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The drive from Houston to Phoenix was supposed to take about nineteen hours, and Lindsey could see the handwriting on the wall before she even boarded the RV.
Only six of them were going, and she knew the other five well enough to predict their immediate future. The next nineteen hours would feature a running argument between her friends Ed and Lin that ranged from tabletop gaming rules to the best algorithms for parallel data compilation. She would be willing to bet money on it. There would also be, almost certainly, an in-depth geekout over the latest developments in bioinformatics, and Cami seemed able to talk endlessly about the technical intricacies of decrypting rodent genomes.
At some point Ed would jump ship from the data compilation discussion to join the bioinformatics talk. Lin, who hated to miss out on anything Ed was doing, would try to horn in on that conversation but become frustrated when he exhausted his limited knowledge of the narrow intersection between computing and rat DNA. Then he'd get whiny and start making snippy comments.
Cami's boyfriend, Ivan, who was driving, would naturally obsess over the rules of the road. He'd probably conduct periodic checks to make sure they all had their seat belts securely fastened. Lindsey knew he'd mapped out each fuel stop and every possible contingency with all the precision and attention to detail he applied to one of his astrophysics projects.
And Ben would spend the whole time glaring at Lindsey whenever she wasn't looking, and pretending to ignore her whenever she was. He'd probably glare at Ivan then, although Ivan would be oblivious to it. Just as Ivan had always been oblivious to Lindsey, despite Ben's repeated snarking about how well they seemed to get along.
But she'd purchased the ticket to BeastCon months earlier, when things were still new and wonderful with Ben, and damned if she'd let the fact that they'd since broken up ruin her well-earned vacation trip. If it ruined his, that was his problem.
"This is light. Is there another one with your costumes or something?" Ed hoisted Lindsey's wheeled bag easily, sliding it into the cargo compartment with one firm shove.
"Nope. That's the whole shebang. Costumes and everything. They just don't weigh that much."
A lightbulb seemed to go on over Ed's headLindsey could almost see the lewd thoughts forming beneath his rumpled curls. Lightweight costumes are skimpy costumes. Then those big puppy-dog eyes slid down her body, assessing her far too openly.
"Guh. Do I even wanna know?"
"One's a steampunk fairy sorta thing, but there isn't much to it yet. Mostly my old steampunk outfit plus wings. I might not end up wearing it. One's my Slave Leia costume from last year, we're doing a Slave Leia meet-up on Friday morning. And then, um..."
Ben brushed between them, and Lindsey had to take a step back for him to wrestle his suitcase into the hold.
"Excuse me," he said, a fraction too late for courtesy.
"The third one," she went on, irritation lending her confidence, "is Sub Red from Balls 'n' Chain. Her dungeon getup."
It was the hottest new graphic novel series on the marketgraphic being the operative wordand as soon as Lindsey had read the first issue she'd known what she would be wearing for the parade and main costume contest at the next BeastCon.