“Miss MacLean!” Lady B calls out from the opposite end of the grand foyer of Beaufetheringstone House. “What is that thing you are dragging about?”
I brush the hair back from my face and pretend not to be too grateful that she stopped me. The house doesn’t have an elevator, you see. “Lady B! It’s a suitcase.”
“A case of suits?” She’s confused, and I’m realizing suitcase is etymologically off.
Her eyes go wide. “It’s blue.”
“And it is on wheels.”
“That part is rather useful, when stairs aren’t involved.”
She ignores me. “But surely you aren’t missing tonight’s ball. I have plans. Albert shall be very put out if you’re not there.”
I hesitate. She only invokes Albert’s happiness when she’s very serious. “Well, Lady B–”
She gives me the look. “You are leaving.”
“I have to,” I explain quickly. “I’m going to a conference.”
“With whom are you conferring?”
Her brow furrows. “The host must have the largest ballroom in London.”
Uh-oh. When Lady B gets competitive… “It’s not actually in London,” I say, trying to move us away from giant ballrooms. “It’s in Kansas City.”
“Missouri,” I add.
“This event isn’t even hosted by a peer? You’re choosing this Miss Ouri’s soiree instead of mine?”
Oh dear. “Missouri isn’t a person, Lady B. She’s a place. It’s a place, I mean.”
She looks unconvinced. “Explain.”
“I’m going to a very large…” I pause, considering the words. Convention clearly doesn’t work. Party will no doubt set her off. “Event. For authors and readers. The RT Booklovers convention.”
“It’s for your…writing?”
“It is!” I say, grateful. “In a place called Kansas City. In the United States.”
“You’re going to The Colonies.”
“Just for a few days. I’ll be back before you know it.”
“I am not an idiot, Miss MacLean, it shall take you months to get there.”
“Not–” I pause, knowing in 2013, won’t work. “–necessarily.”
She gives a little huff of displeasure. “I don’t like it.”
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I’ll bring you back some barbecue sauce.”
“What kind of queue?”
I shake my head. “You’ll see when I get back. And I’ll bring you some free books, too! Maybe some pictures of ladies in wild costumes!”
Her brows snap together. “This does not seem altogether businesslike.”
I’m quietly grateful for the lack of the Mr. Romance competition this year. And I’m just going to skip telling her about the Faery Ball.
Are you at RT this year? Be sure to come say hi to me! Have you ever been to a reader convention? What did you like about it? If you haven’t been to one, is it the kind of thing you think you’d enjoy?