The Ultimate Fangirling Team

Conventions are a great place to meet new people. When these four girls meet, however, their lives take an interesting turn.

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1. Chapter 1

Mara had been preparing for the convention for weeks. Maybe even months. As soon as she saw that NerdCon tickets were on sale, she bought one. Of course, she also had to get a flight. NerdCon was in Minneapolis, and Mara lived in small town a few miles away from Atlanta. She booked a cheap hotel room so she wouldn't have to sleep on the streets. And then there was the problem of convincing her parents it was a good idea to go. Well, it wasn't actually a problem. Mara's parents didn't really care what she did.

Mara told everyone at school that she was going to NerdCon. No one listened. It's hard to make friends with similar interests when you live in such a small town. When Mara told her online friends, they were thrilled. All of them promised they'd buy tickets so they could all meet up. Mara didn't tell her parents about her online friends coming. It would just make them worried. They'd probably assume her friends were going to kidnap her or whatever else they heard on the internet. 

The day before NerdCon approached faster than Mara had anticipated. Her dad, Michael, drove her to the airport. He had wanted her to feel safe when she left. As much as Mara had told him she already felt perfectly safe, Michael insisted. It made Mara feel good that her dad actually cared about her.

"Now, you be good," Michael ordered.

"I will," Mara promised.

"Call home every night," Michael reminded her.

Mara rolled her eyes. "I'll be fine."

"I love you!" Michael called as Mara walked away.

Mara got along just fine with her dad, but it wasn't like they had anything special. They were just like any other family. Even though they didn't hate each other, Mara still didn't want to be with him any longer than she had to. She was seventeen now. She was old enough to fend for herself.

First class was way too expensive, so Mara flew coach. The problem with flying coach is the other people who fly coach. It's the people who can't afford anything better. The man who sat next to Mara definitely looked like he couldn't afford anything better. He was an old man who couldn't be younger than forty-five. He was wearing clothes that looked like they hadn't been washed in months. Suddenly, Mara was glad she chose the window seat.

"Hello," the man greeted, sitting down next to her. "I'm Zachary."

Mara quickly looked out her window. It was obvious that she had heard what he had said and was just ignoring him. 

"Hello?" Zachary asked.

Mara was getting more and more uncomfortable. It was obvious that Zachary wasn't going to give up anytime soon. He was determined to talk to Mara. Feeling bad about ignoring him, Mara caved into the pressure.

"Et non loquuntur," Mara said. I don't speak English.

To be fair, Mara wasn't even what et non loquuntur meant. She had looked up how to say "I don't speak English" in Latin, and it was the only thing that popped up. Saying that one little sentence was somewhat of a life-hack for Mara. It's what she used whenever she was in an awkward situation. Latin was a dead language, so no one would be able to talk back to her or even understand what she was saying.

Zachary gave her a confused look before turning to speak to the woman sitting next to him. Maybe they were traveling together. Mara didn't care to find out. She pulled out her iPod Shuffle and turned on some Neutral Milk Hotel. They were by far her favorite band. She also grabbed a book from her backpack. Gap Life by John Coy. She felt so special reading it because it was an advanced reader copy. Leila, one of her online friends, had sent it to her in the mail after she had finished it. Leila was a blogger, so she got ARCs all the time.

Mara was so absorbed in her book that time didn't even seem to pass. As soon as she finished Gap Life, she pulled out Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. Combined, the books filled up the whole three hour flight.

When the plane actually landed in Minneapolis, Mara wasn't quite sure what to do. One of her online friends who actually lived in Minneapolis, Natasha, was supposed to be picking her up. The problem with meeting people from the internet in real life is you don't know what to look for. For all Mara knew, Natasha was a middle aged woman with bright blue hair wearing a leopard print jumpsuit. Well, maybe not. Natasha would never wear that out of the house. 

Mara looked around a little bit before she finally noticed someone who had to be Natasha. There was a woman who looked to be in her early twenties sitting down in the middle of the floor with a book shoved in her face. From the friend group of four that Mara was in, Natasha was by far the biggest reader.

"Natasha!" Mara cried, running over to the woman sitting on the floor.

The woman glanced up from her book, revealing dark brown eyes. "Yes?"

"It's me!" Mara exclaimed. "Mara? The girl you're picking up at the airport?"
"Oh, yes. I remember that," Natasha recalled. 

"Let's get going. I'm exhausted," Mara said.

"Go grab your stuff and I'll meet you outside," Natasha replied.

And that's how Mara ended up standing in the living room of a mansion. She always knew that Natasha was rich, but not so rich that there was a television on almost every wall. It was also a bit odd that Natasha was okay with Mara just spending the weekend at her house. Apparently the other two girls were doing the same.

"Well, Leila and Alexis should be here soon," Natasha stated.

"I'd hope so," Mara replied.

"Until then, shall we watch a movie?" Natasha suggested.

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