Not just anybody can meet the man of their dreams, but there he will be in a just a few minutes, a few mere steps away from me—like, ten tops—and will probably be mobbed by a bunch of other girls. Not just any girls, either, but fangirls—just like me.
I fidget in my place waiting in line, a whole bunch of people away from him, and my heart starts doing the whole song and dance of trying to trick me into thinking I’ve just sprinted up a flight of stairs for some kind of actual emergency, instead of waiting in line, fidgeting from foot to foot.
The expanse of the convention hall has me looking around, surrounded by people—some dressed in elaborate cosplay of characters I don’t know, some I do, conversations going on around me, a geek symphony, bringing it all home that I’m here. I made it here to see him, and this is all I’ve ever wanted.
And yeah, it sucks going it alone because I’ve basically said goodbye to my best friends, Maddie and Raleigh, the two of them going off to do their own thing in different parts of the world, and they couldn’t come with me.
Nope, Raleigh’s in Seoul, getting ready for the school year, and Maddie’s playing exhibition games for the Women’s Prime League in London, ready to shoot off to superstardom.
Not that they totally get or understand my undying devotion to my favourite show and its characters, and while it has bummed me out for most of the day that I’m all by my lonesome, excitement has taken over.
I’m here at the world’s biggest comic-con, minutes away from getting to take a photo with the fictional love of my life, Chrisander Gage, otherwise known to the real world and his fans as the actor Ayden Stone.
I shift my weight from side to side, rocking from hip to hip in a weird kind of dance, my heart tripping up, and I think I have that crazed kind of smile on my face that just sort of happens right before I get really excited about all the things about my favourite show, Leviathan, and one of its leading men. I’m smiling so much my cheeks are hurting, and there’s a serious danger of my face getting stuck that way.
Here in line, waiting and waiting, I can ignore the hunger pangs and hope against hope that we start moving soon and actually get to taking the pictures we all signed up and paid for—I don’t want to be furiously hungry when I meet the fictional love of my life. I need to focus, to pay attention since I’m only going to have his time and attention for nothing more than a fleeting moment, and I have to make it count so that it can be forever memorialized in the form of an actual print photo.
I fish into my purse for the seventh time to get my compact out and make sure that a zit hasn’t sprouted in the five minutes since I checked my face last, but there’s nothing I can do about the excited look in my eyes, the flush to my cheeks.
Excited yells snake down the line, a game of broken telephone between strangers as the message comes across—he’s here and we’re going to start as soon as we can.
Excitement grows and expands in my chest, fluttering up to my throat, and I struggle in putting my compact away, my movements all jittery. I force myself to take a deep, deep breath through my nose, ignoring the mammoth butterflies that have made their home in my stomach, reminding me that I am here, and he is just going to be right over there, and I’m finally going to get to meet him, stand next to him, maybe even hold his hand in a handshake and take a picture—finally.
The fangirl dreams of fangirl dreams. It’s happening. And it’s him.
It’s not just that Chrisander Gage is everything a man should be—like Captain Steve Rogers for the sci-fi small-screen community, and his character isn’t so well known as to be blowing up all kinds of box office records around the world. Chrisander’s strong without being an asshole, he totally admits when he’s wrong and works to fix the problem instead of lamenting the whole fact of how he’s been wronged and just generally mansplains about his “feelings” that are never actual feelings just entitlement. He’ll make sacrifices for those he loves, and he’s so stubborn in what he believes is right, which doesn’t make him automatically right, and to make it even worse, he’s handsome as hell. The writers for this show have created the perfect man—my dream man—and he’s entirely fictional.
It’s the worst fangirl problem to have and really, the world isn’t fair.
The actor who plays the character, Ayden Stone, is just as beautiful as the character he plays—black hair, bronzed skin and gunmetal-gray eyes, and the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a guy.
I’m interested to find out what Ayden Stone will be wearing today since Chrisander is always dressed in distressed jeans, the kind that have been shown some lovin’ for many years (a remnant of his past on Earth), a plain T-shirt with suspenders hanging low, and the best kind of scuffed boots that make my heart palpitate just thinking about him riding a motorbike in them. Will Ayden Stone be dressed up like himself or his character?
I’m not stupid; I know Ayden Stone and Chrisander Gage are two very different people despite the fact that they share the same body, the same face, and I know absolutely who my heart belongs to.
If only the line could, like, maybe start moving?
A couple of girls—about high school age maybe, but I’m notoriously bad at guessing people’s ages—in front of me are fangirling hard. They’re clutching the graphic novels to their chests that had been specifically produced for this event and are bouncing up and down in their cosplay of one of the love interests in the show—Amy Eames, the co-captain of the ship Leviathan. Her character wears a stiff uniform in navy blue, decorated with dull medals that mean something to the military faction she’s a part of as the ship sails through space, wanting to escape her past on Earth and the military background that she was raised with.
Yeah, she’s a badass character, but I’m not a Chrisamy shipper. Like, they have chemistry, but it’s baseline, the kind of chemistry you’d have with a friend you met through work or high school and never really talk to about all the crap that’s going on in your life, not the kind of person you’d ask for advice and actually use.
The noise in here gets impossibly louder, more shouts and yells of excitement, and if I crane my head and go on my tiptoes, I can see through the floor-to-ceiling-length windows between the gaps that people make as they slide past one another in this giant line, all of us waiting to get a picture with the cast or individual photo ops with the actors in Leviathan. Everyone’s talking, a jumble of syllables that pass through me, and a group nearby screaming in excitement isn’t something to be worried about, despite the tons and tons of milling conversations around me.
We’re all kinda really happy to be here.
I think I might seem like a loner to everyone else in this line, and it’s true—a lot of my friends and family don’t really understand my obsession with this show, the way I pore over all the trivia ever accumulated about Chrisander in the past three seasons that the show’s been on the air, how I collect their action figurines, or how I’ve read every graphic novel ever produced cover to cover multiple times.
I love everything about Leviathan—the show has excellent writers, asking thought-provoking questions about humanity (or whatever is left of it) on the ship headed for some distant planet that the remnants of the human race can someday call home. It’s incredibly interesting, and the whole fact that I’m obsessed with one of the main characters is a guaranteed good time for forty-five minutes every single Wednesday night (I have zero patience to wait for all the episodes to air and then binge them later on). Watching the show also breaks up the work week nicely, and I always have something to look forward to, even though the torture of waiting for the next week’s episode can sometimes be a bit much. Especially with last season’s finale, and now with the show’s hiatus finally coming to a close after this con is all wrapped up.
Now I’m here, about to meet the face behind Chrisander Gage, and I’m sort of freaking out.
I can’t seem to keep still, so I fidget in my spot, practically knocking into a person squeezing past me to get to the front of the line, flashing a bright yellow badge on a striped lanyard around her neck.
Damn VIPs—I should’ve sprung for that. The anticipation is killing me. This line is killing me!
For a second, my wild imagination takes hold as I imagine what’s going to happen next, once I get to the front of the line and get to have my picture taken with Ayden Stone.
I was super careful with my makeup this morning, classy but a little sassy, and I’m wearing plain clothes today, no cosplay involved, even if my nails are the precise color of the Leviathan’s captain chairs, a shade only fans will know, the shade literally called Earthly Blue. Everything I’m wearing has significance to me, significance to the show, right down to the jewelry. I’m wearing little Leviathans as my earrings, which I got off Etsy, and a replica of the medallion necklace that Chrisander wears of the archangel Raphael. I’ve got a plain white tee paired with distressed jeans, but the pièce de resistance is my shoes—patterned to look like the exoskeleton armour that glows silver, which the military wears on the show. I’ve gotten so many compliments on them today; it feels like I haven’t stopped smiling since I got here.
Finally, finally, finally the line’s starting to move in fits and starts. With each step I take, I find myself struggling to take a deep, calming breath.
Oh, I’m going to be super pissed if I do something like pass the frick out before getting my picture taken with Chrisander Gage. Don’t do this to yourself, Aria, don’t freaking do this.
But everything feels a little blurry along the edges, and I'm sure I'm doing a great job at impersonating a marionette with strings too taut.
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