“If a bachelor party doesn’t end up in complete chaos,
the hosts have failed in their duties for a proper send-off.”
“A Man’s Guide To
Surviving The Wedding”
(Common Empire Era)
Luke felt shell-shocked. He looked around at the holding cell in the Capital City Jail and noted Han sprawled out on a bench, one arm across his eyes, his chestnut hair sparkling with glitter and a yellow streamer trailing out of his pants pocket. Lando was sitting on the floor against the wall, his forlorn face cupped in his hand, a party hat blinking on-and-off on top of his dark hair. Leia was standing against the wall, arms and legs crossed as she smoked a glowstick. The rest of the wedding party were in similar states of dishevelment, some snoring off too much booze. Down the hall was a racket that made his head throb even harder.
Luke groaned. So much for a simple bachelor party!
& & & & & &
Luke looked skeptically at the overenthusiastic Lando, whose brown eyes were alight with excitement.
Han was leaning back in a chair, his hands interlaced behind his head. “You’ll do a great job, Lando, but we’ve got to keep this under wraps.”
Han’s office was tidy with a few personal items scattered around, but most people worthy of offices kept things sparse. It was a holdover from the days of the War, when evacuation was frequent and necessary. Luke wondered if Han’s insistence on keeping their marriage secret was an old habit he just would not break.
Still, he has a point. Eventually we’ll have to stage a big, fancy wedding but for now a small ceremony and secrecy will allow us to get used to marriage without the glare of the spotlight.
Luke had agreed to the idea, because he wasn’t thrilled with the notion of every move being scrutinized. This was way too important to him to mess up. Who would ever have guessed that Han would ever have consented to marriage?
“Where are you getting married, anyway?” Lando asked.
“Well, we’re thinking the Sunshadow Gardens here on Coruscant,” said Luke. “It’s far enough away from the capital to keep the scribes at bay.”
“Maybe. Scribblers are always nosing around.” Lando frowned.
“Whether vidscribes or wordsmiths, they do seem to poke around a lot.”
“Meh, it’s their job.” Han brought his hands down and pointed a finger at Lando. “Are you thinking about a blast here in the city?”
“Well, yeah.” He leaned forward. “How does The Scarlet Slipper sound?”
“I like it.”
Luke rolled his eyes. “Is this a place a Jedi Knight should be seen in?”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.” Lando’s eyes gleamed. “There’s a private entrance we can use.”
Luke looked skyward. “Of course.” He leveled his gaze at Lando. “Did you consult with Leia on this?”
“Leia?” Lando looked puzzled.
“Yes, the Honor Maiden. Remember her? You’re supposed to host this party together since there’s no bride.”
Han looked amused at Lando’s horror. “Her Worship probably has a tea party in mind.”
Lando groaned. “The Best Man is supposed to be a fun job.”
“Not with the Princess as your partner.”
“Well, I’ll just have to talk with her."
”Good luck with that!” Han’s chronometer beeped. “I got an incoming mail message.”
“Luke, come with me,” Lando pleaded.
Luke smirked. “Are you afraid of Leia?”
Luke laughed. “All right, I’ll come.” He looked over at Han. “You coming?”
“Nah, you can give me the blow-by-blow when you get back.” Han waved them out.
& & & & & &
I’ve never seen Lando speechless before.
It was a fascinating experience. Lando wiped his face with a handkerchief and mumbled, “I better contact Brakk at the club” and wandered off, still in a state of semi-shock.
Luke chuckled. Leia was always good for a surprise or two! He took his time walking to Han’s office, marveling at how it all seemed to be coming together for their ‘secret’ wedding.
Han’s back was to the door as he sat in his chair looking out the window. The view was magnificent, featuring Coruscant’s tall spires and zooming hovercrafts.
“Han?” Luke crossed behind the desk. “Everything all right?”
Han did not look upset, merely contemplative. He directed his gaze at Luke.
“My family wants to host the wedding on Corellia.”
Surprise dropped Luke’s jaw. Han had never mentioned his family before.
“Well, that sounds great, Han. Wait, how’d they know?”
“I didn’t tell ‘em, if that’s what you mean.”
“I’m shocked, since you’re the Galactic Blabbermouth.”
Han’s mouth quirked. “Well, I guess that puts a crimp in Lando’s plans.”
“What crimp?” Lando asked as he entered the office, just signing off with Brakk on his communicator.
“My family wants to host the wedding.”
Lando raised an eyebrow. “The whole nine yards?” Han nodded. “Huh.”
“They’ll want to do the pre-wedding rituals, so I guess the bachelor party’s out.” Han sounded disgruntled.
“Are you kidding? We can hold it right here days before you leave for Corellia.”
“Days before we leave.”
“But your family will want to choose your Best Man.”
“Let ‘em. I’ve already chosen you.”
Lando and Han clasped hands while Luke smiled.
“Bachelor party, here we come!” Lando crowed.
& & & & & &
Han laughed. “Are you kidding? You’re a Hero Of The Rebellion, the New Republic’s darling.”
Luke smiled as he leaned against Han’s desk. Lando had gone off again, spouting party plans all the way. “Seems to me you were standing right beside me, receiving a big, fancy medal.”
Han grunted. “Well, don’t worry about my crazy family. They’re gonna love you.”
Luke hoped so.
& & & & & &
The bachelor party was good-sized, pilots and soldiers who were friends with the wedding couple anticipating, as Wedge said, ‘a night of dissolute debauchery’. Of course Han and Lando agreed with that while Luke rolled his eyes but went along.
Lando stood in front of the tables and waved his arms. “Okay, guys, open bar…” He paused at the cheers “…and a menu of Buffalonian hot wings, spicy poppers, Gundark meat, pickled Kimcho vegetables, and a lot more.” More cheering. “And, of course, entertainment!”
Amid the loud cheers and hoots, Lando slid into his seat at the next table. Luke asked beneath the din, “Why is this room infrared?”
“Hey, it’s The Scarlet Slipper. Would you expect orange?”
Scantily-clad waitresses began serving the food, and the Heinkellian beer began flowing as waiters distributed bottles with the distinctive company logo. Luke liked the taste. The beer had even been available on Tatooine. Biggs would always manage to come up with a half-pack for their frequent lamentation sessions about being stuck on such a backwater while they shot at womprats.
Strobe lights flashed across the stage as an announcer’s deep voice boomed, “Now for some top-notch sensations, fresh from their record-smashing engagement at The Hot Pole, The Glitter Dancers!”
Dancers appeared as music throbbed across the room from recessed speakers. Luke decided that he was grateful that the party wasn’t the night before the wedding. He sensed a headache in his future.
The dancers were of both sexes and wearing very little. They moved across the stage with grace and Luke enjoyed the show, the beer smooth down his throat and his foot tapping in time with the music. ‘Letting loose’ wasn’t something that Jedi were supposed to do, but then, Jedi weren’t supposed to get married, either. He looked at Han’s happy face and knew that a wild bachelor party was a small price to pay for Jedi dignity.
Besides, it’s fun.
The dancers were skillful, exhibiting talent a notch above some sleazy strip joint, and Luke laughed as Leia yelled, “Shake that butt!” to a male dancer who did as requested, to the delight of the wedding party.
More drinking, dancing, food (mostly burning-hot, requiring more booze) and ribald jokes flowed as Han and Luke kissed, encouraged by their drunken friends who shook noisemakers and blew horns provided by the waitresses.
Chewbacca observed everything with amused tolerance. Human-consumed alcohol had no effect on him. The Wookiee sliva was necessary to get him drunk. Aside from that, he just watched the foolishness, and there was plenty of that. Even Luke and Leia, usually so level-headed, were imitating uninhibited partiers and being successful at it.
The dancers moved off the stage, their oiled bodies gyrating as metallic bangles jangled. A very well-built man with eyes rimmed in kohl and gleaming pecs shimmied up to Han and Luke’s table. He was tall and his smile sent shivers down Luke’s spine. The Jedi hastily took a long swig from his bottle.
In the red light the bangles shimmered on the dancer’s briefs and tiny bells jingled from his nipples. Bells tied around his ankles were melodic as the man thrust his pelvis forward.
Han purred, “Niiice.”
“I agree,” said Luke.
Han laughed. He winked at Lando at the next table, telegraphing his approval of this entertainment. Lando had grabbed a party hat from a waitress and the conical-shaped hat with bobbing antennae and blinking lights was the perfect touch for the Master of Debauchery.
The dancer brushed his thigh against Luke’s. Whether heightened by alcohol or not, his nerves tingled. He could smell the exotic oils spread over the other man’s body.
The dancer stepped backward in rhythm, extending an invitation with an outstretched hand. Han nudged Luke.
Luke looked at his lover and grinned. “Okay.” He put his bottle down on the table and stood up as his friends cheered and chanted, “Go! Go! Go!”
Luke’s head swam as he began matching the dancer’s moves. He didn’t consider himself particularly graceful but he was actually keeping up.
“Go, Luke, go!” Lando shouted, blowing a horn.
The oil was overpowering. Luke loved the way it gleamed on the dancer’s bronzed skin. Close up, he guessed his partner’s eyes were brown, though it was hard to tell with the red lighting. Same with the color of his shoulder-length hair. Brown or black? Whatever the colors, the man had a great body.
Luke’s pulse seemed to throb in time to the music. He shuffled and gyrated and read appreciation in the other man’s eyes. Luke flushed, glad that the red lighting covered his blush.
Glitter balloons burst overhead and showered tiny sparkles down, accenting the dancers’ oiled bodies and landing in the customers’ hair and clothes. Luke could see the glitter on his skin and clothing.
Pound, pound, pound!
Thrum, thrum, thrum!
Go, go, go!
Han was laughing and clapping, encouraging Luke to make bolder moves. His head was swimming and the alcohol was flowing through his veins, or at least that’s what it felt like. He moved closer to the dancer and their knees brushed, a tingle going through Luke’s body. He drew closer as the music grew louder…
“Hey! Pergon Skyrider, you are too close!”
Startled, Luke and the rest of the wedding party turned to see a big, burly man with mustache and beard standing in the entrance to the room with arms akimbo and legs planted like two redwoods. His long hair was flowing over his shoulders as if he was posing for the cover of a romance holo as he scowled. The music underscored the drama of the moment, swelling and rising to a crescendo.
Other men were spilling through the doorway behind him. Some looked angry while others were eyeing the dancers avariciously.
Pergon Skyrider (a name Luke liked), looked sheepish for a minute, then frowned. “Malon, I’m working here!”
“And enjoyin’ it a little too much.”
“Hey, this is a private party,” Lando objected.
“Oh, well.” Lando rose from his chair and Han did, too. The Corellian put a hand on Lando’s chest and said, “It’s okay, buddy, I’ll handle it.”
“I’m the host.”
“Okay, we’ll both handle it.”
“Um, shouldn’t you allow me? I’m trained in diplomacy,” Leia said.
“Thanks, but Lando and I have handled situations like this before,” Han said. He walked up confidently to Malon, missing Leia’s eyeroll. “Look, fella, this is a private party.”
Malon’s scowl did not flinch. “That’s my boyfriend makin’ shimmy with that scrawny strawhair.”
Han bristled and so did Luke, but Pergon whispered as he put a hand on Luke’s shoulder, “Stay back, let your man handle this.”
Luke felt a flush of pride. Han was his man. He took Pergon’s advice and held back to watch Han at work. Leia was shaking her head as she drank her beer.
“Listen, buddy, your boyfriend is a dancer hired to entertain.” The strobe lights flashed in waves across Han’s face, his hair glittering with tiny pinpoints of light. He smiled. “Don’t worry, nothing’s going to happen. Mr. Skyrider is very professional.”
The muscular Malon crossed his arms over his chest. “I want him out.”
Luke wondered if Malon was drunk. Some of his friends seemed like it, leering as they punched their fists, spoiling for a fight.
“This is a private party.” Han’s smile was brittle. “You can settle your romantic spat after we’ve enjoyed our party.”
“That’s right,” Lando concurred with a firm nod of his head. Unfortunately, that sent his antennae bobbing wildly. “Leave or we’ll call the manager.”
“Bah, the manager’s an old sot. What’ll he do?”
“He might not do much, but my friend might. Chewie!” Han called.
Chewbacca rumbled over and Malon scoffed. He snapped his fingers and a tall shadow in the hallway moved, materializing in the doorway. Chewbacca immediately sized up a fellow Wookiee.
“Drax is a good friend. Right, Drax?” Malon asked.
The Wookiee howled, the sound sending a shiver down Luke’s spine. He would put his money on Chewie, but this Drax looked dangerous. His fur was black instead of brown and he appeared a head taller than Chewbacca. Luke somehow doubted that Drax knitted dolls for his children (if he had any), in his spare time like Chewie did.
Leia looked tempted to intervene but stayed seated at her table. The pilots and soldiers in the wedding party appeared relaxed, but Luke knew that they would spring into action at any minute. Malon poked Han in the chest.
"Listen, nerfherder, I'll talk to my guy any time I damn well please."
Han knocked Malon's hand away. “Leave.” His voice was icy.
Malon snorted and quicker than anyone thought, he punched Han in the jaw and sent him sprawling into the table behind him, beer bottles flying everywhere. Lando charged, Chewbacca howled, and all hell broke loose.
Pergon swore and dashed into the melee, the bells around his ankles and nipples jingling madly. Luke followed, forgetting any Jedi trick he knew as he yelled, “Womp!” and dived into the fray.
& & & & & &
“Seems appropriate for a total disaster,” Lando said woefully, the antennae bobbing as he sighed.
“You did a good imitation of a flying squirrel during our little pitched battle,” Luke said to Han.
Leia laughed and hiccupped. Han was highly amused as he lolled on the bench.
Luke slid off his bench, ignoring the yelling of Malon and his friends from cells down the hall. Chewie and Drax had been placed in separate cells. Chewbacca was quiet but Drax was howling the house down.
Luke crawled over to Han’s bench, not certain of his ability to walk. Swaying walls told him that he’d drunk too much beer.
“You look pretty in glitter,” he murmured.
“So do you, strawhair.”
Luke burst out in drunken giggles. He pulled out the yellow streamer that somehow Han had acquired during the fight draped it over Han’s neck, pulling him down.
“Life with you is never dull.”
Lando’s hat blinked off-and-on as Luke and Han kissed, then dissolved into laughter while Leia slumped down and slept on her bench.