Today’s Friday Flash Fics shot made me think of William and Ben from “Range of Motion” (which appeared in Men in Love) but then made me think of a few other characters, including Johnny and Matt from Handmade Holidays, and before long this happened.
“I swear to God, if you don’t start smiling…”
“Sorry,” Kent said. He pushed his sunglasses back up his nose, took another sip of his water, and tried a smile.
Vanessa fixed her red boa. “It’s Topher’s first Pride. We are here for him, you are here for him, and you will damn well smile like it’s a celebration.” Her voice had dropped with every word, and Kent felt his face heat up.
She was right. He was being an ass. Just because Pride reminded him of He-Who-Would-Never-Be-Named-Again-Amen, it was no reason to ruin Topher’s first pride.
“What do you think?”
Topher wore rainbow suspenders, a choppy blond wig, and bright red pants.
“You,” Vanessa said, “look fabulous.”
Topher laughed and spun.
Kent couldn’t help but remember his own first Pride. He’d come out way younger than Topher, but he’d been no less enthusiastic.
He knelt down and went through his bag, pulling out some of his leather kit.
Topher grinned and clapped his hands. “Take it off, mister.”
Over Topher’s head, Vanessa mouthed the words ‘thank you’ to him.
Above them, the flag Topher had fixed on the window frame flapped.
Kent shucked his shirt, and there was cheering from the street below.
Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be impossible to get in the mood after all.
“How about this one?” Alastair held the phone out for the guys.
“I like it,” Sam said.
“Veto,” Jonah said.
Alastair groaned. “You two are the literal worst. Why did I ever start a band with you?”
“Shut up. My face looks funny,” Jonah said.
“You look like leather bell-boys,” Alastair said. “I’m not sure your faces are going to even register with our followers. We have to be at the club for sound-check in an hour. Please. Just let me post you guys watching the Pride Parade, and then we can get our asses to Chances.” He wanted to show the band having fun all through Pride. They were a queer band. It mattered.
“Okay, okay. Try again,” Jonah said.
Alastair lined up another shot. He eyed the screen, then showed it to them.
“Much better,” Jonah said.
“Veto,” Sam said.
Alastair exhaled. At this rate, he’d have to redo his hair, and it had taken him over an hour the first time. Who’s idea had it been to go all retro punk for this damn show, anyway?
“Oh, hello Officer Hotbody!” Ben shouted.
Beside him, Riley sunk down to hide. “Oh my God, Ben, what is wrong with you?”
“Have you seen that man’s arms?” Ben leaned on the windowsill. “If I had arms like that, I’d never wear sleeves.”
“You’re not wearing sleeves now,” Sean said. Ben was sporting a red tank top.
Riley rose slowly, saw that the police officer in question had moved on, and leaned his chin on Ben’s shoulder. “Besides, you already have nice arms.”
“Yeah,” William said. “Mine.” He mugged a quick flex, and the other three watched as the sleeves of his white T-shirt caught around his biceps. It was obvious which of them was the personal trainer.
Ben grinned and slid over. William wrapped the arms in question around him.
They were so cute together, and they hadn’t had an easy ride getting there. Riley could feel himself blushing, and eyed Sean out of the corner of his eye. He wondered if Sean’s beard was as soft as it looked.
Maybe, if the day went the way he hoped, he’d find out.
“What’s got you grinning?” Ben said, one eyebrow rising.
They all turned to look at Riley, who tried not to die on the spot. “Nothing. Just… Happy Pride.”
“Happy Pride,” Ben said, then kissed William. There were cheers from the street below. Riley grinned, watching them. They were certainly putting on a show for the crowd.
“Hey, Riley?” Sean said.
Riley turned just in time to find out the beard was, indeed, soft.
The back of Johnny’s pink jacket said “Pink Ladies.”
“I don’t get it,” Jay said.
“We have got to get you a better education,” Matt said. He hopped up onto the windowsill and leaned against the frame. “It’s from Grease.”
Jay blinked. “Oh. That’s a movie, right?”
“Musical,” Matt said.
“Lord, forgive him, for he knows not what he does not know,” Johnny said. “In the name of the Frenchie, the Sandy, and the Holy Rizzo, Amen.”
“I surrender,” Jay said.
“Okay,” Matt said. “Now that you’re here, you can change.”
“You’re wearing grey,” Johnny said.
“I came from work,” Jay said.
“Take a look around,” Johnny said. “Do you see all the rainbows?”
“I don’t have another shirt,” Jay said. He couldn’t help but smile, though. “I’m sure no one will mind if I wear grey. Look, those women are wearing black.”
“They’re wearing black leather, Jay.”
“Well, I don’t have any leather, either.”
“Oh, for God’s sake. Here. At least hold this.” Matt handed him a pink balloon.
Jay held it. It bobbed in the wind. “I feel like an idiot.”
“That’s because you’re not in the right frame of mind.”
“Is the right frame of mind ‘exhausted after an eight hour shift’?”
“It is not.”
Jay laughed. Then he leaned forward out the window, and bellowed, “I’m tired and cranky and my friends keep telling me I’m doing Pride wrong!” Then he let go of the balloon.
Matt and Johnny covered their faces, but Jay watched the balloon rise. The wind caught it, and it zagged off to his right as it rose. He leaned out the window just in time to watch a really, really hot guy in black leather straps and sunglasses catch it.
Their gazes met. Or at least, Jay assumed they did behind the mirror shades.
“Thanks for the balloon,” the guy said.
Beside him, Johnny leaned out the window. “He’s too pure to be pink!”
Jay had no idea what that meant, but it made the hot guy smile. A lot.
“Does that mean he’s going to show up in a leather jacket with a cigarette later?”
“What’s happening?” Jay whispered.
“Shh,” Matt whispered back. “I promise we’ll dress him right before the big race.”
“4D,” the guy said. “You should all come up after the parade. It’s my friend’s first Pride.”
Beside him, a hyper guy in a blond wig and rainbow suspenders waved down to them. “Happy Pride!” he yelled.
“Happy Pride!” they yelled back.
Jay watched the hottie tie the balloon string to his wrist, then they all went back to watching the parade.
“So,” Johnny said, “after the parade, we’re going up there, and the first thing you have to say is ‘Tell me about it, stud.’”