Ally closed the door to her hotel room and tried to walk away. She took several steps, stopped, and looked back at the door. She forced herself to keep walking. She took three more steps and stopped. She clenched her fists and relaxed them. She did it again. Clench. Relax. Clinch. Relax.
“You can do this you stupid son of a bitch,” she said. “You can do it.”
She took another step, but couldn’t go any further.
A few doors down, another door opened and a fat, bearded man stepped into the hall, twirling his con badge on a lanyard.
“M’lady,” he said, nodding towards her.
Mortified, Ally scampered back to her door. She had her key card ready, waved it in front of the door, and opened it. Inside the room, she went methodically to the coffee maker and checked that it was off. She moved to the hot plate, then the hair dryer, and finally made sure all the phone chargers were unplugged.
She looked around. Large costumes were staged at every corner. Super heroes, Fantastic Beasts and a bunch of metallic elf armor. She resisted the urge to put something on and disappear into character.
“It’s only Wednesday.” she said. “Pace yourself.”
She surveyed the room, took a deep breath and left again.
Outside the room, she took three steps and stalled.
A drop of sweat hung on the edge of her nose.
A door behind her opened and the sound of people talking and laughing startled her into action. She blew the sweat off her nose and walked forward briskly. She didn’t stop again until she rounded the corner to the elevators.
The night was young and the con hadn’t officially started yet so there wasn’t a crowd waiting. Relieved, she pushed the down button.
She could hear the people walking towards the elevator. She pushed the down button again.
She counted the elevator doors. She counted them again. She pushed the button one more time as a group of cosplayers rounded the corner.
Not looking at them directly but through the corner of her eyes, she saw they were a group of DC cosplayers. There was a Batman, a Bane, and three Cat Women. The guys were huge – football player big. Even under the masks she could tell they were really good looking. The cat women filled out those skin-tight black suits like only a yoga instructor could. These weren’t real cosplayers. They were jocks and cheerleaders. She hated them instantly.
Ally felt her face getting red. These people wouldn’t let her or any of her friends sit at the lunch table with them back in the real world, but they expected equal treatment here, in her special place. The one place she could shine, they were invading and ransacking and would shine brighter.
The elevator dinged and a red, down arrow appeared above one of the doors. Even though she had been there first, the five beautiful (albeit probably full of steroids), uncreative assholes moved to the door in front of her and got on the elevator.
“C’mon sweetie,” one of the cat women said as she stuck her hand out and held the door.
“I’m good,” Ally said.
“There’s plenty of room,” another cat person meowed.
“I’ll wait,” Ally said weakly.
“Get on the elevator!” commanded the bat man in a pretty good imitation of the real thing.
Ally got on the elevator. The bat man punched the button for the lobby.
“You going all the way down?” he asked. Ally nodded in the affirmative.
“I love your brooch.” said Cat Woman Number 3.
Ally had a small, pewter Cthulhu pinned to her lapel. It was the only bit of costume she had on and was surprised anyone had noticed.
Another cat woman noticed. “Oh, is that an octopus?”
“Did you get it at the mall?” another asked.
Ally punched the “7” button.
“I thought you said..,” Batman started.
Ally pressed all the elevator buttons in one big wipe.
“What the fuck!” Bane said in a high whiny voice.
The door opened and Ally got out.
“Bitch!” one of the cat women snarled.
Ally walked away. No use going downstairs, the night was ruined. She yanked open the door to the stairwell and headed upstairs.