Tom sees you being dumped by your boyfriend outside the Royal Opera House on Valentine’s Day. He can’t leave you standing there in tears.
It was February 14th. The day I had been looking forward to since several months. Derek and I, both 28 years old would be together for three years. I had the day all planned. I had gotten the day and the next day off from work. Working in a small bookstore that dealt in buying and selling older books. We had spent the morning and afternoon in the house. Make love, talking about getting that flat in Soho. And that night we’d have my half of the evening. The Royal Ballet would have their premiere performance of Romeo & Juliet. The book we had both reached for 3 years ago that had started our relationship. It would be perfect.
Yes Derek wasn’t too fond of ballet, but he said he would do anything for me. Making me feel all gooey inside. And besides, it would stop us from watching Thor; The Dark World again. As I was a proud Hiddlestoner and member of the fictional Loki’s Army.
I had changed in a new dress that I had kept a secret from Derek. Oh he’d love it and drop on his knees. I giggled as I twirled in front of my mirror in black heels. Before slipping on a short black coat over it.
But in the taxi to the Opera House I noticed something strange. He was busy with his phone. Mumbling something about work getting in the way. Feeling annoyed when I carefully suggested he should turn it off, in case he’d forget later. Getting out on the side of the theatre I looked back as he wasn’t coming with me. “…Derek? Shall we head in? We can get a drink before need to get to our seats.”
Derek was now talking on his phone looking around, whispering into it. He finally started to walk towards me slowly as he heard his name but still looked around while hanging up the call.
“Is something wrong?” I carefully hold onto his arm. Kind of cursing the height of my heels now. “Shall we go inside?” Derek again looked at his phone and then turned to me. “No everything is fine, just go inside I will meet you there in a few minutes.”
I look up at him confused and maybe even a little annoyed at his behaviour. “Honey… it’s the premiere, we’ll never find each other. I got us a VIP table for the intervals. Please… let’s just go inside. This is supposed to be our night remember?”
Derek turned to me, with a look in his eyes I had never seen in all the three years we had been dating. “Why must you be so incessantly clingy, and constantly doubt my capabilities.” I stare a little dumbfounded. “Excuse me? I’m not. But it’s our anniversary.” Derek reached into his jacket pocket and proceeded to light a cigarette. “Yeah and the last thing I want to do on our anniversary is go to some fruit fest with men dancing around like homos.”
Shaking my head I feel an anger rising in my stomach. “You agreed! You said you’d like to go. Anything you want. Is what you say. Why are you telling me this 20 minutes before curtain?” He looked up at me as he blew out the smoke of the cigarette. “Because maybe I don’t want this anymore.” Motioning his arm toward me.
I feel the earth under my feet almost crumbling, the anger I had felt was quickly replaced by a mixture of shock and sadness. I could feel my eyes becoming wet. “No… No you’re not. You’re not standing here on the night our of 3 year anniversary breaking up with me. You’re not…” Refusing to believe what I knew was happening. People who stood near us could hear this looked sympathetic toward me, but continued into the theatre. Murmuring to each other, “oh that poor thing.”
Derek meanwhile was far from finished. “Listen I am over the incessant fangirl bullshit all the time. You are so dim and one dimensional. Why can’t you be like other girls and just cook, clean and be quiet.”
Shaking my head, still not quite believing we’re having this conversation. “Yes I’m a fan of something… You’re at the Arsenal Stadium every home game. And I’m not dim! What the hell are you doing Derek?!” Feeling anger bubbling up.
“Listen I just want a girl that will listen, and know her place. Also someone who looks you know, kinda like Victoria Beckham or something, so I don’t have to think about her every time we have sex.”
I slowly close my eyes as a tear slides down from my cheek. Thinking back to earlier that day. Laying in each other’s arms as we had sex. Did he think of someone else then as well? It started to look that way. I look down at my feet a moment before looking up, feeling suddenly very alone. “Well then… If I’m so terrible to be with. I guess we should split up.”
Derek looked at me with a harsh look on his face. “I think I just did.” He slowly and purposefully walked across the street not giving me a second glance. Reaching a woman who stood there waiting and kisses her as they laugh.
Watching this happening I suddenly recognize the woman. It was Charlotte my best friend. She turns to me and gives a casual wave. Seeing her mouth the word hi, to me. “Charlotte?” I murmur in shock before bursting into tears. This had been the final straw.
I couldn’t possibly handle any more. Derek breaking up with me on our 3 year anniversary, on Valentine’s Day for what now had been long in the making with none other than my closest and dearest friend. I lean back against the wall of the theatre and cry. I wrap my arms around myself and looked at my feet before feeling a raindrop fall on my hair. Looking up as it begins to rain. “Of course…”
The rain had begun slowly but quickly was picking up speed. Not that I was caring. I couldn’t feel anything. As I watched Derek tenderly shielding Charlotte from the rain as they quickly stepped into a restaurant across from the Opera House.
Debating what the hell I should do now, I suddenly heard a voice. A familiar voice, one I had heard many times. Specifically last year when he had signed my playbill of the play Coriolanus.
Tom Hiddleston, had watched the scene play out in front of him with a mixture of anger and sympathy. How could someone possibly do that? On Valentine’s Day of all days. His heart twisted painfully as he watched me beginning to cry, followed by textbook rain. He couldn’t just move across the street and do nothing. He could of course. It wasn’t his business. He didn’t know the girl. But he just couldn’t leave it like that.
Taking out his umbrella he walked swiftly over to where I was standing he spoke up, “you should really go inside dear, you could catch a cold if you stand outside in the rain.” I look up from my tears and try to wipe my eyes with wet fingers. “Mr. Hiddleston… I… yeah I guess I should. Although… with my luck.” I give a very tiny chuckle. Feeling him gently cup his hand around my elbow, guiding me over to the front of door of the theatre and inside.
“Do not waste your time on negative people, it is an issue with them not you.” He smiled warmly at me, and I tried to let his kind words sink in. But the wound on my heart was still too raw. I look up slowly at him. “Even when your boyfriend breaks up with you on your three year anniversary?”
He reached and gently squeezed my arm. “I am sorry my dear. I saw what happened, you don’t deserve that happening to you. And I know it’s tough to believe now, but he’s going to be kicking himself for doing that to you.”
I smiled wryly, looking at the tickets in my hand. “Well, I guess these are useless now.” Tom tilted his head and took one of the tickets, inspecting them carefully and then looking at his watch.
“Well, I don’t know if this will improve your evening, but it’s a shame to let such tickets go to waste, why don’t I accompany you?” His hand that was still holding my elbow lightly gently steered me already toward the coat-check counter.
“Oh Mr. Hiddleston, that is very nice of you, but am I not keeping you? I mean, you just got back from Toronto.” Tom grinned a little, “ah, I take it you like my work then.” I couldn’t help but flush a little and gave a nod.
“Well then, firstly, please call me Tom, and secondly, please allow me to come with you. I haven’t seen Romeo & Juliet as a ballet for a long time.” I finally relented and took the last steps to the counter. Feeling a little light-headed as Tom helped me out of my jacket and handed it to the girl behind it.
After checking his own coat he looked me over and let out a breath. “The man’s an idiot, you’re beautiful.” I could feel a hot flush creep up from my neck and into my cheeks as we walked to the balcony seat I had arranged for this evening.
The orchestra were still quietly tuning their instruments as we sat down. “I don’t mean to be rude Tom, but have you informed Luke where you are?” Tom laughed softly, “Yes he is a bit of a mother hen. Alright. I’ll send him a text.” He pulled out his phone and quickly send a text to his friend and publicist. Luke… Sorry, going to have to cancel tonight. Something important came up, will call you tomorrow around lunch time. ~Tom
His phone soon buzzed silently, Tom… You’re killing me here! This is the third time… Alright, I’ll reschedule. Again. But it had better be life or death. ~Luke
Tom smirked at the reply, choosing not to answer but simply shut his phone off completely and slid it back into his jacket pocket. As he was doing that the door of our balcony opened and two waiters stepped inside, setting down an open bottle of champagne with two glasses and a bowl of chocolate-dipped strawberries on the small table that separated our chairs.
Tom looked at this and then up at me, as I feel the sadness coming back. Tears blurring my sight again. A tear sliding down my cheek again. “Hey… Hey, it’s alright.” Turning in his chair to face me he gently reached over and wiped the tear away. He then moved forward in the seat and carefully wrapped his arms around me.
His scent was just as I had imagined. Freshness, with a soothing warmth behind it. His arms squeezed just right and I let a few more tears run. I could feel his breath near me as he only hummed soothingly in my ear. His hands rubbing my back.
He carefully let go, pouring a glass of champagne, “now, no more tears for that idiot. He isn’t worth any more of them. You’ll see.” Handing over the glass he looked down as the conductor made his way through the orchestra to his spot in front of them. “Shall we enjoy the performance?” I gave a nod and reached into my purse for a tissue. Righting myself, I took a swallow from my glass and felt the alcohol and taste of the champagne calm me down. And it was during the overture that the reality of this evening hit me in an entirely different way.
I’m in the Royal Opera House with Tom Hiddleston!
As the conductor was guiding the orchestra through the overture I glanced over to Tom discreetly. It was him. Actually him. He caught me looking and smiled. Giving a quick wink before watching as the heavy curtains in front of the stage slowly opened revealing the Italian market square of the first act.
The beautiful scenes of the ballet passed before us, me watching enthralled at the dancers, the scenery and allowing the music to fill me up. Blindly reaching for a strawberry as I watch. Tom meanwhile watched me.
He couldn’t help but smile at the way I was glued to the stage. Completely immersed in the story. I sit back slightly as the curtain closes for the first act and I let out a sigh. “I’ve always loved this ballet.” I say in a soft voice.
Tom smiled and nodded, standing up to make our way to the bar for a drink. “I can tell. It’s good to see. The production is beautiful, I love how they can portray such emotions through their bodies.”
We made our way down to the bar and sat down at the table that had come with the package I had arranged. Tom smiles and takes the chocolate from the plate and hummed around it. I grinned for the first time that evening. “How do you do that?” Tom’s brow furrowed and tilted his head a little, “do what?”
“Eat like that and look like that.” I say, which made him laugh. “Every moment I’m not eating I work out to get rid of it all so I can eat again.” He says with all the excitement that his fans had grown to love about this man.
I sat back a moment as a few girls walked up cautiously. Seeing him turn to them, and signs their programs, before asking them to keep it quiet so he could enjoy the ballet. They nodded and quietly walked back to their own places.
“I’m sorry for that.” He says as he turns back to me. I immediately shake my head. “Oh it’s fine Tom, I think I would have done the same thing had I been in their place.” Tom smiled and looked up as a bell run announcing that the second act would soon start. We made our way back to our seats and sat down to watch the second act. After the second interval, our table had been placed in the corner of the small area, the drinks and snack had been used up. We sit down and watch the emotions reach higher. More desperate as Juliet refuses to marry Paris.
The curtains close for a final time. Not leaving our seats this time as the stage is changed a last time for the epilogue. Tom motionless in his chair. He had been to a ballet before, but never like this. Never with such emotions. He had always adored this play by Shakespeare, and had seen it performed, but in this version with no words. He surprised himself by how it grabbed him and felt his heart hurt for the doomed lovers.
The curtains opened to the scene in the crypt. Tom glanced to his side and watched me watching the scene unfold of Romeo finding his love, mistaking her dead-like sleep for reality and taking the poison to join her.
A tear slid down my cheek as I watched Juliet wake up finding her love on the floor. Tom moved forward in his chair and gently took my hand in his squeezing gently. His own eyes damp.
I couldn’t help but lean against him as we watched the heart-breaking scene below us. Watching Juliet stumble heartbroken across the stage, finding the dagger and using it on herself.
Tom discreetly wiped a tear from his eye as he watched the final moments of the ballet take place before the curtain slowly closed. He coughed a little before joining me and the others in applause.
He shakes his head in awe as he stands with me to applaud, watching the principal couple take their bows. I pick up my purse and turn to Tom. As he leads me out the door and down to the foyer. “Thank you for this. It was wonderful, come I’ll walk with you.”
We made our way down to the coat-check area again and got our coats. We walked out of the theatre. The rain had stopped somewhere in the evening. I looked up at Tom, not quite sure what to do now. I couldn’t go home. It was Derek’s place.
“Do you want to go have some coffee? Finish the evening that way?” He asked, I nodded happily at that. “Might as well, I don’t have a place to go. I’ll have to phone Char… Oh wait, I can’t.” Tom smiled a little sour and wrapped an arm around me. “Come… We’ll sort something out.”
And while I didn’t really believe him, I could feel my heart slowly start to heal as we walked down the street to the tube. Where was I headed? I had no idea, but Tom seemed to know and that was good enough for me.