"Why won't you tell me what's going on?" I asked Nai'a for the third time. She'd been very secretive about the whole CSU weekend thing.
"My dad has called your dad - it's all set up. Don't worry about it!" she said with a laugh. "Just be ready on Friday - we have a half day so we'll leave right after school!" she was half way down the hall when she turned back and called out, "Oh and pack something nice....like prom nice! If you don't have anything we'll go shopping..."
And she disappeared around the corner, leaving me confused.
Friday rolled around finally and I was waiting anxiously for her to show up. My dad was grinning like a cat - he was in on it and despite all my pleading, he wouldn't tell me anything about what Nai'a might have planned. He had, however, shown up the night before with a brand new dress for me.
When I got outside with my stuff, I was surprised to see Todd and Erik already in the car as well. I knew they were going but I guess I didn't realize we were all going together. Nai'a dad, Tony, and my dad chatted for a few as we loaded my stuff and we were off. "See you Sunday!" my dad called as we pulled away.
As soon as we got into the city, Tony took Todd and Erik off somewhere and Nai'a and I met up with Mei-Ling at a salon. Mei-Ling seemed as confused as I was but Nai'a had insisted we all needed to glam up for something.
A limo pulled up outside the hotel about the same time the room phone rang. Nai'a answered and after a series of acknowledgments, she made another call and then ushered us all downstairs where we met up with Todd and Erik, who were decked out in tuxedos. Her dad was also there and waved. "You kids have fun!" he said as Nai'a led us to the aforementioned limo.
"Aren't you going to tell us anything?" Todd asked, fiddling with his collar. Nai'a just grinned.
Twenty minutes later, the limo came to a stop in front of a large, elegant theater. Several photographers were pushing against the red rope that separated the onlookers from the plush red carpet that climbed the stairs. This was the type of theater where awards shows and premieres happened. I was still staring out the window when the door was opened and the driver offered me his hand. I climbed out and was blinded by a series of flash bulbs. I wasn't anyone important but they didn't know that until after the pictures were taken.
Erik had exited the limo after me and looked around in disbelief. It felt like we'd entered the twilight zone. We stepped aside so the next person could come out.
Mei-Ling exited and I couldn't help but laugh as the flash bulbs went off again, catching her by surprise. She looked over at us for some sort of explanation but the only person who could do any explaining was still in the limo.
Todd followed Mei-Ling in and was also blinded by the lights. Mei-Ling grabbed his hand and huddled close to him. This seemed to trigger another round of photographs. I guess the photographers were covering their bases.
Nai'a was the last to exit and the only one not to be surprised by the cameras. She smiled for them all, perfectly comfortable. They took more pictures of her than I would have expected for a nobody. I was going to have to ask her about all this. Having had her moment, she stepped over to us and looped her arms in ours. We made our way up the grand stair case. Once at the top, instead of going inside, she ushered us back down a side staircase. We joined the group of photographers and onlookers behind the red rope and Nai'a pulled out her camera from her purse. I'm amazed she could even fit it in there!
While waiting for the next limo to arrive, I had a chance to look around. There was a large movie banner strung above us. I had to strain to read it but I realized we were at a movie premiere for a big name science fiction movie. I instantly felt bad that Timothy wasn't with us. He'd talked about this movie before. I was dragged away from my thoughts though as dozens of cameras started going off.
Two of the main actors from the movie had arrived at that moment and there was a flurry of activity. Unlike my less than graceful appearance, these two were obviously somewhat used to the attention. They waved and smiled and posed together several times for the photographers. It took them ten minutes just to get from the door of the limo to the bottom of the stairs.
While I hadn't watched the series that prompted the movie as much as Timothy had, he had suckered me into a few episodes and it was a good show. I recognized almost all the actors as they arrived and I admit, even I had a bit of a fan girl moment being here amongst them.
They stayed near the bottom of the stairs until several had arrived, mingling with the photographers and guests - I guess the show wouldn't start without them inside. Ready to move on, Jonathan Talfey and Ian Macavoy had gone up the stairs some but the ladies were still chatting. It almost seemed planned as they turned back to summon their co-stars.
They all waved to those behind the red rope before ascending the stairs and disappearing into the theater. Nai'a motioned for us to follow her so we could get inside for the actual show then. She stowed her camera and then pulled out our tickets as we reached the door. After showing the tickets, an usher escorted us into the theater and showed us our seats in the second row.
The theater was packed with people. A lot of them looked marginally familiar and I wondered what I knew them from. A few I even recognized instantly and I felt the need to pinch myself to be sure I wasn't dreaming. "Is this for real?" I whispered to Erik.
Erik's eyes were still pretty wide in awe as well and he chuckled. "I guess so." he replied. He took my hand in his and squeezed it.
The lights in the theater dimmed twice to settled everyone down. Lights came up on the small stage in front of the screen. The members of the cast who had come to the premiere were standing there waiting for our attention.
"Thank you all for coming tonight." Tisha Caldwell said with a broad smile. "We really hope you enjoy the movie...and if you don't, please don't come hunt us down to tell us." she said. Everyone laughed and snickered. "So sit back and enjoy; and feel free to join us in the ball room after for a bit of dinner and drinks."
The cast members sat in the empty row in front of us. They were close enough that I could reach out and touch them! If I wanted to be labeled a stalker and probably end up with a restraining order of course. The lights dimmed and as the movie started, I looked over toward Nai'a. She smiled at me and winked. The seat next to her was empty when I turned her direction but before I returned my gaze to the screen, a familiar looking teenager settled in the seat next to her. He kissed her on the cheek in greeting.
Where did I know him from? He looked familiar but I just couldn't place his face. Nai'a eventually caught my eye again and smiled before pointing toward the screen, the movie was starting.
I'm not a huge science fiction fan but I do like the series and it could have been the situation. I mean I was sitting right behind several of the main cast! That tends to make a lasting imprint. As I watched the movie, I made the decision to catch up with the series, the writing was awesome and the characters were great. It was an interesting concept too.
After the movie ended, a thick red curtain fell across the movie screen and the lights came up slowly. The whole theater applauded and several people stood as the cast took their leave out a side door. The teen boy at Nai'a's side left with the cast and again I tried to figure out where I knew him. I found my way to Nai'a and took her arm. "You some serious explaining to do." I teased. "We'll start with the boy - he looks so familiar, who is he?" she was walking as we talked, the others were following I assumed.
"His name is Jasper Cassidy." she said playfully.
I sucked in a startled gasp. "Ash! He plays Ash!" I said a little loudly. "I didn't recognize him without all the blue...."
I wanted to question her further but we'd entered a grand ballroom. The cast was already mingling and Nai'a took us around to meet them all. They seemed very familiar with her and I wondered just how well she knew Mr. Jasper Cassidy.
They posed for pictures all night and there were several that had already been printed off for the guest; I assume they'd been taken before the show because Jasper wasn't in any of these printed ones. All of the cast signed pictures for us; they were all very nice and friendly.
"This has been incredibly awesome." I said to no one in particular. Erik was beside me and nodded, Mei-Ling and Todd were off mingling and being star struck. Nai'a was taking pictures of anything and everyone. I had a sneaky suspicion she'd be hitting me up for an article about this too. When she wasn't taking pictures of flirting with Jasper, she was talking to other photographers.
She'd gotten red carpet photographs off all the others actors and somehow even got one of Jasper - though I knew we'd been inside when he arrived. I think they may have disappeared and staged it at some point just so she'd have a complete set. Or maybe she got a copy from one of the other photographers.
Credit where credit is due: the red carpet theater is the venue for SIFF (Sims International Film Festival) and is downloadable from the Exchange; I didn't build it or anything, just used it for the event ;). If anyone wants to link please let me know.