Title: Little Birdie
Characters: Lane/Bill and Jess
Tying the silk sash of his robe, Lane looked at himself in the mirror. The purple robe covered the extra flesh around his middle. Assuring himself that he wasn't fat, just pleasantly plump, Lane started to smooth moisturizer over his face. As the lotion soaked into his skin, he looked at himself in the mirror with a critical eye.
He wasn't bad looking. Average brown hair. Typical hazel eyes. But he'd never be a cute little twink. Nor would he be a muscle bound hottie, like Ken and Jess, the two men he'd helped plan a wedding. No, Lane was....he searched his mind for the perfect word. Nondescript. That suited him. Because he knew his personality more than made up for his lack of good looks.
He enjoyed life and wasn't afraid to show it. His beloved momma, God rest her soul, had told him, and anyone who would listen, that Lane had been born singing show tunes and demanding a feather boa. Lane prided himself on maturing to satin and silk and wedding songs. Lane chuckled as he thought how much he still loved show tunes. Karaoke night at the club was his favorite night. And the only night he went out on the town.
When he felt a soft fur body brush his leg, Lane bent down and picked up his cat. "Come on, Sir Elton, it's time for bed."
Petting the long haired feline as he walked into his bedroom, Lane sighed again. He couldn't understand the melancholy mood he'd been in. He normally walked on clouds of love after a wedding had been completed. He found great pleasure in bringing two people in love to the wedding of their dreams. He'd never been jealous or envious of a couple; just truly delighted in their joy. But since the wedding of Ken and Jess two weeks ago, he'd felt off. They were men made for each other. Like two halves of a whole.
Gently putting the Siamese cat on his bed, Lane whispered to him, "That's what I want, Sir Elton. I want my other half." Then he chuckled as the cat arched his back and presented his tail to him. "Get your hind-end out of my face. And quit being jealous. You and I have a good thing. I just want a human around too."
Wanting that bit of human presence, Lane walked over to the small plastic box that held all of Jess's wedding information and samples. Lane kept a small box with mementos for each of the weddings he'd helped plan. He enjoyed going back through them and reliving those moments. For some reason, he hadn't put away Jess's box.
Lifting the lid, he giggled at how little was in the box. Those two men hadn't wanted anything fancy and they certainly got what they wanted. Pulling out the tissue paper, Lane saw the guest book.
"Eeek! Sir Elton! I forgot to give them the guestbook," Lane exclaimed. "And you just know those two are so clueless they probably don't even realize that they have a guestbook."
The cat jumped down off the bed and looked in disdain at the dark blue book, his master was opening.
"Oh. My. God! Three whole signatures. There were five people there, Elton! The rudeness of some people is just astounding!" Lane closed the book and put the lid back on the box. "Jess said he was working near the store. I'll just pop on over and take this to him. He'll want it in his senior years to remember his big day."
Lane's mood lifted at the thought of seeing Jess again. He put the book on his dresser and picked up Sir Elton. "Come on, lovey. We'll snuggle a bit and then it's nighty-night for you and I both."
The next morning, Lane woke to needle like claws kneading his chest and a furry rear-end in his face. "ACK! Sir Elton, get that stinky pooter out of my face!"
The cat obliged. Maneuvering around, the cat used his head to nudge Lane's chin.
"Oh, what a lovey you are," Lane twittered, petting along the cat's back. Lane continued to snuggle his furry companion with a smile on his face. Today was going to be a good day. The sun was shining. The cat was purring. And he was going to give Jess the guestbook from his wedding. Giving the cat one last pet, Lane slid out of bed. Satin sheets on a naked body always felt so decadent, Lane thought with a smile.
After making the bed and going though his morning routine, Lane chose a light pink suit with dark rose colored shirt. The teal silk tie completed his outfit for the day. Picking up the book, he skipped down the stairs. He went into his kitchen, put the book in his leather work satchel. Once he was sure he had everything ready for work, Lane got out a can of cat food from the cabinet. After dishing up Elton's breakfast, Lane decided to treat himself to a cappuccino and a croissant on his way to his store.
"Bye-bye, Sir Elton. You're on your own for brekkie, I'm going to indulge myself this morning."
Lane didn't let the early morning traffic change his happy mood to sour. He turned the radio to Sirius XM Love Songs channel and sang along cheerily. The drive from his suburban home to the downtown area his wedding shop was at would only take fifteen minutes. But with the other people trying to get to work as well, the drive took forty-five minutes. Lane called his assistant and told her he'd be a little late due to traffic and stopping off to give Jess the guestbook.
As he pulled up to the construction site, he noticed one parking area cordoned off. Leaning forward and squinting, Lane saw Jess's truck. With a shrug of his shoulders, he decided he should park beside the old truck. He was there on business after all.
After parking, he grabbed the book and stepped out the car. Lane shaded his eyes from the morning sun, and gazed about looking for Jess. He gave a little shriek of glee when he saw him. Lane was just so full of happiness that it had to come out somehow. As he walked toward Jess, he saw sparks and a bright light coming from a torch another man was holding.
"Jess! Woo hoo! Jess!" Lane called out as he got closer.
Jess turned, looking for who was calling for him.
Lane waved and hurried toward him. Just as he approached, Lane saw Jess lay a hand on the man who'd been holding the torch.
"Bill, stop for a moment," Jess ordered. "Um. Lane? What are you doing here?"
Lane watched as the man who'd been crouched down turned off the fire and stood up. The man was tall. Very tall. And thin.
"Lane," Jess barked out. "Why are you here?"
Lane giggled and said, "Oh my! I'm sorry. I was distracted by this tall drink of water."
Jess stared in bafflement at the smaller man.
Lane didn't let Jess's look bother him. He knew that Jess was often confused by him. Instead he held out his hand to the other man. "Hello, dearie. I'm Lane."
When the other man lifted the face guard on his helmet, Lane gasped out loud. Startling blue eyes smiled at him.
"Hello. I'm Bill," the man said.
"Bill?" Lane asked in a high yelp. "Oh, I've never had a Bill. And always wanted one! I have the prefect wedding song for you!"
His eyes widening in surprise Bill mumbled, "Um. Ok, I'll remember it"
"Silly goose! You've not heard it, yet! Or maybe you have. It's by the Fifth Dimention," Lane started to chatter away. He couldn't help himself. Those eyes. The name. All just so perfect.
"Lane! Lane!" Jess snapped out. "What. Are. You. Doing. Here!"
"Oh, what a fluff I am," Lane twittered. "I must have accidentally picked up your guest book when I packed up my things. You know. After the wedding."
Turning to Bill, Jess explained, "Bill, this is Lane. He helped Ken and I get married."
"That's about all it was-a marriage. They wouldn't let my full talent show through. But oh," Lane sighed. "It was most romantic."
"Congratulations, Jess," Bill said. "Why don't you and Ken stop by this weekend and pick out something."
"Why would we do that?" Jess asked.
Bill chuckled, "Well, because my mom brought me up with manners. When something big happens to another person, you give them a gift. You know-a wedding present."
Lane watched the exchanged between the two men with a smile on his face. Bill's deep voice sent shivers down his spine. And the love in his voice when he talked of his mama, and Lane wanted to just melt. Melt into a pile of goo.
"We couldn't do that!" Jess exclaimed. "Your stuff goes for thousands."
Bill turned to Lane. "Is there some kind of monetary limit for a wedding gift?"
Jess turned to Lane also, "Lane, Bill is an artist. A metal sculptor. He welds beautiful things out of metal. Tell him that's too expensive. If he wants to give us a gift, get us a gravy boat or salt and pepper shakers."
Lane was delighted to have the two men's attention. "Oh my! You are an artist?"
Bill shuffled his feet. "Um. Yeah. Kinda"
A shout of laughter came from Jess. "Kinda? Fuck kinda! We met in high school. A shop class. Bill starts creating these sculptures out of metal and the next thing you know he's got showings of his work in art galleries."
Something clicked in Lane's memory. "Bill Hanson? You are THE Bill Hanson? Oh! My! God! I adore your work! What are you doing here?"
"Jess needed some work done. A bit of welding and I had nothing planned this week, so I said I'd help him out."
Turning to Jess, Lane squealed. "You want him to give you a gravy boat? You foolish man, you! You will get your honey-bear and go pick out the perfect piece for your home! It's only good manners! Eeek! I think I should go with you. Bill, if you know Jess and Ken then you'll know they would need help picking out the most perfect one!"
"He's right, you know," Bill chuckled and Lane melted into another pile of goo. "Here, here's my card with my address on it. The shop is in back of the house. Just walk on back. Is everyone free about ten on Saturday?"
Lane squealed agreement. Jess groaned, but then nodded. "I'll check with Ken, but I'm sure we can make it."
"Good that's settled. I'll see the three of you on Saturday. Now, let me get this finished." Bill indicated the metal pipe he'd been working on.
"Lane, we are on a schedule, so we'll see you Saturday, I guess," Jess said.
"Oh, but your book! Here," Lane said and held out the guestbook. "Make sure you wrap this in tissue paper and put it some place safe."
Holding the book awkwardly, Jess said, "will do."
"Then I won't hold you boys up any longer! See you on Saturday!" Lane felt like skipping.
Getting into his car, Lane waggled his fingers in goodbye to the two men staring at him. His smile broadened when they both awkwardly waved back. Turning the ignition to start the car, the radio came on.
"Why do birds, suddenly appear,
Every time, you are near?"
Lane giggled and sang out with the song.
"Just like me.
They long to be
Close to you"
Throwing the car in reverse, Lane drove the two blocks to his store. On the way, he decided that today was a glorious day. He'd given Jess back the book, he'd met a handsome construction man, and the Carpenters were playing one of his favorite wedding songs. Today deserved karaoke. And he'd swing by after work tonight to sing some show tunes.
The day seemed to fly by as Lane walked on clouds of happiness. He'd given the book back to it's rightful owner, he had plans for the weekend, and he was going to enjoy himself tonight. His giddiness carried him through the day and all the way to the club that evening.
Looking at the selection of songs, Lane decided he didn't care how often it was sung, he was going to sing Oklahoma! He could belt out the lyrics and let his happiness pour over everyone.
Just as he was getting to the last line, he saw a familiar body walk in. A tall body. A very tall and thin body. Bill! With a loud laugh, Lane hurried over to the karaoke machine. Quickly making his next selection, he gave a wink when Bill noticed him.
"This is the perfect wedding song, if you are going to marry a man named Bill," Lane announced to the small audience. Most of them were too busy drinking and talking to each other, but he saw Bill smile. Lane grinned back and in a high falsetto voice started to sing.
"Bill, I love you so, I always will
I look at you and see the passion eyes of May
Oh, but am I ever gonna see my wedding day"
Loud laughter erupted almost drowning out, Lane's rendition of the song. Lane didn't fumble the lyrics as he continued to sing. By the time he'd finished the last line, Bill had walked up to the small stage.
"So that's my perfect wedding song," Bill said and held out a hand to Lane.
"Oh! I thought you'd forgotten that by now," Lane giggled.
"How could I forget? It's not everyday a little birdie flitters into my life and tells me there's a perfect wedding song," Bill laughed.
"Little birdie?" Lane asked as they walked to Bill's table.
"You remind me of a bird. Flittering, twittering, beautiful plumage," Bill said.
For once Lane was speechless. Beautiful plumage? No one had ever said anything like that to him.
"May I buy you a drink, little bird? A thank you for choosing the perfect song for me," Bill asked.
"Of course you may! I know your mama would be proud of your manners," Lane flirted.
As Bill gave the order to the waitress, Lane sighed and smiled. A bird, he thought. He liked that and wondered if he was about to take flight on a wonderful adventure.