"Morning , " I called out as pushed the kitchen door open.
"Thank heavens : y our a unt was just about to call the police , " Uncle John supplied, "where've you been?"
"Just a quick leg stretch."
"Well next time let someone know , eh?"
"Er yeah, sorry. Where is Aunt Carol, and Mad for that matter?"
"Your cousin's still in bed and your a unt's in the shower."
"That's what I need."
"She'll be a while yet, get some breakfast first."
Well I suppose I don't smell too bad ; a nd the fry up was giving off some great aromas.
"Ok." I agreed pausing only to slip my Carnacs * off.
I was tucking into my egg and bacon before, attracted no doubt by the smell, Mad arrived in the kitchen.
"Morning Drew," she yawned.
"More like afternoon," I suggested with a smirk.
"It's barely nine o'clock," Mad grumbled.
"Drew's already been out on his bike for an hour," her dad told her.
"And frightened me half to death," Aunt C mentioned from the door, "morning everyone."
"What'd she do?" Mad asked.
"It's what he didn't do." Aunt Carol looked pointedly at me.
“So um, what's happening today?” I enquired when I returned downstairs after showering.
“Thought we might go up to Doncaster,” Uncle John offered.
“Doncaster?” Mad and me questioned in perfect stereo.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure the place does have its good points but its reputation leaves a lot to be desired, not somewhere you'd really make a point of visiting.
“Why Doncaster?” Mad pressed.
“There's a one day comic con on at the Dome, thought we could take a look.”
“In costume?” I enquired.
“Only if you want,” Aunt C told us.
“Sounds okay to me.”
“That's settled then, we'll leave about ten*, ” Unc instructed.
“Come on Drew,” Mad grabbed my arm and dragged me towards the stairs.
“What're you up to?” I asked plonking myself on her bed.
“Finding us costumes.”
“We don't need costumes, your mum said,” I pointed out.
“You think I'm going to a con in drab? My cred would be down the drain.”
“If you say so,” I sighed.
“And if I'm playing so are you, ” s he stated.
“Ma-ad,” I moaned.
“Pretty please Drew?”
I'll get no peace if I don't will I?
“Alright then – but nothing too revealing.” I have no illusions about her coming up with a male costume, look at what she's conned me into in the past.
“I feel like a right prawn.”
“Stop moaning, she looks gorgeous doesn't she Mum?”
“You've certainly got the look Drew.”
Now as you know, back home I've done the Lolli Goth thing a couple of times but this get up goes way beyond that, I'm not sure I can even really describe it . Revealing it's not, i'll say that for it but instead it's so saccharin sweet it can rot teeth at twenty paces, all lace and flounces – and not revealing. If Mad can find this in her closet I'm a little worried.
“Are we ready then ladies?” Uncle John asked from the door.
“Yes love, come on you two.” Aunt C started to usher us out to the car.
Oh geez, I've got to go outside in this lot and I know people round here. At least some attention might be diverted to my cousins much briefer Harumi café outfit.
It's not a long drive up to Doncaster, there are several options and Uncle J took potentially the quickest, out to the A1, up to the M18, one junction north on there and in to the eastern industrial and leisure estate that the Doncaster Dome sits in. once parked in the flood of tarmac that forms the car parking we followed the signs for the imaginatively named ‘Don Con'.
The leisure centre was of course open as usual so we had to manoeuvre through flocks of juvenile swimmers and middle-aged gym fanatics before reaching the exhibition halls. We joined the queue for accreditation, there were quite a few in front of us and I found myself idly twiddling the lace parasol Mad insisted I bring.
“Watch out with that thing,” a voice petulantly stated from behind me.
“Er sorry,” I offered turning to look at the complainant.
“Yeah well, you could put someone's eye out with that thing.”
“I said sorry.”
“James, stop winding her up,” Mad huffed beside me.
“Sorry, couldn't resist Mad, your parents here?”
“Hi James,” Aunt C called back.
“Hi Mrs P, Mr P.”
Do I know this joker?
“You never said you were coming Mad, or that Momoko would be here.”
“It was a bit last minute, how'd you get here?”
“Drove,” he grinned.
“Drove?” Mad repeated.
“Passed me test last week so there'll be no holding me now,” he beamed.
I'm sure I should know him.
“So are you reprising Momoko today, Gab?” he asked.
He seems to know who I am.
“I didn't plan on it.”
It all makes sense now, the outfit being ready, coming to the Con, that cousin of mine is still conning me into stuff; you'd think I would have learnt by now.
“For not planning you look pretty ace.”
Got it ; h e was at some of the cons back when I lived here. I remember now, his uncle or someone had a costume shop, he had that girl mask**, yeah that's it.
“Mad's work, I wasn't expecting to do a Con while I'm here.”
“You not cosing?” Mad asked him .
“Dur?” he opened his jacket, “Spidey,” he grinned revealing a close fitting Spiderman ® outfit. “I'll mask up when we get in."
The queue was inching forward; it felt like we'd been there hours already.
It was clear that Mad was ‘interested' in James which, when I realised it, caused a momentary pang of jealousy. Wasn't I her boyfriend? Thinking about it was I? I mean we shared rooms and did stuff together but who was it that was there? As I went through some of those times in my head I realised that invariably I did stuff as Gaby, not Drew. Okay not exclusively but a large percentage of the time.
“Come on , Gab, you've been staring at that mirror for like five minutes , ” Mad chided.
“Er oh right.” I picked up my handbag and followed her back out into the halls.
Don Con was certainly smaller than pretty much any other event I've been to but the con community were nevertheless out in force and whilst I didn't know anyone myself, Mad and James certainly did, costumers and stall holders alike. I had no idea that Mad was still so much into it; she doesn't mention it that much when we talk, if anything I go on about it more.
“You guys go on I want to look at some of this Manga.”
“You sure, we don't mind waiting do we James?”
“‘Course not,” his eyes told a different story .
“Go on, I'm a big girl now,” I declared .
“Yup,” James agreed.
Mad missed that comment thankfully, “ Don't forget the concourse at two.” she reminded .
“Jawohl Herr Kapitan,” I snapped back in German.
I watched Mad unconsciously thread her arm through James' as they walked on, yep, definitely an item. Another dent in my battered ego.
“And next is Momoko from Kamikaze Girls.”
I stepped out onto the stage, erected my parasol and walked across the platform before joining the other costumers along the back wall. I might have turned up for the ‘competition' but there was no sign of my cousin or James although I did spot my Aunt and Uncle at the back of the room. Wonder where they've got to, you could hardly get lost in a place this size.
Personally I wouldn't have bothered with this stuff, it was Mad who insisted I enter. Whilst most attendees were in costume there were only about two-dozen entered in the judging with costumes across a wide range of genres. The inevitable Sailor Moon at one end through to more obscure stuff like the Clown from Remote, some shop bought, some home made and variations in between.
Whilst I've done this a few times now, I was getting a bit antsy long before the judges' decision was made. We all paraded around the stage again before the MC started the usual spiel about great costumes blahdy blahdy blah.
“But we must have a winner and this year's Don Con costumier par excellence is,” he paused a moment, “Gaby Bond, all the way from Germany, playing Momoko from Kamikaze girls, come on over Gaby.”
Me? I've won? Wait until I tell the girls .
The prize wasn't a lot, it's the taking part, well it was a stack of gift vouchers for several of the bigger booths along with a one-month access membership to the Dome. Well the vouchers will be damned useful, I've seen some stuff earlier I quite fancy. I found the elder Peters waiting to congratulate me when I descended from the stage.
“Well done Gaby,” Aunt C gave me a hug.
“It's Mad's costume, I'm only wearing it.”
“She did make it for you, you know?”
Bugger. “ Where is she by the way, I thought her and James were entered.”
“Not seen them for a while,” Mad's dad mused.
“You going to spend your prize?” Aunt Carol asked.
“Shouldn't we look for Mad?”
“We'll look for Mad, you enjoy yourself, ” Uncle John directed .
Don't mind if I do .
It was a good hour later, knocking on four o'clock in fact when I literally walked into my cousin; well I was distracted by a girl doing the Leia slave girl bit in not a lot of clothes.
“Hiya guys, your rents are looking for you, Mad.”
The two exchanged guilty looks, “ We um went outside for a bit, ” James supplied.
Yeah I bet you did, but which bit ?
“I won the contest, just been spending my winnings.”
“Oh cool, I knew you would, that outfit is just so.”
“Don't you dare say the s word . ”
“I was gonna say cute.”
Grrr, I hate cute .
* Leading brand of cycling shoes
** See Book 3 chapters 30 + 31
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 07.05.12