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The Best Man

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry
by luster

Part I

The heat was never something that normally bothered him, being a SandWing and all, but Picket had to take a minute outside to cool down. He pushed the door out of his way, emerging on the busy streets of New Bridgeport, snow flurries drifting down from the midnight sky, but melting before they even made it to the ground. He was thankful for the cold breeze that whisked down the narrow sidewalks, billowing in the heavy dark coats of the passersby.

Picket was just in his tuxedo, coatless and still gripping the fancy china glass of sparkling champagne between his claws. He exhaled slowly, and inhaled the cold, crisp air. Jeez, a never realized how hot a room could get when its full of SkyWings...usually there's an IceWing in there to help cool everyone down, but of course, I'm in the one party where there isn't one. Figures. He took a step to the side and leaned against the bricks of the building, taking a sip from his drink. Ah, weddings...you'd think you'd get used to them after you've been to so many, but no; they're still just as weird and chaotic as the first.

He watched the snow fall some more, staring at the white specks that drifted into the streetlight's cone of golden light. After a few more minutes, he decided he was ready to go back in. He took a deep breath and braced himself, then pulled the door back open and was pulled back into the fray.

The problem with SkyWing wedding receptions, Picket had observed from his many attendances, was that they were always very, very energetic, and very, very loud. The music was playing so loud, he could barely hear himself think, and he kept being dragged into a pile of writhing orange scales and forced to dance for a few seconds before he was launched back into the confusion. This vicious cycle was repeated countless times, until a strong claw gripped Picket's shoulder and pulled him aside.

“Ey! Pike! Good ta see ya,” It was Lanner, also known as the groom of the wedding. His breath smelled heavily of alcohol, and his speech was pretty slurred. “Thanks again f'r comin'; it really means a lot ta me.” He started progressively putting more weight on Picket's shoulder, and the SandWing feared he was going to fall over on him.

Picket ran his talon over his head, adjusting his sail. “No problem, Lanny; I am the best man after all, it's not like I can just not show up.” He laughed, tightening his grip on his glass.

It took a second for the SkyWing to register what he had said. “Yeah, I guess tha's right.” There was a pause as he took a long swig from a bottle in his other talon. “Hope yer havin' a good time; you can stay 's long 's you want. Just don't be makin' off with my wife.” he added, his laughing only being stifled by the bottle he raised to his lips.

“Haha, no worries: she's safe from me.” Picket remarked, gently pushing Lanner off of him and watching him stumble dizzily into the fray, only to start singing very off-key.

Picket winced, then cast a sad glance at his empty glass. He placed it on one of the tables behind him (the venue for the reception was in a very fancy ballroom type setting, and everything was overly expensive and golden: it is a SkyWing wedding after all), and made his way to the exit. He passed another dragon in a fancy suit who he assumed was some sort of server. He leaned in close to the server dragon, practically shouting to be heard over the music and awful singing.

“I'm gonna go now. If Lanner asks.” He explained. The other dragon nodded, and Picket slithered out the door, emerging in the night outside. As he was exiting, though, he bumped into someone, and quickly shot his arms out to catch the other dragon, hoping that they hadn't fallen over.

It took a second for him to identify this other dragon. They were a SeaWing, and had dull olive green scales, with a very short crest on their spine. They were pretty short, and were wearing a white collared shirt and black jeans. He couldn't quite tell their gender or any other details, since it was really dark. “I'm so sorry, I didn't see you.” Picket quickly apologized, taking his claws off the other dragon.

“Oh no, it's fine! I was rushing around and not really paying attention and stuff.” the other explained, and judging by their voice, they were probably female. She didn't look up at him, and busied herself with fixing her shirt.

“Well then, it was a pleasure bumping into you, miss, but I must be off.” Picket said, preparing to leave and fly off to his room at The Bagel.

“Cam.”

“What?” he asked, surprised by her sharp interjection. He raised one eyeridge, but it was too dark out to be visible.

“My name's Cam.”

Picket shrugged mentally and backpedaled. “Well then, it was a pleasure bumping into you Cam, but I must be off.” he repeated, smiling. I wonder if she knows it's me….well I mean she'd have to have been living under a rock to not know who I am...may she'll give me her number or something. I'll have to add it to the pile.

She just nodded. “Likewise.” She didn't move, and was acting as if she was waiting for Picket to leave before she moved a muscle.

Confused, the SandWing left, a little weirded out by the encounter. What a strange person! Some dragons are just so awkward when it comes to meeting celebrities…

He glanced back after a few minutes, and saw that the SeaWing was gone.

Home life was rather dull.

It wasn't quite home - he was staying with his best friend in a luxury apartment in the NBP skyline. It was a nice place to stay, but there just wasn't enough excitement in staying inside all day.

It was early afternoon, and Picket was standing beside the floor-to-ceiling windows, gazing at the cloudless sky. It was a gorgeous day - a perfect day for the beach - but being a celebrity all across Pyrrhia, there was nowhere private to just relax. The safest place for him was to be locked up in this expensive loft while his friends went out and had fun. His tail flicked. It was a hard life, being so famous that you have to hide to be yourself. But, it was the life he chose, and it was the life he was destined to live; might as well make the best of it.

He sauntered over the the open kitchen, grabbing a piece of red fruit from the ornate arrangement that had been delivered this morning. It was sent by some fan who had hoped to marry him. He had chuckled at it, and responded with a kindly written letter, applauding their audacity, but declining the proposal. He wasn't ready to get married. He was a firm believer in the eternal bachelor.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. The SandWing's ears pricked, and he cautiously approached the door. His friend - Permafrost - would'nt've knocked; he would've just barged in. And the paparazzi would be making more noise than this eerie silence. Picket slowly opened the door, peering through the narrow sliver to see who it was.

There was no one there. He opened the door wide, and it hit a small package on the floor of the hallway. It wasn't wrapped at all, and it was in some generic paper box. His interest piqued, he bent down to grab it, and then disappeared back into the apartment.

He put it on the kitchen table and looked it over again. There was nothing on the outside stating where it was from or who sent it. It was just blank. So he opened it up, and inside there was no fancy tissue paper or other packing that most fans put inside to impress him. Inside was just...his phone? His brow furrowed as he tried to remember what he had done last night. Aftera acouple of seconds, he still couldn't remember. He was a little hungover though, so he suspected that might be reason enough to have lost his phone.

He picked it up and pressed the home button to see if anything changed. Nope. The background was still a picture of himself and Permafrost from a summer party last year. Nothing was changed at all. He turned it over, and noticed there was a sticky note attached to the back. On it was just a phone number.

This is getting weird... he thought nervously, staring at the number. He couldn't remember if he'd seen it before or not. I hope i don't have to deal with another stalker...

he inhaled sharply and shrugged. What does he have to lose. He punched the number into his phone and held it to his ear, waiting for a response.

ey

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