Arabesque, prepare, pirouette and twirl… Goose step, goose step, waltz-clog and kick…
Robin's foot involuntary moved about underneath the table, almost flawlessly reproducing each move he visualized. His latest production was set to open in just a little over a week, yet he was still going over the routine. He knew all the lines and the choreography, despite not being the one performing. Even though he knew everything was prepared for opening night, something inside him insisted that there was still room for improvement. Call him a perfectionist, but he couldn't afford to have anything to go wrong.
His foot broke the rhythm when the bartender increased the volume on the already obnoxiously loud radio, flooding the establishment with some form of experimental country-rock music.
Robin exhaled through his nose and fiddled with the drink in his hand as he eyed the inside of the pub. 'Shady' couldn't even begin to describe it. It was the most depressing and poorly lit place he had ever entered. It reeked of alcohol, tobacco and body odor, and all the patrons looked like they had just gotten out of prison. Everyone was either drunk out of their minds, arguing loudly about current events, playing pool or passed out at the bar. It was the ultimate assault on the senses.
Admittedly, this wasn't the kind of place the thespian would ever be caught in. But he wasn't there by choice; he was there for Lance. He had asked to meet him there, and Robin wasn't about to start letting his best friend down. Especially not since he had told him he had something crucial he needed to discuss. Lance never used the word 'crucial', so Robin knew whatever the issue was, it was a serious one.
He glanced down at his Roy Rogers, a drink which had earned him a confused and ever-so-slightly angered glare from the bartender upon having been requested. He was sure it had cooled down to room temperature by then, so he decided to set it aside and choose another drink to order, although he wasn't sure if he wanted to face the bartender again. He could only imagine what the muscular tattoo-covered man would say if he dared to ask for a Virgin Cuba Libre.
He nearly jumped from his seat when a sudden cheer erupted from the patrons, and he quickly understood why. When he looked up he saw that Lance had just walked in and was now high-fiving just about everyone in the pub. He shouldn't have been surprised to find out that his best friend was a regular attendee of that sort of establishment, but somehow that still struck him as unexpected. More so that he was apparently acquainted with the other pubgoers.
Lance was quick to notice him at one of the tables near the back. Robin had chosen that particular table because he was certain that spot would allow them some privacy and give them the opportunity to talk in peace, or at attempt to. After being handed a beer by the bartender, who Robin couldn't help but notice that he had called by his first name, Lance hurried towards the table and took a seat across from his best friend.
"Sorry I'm late." Said Lance with an apologetic smile as he set his pint down on the wooden table. "Have you been waiting long?"
"About twenty minutes." Robin declared before clearing his throat and sitting up straight. "So, what's so important that you couldn't tell me over the phone?"
Lance's grin quickly vanished and was replaced by an apprehensive expression, his gaze falling towards his lap as he began to nervously wring his hands.
Robin was starting to worry; he had had never seen Lance like that. He was always so confident and impulsive, never taking the time to think twice about his actions, which would usually lead to bad things happening, but even then he would never lose his cool. This was a whole new side to him, one that concerned him.
"The thing is…" Lance began, taking a deep breath to steady himself before forcing himself to look his best friend in the eyes. "…I'm getting married."
If he had been taking a sip of his drink, Robin would have undoubtedly done a spit-take. His eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he processed that new piece of information. He knew Lance was prone to taking spur-of-the-moment decisions, but the last thing he expected was for him to turn around and get engaged. He didn't even know he was dating someone.
"Wha…" he stammered, his brain still struggling to form a coherent thought. "When did that happen?"
"Just last night." Lance replied, forcing a smirk. "I can understand if you're shocked."
"I'm not shocked, I'm just… befuddled." He shook his head and immediately gave his friend a smile. "But happy, nonetheless. Congratulations!"
"Thanks." Lance beamed.
"But tell me, who's the lucky lady?" Robin reached for his drink. "Do I know her?"
Lance fell silent once again as Robin took a sip of his now lukewarm Roy Rogers, his gaze fixed on his own drink.
"Actually…" Lance breathed in again, looking even more anxious than before. "…my fiancé is a man."
Robin did a double take, questioning if he had heard him correctly, but when he looked at Lance's face, he saw nothing but stone-cold seriousness.
"I'm gay, Robin."
Robin couldn't lie; he didn't see that one coming. Still, he wasn't as taken aback as he had been by Lance's first revelation. He knew him since they were kids and something at the back of his mind told him that was something that he should have been expecting. And even if it that weren't the case, he wasn't about to leave his best friend in the lurch in such an important time of his life.
"Oh!" he muttered, gently placing his drink on the table. "Hum… OK."
"'OK'?" Lance cocked a brow at him. "Seriously?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not exactly sure what to say." Robin laughed nervously, scratching the back of his neck. "I've never had someone come out to me before."
"I understand." Lance sighed, looking somewhat disappointed. "Are you OK with this? I know it must be a lot to process."
"Of course I am, you're my best friend!" he shot him a reassuring smile. "Plus, I guess I kind of suspected it."
"There were some signs. For starters, you've never had a girlfriend or showed any interest in women. Then there was that one time when Dennis ventured into that sorority house and you dragged him out of there claiming that his life was in danger."
"His life was in danger!"
"The only kind of danger he was in was of having too much of a good time. Or catching an STD."
"I guess you're right." Lance chuckled, his whole demeanor showing that he was much more at ease. "Thanks for understanding. You're a good friend."
"As long as you're happy, I'm happy."
Robin raised his glass towards his companion, a gesture which Lance mirrored. They clinked their glasses together in a toast that felt like nothing else needed to be said.
"So when do I get to meet your future spouse?" Robin asked.
"Soon, I hope. Herbert's already gotten a head start on the wedding planning, and we haven't even set a date yet." Lance declared, and Robin couldn't help but noticed how his eyes sparkled upon mentioning his fiancé's name.
"I could lend a hand, if he wants. My latest production opens soon, so I'll be free after that. And you must let me choreograph your first dance."
"I hope you'll have time to do all that. You know, what with being my best man and all…"
Robin felt his eyes widen again, which made Lance smile deviously at him.
"You… want me to… be your best man?" Robin stammered, his breath hitching in his throat.
"Of course! You are my best friend, aren't you?"
Robin could feel that he was about to break into tears, so he opted to do the first thing he could think of: he jumped up from his seat and latched onto Lance, enveloping him in a tight embrace. He could feel the other patrons' gazes on him, but when he felt Lance's arms wrap around him, he just pushed away any ounce of self-consciousness he had and stopped caring altogether.