"Levi, the premiere starts in three hours. The least you can do is get off the ground so other people can get closer," Cath scolded, all but physically dragging Levi from his sleeping bag on the gravel floor.
They had been here, in this exact spot right beside the barricades, since yesterday. Cath had no idea how they had secured the spot (she had been almost incapacitated just at the sight of the massive Simon Snow posters and decorations, so Levi was in charge). By the time they arrived there were already groups setting up sleeping bags and pop-up tents all over the road. Levi had spotted it first, the perfect spot, not too far from the start of the red carpet but not too far down either, and they had moved hastily to grab it before anyone else had the chance.
Now, with only three hours to wait until the premiere, Cath's nerves were tingling more than ever. This was it, the final instalment of the series she had followed since childhood, the series that had granted her internet fame. This was the premiere for the final Simon Snow movie, and just the thought of it made Cath somewhat teary.
Even Levi was excited, jumping at the chance to tag along when Cath mentioned she had tickets. She had meant to ask Wren first, but Levi was hard to say no to, and it turned out Wren got tickets with some other friends anyway. Of course, they had to drive to New York, which Cath wasn't too happy about. But then again, there was no way she was paying for plane fares there and back. So they took the two-day drive, two whole days of nothing but road trip music and fast food. Cath swore she would never listen to Life is a Highway ever again.
Levi groaned as he sat up, rubbing sleep from his eyes and running a hand through his unbrushed hair (when was it ever brushed, Cath wondered). At least he was already dressed - without a tent, they couldn’t get changed in private, and neither of them wanted to leave their spot alone. It was therefore decided to just sleep in their day clothes and hope they didn't smell too bad afterwards.
"How long now, Cather?" Levi mumbled.
"Only three hours," Cath repeated, her stomach flipping in excitement. "It's going to start really crowding up soon, so we need to pack our stuff." There was already a large crowd gathering, but only the most forward dared approach the campers’ areas. The rest hung back waiting for things to clear up. Cath watched this from her place perched atop her rolled sleeping bag. Almost everyone was wearing Simon Snow shirts at least, and there were a number of cosplayers amongst the group. Cath had always loved cosplay, and cursed her lack of sewing abilities. Still, writing was a fine alternative, but she still wanted to do something Simon-related that she could show off to people.
The hours passed quickly, and now with only an hour until the red carpet arrivals began, the whole area was packed. Cath and Levi were squashed into place, with barely any room to even move their legs. Suddenly, a cry came from their left, and Cath turned to see the crowds churning. Everyone in the local vicinity turned too, to see a girl - probably about 15 years old - running in Cath's direction. People were thrown off balance as she pushed past, a couple of people falling to the ground.
But then the girl stopped. Right in front of Cath.
"Hi," she panted, "you're Cath, right?"
Cath frowned, not sure whether to answer truthfully. "Yeah?"
"I've just got to say," The girl continued, "that I am a massive fan." And then Cath noticed: the girl was wearing a Carry On shirt, one of the first ones ever produced. God, Cath should have seen this coming. Last month she had finally changed her profile picture on Fanfixx.net to a picture of herself (she was an adult now, after all, she could do what she wanted), but she hadn't thought that anyone had noticed too much. No one (save for a few of her most dedicated fans) had commented on it. But here was this girl, not one of Cath's closest friends whom she hadn't met in real life yet (she knew all their faces) but still a dedicated fan, it seemed.
"Carry On is seriously one of the best fanfictions I've ever read," the girl started, "You're so talented Cath; when I first heard of you I found it hard to believe a fanfiction writer could be that popular, but I totally understand why now. You're amazing! Um, is there any chance I could get your autograph?"
"Uh, yeah sure," Cath replied, taking the piece of paper hesitantly. She was still a little dazed when she scrawled her signature, the same one she'd been doing since sixth grade, with the tiny star and the haphazard underline.
"OMG, thankyou so much!" the girl squealed before running back through the crowds. Cath stood motionless in her wake. She was faintly aware of Levi rambling on - something like 'you're famous, Cather' and 'maybe you should be on that red carpet' - but she ignored him, turning back to the barricade.
It wasn't every day a fanfiction writer was noticed in public - Cath had never even considered it might happen to her, what with the fame of Carry On. She couldn't dwell on it forever, anyway; the premiere began in less than an hour!
Gemma T Leslie was stunning as soon as she stepped out of the limousine in a navy pantsuit, her silver accessories glinting under the spotlights. Her appearance made Cath suddenly feel rather plain in her Simon Snow t-shirt and jeans. It was her best Simon shirt, of course, the one with Simon and Baz from The Seventh Oak. They were looking angrily at each other, but in lieu of Carry On, Cath liked to think it was only a petty row, one that was inevitable in any relationship.
The cast of the movie arrived next, all looking glamorous in dresses and suits, and the directors and producers came last. Cath rather admired the directors and producers of the Simon Snow movies; they had done an excellent job at conveying Cath's favourite books in visual form. Of course, the cheering of the crowd became louder as the actors who played Simon and Baz came down the red carpet. Cath understood, she really did - those guys were hot - but tonight she was here for Gemma and her amazing series, not the men who portrayed her characters.
It seemed like an eternity before anyone notable even neared Cath and Levi's area, and when they did, the noise was deafening. There was so much cheering from every direction, and music was blasting through the speakers (a nice mix of current hits and various Simon Snow soundtracks, Cath noticed) that Cath couldn't focus on half of what was happening. Admittedly, she became part of that screaming mess when Gemma approached their area, although she did pipe down (unlike the people behind them) when Gemma was being interviewed close by.
The moment Gemma approached her, Cath was a mess. She fumbled to pass over her pen and the copy of The Mage's Heir she had brought to be signed, and laughed nervously when Gemma told her how much she liked Cath's shirt. Gemma was quick to notice that the book Cath had brought was a first edition cover, and noted that those were her favourites, to which Cath simply replied "me too!".
Cath was close to tears when her idol walked away. Immediately she was gushing to Levi: 'she's so lovely; oh my goodness I just met Gemma T Leslie; look Levi she signed my book! She liked my shirt, oh my god!'
It took Cath a full five minutes to compose herself, but just as she did, Levi tapped her shoulder. "Hey Cath, someone wants to talk to you," he said tentatively, pointing to his right, towards the red carpet. Cath turned, and there was Gemma again, beaming a full genuine grin.
"Hey, I was just wondering - you wouldn't happen to be Magicath, would you?" Cath couldn't speak. It was as though she had lost her whole vocabulary in a matter of seconds, which spanned into hours as she fumbled to find the right words to reply.
"Y-yes I am." she mumbled. "You- you're not going to sue me for copyright infringement, are you?"
Gemma laughed at that, throwing her head back and making her jewellery sparkle in the light. "Of course not, Cath. I love your work! I think it's wonderful that people can write their own stories about Simon Snow - I can't write absolutely everything that happens at Watford myself, can I?"
"No, I guess you can't," Cath laughed hesitantly. Did this mean...had Gemma T Leslie read Cath's work?
"I'm actually quite a fan myself," Gemma continued, and Cath just about melted right there. "You're a talented writer, Cath, you should seriously consider getting into the business."
Only Levi's hand on her shoulder and a wave of adrenalin was keeping Cath conscious now. Had she really just been commended for her fanfiction by a real author? Yes, she really had!
"Well, I've got to get going now, but - ah - is there any chance I could get your autograph, Cath? Maybe a photo with you and your friend?" Cath was sure she looked positively stupefied in the photo, but she said nothing except "It was amazing to meet you Gemma," when the author walked away. She turned to face Levi, whose expression was one of undeniable glee. They had just taken selfies with Gemma T Leslie, for goodness' sake!
"Hey look, Cather, you really are famous!" Levi chuckled.
Cath couldn't wipe the smile off her face for the rest of the night.