair. In that episode of Gossip Girl where she’s going to prom and Chuck gets her the special dress she’s always dreamed of, even though she wasn’t going to prom with him. But Chuck did it because he loved Blair.”
“Well, I’ve always thought you were like Blair. You are a bitch, just like her.” I shoot him a look. “Relax, I’m kidding, sis! Wow, tough crowd.” We both start to laugh.
“Why would he do this, Damon?” I ask when we grow silent.
“Because he loves you, Megs.”
“No, he doesn’t. He made that very clear at the end of the summer. He’s probably just being nice. Maybe he thinks this will make up for him breaking my heart. Or maybe he planned this before he broke up with me.” I want to believe that Damon is right, that this dress is some token of his love and tonight at the premier he will drop to his knees and beg me to come back to him. This is not a movie, though, or some TV series, and I am not the kind of girl that has things like that happen to her. I’m no Blair Waldorf.
“You’re going to the premier with Anthony, right?”
“But you don’t love him.”
“I… no. I don’t love him,” I tell Damon. I have to be honest with my little brother. The only reason I said yes when Anthony asked me to be his date to the premier was because I was desperate. I certainly didn’t want to show up alone. Josh probably has someone else lined up to take my place next to him on the red carpet.
“Do you still love Josh?” I look at him for a moment, and I see the innocence that my brother has always kept in his blue eyes. If you look at us, you would never know we were related, since his hair is much lighter than mine and his face takes after our mother while mine takes after our father. But our eyes are exactly the same. Unmistakably blue.
“Yes,” I say as I start to cry. Damon pulls me into a hug and rubs my back. I think about how it shouldn’t be this way. He’s my baby brother, I should be the one who hugs him and tells him it’s going to be okay. I let him console me anyway.
Damon pulls away shortly after. “You have to get ready, Megs. You’re meeting Anthony in New York City in a few hours, and it takes a couple of hours to get there.”
I give him a huge hug and kiss the top of his head. “I love you, Damon. You’re growing up into an incredible young man.” He just smiles, tells me he loves me too, and leaves to let me get dressed.
I hold the dress in my hands, trying to prove to myself that it is actually real. It is real and it is perfect. I don’t know how Josh got my sketch or who he sent it to, but he did a great job. I lay it out on my bed and go to take a shower.
It doesn’t take long for me to dry my hair and style it with light curls. I make myself up to look like the superstar I’m supposed to pretend to be tonight and walk into my castle, trying to decide which shoes and accessories to wear with this dress. I’ve known exactly how the outfit would look, but I still stand inside staring at my collection of crowns and tiaras. I think about the time Jennifer and Josh came to my house and stood in this very spot. I think about how much I miss them both. I think about how I want Josh to love me.
I pick up the tiara that I put on the day Josh and Jennifer were here. It isn’t the one that I originally imagined for this dress, but it still matches perfectly. I change into the dress, slip on the gloves, buckle the belt in the back, and lightly place the tiara on my head. I really feel like a princess. I have to force myself not to cry so I don’t ruin the make-up I spent so much time on.
I finish getting ready just in time, since the limo that has been sent for me (it’s not a stretch limo. I didn’t want a limo at all, but James insisted I arrive in style, so we compromised on this) arrives right after I slip on my heels.
My mom insists on taking pictures of me before my first red carpet event. I invited her and my dad and Damon, but they all said this was my night and they didn’t want to take any of the spotlight off of me. I didn’t mention that it isn’t really my night, it’s Josh, Jennifer, and Liam’s night, because they all look so proud of me and it feels good.
I climb into the back of the limo-car and we’re on our way. We arrive in the city after two hours, hardly hitting any traffic. Anthony and the rest of Action Item are already there, so I walk over to them immediately. James told me I could walk in with them, but I had to find him after the movie to do some interviews. Anthony kisses me on the cheek and tells me how great I look. I fake a smile and tell him he looks good, too, which isn’t a lie because he really does look good. I search for Josh, even though I know I won’t see him and I’m not really sure I want to. He isn’t here yet. Luckily I’m inside before he arrives. Unluckily, some horrible person decided it would be funny to seat us next to each other. Maybe the seating chart was made when we were still together. I know that’s not true, but I like to think the best of people. I don’t want to believe that there’s someone who is honestly willing to make my night a living hell.
Something comes over me and I find myself holding Anthony’s hand, leaning on his shoulder, and getting as close to him as I possibly can without sitting on his lap while the movie plays. He’s oblivious to the fact that I’m obviously only trying to make Josh jealous. Apparently he’s been in love with me for a long time. I try to love him, too.
Josh doesn’t speak one word to me before the movie, during it, or after. He doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that I am alive. We do end up having some press interviews together with the rest of the cast and crew, but there’s so many of us that no one pays attention to the awkwardness between us. I stand on one end of the group and he stands at the other. It’s like we’re strangers. I try to forget the fact that we’ve seen each other naked.
When everything is said and done, there’s a party that I’m invited to, but I politely decline and go out to a simple celebratory dinner with Action Item. I certainly don’t need to be at a party where alcohol is flowing since I know Josh will be drinking now that the movie is over, and I won’t be able to say no to a glass of champagne (or twenty) with him around.
After dinner, which is also full of alcohol, but I don’t drink since I’m underage and we are in public, Anthony kisses me on the lips and helps me into my limo. I don’t wait long after the door is closed to start crying. I am so glad I’m moving to California in a few weeks.
When I get home, my parents are asleep, but Damon has been waiting up for me. He wraps me in a tight hug and gets me to bed. Somehow he knew that I would need him to lean on. It’s going to be so hard to leave him in Connecticut when I move. He loves planes, though, so I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to come visit me. He already has plans to spend a couple of weeks with me after he’s done with school for the year. I change into my pajamas, not bothering to wash off my make-up or brush my hair, and Damon tucks me in.
The rest of the semester flies by since I don’t have any stress other than finals and school work. As soon as I take my last exam, I grab my bags, pack up my car, and drive home for the night. The following morning, I’m boarding a plane to California. The belongings that I can’t fit into a few suit cases will follow me in boxes shortly after.
I hop off the plane in LA (I actually wore a cardigan this time, so that I can say I really feel like Miley) and catch a taxi to my new apartment. “Welcome home,” I whisper to the bare walls as I walk through the door.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
The day after I got to California, production started for Mockingjay. It was pretty much the same as Catching Fire, the parties, the press, the script readings, and the recording. The only difference is that I’m officially a member of the team now. Well, plus there’s the fact that last time around, I was dating one of the stars. I try to ignore that difference, though.
After a week, I still haven’t had to talk to Josh once. It hasn’t been easy, since he’s in almost every meeting and he’s a pretty important part of the movie, even though he isn’t actually in it for the first half. Luckily, I usually have to stay and talk to one of the directors or producers after every meeting, and he has to leave to do something celebrity related. Then during filming, I’m either too busy taking notes on where to add music, or stuck in the studio recording songs for the soundtrack. Maybe I’ll be able to avoid him for the length of the filming. I wish I was that lucky.
I’m sitting on the edge of a fountain in front of the lot where filming has been taking place. The fountain doesn’t really have any use, it isn’t even part of any movie sets, it’s just kind of there. I like to sit on the wall and eat my lunch or draw in my sketch book, though, so it doesn’t feel lonely. Or maybe it’s so I don’t feel lonely. I’ve lost track. I make a mental note to ignore my old mental note about not making friends. I could really use someone in California who is on my side.
I have my sketch book open and I’m focused on a new dress that will be used in the next music video James and I are working on. It’s coming together perfectly when I notice a reflection in the water. I know who it is. I don’t bother looking up. Maybe if I ignore him he’ll go away. Oh wait, I remember, I’m not lucky. Not many good things have happened to me of late.
“Where’s your boyfriend? I figured he would be here with you,” I hear Josh say. His voice is close, which means he must be right next to me. I hear a hint of anger in his statement. I’m the one who should be angry. He broke up with me, remember?
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” I tell him nonchalantly. Honestly, I want him to feel like a jerk. He coughs, clearly embarrassed. I smile, pleased with myself. I’m sure he’s referring to Anthony, who I have strategically avoided since he kissed me after the premier. He is certainly not my boyfriend.
“You uh, you don’t?”
“Nope.” I still haven’t looked up from my sketch book. I feel him sit next to me, and my entire body tenses up as if on cue. I can smell his familiar cologne and I start to miss him, the way I always do when he crosses my mind. I have to tell myself I’m not supposed to miss him because he hurt me. I do miss him, though, and I hate myself for it.
“Listen,” he starts and I know a monologue is coming. I sense it will be a little better than the last time I heard him make a huge speech. “I made a mistake last year, Megan. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until it was too late. I should have gone to Connecticut. I should have talked to you at the premier. I should have done more than just send you that dress. I should have treated you better. I should have done a lot of things. But I didn’t, and I am so sorry. I couldn’t find the right words and every time I thought I was close to having the courage, I saw you talking to someone else and you seemed so happy that I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the moment. But Megan, I still love you. I loved you last year and I loved you at the premier and I love you now.” So, he thought I looked happy? Maybe I’m a better actress than I thought.
“I love you, too,” I say simply. I’m trying to hide all of the emotions building up inside me. My pencil marks start to get darker, which is bad since it’s supposed to be a light and happy spring dress. I try to ease up, but I never stop working on my sketch. Josh has about as much of my attention as he deserves at this point.
“Then let’s give it another try, Meg,” he says, leaning in to kiss me. It’s hard, but I pull back. Of course I want to kiss him. Of course he would think that he could just come and talk to me and I would forgive him. Of course he still loves me. Of course I still love him. But of course I still pull back.
“No, Josh. I love you, yes, but you broke my heart. You told me that I wasn’t just a summer fling. You told me that I meant a lot to you. And then you went and took it all back. At the airport, right before I boarded my plane back to Connecticut. You know what makes it even worse, though? The fact that you broke up with me the morning after we had sex for the first time. You knew how important it was that I make sure I wasn’t just giving away my virginity to someone who didn’t care, but you promised that it wasn’t the case. I should have known better. So yes, I still love you, and if I’m being honest, I probably always will. But we can’t try again. You had your chance and you blew it. I’m sorry.”
And that was it. I packed up my things and walked away. I never looked back. The tears flowed from my eyes, but I never looked back.
What hurts the most is that Josh didn’t chase after me. He didn’t try to talk to me again over the four months we were both on set. He didn’t talk to me at the Mockingjay premier. He didn’t do anything. If he had, I would have changed my mind. I would have given him another chance. But he didn’t. And that confirmed what I always knew in my heart.
I never meant anything to him.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
Epilogue – Megan’s POV
I live in a big house now, on the beach in California. My window opens to a balcony that hovers over the yellow sand. The ocean breeze blows right into my room. I have a smaller house in Connecticut, too, for when we want to take the kids to see my family.
I got married to an amazing man. We’re raising three amazing children, two boys and a girl. The boys are named Tyler and Logan, the girl is named Penelope. Every night I read them a story and kiss them on the forehead, the way my mother always did. Then I lie in bed next to my husband and tell him I love him and I tell myself I mean it. But I always go back to a conversation I had with Damon in my bedroom years ago, and I know it isn’t true.
“You’re going to the premier with Anthony, right?”
“But you don’t love him.”
“I…no. I don’t love him.”
It was true then and it’s true now. I love him to a point, but not in the way he deserves to be loved. I married him because I thought I might be able to fall in love with him. He moved to California not long after I did to pursue his career with Action Item. We spent a lot of time together, and when he asked me out, I said yes. I thought that if I forced myself to love him, I might forget that I don’t. I haven’t forgotten. He loves me, though, and he loves our children. I’m blessed to have someone as wonderful as him, even though I certainly don’t deserve him.
Every once in a while, when I’m alone, I’ll pull out my old DVD of Catching Fire, just to see the only man I have ever truly loved, back when I thought he loved me too.
Josh Hutcherson is married now with children of his own. I still catch a glimpse of him every once in a while, as the lead of a movie that I’m doing the soundtrack for, or on a red carpet. When our eyes meet, my heart breaks all over again as I remember the day he didn’t follow me. As I remember every day since. I search his eyes for any sign of pain or regret, but I see nothing but hazel and happiness. I’m just another girl to him.
But to me he’s the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn. He’s the thing that will always remain in my heart. He’s the wonder I’ll always have. What could have been?
Every night before I fall asleep, only one thought crosses my mind.
I wish he had chased after me.
Life, Love, and Learning
A Josh Hutcherson Fanfiction
Epilogue – Josh’s POV
I’m successful. I guess you can say that, if you count a great job but a miserable life being successful. I have houses all over the world, two beautiful children that I couldn’t be more proud of, and an amazing wife. But I can’t say that I’m happy. Well, I could, but it would be a lie.
There isn’t a day when I don’t think about Megan. I think about how she walked away from me and never looked back. I think about how I should have gone after her. I think about how I should stop thinking about her.
I know she married Anthony. I know she looks so happy when I see her on set or on the red carpet. I know that she probably forgot about me.
Whenever I see her, I try to put up a wall so she won’t know how much I miss her. I hurt her so badly. I don’t deserve to miss her. She doesn’t deserve to be hurt by me again.
I saw her daughter the other day, walking down the boardwalk of the beach where I was spending time with my kids. It’s amazing how much she looks like her mother. They have the same blue eyes and dark hair. It hurt to see her.
Everything reminds me of Megan. I see her in the people around me, I hear her in the music on the radio, and I feel her in the breeze that she loved so much.
I hear our last conversation in my mind, even all these years later. The hurt that I could hear in her voice, no matter how hard she tried to hide it. The way she wouldn’t even look at me.
I tuck in my kids for bed every night, giving them each a kiss on the forehead and reading them a story. I lie next to my wife and tell her I love her and tell myself that I mean it. I wonder how I let my life end up this way.
Every night before I fall asleep, only one thought crosses my mind.
I wish I had chased after her.