Last week, I went to my very first RT Booklover convention, which quite spectacularly melded the worlds of readers and writers alike for five blissful, fantasy filled days. The conference offered workshops, meet and greets, book signings, mixers, and even two full-blown balls.
Now, as a Regency era writer, for the most part I lived vicariously through the fun and outrageous fairy costumes, vampire drag, and even the gloriously quirky fashion sense of steampunk lovers.
Throughout the conference, I met readers, writers, editors, agents, photographers, artisans, vampires, fairies, harem girls, a few male cover models, and one werewolf. But it wasn’t until the last night of the conference that I saw him: the man of my Regency dreams.
It was late Friday night, and I was sandwiched between friends at the bar in the open mezzanine of the hotel lobby. It was late, and above us, the Vampire Ball was starting to die down, with the occasional gothic attendee disembarking the escalator and sidling up to the bar.
With a yawn—it was three o’clock in the morning to my eastern standard time internal clock, after all—I glanced around. Movement on the balcony above caught my eye, and I glanced up in time to catch a man stroll up to the railing and pause for just long enough to make me gasp. It was like my own Mr. Darcy, come to life.
Clad in a sleek evening coat with tails, his buff breeches tucked into a pair of black, shiny top boots, he casually observed the lobby below like a lord taking stock of his servants. In those few moments, he positively exuded confidence and debonairness.
Unable to speak, I urgently smacked the friend beside me and pointed, but seconds later Mr. Darcy stepped back and disappeared, like a figment of my imagination.
“Oh good lord, tell me you saw that.” I beseeched my friend, whose eyes were nearly as wide as my own.
“What?” she said, grinning mischievously. “A handsome, dashing stranger in top boots and breeches? Oh, yeah, I saw him.”
My heart thudded—so he was real! “I MUST have my picture taken with him. When else am I ever going to find a man in Regency wear, right in my hotel?” I was NOT going to let the opportunity pass me by. Grabbing my camera, I dashed for the stairs, running up them two at a time.
The landing was clear of all but a few vampire stragglers, so I made my way to the ballroom, uncaring of the fact I stuck out like a sore thumb in my jeans and t-shirt among the fancy dress of vampires and vampire slayers alike. Mr. Darcy was here, and I was going to find him.
I pushed into the room, weaving my way through the banquet tables, squinting in the darkness as blue and red lights flashed on the dance floor. My quarry was nowhere to be seen, eluding me in the dark room as the rhythmic music thumped against my chest.
Disappointment tugged at my heart. What if I couldn't find him? The crowd had thinned out, and I carefully studied each person I passed. As the minutes ticked by, I began to despair that I had missed my chance. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to come face to face with the fantasy of a Regency rake. Perhaps fate was keeping me from encountering the very figure I spent my days writing about.
I turned one last time toward the dance floor, and suddenly, there he was. I took two steps toward him as he strode purposely my way. I smiled nervously as I clutched my camera. This moment was to be mine. Elizabeth Bennett, eat your heart out.
The music came to a close as he stepped from the dancefloor, his back boots shining in the flashing lights around us. Just as he neared close enough for me to talk to, the DJ started a new song, and the harsh notes of modern pop pulsed through the air around us.
Immediately, Mr. Darcy stopped and turned to the man beside him. I watched in utter disbelief as the men clasped hands and jumped up and down like a couple of school girls, squealing, “Lady Gaga!” before turning on their heels and sprinting back to the dance floor.
And just like that, the fantasy popped like an overfilled balloon. I’m not sure if I will ever look at Mr. Darcy the same again, lol!
Tell me the truth: Would you want to meet a real, live Regency rake? If not, than who is it that would have you whipping out your camera, desperate to catch the moment you met them on film? Captain Jack Sparrow? Wesley from the Princess Bride? Robinhood?
Kitchen Update: The home stretch!! All the remains is for me to grout the newly tiled backsplash, to touch up the trim that Kirk installed this weekend, and to unearth the cupcake pans. Yay!! Pictures to follow next week J