2:17 A.M. this particular night, was either very early Saturday or very late Friday, depending on whether you're starting out or finishing up. For seven extraordinary teen boys shuffling along the pavement of one of the paths through Jump City Park, overlooking the bay, it was when they were finishing up.
All seven had on their finest big night out clothes, fancy print shirts artfully untucked underneath a suit or just paired with dress pants, but four of them, both of the red heads, one of the two african americans and the shortest one looked beaten by the events of the night just then coming to a close. Two of the other three smiled furtively.
It was definitely less amusing to the blue eyed orange haired teen in the beer stained suit and champagne spotted print shirt. It was the day of his wedding but he didn't look quite ready to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. His hair was going in every direction, held in place by dried beer, champagne and whipped cream among other inadvertant pomades. A button was gone from his print shirt as was the zipper from the front of his pants and a belt loop from the back. He groaned as he looked across the bay at the silhouette of the T shaped building in the middle of the bay. Two small lights, the size of car tail lights most onlookers might have said, but somehow 200 feet up in the air, approached the top of the tower and then disappeared from view on the roof.
"I hope she'll forgive me," the orange haired teen sighed then returned to the curb across the street in the park overlooking the bay. His friends sat there, six of them in a row, grumbling or faintly smiling but all recalling what'd happened that night as they sat there at the curb.
"What'd she say, Wally?" asked one of the other unkempt teens, the african american of similar height and build.
"She didn't say anything," grumbled the orange haired teen while tugging at the crotch of his pants. Something didn't feel quite right. "Cassie said they're going back to the Tower and to give them a half hour."
"We have to wait a half hour? Oh man! I mean . . I could really use a shower right now."
"So could I, Ty. But I told Wonder Girl we'd wait a half hour so that Jinx could do whatever she's gonna do and not see me," he explained as he sat down at the curb beside his friends.
"She really cares about that sort of thing, Wally?"
"Of course. She's always aware of superstitions and things. I mean, duh, she's Jinx. You're always aware of heat and fire, arent' you?"
"Wally. My head is not always on fire."
"Yeah, hehe," chuckled the slender blond haired teen at the end of the line along the curb. "And she already saw you today, Wally, practically all of you!"
The redhead narrowed his eyes and turned angrily toward not the slender, six foot tall blond teen but toward the other redhead in the middle of the seven teens sitting on the curb.
"Yeah, she did. Remind me of it the next time I ever consider listening to Speedy, again. Ever."
A couple others grunted agreement as the blond teen waved one hand to catch everyone's attention.
"Hey, guys! Guys! Watch as I get even better looking!" said the blond teen and he pulled a ring off his finger. In an instant, blond hair turned black and pale skin went a rich dark green. He got up and put the ring in his pocket and took a sniff behind Wally.
"Dude, haha, you've got scent of . . champagne and . . whipped cream and . . . all kinds of different breaths and . . . some kind of . . chocolate all over you. What was going on in that back room?!"
"Never mind!" he said through gritted teeth and cast another angry glance at the other red haired teen. ". . . suffice to say, I still feel . . sticky . . all over."
"Me, too." grumbled Ty before casting a similar angry glance at the other redhead.
For a few moments none of them spoke, only frustrated sighs punctuating the silence. Finally, they all turned to the green one up and stretching his legs. He was now in front of the short, black haired one, giggling and thrusting his hips back and forth in time to music in his head.
"I'll never forget seeing you out there," he laughed. "You!? Ahahahahahaha!" He swung his hips back and forth some more, doing a suggestive dance to a song in his head.
"Cut it out, Gar," demanded the other, much larger african american teen among them.
"Hey. I'm complimenting him. He's a . . good little dancer."
The black haired boy shot to his feet to stand toe to toe with the green skinned boy, only he was 5 inches shorter.
"Enough with the height, Logan."
"Jeez. Back when I was shorter than you it was okay to make fun of me."
"Oh, come on. That was Cy. I didn't say anything about you being small. And now that you're six foot one and I'm still five eight you always harp on it. Well, you better enjoy it while you can. S.T.A.R. Labs says I'm going to be six one."
The green teen reached around and patted the other's rear.
"Hey, don't be so defensive. You were one of the ones picked."
The other boy backed away, defusing the confrontation. "Yeah, lucky me, got to be humiliated in front of 200 women including ours!"
"Some day you'll look back at this and laugh, Dick," suggested the burly african american teen.
"Yeah. I'll laugh and I'll say, 'Wasn't that the time I listened to Speedy?'."
The other redhead finally stood up.
"You know, I'm detecting an undercurrent of distrust. Don't deny it. I'm sensitive about these things . . . . . . . Gahd! Listen to you guys whine. Did everything turn out that bad? Are you guys hurt or anything? You didn't end up with police records. Your precious mentors won't find out about you. You had a little fun like you never had before. We should all try every different kind of fun. That's what I say. What's the problem?"
Dick nearly leaped at him grabbing the dirty lapels of his suit jacket.
"Do you know what was going on in that . . . so called 'champagne' room? Do you know what I had to put up with?"
The other redhead was blase. "Uh . . yeah short stuff. I was in there, too. And, you made some good coin tonight, didn't you? Didn't you?"
The shorter, black haired boy sunk back down to where he had been sitting on the curb between the orange haired teen and the smaller african american teen.
"How 'bout you Wally? . . . Wally?"
"Six hundred forty seven . . . wait," Wally reached down the front of his dress pants and pulled out a crumpled bill. He unfolded it, saw it was a ten and put it in his pocket. "Six hundred fifty seven dollars," he grumbled. "Half of it in one dollar bills and they were all tucked into my . . . . ! "
A couple of the others chuckled as he shook his head.
"Hey, still legal tender for debts public and private no matter where they've been!" chirped Roy. "Hot Spot! How 'bout you?"
"Four hundred eighty six bucks."
"See? See, little guy?" he said patting the top of the black haired boy's head. "Good money just for making some women happy."
"Older women," grumbled Ty. "Place was a damn cougar den."
"I didn't make quite as much as my fellow redhead, speedster buns, five sixty eight for me but I'm not whining about it."
"You wanted to do it," remarked the dark eyed teen on the end in the impeccable italian suit and with shoulder length dark hair.
"And they wanted me to, Flounder, so the world was perfectly in sync. You could have, too. but, oh, wait. You're a . . . gentleman," he said finishing in a breathless gasp.
"I am, Roy. I don't do . . . that! Certainly not in front of 200 cheering and leering females."
Speedy was about to respond when, literally out of thin air, Kyd Wykkyd appeared on the street in front of Wally, pointing at Wally and doubled over as if laughing but making no sounds.
"Whoa!" shouted Cy jumping to his feet but Wally held an arm out and shouted to Cy to defuse the situation.
"It's cool, Cy! It's cool. Elliot's not working the other side of the street any more."
"You're sure, Wally?"
"Positive. Even though he's . . . ,"
" . . making . . fun . . of . . me. He does courier stuff in a few cities. He . . . Elliot?"
The others watched as the slender little gray and black clad, red eyed teleporter spoke to Wally via sign language. Some of it required no ability to sign. When he imitated a hip thrusting dance motion then pointed at Wally and seemed to double over in laughter, berlitz translation books were not needed. Wally signed back to him, speaking his words as well.
"How . . were . . you . . there? . . . . . . . . Following . . Jinx? . . . . It . . wasn't . . what . . I . . intended . . Elliot . . . . . . No! . . . . Yeah . . . . a-a . . . brawl . . on . . . the . . . other . . . side . . . . . . It . . wasn't . . that . . funny . . was . . it? . . . . . Of . . course . . you're . . invited . . Elliot. . . Both . . Jinx . . and . . I . . want . . you . . there."
Wally got up from the curb, stepped toward the little teleporter and gave him a hug. Kyd Wykkyd pointed at him one more time, imitated a suggestive hip thrusting dance move and doubled over in silent laughter before teleporting away.
Wally turned to Speedy. "Somebody else lauging at me, thanks to you."
"God. You guys are so disappointing to me. Where's your sense of adventure? You could look back on this as one of the most fun nights of your lives but you're gonna let it be the worst. What a bunch of uptight whining babies."
No sooner had Roy spoken than Wally suddenly materialized in front of him, having moved the 15 feet essentially instantaneously, and taken Roy's half upturned collar in his hands.
"Babies?! Thanks to you, Roy, I was one of the exotic dancers at my own fiancee's bachelorette party!"
Roy smirked. "Hey, yeah, you were, weren't you . . . . that is pretty funny."
"Aaarrrggghhh!" Wally grumbled then pushed Roy backward.
"Oh, come on, Wally? You don't think it's even a little funny, in retrospect? Not even a little? You! Forced to . . . " Roy did a smooth hip thrusting dance, "And there they all are at the big banquet table . . !"
"It does seem a little funny, Wally," muttered the green teen.
"Well, I don't think it's funny at all," said the teen with long black hair. "It was tawdry. Wallace has standards. He-"
Cyborg snickered out loud.
Hotspot giggled, quickly stifled it then giggled again.
Roy stared intently at Wally. Slowly, a corner of his mouth rose upward. He saw Roy watching him and tried to stop it. His lips trembled. He tried to make them two horizontal lines but couldn't. The corner of his mouth rose up some more and finally the softest chuckled issued from between those curled lips.
Roy grinned in response.
"You're so lucky tomorrow, I mean, today is the big day, Roy. I don't really feel like being mad at anyone. Not even you."
Wally walked over to a disappointed Garth and offered him a hand up as the others still seated also got up. While he did, he wondered, again, how had it gotten to this point. Things had seemed so orderly the morning before. He had such a feeling of happy expectation, of being on the precipice of something wonderful. Then, some fun and then . . . humiliation.