He was sure that Emma Watson would love him if she’d only give him a chance

Alan Wrenshaw sat down at his computer, nudged the
mouse and his monitor flared into life. He sat back and
stared at the screen for a moment or two, considering
the best way to elicit the information he needed.
Perhaps, he thought, the best way to start was the most
obvious. He pulled the keyboard towards him and clicked
on the Google icon. Immediately, the opening screen
appeared and he entered “Emma Watson” into the search
box. The result was instant. A new screen appeared
labelled “Results 1 10 of about12,900,000 for Emma
Watson.” Swiftly, Alan added “Contact Information” to
the search enquiry and 19 new results appeared.

Clicking on the first one, he discovered the address of
her American Agent but also a Production Office address
in Hertfordshire. The site also warned that any e-mail
addresses he might see listed were like to be phony or
long since abandoned. Checking all the other websites
yielded no better information so he copied down the
Hertfordshire address and sat back in his chair.

Even a cursory glance at his room would have shown that
he was a Harry Potter fan but a closer look would have
suggested that, more accurately, he was a Hermione
Granger fan. It would be difficult to explain his
obsession with Hermione’s portrayer in rational terms
but the fact was that he felt an affinity with both the
character and the actress who were, in his mind,
virtually identical. Like Hermione, Emma was pretty,
intelligent but somewhat more amusing than her alter
ego. Not surprising since, in real life, Emma had no
Voldemort seeking to eradicate her from the face of the
earth.

Obsessions tend to form when someone has few close
friends and a lot of time to brood. This was certainly
the case with Alan. He was best described as “scrawny”,
virtually unmemorable and certainly not even on the
fringe of the “in crowd”. It wasn’t that girls didn’t
like him so much as they barely noticed that he
existed. Nor did he have anything in common with the
sports-loving, girl-chasing, weekend-boozing jocks who
made up the vast bulk of his male schoolmates, although
“mate” was a distinct misnomer in his case.

Not that Alan wasn’t smart. He was. In fact, his I.Q.
was way above average and, like many of his generation,
he had been brought up with computers. It was to these
that he devoted a great deal of his spare time,
shutting himself in his room most evenings and
weekends, while his single mum did the household chores
or collapsed, exhausted, into an easy chair to watch
television after a hard day’s work. Usually she would
fall asleep there and Alan would have to wake her to
get her to go to bed.

Alan’s natural aptitude for computers and computing
soon led him into increasingly dubious areas of
exploration. Always a loner, he never attended any
hackers’ conventions but learned his quite exceptional
skills from extensive reading and experimentation. Nor
did he intend to draw attention to himself but doing
anything malicious. For him, the thrill was to bypass
the most skilfully designed protection programmes, gain
illicit access to locations, examine those items that
were of interest to him and then get out of the site
totally undetected. Thanks to the amount of time he’d
had on his hands over the months, he had become very
good at it… no, he had become one of the best out
there and that was saying something. Most important,
because he had no desire to boast of his hacking
accomplishments, he was unknown to that tight
fraternity.

At first, he had tackled the relatively easy stuff,
looking at the contents of fellow student’s computers.
If blackmail had been his thing, he could have made a
lot of money because he quickly discovered which of the
girls were having sex with who, which of them were
putting on strip-shows for their boyfriend using their
webcams, which of the guys and girls were secretly gay,
and so on, However, he preferred to keep this knowledge
to himself, building up little private dossiers against
future need. Only once did he ever use what he knew.

It is not uncommon for nerds to be bullied and Alan
would not have escaped that fate but for the fact that,
when Jackson Keane started to give Alan a hard time
after school one day, the usual precursor to physical
violence, Alan quietly informed him that if he or any
of his chums ever laid one finger on him, he would
release the proof he was holding that Jackson was
screwing his own thirteen year-old sister. Jackson was
so stunned that Alan would know this, and so scared
that he might tell the authorities, that he never went
anywhere near Alan again and he made sure that all the
other jocks in the school were warned off as well.

Now, eighteen months later, out of school finally, and
gainfully employed as a programmer for a software
company, Alan’s hacking skills were about as good as
they get. In other areas, though, he was totally naive.
At eighteen, his hormones were fully active and the
fact that girls generally ignored him did not mean that
he was not seriously attracted to a few of the better-
looking girls that he had known at school or who worked
at his office. When he wasn’t making surreptitious
forays into the archives of major institutions
worldwide, many an evening would find him beating his
meat over pictures or video that he had collected on
one or other of his hacking sorties into the computer
of his latest fancy.

Of late, however, his interest in them had waned in
favour of Hermione/Emma. He collected every picture he
could find of her, watched every interview taped with
her and read every article written about her. He formed
the view that, unlike the girls at his school and work,
most of whom were proving to be sluts, Emma was the
genuine article …pure, unsullied, intelligent… in
short everything he could wish for in a girlfriend.

He dismissed reports of her having a lover, preferring
to accept her statement that the males in question were
“just good friends”. So, as far as he was aware, she
was available. He did not kid himself that she would
immediately be drawn to him. He was self-aware enough
to know that, if he was to make any impression on her,
it would have to be a meeting of intellects first and
then, when she realised what a loving individual he
would prove to be, she would, he was sure, recognise
that they were, in fact, soul-mates. After all, what
girl could resist a genuinely heart-felt confession of
eternal love. “I just have to find a way to have her
get to know me,” he reasoned. “Perhaps the best way
would be to write to her.”

The idea of a letter had a lot of appeal because it
gave him the chance to polish it until it was perfect
before he sent it. Hence the fact that he was sitting
at his computer making a Google search for an address
where he could reach her. Writing to Emma care of a
production office was not ideal because he didn’t want
anyone but Emma reading the letter but as he had no
alternative, he figured that he would seal the letter
in a envelope with just her name on it, include a stamp
and a covering letter asking someone at the Production
Office to forward it to her.

It was the writing of the letter that took the time
because it had to be exactly right, He made several
starts. Would being funny get her attention …but then
she might think the whole letter was a joke. Trying to
be too cool could also backfire because she might not
think him serious enough. In the end, he decided that
simple, sincerity was best. He wrote a draft, edited
it, rearranged it, tweaked it until he finally had it
the way he wanted it.

Dear Emma,

You don’t know me, and I won’t claim that I am your
biggest fan because I know that you have millions of
fans all around the world.

What I will claim, though, is that no one admires you
MORE than I do. The difference is that I know you
better than most of us do. I know what makes you laugh,
I know what music you like to listen to, what fashions
you like to wear. I even know a your favourite colours
and foods.

In other words, I know that I would be a perfect friend
for you because we have so much in common, Oh, and we
are the same age too. How perfect is that?

I know that you are famous and and I’m not but I read
that, when you are not filming “Harry Potter”, you like
to be as normal as possible so I think it could work
out really well.

Anyway, all I wanted to ask was that we might just go
out one day, just for a walk or something, so that we
could talk and so that you could see for yourself just
how well we would get on together.

I hope that you will write back soon.

Your soon to be (I hope) very good friend,

He signed it at the bottom and mailed the it. He tried
to calculate how long it might take before he received
a response and finally figured about three weeks might
be reasonable. In that time, he continued researching
Emma so that they would have plenty to talk about when
they went for their very important first walk.

His letter reached the Production Office and was
promptly passed on to Emma’s Agent who passed it on to
the Administrator of her official website who scanned
it. “He can’t be serious,” she thought and tossed it to
one side onto the pile that should receive a standard
response. As a result, about four weeks later a letter
addressed to Mr. Alan Wrenshaw dropped onto the front
door mat early one morning. Fingers trembling, Alan
tore open the envelope and read the single page.

Dear Alan,

Thank you so much for your very kind letter and I am so
pleased that you enjoy the “Harry Potter” films. They
are great fun to make.

As you will have read, we have all signed on to
complete the series and, by the time you read this,
will be back in the studio working on the next one.

I hope you will continue to watch them and thank you
again for writing.

Love,

The signature, “Emma”, had been machine generated but
it looked so authentic that Alan told himself that she
had actually signed it. He was puzzled, however, that
she had not suggested a time that they might meet. On
the other hand, if all the “Harry Potter” cast was
going back into the studio, it was likely because she
was going to be too busy for a while. But at least, he
had broken the ice and she now knew that she had a
soul-mate out there. She had even sent him her love so
she must have been impressed with his letter. Still, it
would be good if he could get to talk to her and just
confirm that, when she finished filming, they might get
together for an afternoon.

Two weeks from then would be Emma’s eighteenth birthday
and maybe that would offer an opportunity. He kept a
watchful eye on the papers and, in one of the more
gossipy tabloids, spotted a short paragraph that said
the Emma Watson was rumoured to be celebrating her
birthday at Automart Club and Restaurant. This could be
perfect. He checked the address and then went to the
local Hallmark store where he spent a lot of time
picking out a birthday card for her. Finding a present
was the hardest thing.

What could he buy a girl who was just about to be given
control over more than 10 Million? He settled for a
small locket on a 14 carat gold chain. Once the two of
them were together, there was room inside it for a
picture of each of them. He had it gift wrapped and
tried to wait patiently for the big day, April 18th
2008. Actually, her birthday was the 15th but she was
filming that day and the celebration had been saved for
the Saturday.

Going into London for the evening was no trouble for
him. He simply took the train up from nearby Chertsey
Station. Arriving in Mayfair late in the afternoon, he
took up a position in a coffee shop across the road
from the club from which he could keep a close watch on
events. Late evening saw a number of paparazzi show up
outside the club. There was no mistaking them.

They all knew each other and stood around, smoking and
talking, their cameras dangling from one hand or slung
around their necks. With the paparazzi’s arrival, a
small contingent of police officers appeared and some
good-natured exchanges took place, with the newsmen
being urged to keep back far enough not to impede the
flow of pedestrians and the normal comings and goings
from the club.

The sight of the two groups milling around the Club’s
entrance caused a small crowd to start gathering,
curious to see who was arriving or leaving. The police
were non-communicative but one of the press guys let it
be known that “Hermione” from “Harry Potter” was
expected and an instant buzz started. Other people
began to stop and hover. By the time that Alan had
found the waitress, got his bill and paid for his tea
and snack, he found himself in the rear of the crowd
who were now being held at bay by the police. Ten
minutes later, a car and a limo drew to a halt outside
the entrance. Four fairly hefty, muscular types got out
of the car and stood close to the entrance, surveying
the crowd. Obviously, the studio or someone from Emma’s
entourage had provided some security. One of the
security guys went up to the limo and opened the door.

A couple of Emma’s friends got out first as cameras
began to flash. Emma started to slide forward on her
seat, ready to get out. The cameramen went crazy.
Dozens of flashes lit up the area and kept flashing
as she stepped out of the limo wearing a sweet, black,
short-skirted cocktail dress. The small crowd cheered
and clapped. “Happy Birthday, Emma”, several of them
called. She stood for a moment, smiling and gave the
crowd a little wave.

Alan was clutching his card and gift but found himself
being jostled by new arrivals of passers-by who were
now trying to see what was going on. He tried
frantically to push through to the front row. “Emma,”
he called out, “it’s Alan. I’m over here.” Whether or
not she heard him in the hubbub is doubtful but it did
so happen that she looked in his direction for a
fleeting moment and then turned on her heel and with a
final wave, disappeared into the club. The security
detail closed ranks and that was that. They would
remain there until whatever time she decided to finish
partying and then ensure that she got safely home.

Alan was shattered. All that effort, all that time, the
thoughtfulness of his letter, the card and present that
were still clutched in his hand, all for nothing. After
all, she’d clearly heard him because she’d looked right
at him. And then, having encouraged him by sending him
her love, she’d just ignored him. Everything he thought
he knew about her was suddenly reversed. She was, it
appeared, a heartless bitch who, now that she had
money, had no time for the likes of him. He brooded
along these lines all the way back to Chertsey. Maybe
she got a kick out of setting people like him up
because he was quite sure that there were lots of
people like him.

Well, of course there were. The Internet was full of
fan groups who were sending her letters online,
swearing eternal devotion. Alan was contemptuous of
these types because they had not taken the trouble to
even find an address at which to write to her
privately. Besides, their letters were, in most cases,
barely literate and they certainly had not taken the
time to research Emma’s likes and dislikes as he had.
There was no way that they were worthy of her. As he
continued to consider what had happened earlier that
evening, Alan began to feel humiliated. It was not the
first time he’d felt like that but this was the
occasion that hurt him the most deeply. He spent a
restless night, tossing and turning, stewing over
Emma’s rejection of him.

The following day delivered the final blow. “Emma
flashes her Crotch, – See Page 3” screamed a banner
above the headline on the tabloid that his mother read
daily. He turned to page three and there was a picture
of Emma either getting out or getting back in to the
Limo. Her short black dress had ridden up and,
according to the report, had shown that she was wearing
see-through panties that showed her… well,
everything. The picture in the paper had masked the
area in question. In total disbelief, Alan rushed to
his computer. The gossip sites were full of it. There
were even uncensored pictures and, sure enough, there
was Emma’s crotch on full display through her panties,
her dark pubic hair clearly visible.

Alan reeled back from the screen, stunned. He had been
such a fool. He had thought her totally different from
the harlots at his school who enjoyed flashing their
stuff for the boys but here she was, out in public no
less, and flashing everyone who cared to look. She was
a slut just like the rest of them; just like Paris
Hilton, Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan who went out
in public with no panties at all and made sure that the
paparazzi got a good view.

Then he remembered an interview that he had seen in
which the interviewer has asked Emma about her reaction
to seeing Daniel Radcliffe totally naked on stage in
the play “Equus”. After she had confessed to giggling
mightily in embarrassment, the interviewer had asked
her if she would have done an equivalent role. “I’d
like to think I would have done. Not that I want to get
naked but I hope something like that will come along.
That’s the plan anyway.”

At the time, Alan had dismissed her response as a way
of disarming the incivility of the interviewer. “I
mean,” he thought, “what sort of question is that to
ask a minor?” Now, he was not so sure. Did she really
plan to have “something like that come along.” Alan had
seen the pictures of Daniel on the net …totally naked
and his thing hanging there for the world to look at.
It sounded as if Emma was eager to do the same thing.
Hadn’t she already done a “nude” scene in the film
she’d made about ballet. Well, she had, sort of, but
you couldn’t see anything of course. It was just a way
these gossip websites had of attracting hits “See Emma
Watson nude” and there were obviously an awful lot of
people out there who would like to see Emma naked.

With this realisation came another thought. What if
there was a way that they could? What if “innocent
little Emma Watson” could be made to show herself
totally naked to the whole world? Wouldn’t that be
humiliating for her? Wouldn’t she feel as humiliated as
he felt now after her rejection of him? Wouldn’t it
serve her right? But how could it ever be achieved?
He’d seen how carefully the studio guarded their
investment and figured that it would be an impossible
task to get near her directly so was there another way?
He went back to the Internet again and started doing
some more digging. The first thing he found was an
article about Emma being stalked at her school. Well,
that’s what was claimed. It turned out that the guy was
an over-zealous fan who had approached her at an open
lecture. Naturally, he’d been pounced on …but it did
give Alan an idea.

By the end of the morning, he had a whole bunch more
information and a very rough, ill-formed plan. It
needed a lot more work but it had some promising
aspects to it. He started listing the things that he
would need to put it into operation, all kept in a file
so carefully encrypted that it could not be opened by
anyone but him. He would need an excuse for being away
from home for up to a week, maybe ten days.

He would need a space to keep people where nobody would
be able to find them for about four days. Those were
the hard problems to solve. Oh, and he’d need to find a
van from somewhere. The rest of the things he needed
were fairly easy to find. He knew how to drive but,
this close to London, he didn’t need a vehicle. But he
was planning to visit Oxford so he would need the van
for that… preferably a nondescript vehicle that no
one would notice particularly.

First then, a hiding place. It should be remote but
fairly easy to reach for him – a seemingly impossible
combination. His normal mode of transport was his
bicycle, with public transport as a backup. Right now,
though, the bike offered him freedom of movement over a
reasonably wide area and a chance to think while he
rode. So it was that the next Saturday afternoon, he
set out for a ride to mull over the general strategy
that was coalescing in his mind.

Within a short time of leaving his Chertsey base, while
riding down a road that ran parallel to the river, his
attention was suddenly caught by a stretch of open land
beyond which a fair number of pleasure-boats were
moored up for the winter. They were lined up in a
boatyard situated on a body of water that looped off
the main river. He left the road and cycled across the
rough ground to take a closer look. These particular
craft were traditional “Longboats”. Some were privately
owned and had been converted from old working barges.
Other were custom-built for the summer holiday crowd
who loved the romance of cruising the old waterways at
4 m.p.h., the maximum speed permitted. What all these
vessels had in common was that they were closed up for
the season, and would likely remain so for another two
or three months.

He had always known about the pleasure craft that used
that stretch of river for mooring but, until that
moment, they had never registered deeply with him. Now,
however, a thought struck him. He stopped and found a
spot on the bank where he could sit for a while. The
road was several hundred yards away, and the access-way
alongside this section of the basin showed no evidence
of walkers since most preferred the established
footpath on the opposite bank.

The collection of boats here presented real
possibilities for solving Alan’s most difficult
problem. In the end, he sat for over an hour and never
saw another living soul. He figured that it was quite
safe, therefore, to go closer and look around. He spent
another twenty minutes examining the moored vessels.
They were all locked up but, peering through the cabin
windows, he confirmed that all had kitchens, showers,
cooking facilities, bedrooms, etc., …perfect for his
needs. He cycled back home in a very cheerful frame of
mind, determined to revisit the boats next day, but
better prepared.

On the Sunday, he gathered what he needed into a small
backpack and set out fairly early in the morning. He
made a short stop at a hardware department of a large
store in the local Mall, and was soon back at the
boatyard. As on the previous day, the yard was
deserted. He, nevertheless, put his cycle out of sight
in a covered storage area.

The longboats were moored, it seemed, on a “first-come,
first-served” basis. The first vessel was moored along
the dock with subsequent arrivals being moored
alongside the previous one and all parallel to the
first. This meant that to access any particular vessel
except the first, you had to clamber across the first,
and any others in between, or row a skiff to the back
of the barge you wanted and climb up from the stern.

Alan chose to clamber over the intervening vessels. He
had chosen a boat that was approximately in the centre
of the group. For one thing, it was one of the newer
craft but, he reasoned, it also insulated him as far as
possible from both sides of the basin. It took very
little time for him to force open and replace the
padlock which secured the steel shutter covering the
rear companionway steps down to the cabin. He opened
the shutter and found that the conventional door under
it was not locked. He stepped down to the cabin level
and pulled the shutter closed again, just in case any
passer-by happened to notice it. It was highly
improbable but why take unnecessary risks?

Once inside the cabin, he was pleasantly surprised by
how well-fitted these boats were. He found himself in a
bedroom with two single beds . At present, the beds had
only mattresses on them as the bed linens had clearly
been taken home by the boat’s owners. No matter. As he
moved forward, he passed a tiny shower and toilet
facility and then moved into a second bedroom, this
time with a double bed. Forward again was a galley and
dining area from which another door led to a second set
of steps and one more steel shutter. Beyond this was
the small deck at the prow of the boat.

As Alan looked around, he decided that he could not
have found anywhere more ideal. The toilet was a
chemical one, the stove ran from bottled gas with a
universal connector, so he could pick up a supply
almost anywhere. There was storage space for food, even
a gas-operated fridge if he needed one. He spent an
hour making his preparations, then relocked the shutter
with his own padlock and scrambled back onto the quay.
Looking around again, he found electrical outlets in a
locked cabinet but the lock was designed to discourage
not prevent access so now, with a suitable length of
cable, he could have electricity should he choose.

Walking around to the far side of the largest building,
he found an office area with a sign on the door which
said “Re-opening May 31st.” That gave him a little more
than three weeks to accomplish his goal. From this
area, winding away across the far end of the waste
ground was a dirt road that led up to the buildings.
Collecting his bike, he followed this route, emerging
onto the road he had left earlier, but a little further
along it. The frontage was not fenced off but the
general state of the wasteland made this track the only
viable access for a motor vehicle. To discourage
illicit entry, there was a steel pole which pivoted at
one end so it could be swung upright to allow a vehicle
to pass. It was then dropped back down into a U-shaped
seating to close off the entrance. In this horizontal
position it was padlocked into place when, as now, the
office not open.

“Hmm,” thought Alan, “that means another visit to a
hardware store and another padlock.”

Having found an easy solution to what he thought would
be his hardest problem, he was having a good deal of
difficulty solving what he had expected to be a fairly
easy challenge… the van. He could hardly rent one at
his age and with his experience, quite apart from the
fact that it would create a paper trail that would
swiftly identify him. Borrowing one was equally
impractical for a similar reason. He had no intention
of being identified over this escapade. Stealing a van
was out of the question and buying one was beyond his
means. He pondered over the problem all of one day
without any answers coming to him. By the time he went
to bed, he had almost decided that his plan could not
fly and was thinking of abandoning the whole idea.

He slept fitfully for a long time, finally falling into
a deep sleep around three-thirty in the morning. He
woke with a start around seven and found that,
overnight, his sub-conscious had popped a possible
answer to his problem into his brain. The longboats
were only used seasonally. What vehicles could he think
of that were also only used for part of the year …and
the answer, of course, was ice-cream trucks. They plied
the streets during the summer months and were stored in
yards or lock-ups during the off season. It took very
little time for Alan to come up with a list of local
ice-cream makers and vendors. He located one, in
particular, in south-west London whose trucks he had
seen all over the home counties.

He considered several ways of obtaining the information
that he wanted, but opted for the easiest way for him
of locating where the company’s vehicles were to be
found. He hacked into their Accounts Payable files and
discovered a monthly rental fee being paid to a number
of storage facilities, including a yard in Wandsworth,
London, S.W. 15, with the address kindly provided. Alan
decided that he had nothing to lose by scouting the
place and, next evening, he took a train into town and
the tube to the nearest station. He discovered that the
“storage yard” was located down a side-street and was
not much more than a piece of waste ground surrounded
by chain-link fencing.

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