“Pyramid Head!” Elly called, pointing at a guy lugging a huge costume across the room.
“Another one?” asked Lissy. “Why is that even a popular character?”
“You’ve never played Silent Hill?” Lissy shuddered, but Elly grinned. “I thought Gryffindors were supposed to be brave,” she teased.
“Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble,” Lissy quoted. “Or that you should play horror games just because everyone else does.”
“A Browncoat!” gasped Autumn, looking up from her phone suddenly as though she had fellow-Firefly-fan radar. She looked toward a businesswoman walking across the lobby to the front door.
“You don’t know that,” Lissy protested. “That lady could just have a brown coat. She could just like the color.”
“Well, I guess we’ll see if she hangs out in any Alliance-friendly bars come U-Day,” Autumn replied sagely, returning to her texting.
Elly let out a sigh of enjoyment. “This really is the best. I’m so glad I can go back to the dorm tonight and sleep, instead of having to pack up all my stuff and haul it here, inevitably forget some of it and have to do without. If I forgot my Sonic Screwdriver, I could just go back to my room and get it.
“Pff,” Lissy interjected, “like you’d forget your Sonic Screwdriver.”
Elly tossed her a grin and reached into her back pocket, where she located the tool and waved it at her friend. “The point is, I could go home and get it. I don’t have to deal with the mess and hassle of actually staying at the hotel through all the con craziness.”
“That’s true,” Lissy agreed. “One time I was cosplaying Hermione, and I totally forgot my tie! I just wore a scarf instead, though, so everything was okay.”
“You wore a scarf? What a sacrifice!” Elly laughed, eyeing the Gryffindor colors which permanently adorned Lissy’s neck.
Lissy laughed and rolled her eyes. “Nobody noticed, but I was pretty upset for about fifteen minutes.”
“It’s definitely better being able to get out of the hotel when you need to.”
“Yeah, I totally agree,” Lissy echoed, watching a guy with long red hair (Just like Rupert Grint in Goblet of Fire, she thought) as he struggled with four large suitcases.
“What’s that Shakespeare quote with the ‘protestheth...’” Autumn chimed in, mispronouncing The Bard’s 16th century English.
“‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks’?” Elly provided, with a raised eyebrow.
“It’s not ‘pros...thetic’?” Autumn asked.
“Are you trying to say that you think we actually do want to stay at the hotel this weekend?” Lissy asked, translating for her roommate.
“I didn’t say it,” she replied, then reimmersed herself in her phone.
Elly and Lissy exchanged a look.
“I… kind of do want to,” Lissy admitted.
“Me too,” Elly agreed.
“There probably aren’t many rooms left,” Autumn remarked.
“Go up now and see,” Lissy advised. “We can split the cost, but don’t, like, get a presidential suite or anything.”
Elly laughed, already out of her seat and walking toward the front desk. “You mean you don’t want to throw the most amazing The Doctor Takes Hogwarts crossover party that this hotel has ever seen?” she called back.
“That wouldn’t be hard,” Autumn muttered.
“Do you have any cosplay planned?” Lissy asked her roommate politely. She still hadn’t quite forgiven Autumn for stranding her in a back hallway of the hotel the day before.
“Yeah,” Autumn said. “I’m going to be a plucky space cowboy on a job that has an elaborate plan... that involves me dressing like a hotel employee for most of the day.”
Lissy nodded. “That sounds nice.”
Standing in line didn’t provide the view that her previous vantage point had. Within the first five minutes, Elly was convinced that she’d missed seeing several of her geeky brethren, and in fact only managed to spot one: a girl who had painted her rolling suitcase to resemble the TARDIS. She didn’t mind the sacrifice, however, and bounced on the balls of her feet, knowing that soon she’d be able to partake of the entire CON experience, with the added bonus of being close enough to go home whenever she needed to.
When the couple in front of her moved forward to speak to the pretty concierge, Elly was first in line. She bounced faster, but she didn’t have long to wait. A person in a DragonBallZ t-shirt grabbed their bag and walked toward the elevators, and the guy behind the counter beckoned her forward.
“I know you might think I’m crazy for asking this,” she gushed out, “But are there any rooms left?”
“I think there are a few,” he replied, tapping at the computer in front of him.
“Are any of them… not the presidential suite?”
He laughed. It was a nice laugh. Elly looked at him. Before, she’d glanced at him like he were a piece of the background, like he was playing Extra #6 in the movie of her life. But when he laughed, it made her want to know what that movie would be like if he were one of the stars.
“It looks like you’re in luck; we’ve got one with two queen beds that I’m reasonably certain no president has ever stayed in.” He looked up and smiled at her. “No Secret Service, foreign dignitaries, or even the president of a neighborhood association, or anything.”
“We’ll take it,” she replied, and waved at her friends to signal her success. Lucky Lissy strikes again! she thought.
He fished out a keycard and began to get her checked her in. “Any big plans while you’re in town?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah! We’re gonna high five some people, stay up way too late every night, and probably marathon a bunch of movies! It’s gonna be awesome!”
He smiled again as he glanced up at her. “Wow, that was a real response. I do this pretend ‘small talk’ thing with pretty much everyone, but you must be the most excited guest I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to.”
“Your weekend is probably gonna be pretty awesome too, with CON stuff to keep an eye on.”
“It’ll definitely be interesting,” he agreed. “You’re here for the CON? You didn’t bring much luggage with you.”
“Uh, yeah!” Elly stepped back a little from the counter and pointed at her shirt. “Did you expect something different from the girl in the Union Jack?”
He squinted through his glasses to read her red, white, and blue top, which was emblazoned with the words: “ASK ME ABOUT MY DOCTOR WHO OBSESSION”.
“Doctor Who… that’s the guy with the scarf, right?”
Another poor soul, just waiting to be converted, Elly thought, and nodded. “Yes. For the purposes of our conversation, yes. He’s the guy with the scarf.”
“Is that what you’re going to watch all weekend?”
Elly laughed. “I wouldn’t mind, but my friends probably want something else for a change. I’m not sure what else we’ll have, but at some point we’re definitely watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
“‘There are some who call me… Tim?’”
Elly’s momentarily startled eyes swept across his face and took in his nametag, pinned to the front of his suit jacket, which read: “Timothy Gray, MANAGER”. Then she laughed. And laughed. She got a few weird looks from the other concierge and the people standing in line behind her, but she didn’t care.
“You,” she gasped out when she caught her breath, “are my favorite. You’re totally invited to our The Doctor Takes Hogwarts party. If we decide to have it.”
He looked amused as he gave her credit card back and passed her the keycards for her room. “As long as you don’t mind someone from Middle Earth showing up,” he replied. “I’m more of a Lord of the Rings fan, myself.”
Elly grinned, collecting all of her stuff. “Well, thanks for all your help, and your small talk. I guess I’ll see you around!”
“Sure,” the manager replied with a smile. “Enjoy your stay.”
“I will!” Elly turned to walk away, but felt compelled pass on a warning. On her way past the line of people, she pointed at the manager and informed them, “I wouldn’t try to mess with that guy if I were you; he’s an enchanter.”