PORT ANGELES ¬– If anybody could stand the rain, it would be this band of 29 Bella Swans and one would-be Edward Cullen.
By 12:40 p.m. Thursday, the line of Twilight fans was well-formed outside the Lincoln Theater at 132 E. First St.
They waited — in canvas chairs, under a tent, wearing heavy scarves and wide smiles — for 5:30 p.m. when tickets would go on sale for the just-after-midnight premiere of the “Twilight” movie.
A gentle rain began to fall, perhaps sent here from Forks, the place where the romance between Bella, a teenage mortal, and Edward, a hot vampire, bloomed into a worldwide phenomenon.
The woman who started the ticket line, the Port Angeles mother of a 15-year-old whose name happens to be Bella, was looking positively dewy.
Victoria McDonald, the first to buy a ticket to the premiere, had arrived at the Lincoln’s door at 5 a.m. Thursday, hardcover Twilight in hand.
Some 325 seats sold out in 54 minutes, with Chris Franklin of Port Angeles — wearing a Team Edward shirt — and Shelby Lane, 13, of Forks — in a Team Jacob top — seizing the last two tickets for the 12:15 a.m. show.
For today’s Twilight screenings at the Lincoln, tickets will be available when the box office opens at about 4:30 p.m.
After admitting she’s read Stephenie Meyer’s best-seller 29 times, McDonald turned to her compatriots in devotion.
“We got here simultaneously,” she said of Machon Mendez, 24, of University Place, who got in line long before sunup with her sister Dani Craver, 17, of Port Angeles.
And with the breaking dawn, McDonald handed out Twilight trivia questions she’d written for the women she knew would join her on this long-awaited day.
As the hours passed, the line stretched longer — up to the window of Bella Italia, the restaurant where Edward and Bella went for their first date in the first book. McDonald, Mendez and Craver took turns holding others’ places in line whenever someone needed to visit a restroom or take a cell phone call.
“It’s a community,” McDonald said.
Besides being “so unbelievably dedicated” to the Twilight saga, she is director of member services for the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
She’s watched the book and movie transform her town, just as it turned Forks into a destination for Twilight-loving pilgrims.
All around downtown, signs welcoming Twilight movie fans hung in windows, and eateries such as the Itty Bitty Buzz and the Dynasty Chinese Restaurant allowed line-standers into their ladies’ rooms.
The queue included teens, of course, but also moms and at least one grandmother: Betsy Robins of Port Angeles, who came to get tickets for her 14-year-old granddaughter Paige Little.
Paige and her friends were in school Thursday, and they had basketball practice after that, so Robins got her black umbrella and joined the line at high noon.
Robins picked up Twilight because she wanted to know what Paige and her friends were so aflutter about.
“By the time it was over, I was in love with Edward Cullen like the rest of them,” she said.
Halfway up the line sat Nancy Christensen, also of Port Angeles, with her nose deep in Breaking Dawn, the final book in the four-novel Twilight series that also includes New Moon and Eclipse.
She came to make sure her 12-year-old daughter, Hannah Sinnes, got in to one of the midnight screenings.
Looking down the line, a few faces away from Christensen, there was one who was not like the others.
He is the chivalrous Boe Andrus, 21, holding a spot in line for his girlfriend Jocelyn Andres, 20.
Yes, their surnames are similar, but their taste for books is not.
Andrus said he isn’t into reading, and doesn’t really understand the whole Twilight craze.
Yet his beloved has been talking about seeing the movie all week, so Andrus, with near-Edwardian selflessness, came down to sit in the cold and rain to make sure they could see it together.
Back at the head of the line, McDonald had no problem explaining why Twilight is this dazzling — to teens, their moms and the legion of fans reading the saga in some 37 languages.
“We remember the angst of first love,” she said, “and all the passion that goes with it.
“Edward is what every girl wants in a man. He’s Bella’s protector and confidant … a great role model,” for boyfriends and husbands.
OK, Edwardhood is “perhaps unattainable,” McDonald admitted. “But he treats Bella the way women dream of being treated.
“We all want to be somebody’s Bella.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]