Part 1996 – “And So, It Begins.”

Ambrose walked up the aisle. Robin and Raven followed him as a pair.

The organist played a soft classical piece that Ambrose recognized but he couldn’t quite remember the name of.

Something about Joy and Desiring.

Ambrose looked straight ahead and almost laughed at the sight of the flower swamped sanctuary. He bit down on his lower lip.

Am I walking too fast?

Am I walking too slow?

I don’t know.

I know I’m not running, but I.

I.

He looked to the tabernacle.

God. Please don’t let her change her mind.

Please.

Ambrose stopped at the altar rail and turned to face the congregation of family and friends. But he fixed his gaze on the open doors.

Raven stopped beside him while Robin went to his position along the altar rail.

Barbara.

Barbara, please come.

Marry me.

***

Raven took a deep breath and exhaled.

Ambrose is here. Robin is here. They are wearing their tuxedos and nothing is out of order.

He cast a quick glance at their hands.

And they are wearing their gloves. Good.

I have the rings. They are in the box. They are safe.

The priest is here. He is alive. He has not been changed. He is safe.

Raven looked out at the people sitting in the pews.

All of them are members of Barbara’s family. There is no one here to stand for Ambrose. No father. No mother. No cousins. No descendants.

He is like myself.

We stand alone.

Missy, I stand here all alone and I wish you were here. If you were here…Oh, Missy! If only you were here.

Raven held his head up and stiffened his posture.

Never let them see your heartaches.

Never let them see your weakness.

Never let them see you cry.

Always show them a calm serenity and a professional steadiness that they can rely on.

Missy.

I miss you.

***

Darnation! My hands are freakin’ drownin’ in sweat. How the heck does Raven wear gloves all the time without gettin’ some sort of hand fungus? I wish I could just pull the stupid things off.

But no.

This is just like wearin’ somethin’ uncomfortable on stage. Ya gotta just keep your head up and get through the performance. Hit your marks. Say your lines. Play your part. Don’t let ’em see you sweat.

Robin thought about Isellta and smiled.

It’ll all be worth it when he sees me all prettied up. He’ll smile and his wings will flap. Those stupid, beautiful wings of his.

‘sellta, I wish you was here now. I don’t care what this priest here thinks or says ’bout gays/gay couples. I wish you was here. I’d hold your hand and I wouldn’t even care who the heck saw it.

‘sellta…

My Isellta. I’ll be with you soon. I promise.

***

Sammy sat next to Deliosa.

She smiled at him and put her hand on his knee.

He closed his eyes and pushed his feelings down.

Puppies and kittens sitting in a tub. Jewel-toned butterflies flying in the summer breeze. Nightingales singing in the trees. Sapphires. Tanzanites. Diamonds. Rubies.

The organist played a big dramatic chord to poke everyone into standing.

Sammy opened his eyes and looked back at the open doors.

Father Landover walked through the doors, dressed in priestly vestments of white and gold.

Sammy exhaled.

“So, it begins.” he whispered.

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