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A fan letter. Dear god, she'd written a fan letter. To a pop star. She shook her head in amazement as she drove away from the corner mailbox. And she'd mailed it. What had possessed her? Hard to say, actually. She'd watched him for years, listened endlessly to his music. Lusted in her heart when it was illegal to have those thoughts about someone his age. But now, now he was legal and then some.

And she was too damn old. She sighed as she turned the corner toward her apartment, smiling as his voice floated out from her car stereo.

I don't know why I'm doing this, she'd written. I suppose I just needed you to know how much your music has meant to me. I'm not your typical fan, I'm one of the 'older' ones. You know the kind, just old enough to scare the teeny fans, just old enough to scare my friends by admitting I actually listen to your music. Anyway, thank you for all you've given me: the smiles, the tears, the words of comfort on a bad day. Thank you for being you.

Life went on, work was its usual day-to-day drudgery. The sun came up, the sun went down, etcetera, etcetera. Until the day he wrote her back.

For hours she sat in amazed silence, reading and re-reading the one page reply.

Dear Older Fan,

Sorry, but you didn't sign your name and it sounds kinda silly to write a personal letter to 'Dear S. Compton'. (I got that off your return address label, pretty sneaky, huh?!) Anyway, I don't usually get to see my mail, I mean some corporate type usually sends out a reply with a picture or something stupid, but this time I get to write my own reply, cool, huh?

So what's wrong with being an older fan? What are you, seventy or something? Don’t throw things, I'm smilin' here, ok? Nah, it's all good. It's really nice to hear some of the stuff you wrote, you know? Usually we just get the same old stuff … I love you, send me a picture, call me, marry me! Anyway, what you said meant a lot. Thanks.

Oh, and if you want, it'd be cool to hear from you again. Gotta go, big brother is on the warpath. Later!

He'd written her back. God, and he wanted to hear from her again! By all rights she should not be this giddy. She was old enough to be his older sister, or a babysitter from his past, but damn… Write back? Hell yes, she'd write back.

And she did. For the next four months they corresponded, even though it had taken three more letters for her to actually sign her real name to her letter. And then came the letter that began to change it all.

Dear Sabrina,

Wow, beautiful name. I bet you're just as beautiful. I bet you're blushing, huh? She put her hands to her heated face and looked around guiltily as if he could somehow see her. I was right, wasn't I? Sorry, I'm bad. That's the other fellas tell me, anyway. But I wanted to tell you that I'm gonna be on the road soon and not be able to get my mail. Her heart dropped to her feet. He was saying goodbye. But it's cool! Do you have email? 'Cause one of the guys lets me use his laptop when we travel, you know, to write to my family and stuff. And to see what they're sayin' about us in the chat rooms. You know, one of my favorite things is to log in under some girl's name and stir things up. So write me at my email address and we'll talk. I trust this won't be all over the internet by morning? Just kidding! Take care, Brina.

Brina? He'd called her 'Brina'. That was so beautiful. Her face heated up again, and she looked at her calendar on the kitchen wall. He'd be on the road by now, maybe she should log on? Or not… indecision is a terrible thing. Maybe later.

Later was four days away. She'd been miserable. There'd been two post cards from hotels in the Midwest and no way to write him back. No way but one. She made a pot of tea while her computer booted up. She purposely left her instant message software turned off, she wasn't at all sure she was ready for a 'real time' conversation with him. Email was about as 'instant' as she was willing to do for the time being.

Hi, hope your tour is doing fine. God, how inane. She deleted it and began again.

Hi, I was thinking about you. Well, missing you actually. Silly, huh? I'm not sure where you are tonight, but I wanted to let you know you'd been on my mind. I considered looking up your tour schedule, but it made me feel like a stalker so I didn't. I'm so pathetic. She sighed as she typed, her tea growing cooler by the minute. She talked about her work, her cat, her life in general. Before she realized it, she'd signed off Love, Sabrina. As soon as she hit 'send' she'd realized what she'd done and was horrified. She tried in vain to cancel it, but there was no turning back. She would have to wait in agony for his reply and hope that he ignored it. If he teased her about it she'd just die.

And she chided the younger fans for being 'teeny'? This was beyond hopeless. She was too afraid to stay online and hope for a response, so she shut it down and went to bed. Three days later she logged on to find ten messages from him, most with the header "WHERE ARE YOU?"

She typed a vague reply, something to the effect of 'been terribly busy at work, sorry!' And sent her message. She must have been tired, because she was careless, and as she surfed the message boards, her chat program suddenly filled her screen.

"Hey, is it really you?!"

She gasped, pulling her robe closed as if he could somehow see through her screen. Then she giggled at the absurdity of it all and hesitantly typed back a reply.

"Yes, it's really me! How are you? Where are you?"

"Fine, and damned if *I* know. Some corn town in the Midwest. *grin*"

"*giggles* How's the tour?"

"You mean you haven't logged on yet to follow our exploits?"

"Yes, but I don't think I really want to admit that."

"LOL! Ok, I'll pretend you didn't say that. I guess it's ok. I fell off the damn drum set again last night."

"LMAO! You dork."

"Hey, I resemble that remark. A little too close for comfort there."

And on and on it went for the next hour and a half, until both realized how horribly late it was and that both had to work the next day. They logged off with a promise to do it again soon, and both fell asleep with smiles on their faces.

It was early May, the first leg of the tour almost finished. As always, the sound of her messenger program called her back into the room.

"You there?"

"Silly man, where else would I be?" She smiled as she typed. It was all so familiar, so comfortable, and she looked forward to their time together each night.

"*shrugs* I dunno …out on a hot date?"

"ROTFL As if."

"Hey, don't go there. So why AREN'T you out on a hot date?"

Because I'd rather be here with you? she thought, but didn't say.

"Hey Bri, you still there???"

"Yeah, I'm here. I don't know, I guess I just don't go out much." So, now he knows I'm not only old, but an old loser. She sighed.

"Cool. You know, we'll be an hour away from you next week."

"I know." Where was this going?

"I want to meet you."

NO! She wanted to scream back, to convince him that it was a horrible, ill-conceived idea. This was her fantasy, and she wanted to keep it alive just the way it was.


"I'm here. I just- I don't think that's a good idea." There, she'd said it.

"Why not?"

"Because, it just isn't."

"It won't change things, Sabrina."

"It will."

"It doesn't have to. Look, do you have two phone lines?"

"No, just one, why?"

"Turn off the computer so I can call you."

"What?! You don’t have my number," she typed, panic guiding her fingers.

"*grins* Yes I do. Directory assistance is a great invention. Shut it down, Sabrina." His screen flashed, 'user SComp2001 has logged off'. He smiled, counted to thirty and picked up his phone.

She let the phone ring and ring and picked it up on the tenth ring.

"Hello?" she whispered.

"Hey, Sabrina, it's me."

"I know." She'd know that voice anywhere. It was the same one that had haunted her dreams every night for the past four years.

"You okay?" he asked quietly.

"Sure," she laughed, ill at ease. "It's just … strange, I guess."

"Yeah, I guess," he laughed. "Look, Brina, I really do want to come see you. Just me, no one else."

"No one?"

"Nope, just me. And you," he added softly.

Her breath caught at his tone. "Do they know about me?" She was twisting the phone cord.

"Yep. And they think it's cool. Sabrina, I need to see you. Face to face so I can talk to you, touch you."

She must have gasped audibly.

"This is real to me, Sabrina. The last few months have been …" he ran his hand through his hair as he searched for the words. "It's been special to me. Important, you know?"

"It's been special to me, too. I just – I'm afraid to jinx what we have."

"No way, Brina. I know what you're sayin', but we're so close to something here. I can feel it. It sounds crazy, I know, but I have to do this. WE have to do this, or forever wonder about it and think 'what if?'."

"Okay. When?"

They talked every night after that, late into the night and into several early mornings. Three more days. Two more days. This is insane. Why did I agree to this? I'm old. He's young. I'm short. He's … not. Sabrina paced the living room, her cat following her every move. Tomorrow. He'd be here tomorrow.

Then it was hours and then minutes.

Her cat heard him approach the door before the bell even rang. But it did ring, and she had to open it. Silly, wasn't it? What she'd dreamed about for so long was finally happening.

Wiping her sweaty palms once more on her slacks, she turned the knob.




She laughed. "I know who you are."

"Right." He blushed and she knew it was going to be all right. Maybe even more than all right. "So how old did you say you are?"

"I don't think I ever did," she shrugged.

"You can't be a day over 30," he teased.


"Damn, six whole years older than me, I dunno…" his voice trailed away as he looked down at her and saw her uncertainty.

She looked up, and up … into his smiling eyes and knew that it was perfect.

He stepped into her home and she stepped into his arms. And she *was* home.

inspired by ...

Boyz II Men

I fell in love with the girl in the picture
That I used to keep
Carried her ‘round in the back of my pocket
She was always with me
I imagined that I was a man of importance
And she had a fancy for me
And I used to dream she would call
Crying her eyes out
She had an obsession with me
I was the love of her life
And she was all mine

The girl in the Life magazine

The first time we met in an aisle at the market
She was staring at me
I knew even then
We would share something special
And it was like chemistry
I fell in love from the moment I saw her
So I took her straight home with me
And that’s where I’d dream
She would step right out of the picture
And spend the whole evening with me
And oh how she hated to go back to her picture

The girl in the Life magazine

All of my friends used to laugh
Said I was certifiably mad
‘Til the day she came and she blew them away
Asked me if I’d be her man
It seems that she fell in love with my letters
Says she’s been looking for me
So the story ends well
We end up together

The girl in the Life magazine
Me and the girl in the Life magazine

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