Originally written in 2012 and based on the following tweet that RL Elijah made: to the woman in the CDG smoking lounge, wish I'd said hello. I simply removed the 'wo' and went from there...
All the way back to LA, Elijah mentally kicked himself for being a chicken shit. This was why he wasn't in a committed relationship at the relatively advanced age of thirty-one: because he was afraid to put it on the line, to risk rejection. Sure, there were guys who threw themselves at him, but the ones who mattered would never do so. If anything, knowing who he was, they'd hold back, either because they were inhibited by his fame and didn't want to look stalkerish, or because they assumed that being an actor, he was shallow and vain. Either way, it was largely up to him to make the first move, and once again he'd fucked it up.
But usually it didn't linger, the regret. There were a lot of gay fish in the sea and he'd shrug and figure that it wasn't meant to be. Not this time, though. This time he couldn't banish the guy from his mind or stop feeling that he'd made the biggest mistake of his life in not going up to him and introducing himself.
In a room full of overdressed, surgically enhanced celebrities, the man had stood out in all his genuineness: he was short like Elijah, a little stout, with chestnut hair going silver at the temples, deep lines graven at the corners of his eyes, a fullness around his jaw, and a dark brown suit that said off the rack not off the runway. To Elijah at least he'd appeared incredibly attractive. Why oh why hadn't he said something to him? They'd made eye contact a few times and he'd felt certain a spark was there.
Idiot, idiot, idiot, he castigated himself and fidgeted in his first-class seat and longed for a calming cigarette. He put in his earbuds, cranked up some Miles Davis, and eventually fell into a doze.
He woke up with some words in the forefront of his mind: to the man in the CDG smoking lounge, wish I'd said hello. He could tweet it, see what happened. Sure it was a long shot. There had been about twenty people in the lounge, three-quarters of them men. And there was no guarantee that the mystery man would ever see his tweet. He'd be laying himself open for more disappointment and regret.
You're doing it again, he thought. Coming up with reasons to be a chicken shit. Just cut it out, right now.
He brought up the Twitter app on his phone, wishing they weren't still in the air so he could seize the moment and post the tweet before he talked himself out it.
The instant this fucking plane halts at the gate, you're going to do it, Elwood.
He got the tweet ready to go while the plane descended and landed at LAX. His palms were sweating as the plane taxied to their gate, came to a halt with a slight lurch.
"Welcome to Los Angeles," the flight steward said. "The local time is 10:33 p.m. The use of approved electronic devices is now permitted."
All around him, people whipped out their cell phones and started dialing. It's now or never, Elwood. His finger hovered then pressed.
to the man in the CDG smoking lounge, wish I'd said hello.
It was done.
He started to regret it almost before he even got home. With nearly two hundred thousand Twitter followers, it was inevitable that a firestorm of rampant curiosity ensued. The replies, the retweets, the direct messages from his friends, not to mention the emails, texts and phone calls, proliferated as the tweet went viral. Who was the mystery man, everyone wanted to know.
"He's just a guy, Hannah," Elijah said into the phone as he dragged his suitcase into the house. "It's no big deal."
"No big deal? My brother tweets to the world his regret at not hitting on a guy at Cannes, and it's no big deal? You, Mr. Keep My Private Life Private? Can you say 'totally out of character', Elijah? "
"Okay, so you have a point. It's just… I think I made a mistake and I don't want to live with 'maybes' and 'what ifs' for the rest of my life. I figure it's my best chance to set it right."
"Wow, you must have really liked this guy."
"Yeah." There was nothing more to say.
"Oh sweetie, I hope he answers."
"What are the odds, Han? He probably won't even see the tweet."
"Don't be a pessimist. It's not like you. I'll bet you a dollar he does get in contact with you."
At that, Elijah laughed. "A dollar? Big spender."
"Hey, I'm not the A-list Hollywood celebrity."
"Okay, a dollar it is."
Within a week, over three dozen men replied to his tweet, claiming to have been in the CDG lounge that night. None of them was the man he'd hoped to hear from. In fact, he suspected that not a one of them had ever so much as set foot in Cannes. Another week passed, a few more impostors replied, and the furor gradually died down as nothing further came of Elijah's tweet and other trending topics took over people's timelines.
Elijah thought resignedly that he was going to win his bet with his sister, and it depressed the hell out of him. He joked it off with his family and friends, though, saying, "Better to have tweeted and lost than never to have tweeted at all." Only to Hannah did he admit how it hurt.
Then, nearly three weeks later, a reply to his tweet appeared: @woodelijah I wish I'd said hello, too. #majorregret
One glance at the man's profile picture had Elijah turning alternately hot and cold. It was him, the Cannes mystery man. Only he had a name now, Sean Astin. Elijah quickly brought up his full Twitter profile: @SeanAstin International man of mystery. A cheek-achingly wide grin spread across Elijah's face. He had to have written that just for Elijah. Then he saw Sean Astin's location, Los Angeles. He was fucking in LA!
And he had just started following @woodelijah.
Quickly, Elijah followed him back and sent him a direct message: It's not too late. We can still say hello. Meet for coffee?
It wasn't thirty seconds later that he had a reply back: Love to. Where and when?
Espresso Cielo in Santa Monica, 3 pm?
Sounds perfect. Should I wear a rose in my lapel just in case?
Not necessary. I'll recognize you. See you at 3, Sean.
Can't wait, Elijah.
Elijah sat there with a stupid grin on his face for a while, and then he did two things. First, he went to This Is My Jam. "Some Enchanted Evening" by Ezio Pinza is my new jam soon appeared on his Twitter feed. He wasn't going to tweet to the world that he'd found his mystery man, but he'd give them a hint.
Next, he called Hannah. "Guess what?" he said, jubilantly. "You won your bet."