Actor Chris Evans gets swept up in the fun and excitement at his panel during Wizard World Con in New Orleans
Warnings: None, FLUFF
Word Count: 2300
For the first part to this three-part story series, read “Double Trouble”
The energy in the room is infectious and Marvel crew begins to feed off of it as the fan question part of the panel begins. Chris inwardly groans at the basic questions he gets asked every time, “Cap or Johnny?” “What superpower would you like to have?” “Briefs of Boxers?” Hell, he thinks, it might get interesting if someone DID ask that!
He starts to tune out the crowd and can’t stop chatting with Jeremy Renner, who is seated on his right. Jeremy keeps telling him stories from last night that he somehow missed. He’s enjoyed getting time to catch up with his friends, and looks down the line, glad that it’s Frank Grillo getting all the attention this morning. Chris keeps trying to deflect from himself, knowing he didn’t follow Josh’s directive last night of being sober. There was tequila involved. And a hot, red headed woman. Deadly combination.
He can’t see the fans lined up to ask questions, due to the lighting on the stage, so he has a slight jolt when the next voice has a slight Southern drawl, as the woman says, “Hi, Chris! Everyone in this room thinks it’s time for you to settle down-“ light laughter flitters through the room “- And I think I’m perfect for you! There’s no speed dating for Wizard Con this weekend, but I wondered if you wanted to get a cup of coffee later?!”
Chris shields his eyes from the light, and squints in the direction of the voice. It’s Emery’s friend from college that he met last night, putting him on the spot. They had been sharing stories about the times the girls had tried speed dating at cons. Now it looks like she wants to throw him under the bus. Nice.
“Aw, you know, I’m sure you are perfect, and I’d love to say yes, but I’ve got scheduled photo ops this afternoon, and it wouldn’t be fair to all these other beautiful ladies… However,” he pauses, and taps his fingers against the top of his water bottle, “Your request actually fits with a recent discussion I had, and since you all are a captive audience…” he pauses as a ripple of laughter breaks across the room. “Let me ask a question to the room.”
What the hell am I doing? It’s like word vomit and I can’t stop, he thinks to himself, taking a deep breath. “You all are my fans, and you say you want to see me happy. Which is better? Do you want me dating some young starlet the publicists set me up with?” Chris pauses for dramatic effect as the auditorium fills with booing and hissing. “Or someone real, someone like you?” He points to the crowd. “You know? The girl always in the Cap hoodie and the Avengers bedsheets in the guestroom she claims are for when her nephew visits.”
Cheers and catcalls fill the auditorium, and he can see the fans curiously looking around the room. One of the Russo brothers takes control of the room again, shushing the crowd, and says, “Gee, Chris, that sounds pretty specific… Is there something you wish to share here, in this room with us, your closest friends?”
A random voice in the crowd calls out, “Chris- I’m all real! I’m available!”
What the hell am I doing?! “Aw, sweetheart, thanks, but…” Chris pauses nervously and wipes his fingertip across his eyebrow twice. He smiles to himself, remembering he told Emery this morning that action during the panel that would be his signal to her that he loves her. He knows somewhere in that room, she’s silently having an anxiety attack right now and he can’t help her because he’s about to have his own, but it’s too late to stop now…
“I’m taken, Captain America is off the market.”
The room explodes. Shouts of “What?,” “Who is she?,” “Seriously?!” and “Good for you!” can be heard across the room. There are cheers and laughter, and quite possibly even crying.
He sees his assistant and good friend, Josh, in the side wings, smiling and shaking his head. Josh gives his friend a “thumbs up” gesture. From somewhere, a loud crash is also heard, and the sound helps to settle the room, along with Frank addressing the crowd. “Settle, settle… Let’s give him a chance to talk, guys.”
“That loud crash? That’s probably her, fainting. I wasn’t planning to go public. You may never see me again. She might just kill me later today… Sorry, babe!” Chris laughs, and the love showing on his face is enough to bring the room to a standstill.
As Chris looks down the line, he sees the same look of shock on his friends’ faces. They also can’t believe what he’s just revealed. Anthony Mackie, who had a good time getting to know Emery last night asks the question the whole room wants to know: “So, she’s here now?”
Chris laughs, “Oh, my God, yes. She’s such a nerd! She had tickets to be here for this Con before we met, before I even signed on to be here!”
Chris shifts a bit uncomfortably in his seat. He still isn’t sure where he’s going with this, or why he decided this, of all places, was the place to announce he’s no longer available, but it’s done now. Why am I wearing a sweater under these damn stage lights? It’s too hot in here.
“Hold on,” the other Russo brother says as he motions to his earpiece. “Okay, I’m being directed to take back control and ask the questions. Don’t feel like you have to tell us everything, but inquiring minds want to know-“ laughter titters across the room at the mention of the famous tabloid tag line. “-How did you meet this special nerd girl?”
“Shit.” Chris covers his face with his hands, almost hiding from embarrassment. “Oops! I cursed, sorry,” he continues, whispering into the microphone, “Online dating,” he confesses.
Over the roar of the crowd, Jeremy turns to him with a look of utter disbelief on his face and says, “Let me get this straight. Captain Frickin’ America resorted to online dating?! You didn’t tell us that last night! When did this happen?”
A fan from the crowd calls out “Sign me up! Is Hiddleston still available?” Another round of laughter crosses the room.
“Scott. Do I have to say more?” He laughs himself and shakes his head, rubbing his eyebrow again. He hopes Emery isn’t mad. The more he talks about her, he wants the room to love her as much as he does. He feels his nerves finally calm for the first time all day. “My charming brother figured if I had to be in the same place from June to November filming two movies, that maybe I should try to meet people. I didn’t use my name or my photo. I had a few dates. I even got stood up! Two of the women didn’t know who I was… This girl? We talked for several weeks online before we even talked on the phone.”
“What did she do when she found it was Chris Evans? Did you know she was a fan?” Jeremy prompts Chris to tell more of the story.
“I had no idea she was a HUGE Captain America fan. She appeared to be perfectly normal, and I can say that because I say it to her all the time,” he laughs, and the crowd laughs with him. “She’s a crazy, adorable fangirl, just like you guys!” (The crowd cheers!) “When we first talked on the phone and I accidently said my name- she hung up on me! She thought it was a joke!”
“Really? She did? Then what?” -interrupts Anthony with his own questions.
“We met, and she nearly killed me in her car. She’s a horrible driver. And I’ve been incredibly happy ever since.” Chris can almost picture her in his mind, wanting to shout out and defend that she actually has a perfect driving record; she just has a lead foot.
“She’s an amazing girl, and I had so much fun with her last night,” Anthony tells the crowd, sensing how important it is to Chris that the fans accept her as a part of his life. He leans forward and looks down at his friend, asking, “What did her profile say? What made you pick her?”
Chris smiles and thinks back. “I don’t know. I just read it and thought, “I want to know her.” Her smile… Her connection to her family and community… Her hair reminded me of a Disney princess-“ He pauses when the auditorium gives a collective “aaaawwww.” “And the way she wrote about her dog… I just read it, and didn’t feel lonely any more. That’s something that’s hard to find on a film set sometimes.”
Someone in the crowd shouts out, “What was your first date?!”
Chris smiles, and shakes his head. He really hopes Emery isn’t going to kill him later. “We ate Chinese at her house, hung out with her dog, and sat, talking until 2 am.”
Frank is also full of smiles for his friend. He missed the fun last night, so this is news to him. He asks, “Have you met her family?”
Chris nods yes, “They’re just as crazy as she is. Her younger brother? He had a light saber duel at his wedding, her niece and I watched Frozen a million times over break, and her dad kicked my ass on the golf course last week.”
His charming friend Hayley Atwell chimes in. “Well, I think she’s positively adorable, and perfect for you! How does Mama Lisa feel about your new girlfriend?” The crowd erupts with laughter again at the look on Chris’s face.
“Hayley? Don’t cause me trouble,” he scolds.
“Just answer the question- You, I’ll embarrass, but not her. I like her. She’s got spunk!” Haley’s voice echoes through the microphone.
Chris pauses, rubbing his eyebrow a third time, almost like it’s become an invisible connection to Emery. His connection to help keep her grounded so she doesn’t freak out about him outing them as a couple. “Well, we all know my mother is…. Protective? Is that the right word?” He pauses while the room laughs along with him. “Really? I think if I did anything to cause heart ache to my new girl in any way, my mother would bury me in the back yard. And I’m her favorite son, so that’s saying a lot!”
The crowd guffaws when they see the camera pan to Scott on the sidelines with a pouty look on his face, mouthing the words, “It’s true, it’s true.”
Anthony interjects again, saying, “Man, your face is lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve! It shows all over your face, you’ve got it bad!”
“I’m bubbling! I’m a mess. We spent three weeks together over the holidays; it killed me to say goodbye Sunday when she had to go back to work. These last 4 and half days have been miserable, and I’ve been bored and lonely, so yeah, I guess I’m in deep,” he blushes at his confession.
The older Russo brother presses on his earpiece again. “I’m supposed to ask if she went to Disney with you?”
Chris pauses again, looking around the room, and a flash of anger crosses his face. The front row probably saw it and anyone with a good zoom on their camera caught it. “Disney is a special place for me and my family. It’s always reminded me of my childhood and where I came from… A lot of really good memories over the years… Yes, she was there with us… Even though my privacy wasn’t respected, thankfully I never saw her in any of those damn photos that appeared on line.” He pauses to let his words sink in. He’s keeping his anger just under the surface, but his hand in a tight fist resting on his thigh shows his true feelings.
“She really is just like every one of you in this room. She would defend her fandom to the end of the earth. She stands in line for photo ops, she looks damn cute in cosplay… God, when I say it out loud it does sound crazy, but I met a fangirl online and I fell in love! Ugh, I’m gushing again,” he blushes and drops his head before looking back up at the crowd. “But she has her own life, and a job. Just because she’s dating a celebrity, it doesn’t mean she should have to give up her private moments. I would hope that my fans, my friends in this room, would respect me enough to extend the same courtesy to her. I want you all, here in this room, and watching on the live feed, to help me take care of her. I am crazy about this woman; she’s real, and she’s exactly what I didn’t know I needed.”
Cheers break out through the crowd again and applause ripples across the room, as the audience can see a crew hand signaling to wrap things up.
A moderator calls over the noise, and concludes by saying, “Well, Chris Evans, Captain America, hopefully this announcement doesn’t cause a civil war among the fandom, but if the response in this room is any indication of how your fans feel about you and your confession here today, I don’t think you and your girl have anything to worry about!”
After a few group photos and waves to the auditorium Chris Evans exits the stage to go find his lovely girlfriend. His no longer secret girlfriend….
For the conclusion to this three-part series, read “His Apology”
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