There are scenes of unprotected sex depicted in his story. In all cases it was between the two main characters, who are in a committed, monogamous relationship and were tested. If you aren’t in the same kind of relationship, then you should always protect yourself and wear a condom.
Tanner was fascinated as his eyes are locked to the scene unfolding below him. He was amazed at how green everything was, even in late December. The blue water and the green landscape is something new for Tanner. At this point back home, it’s brown. Every shade of brown, but still brown. Even when it is green, it’s never this emerald green. It’s a more subdued, reserved green of plants that have developed over the millennium to tolerate the scalding sun and the drying winds.
“Hey, you awake?”
Tanner smiled at Randy. “Yeah, I’m good. Just amazed at how green it is. This is nothing like home.”
Randy leaned up to look out the window. “It is a great sight. Driving in isn’t a much of a shock, you’ve got a thousand miles to get use to it. But dropping in through the clouds, I can see how it would be more of a surprise.”
Randy leaned over to look again, but he was pretty sure he knew what had caught Tanner’s attention. “Sailboats. Chesapeake Bay is one of the best places to sail in the world.”
“Isn’t it cold on the water in winter?” asked Tanner.
“Nah,” Randy laughed, “They’re nuts. They call it ‘Frostbite Racing’.”
“That’s so cool.”
“Annapolis is only about an hour’s drive from home. We could go sightseeing if you’d like. Catch the Naval Academy and see the harbor.”
“Yeah, I’d like that! I don’t see a lot of seaports in Oklahoma.” Tanner turned and winked at Randy. “We do have the Port of Catoosa. Don’t forget.”
“Yeah, yeah. You keep telling me about the seaport in Oklahoma. Someday we’re going to Tulsa so you can show me this thing.”
Tanner started laughing. “I’ve never seen it either. We’ll have to go sometime.”
Tanner settled in, trying not to worry about meeting Randy’s dad for the first time.
Randy was right on Tanner’s heels as they walked through the airport. As soon as they cleared the security checkpoint he was scanning the crowd for a familiar faces. It hadn’t taken very long before he spotted them. He grabbed Tanner’s arm and pulled him through the crowd.
Releasing Tanner on the edge, Randy grabbed his dad and pulled him into a tight hug. The embrace lasted for several minutes while Tanner and Lesa looked at each other awkwardly. When the two finally separated, Randy’s dad was pounding on his back. With a hand on his shoulder, Randy turned to Tanner.
“This is my Dad, Trey, and his girlfriend, Lesa.”
Tanner shook hands with everyone. Randy smiled as his dad pulled Tanner into an equally enthusiastic embrace. He released Tanner and beamed at him. “It’s great to finally get to meet the famous Tanner that Randy talks about all the time.”
Tanner’s face flushed red and he dipped his head. “It’s nice to meet you too, sir.”
“Oh, none of this ‘sir’ crap. Just call me Trey.”
Tanner’s face had returned to normal when he looked up with a shy grin. “Okay. Trey. It’s good to meet you too. Randy talks about you all the time.” Tanner turned to the woman standing to one side with an amused expression. “It’s nice to meet you too, ma’am.”
Her face came alive when she smiled. “Please, just Lesa.”
Trey moved between Randy and Tanner and put an arm around each of their shoulders. “Let’s go. We’ve got Randy’s favorite shrimp dish ready to make for tonight and I’m sure you’re exhausted after a day of airports and flying.”
“Sounds good!” said Randy. The boys grabbed their bags and were soon making their way through the Baltimore airport.
Tanner had enjoyed meeting Randy’s dad when they’d landed. After all the stress of coming out to his parents, the meeting with Trey and Lesa was pretty anticlimactic. They’ve spent the first day just catching up with everything. Since they were only going to be there a few days, Randy had some things he wanted Tanner to experience, one of them being riding dressage. Tanner wasn’t too sure about this. Tanner watched carefully as Randy’s friend, Kenny, put on the saddle and adjusted the stirrups. The horse was built considerably different than the Quarter Horses he’d grown up with, much longer and taller, lacking the muscle of a Quarter Horse. He turned to Randy with a smirk. “You know they call those postage stamps, right?”
Randy laid his hand on Tanner’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly. “There’s nothing wrong with an English saddle. Just try it.”
“Nothing wrong with ‘em until you try to dally a rope on it.”
Randy chuckled and motioned Tanner forward. “Good point. Give it a try though.”
Tanner twisted his lips as he studied the tiny English saddle. After a few minutes he shoved his foot into the stirrup, grabbed the edge of the saddle and awkwardly swung into the seat. He landed harder than normal, having misjudged its thickness. After a second he looked down to see Randy grinning up at him with a slight smirk.
“Here’s your helmet.”
“Helmet? I’ve never worn a helmet.”
Randy and Kenny looked at each other and then Randy looked back at Tanner. “It’s a rule of the stable. You have to wear one.”
“Stupid yankee rule,” muttered Tanner. He took the gear from Randy and crammed it on his head, snapping the buckle in place as the other two mounted their horses with much more practiced grace. Tanner waited until the others had started around the arena before easing his horse into a walk.
After a few minutes the horse’s gait was an obvious change from his beloved Quarter Horses. It wasn’t that he’s could see this delicate animal working their herds, but the flow and ease of movement was something Tanner had never experienced before. As he relaxed he began to enjoy the time he’d first dreaded.
After most of an hour had slipped past. He eased to the side to watch the other two. He had to admit, they were certainly grace and poise on horseback. Their upright carriage and lines of the horses, it really was quite beautiful.
The exercise round for the others ended too and Tanner joined them to walk the animals around the area to let them cool down. They dismounted and walked the animals to their stalls where they stripped them of their tack and started brushing them down. Kenny carefully closed the gate on his mount and waved at the other two.
“You guys are welcome to help me work out the horses any time. It was great to meet you, Tanner.”
“Same here. Thanks for letting me ride.”
“No problem. None at all.”
Randy turned back to Tanner as he brushed out the final spots. “So, what did you think?”
“It was cool. They sure have a different gait from the horses back home. But I could see how they’re a different ride.”
“And the saddle?” asked Randy with a snicker.
“It’s still a stupid postage stamp.”
Randy laughed and led his horse inside. “Yeah, whatever. Hurry up, I thought we’d get some crabs at Dockside for dinner.”
“You’re trying to convert me to seafood aren’t you.”
Randy just smiled and filled his horse’s hay net.
Tanner’s boots clicked against the sidewalk as he worked to keep up with Randy. “Where are we going? And why are you in such a hurry?”
“I told you already. We’re going to see the Navel Academy. You have to see it while you’re here.”
“Hasn’t it been there for a couple hundred years? Why the big hurry?”
Randy looked back at Tanner and chuckled. “I guess I was about to sprint. And you’re right. It’s not going anywhere.”
Tanner caught up and popped his fingers against the back of Randy’s head. “Damn lacrosse players. You always gotta run to get anywhere. You’d think you were Forrest Gump or something.”
Randy grinned and rubbed the back of his head. “Come on, I want you to see the chapel. It’s really cool.”
“That’s fine. Just slow it down a little. I’m not in that big of a hurry.”
“I’ll slow down for you poor cowboy so you can keep up. We’re almost there.” Randy motioned to a green dome Tanner could see through the trees. A short walk later and Tanner found himself inside the chapel.
“Holy crap. This wasn’t what I was expecting. You said chapel and I was expecting…” Tanner made a little box with his hands. “But this is.” He threw his arms open wide.”
Randy chuckled at Tanner’s reaction as they walked through the chapel. The winter sunlight shone weakly through the stained glass windows sending bits of color to pave their way as they walked through. Their progress slowed to a crawl as Tanner studied the details of the architecture. As he looked upward, his breath caught at the magnificent colors coming from the dome.
“Wow, this place is amazing.”
“Yeah, it is,” Randy agreed.
As they moved through, Randy leaned close and gave Tanner a quick kiss on the cheek. “So what do you think?”
Tanner glanced around and then returned Randy’s kiss. “It was worth the trip. You were right about having to see it to believe it.”
They wandered through the building enjoying the history the location was seeped in. Suddenly Tanner froze in place. “What the heck is that?”
Randy looked over at what had drawn Tanner’s eye. “Oh, that’s the tomb of John Paul Jones.”
“John Paul Jones. Revolutionary war guy? Said ‘I haven’t started to fight’ or something like that.”
“Oh, okay. Well that’s a pretty fancy tomb.”
Randy studied it again, having seen it many times, but now trying to see it through fresh eyes. He began to chuckle softly. “Yeah, it is different. Come on, let’s walk around the grounds for awhile.” Tanner paused before another of the elaborate stained-glass windows. Randy grinned at his man, leaned over and gave him a kiss.
“Disgusting. Those people shouldn’t be allowed in public.” A high female voice chattered across the space.
Randy spun to see who had said that, but all he caught was the swirl of coats disappearing around a column. He looked at Tanner to see his jaw set. “Come on. Let’s go.”
They left the building and had stopped to talk about what had just happened when they heard. “Tanner?”
They turned and Tanner smiled. “Jorge! Hey what’re you doing here?”
“Going to school, you dumbass. I’m at the Naval Academy.”
“Really? That’s cool. I had no idea.”
“Yup. Oh, hey, this is my boyfriend Chad. Chad this is Tanner Carson from home and…” He stopped to look at Randy.
“Randy Preston, Tanner’s fiancée.”
Jorge’s face broke into a smile. “I wondered in high school if you weren’t on our team.” He nudged Tanner and his smile grew in size.
“Well I’m glad you knew, because I had no clue.”
Jorge laughed and grabbed Tanner by the shoulder. “We were about to grab some lunch. There’s a decent seafood place just around the corner.”
“And just what would someone from Oklahoma know about seafood?” Tanner chuckled.
“Hey, I’ve eaten my way through most of the seafood places around here, and there are a lot.”
“Okay, sounds more qualified than me.” Tanner turned to Randy. “Wanna get something to eat?”
“Sure, you know I can always eat.”
They followed Jorge, catching up on what had happened after high school and eventually making it to the bar. The dark interior took a few minutes to adjust to, once the waiter had taken their orders, they relaxed in the noisy restaurant and Tanner took a drink of his beer and then looked at Jorge and Chad.
“So how long have you been dating?”
Jorge chuckled and smiled at his partner. “Officially, or actually?”
Tanner gave them a confused look. “I don’t get it.”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was in effect when we started. We couldn’t be open about dating until it was repealed. So we snuck around and hoped we didn’t get caught before then.”
“Well, at least that’s gone, and you can get married in Maryland now.”
“Yeah, you still have to be careful. You don’t want to rub people’s faces in it. You know, be safe about it.”
The waiter appeared and began placing baskets of food around the table. Tanner started in on his crab cake and soon they were all enjoying the conversation, beer and food. Suddenly, Jorge looked at his watch. “Shit! I gotta go. I have an appointment in fifteen minutes.” He quickly shook hands with Tanner and Randy, tossed a few bills on the table, and they left. Tanner smiled at Randy and stole one of his buffalo wings. In seconds he had it sucked to the bone and leaned over and kissed him. “I’m full. You about ready to go?”
Tanner bumped into Randy, enjoying their time together. He was relaxing as they spend more and more time wondering around the city. Tanner reached down and intertwined their fingers as they walked along.
“Come on. You want to see the sailboats?”
“Hell yeah! That’d be so cool.”
They changed direction slightly and were soon walking down the piers with Tanner’s jaw dropping open. The crowd of masts looked like a denuded forest to Tanner as row after row of boats were docked. Tanner marveled at the collection of boats of all sizes and description, but all with sails.
“Why all sailboats.”
“Chesapeake Bay has some of the best sailing water in the world. They don’t even like for motorized boats to come into the harbor.” Randy grinned. “Well, some of them don’t. Come on, there’s a huge boat down here.”
The day slipped along as they explored along the waterfront. The light had begun to fade and they were headed back when Tanner noticed a loud group of guys coming toward them. He glanced over at Randy, feeling his heart begin to speed up. “Should I be worried?”
Randy looked ahead and studied the group for a minute. “Nah, I think it’s just a bunch of drunk college kids. We’ll be fine.”
Tanner couldn’t help but feel the tension building in them as a few of the group kept watching. They were spreading across the walkway too, making it difficult to bypass them.
One of them leered at the pair. “In a hurry, boys.”
“Just headed home,” said Randy, trying to tuck Tanner in behind him.
Another slurred the words. “Faggots”
Tanner’s body instantly filled with adrenaline and his fists clenched. He turned and cocked an eyebrow. “What did you say?”
The guy flipped his long dark hair out of his eyes and sneered at Tanner. “Queer, we don’t want your kind around here. I don’t care if the pussys at the State House said you were okay or not. Guys who suck dick are just sick bastards.”
Tanner could feel Randy tense, both of them preparing for what was coming. They instinctively put their backs toward each other and stood waiting. The grim smiles of enjoyment moved inward, and Tanner and Randy pushed their backs toward each other. Suddenly the guys were overwhelmed by the group.
Tanner punched the closest attacker in the mouth, feeling the sharp pain of satisfaction when his fist connected with jaw and he felt the growl of pain as one of the fists connected with Randy. Tanner saw two of them running at him, and Ian’s training snapped into place. He grabbed the closer of the two and dropped, using his momentum to throw him into the other attacker.
The two held their ground for several long minutes while the attack continued. Tanner felt a particular satisfaction when his fist landed in one of their eye sockets. He also managed another throw that would make his uncle proud. But a fist the size of a small ham crashed into Tanner’s jaw, stunning him for the moment it took for three of them to jump him.
He sensed Randy trying to move to help him, which spelled his downfall. When Randy was taken down, still fighting ferociously, it flashed through Tanner that he might become another statistic. The thought sent gallons of adrenaline flooding Tanner’s system and he fought like a trapped black bear. He managed to get a boot between one of the attackers legs, and landed a blow that left him curled on the ground holding his nuts and moaning. The distraction gave him a moment to twist and a second one got within range of his elbow.
Tanner was raining down blows and the pressure was beginning to lessen. From the sounds of things, Randy was far from down too. The fighting intensified for a few more heartbeats when suddenly bodies began being yanked off him. Thinking at first it was Randy, he immediately saw two huge guys, one grabbed two of the attackers and bounced their heads against each other.
With the turn in numbers, the attackers began to scurry away. Within a few seconds, they were disappearing into the dim light, several of them limping or holding injuries. Tanner looked up again to find a hand held out to him attached to a smiling face.
“Need some help?”
Tanner took the offered hand and pulled himself up. As he did, he saw that Randy had made it to his feet, even if he was staggering slightly. Tanner turned back to the two guys. “Thanks. We really appreciate it.”
“No problem, sir. But I’ve called 911 and an ambulance will be here in a few. You two look pretty beat up.”
Tanner felt his legs start to give out and folded onto himself and sat where he had been standing. His tongue flicked out to catch the taste of blood and when he looked over at Randy he saw he had several stripes of red flowing down his face too. He looked back and nodded. “Probably a good idea…” Tanner gave him a blank look.
“Brett, sir. My buddy and I are Marines stationed at the Naval Academy.”
“We’ve been saved by the Marines?”
Brett smiled wider. “I guess you could say that, sir.”
“Ooorah!” Randy let out.
Tanner grinned and nodded in agreement. “I agree. Ooorah!”
Tanner walked slowly through the ER. The cut above his eye had taken a few stitches, but his lip and black eye hadn’t been more than a clean up and bandage job. Now he was looking for Randy, and not finding him. After the third walk past the rooms, each at a faster speed, a nurse who didn’t look much older than he and Randy stopped him.
“Do you need some help?”
“Yes, I’m looking for my fiancée, Randy Preston.” He looked at Tanner for a moment before he turned, pushed his glasses up his nose, and his fingers flew over the keyboard. A few seconds later he looked at Tanner. “And you are?”
Tanner swallowed, feeling a knot of apprehension grow in his stomach. “I’m his boyfriend.” Tanner thought for a second. “Like I said, he’s my fiancée.”
There was a pause that felt like it stretched for hours. The knot in his stomach had grown to the size of a yearling heifer and Tanner was beginning to feel like he would puke.
“I’m really very sorry, sir, but hospital–”
“Oh knock it off, Jess. They’re together, they’re from Oklahoma. No marriage allowed.”
They both looked up to see one of the two EMS techs who’d brought them in. The nurse’s face skewed in a grimace. “I’m really not supposed to do that.”
“Oh you know that’s bullshit. Just tell him where his boyfriend is.”
The two locked eyes for a few moments and then the tension dropped from Jess. “Okay, he’s in 5E. I’ll show you.”
He pushed back from the desk and started through a doorway beside them. Tanner was stunned for a minute at the rapid change of attitude, then trotted to catch up. As he drew beside the nurse, he looked at Tanner with a smile and a wink. Tanner was taken by surprise but they’d found Randy before he could do anything. He was almost flat on an examination table with someone working on the side of his face.
Tanner moved closer, suddenly having an overwhelming need to touch his lover. He stood at Randy’s side and took his hand. Randy cut his eyes toward Tanner and gave him a wink. The nurse caught the motion and glanced back at Tanner.
“We’re just irrigating the wounds to get out the last of the debris. Mr. Preston here had several nice abrasions that needed taken care of. Then the doctor will be back to suture the facial wounds. With the hands we’ll just need to change the dressings.” She looked up and smiled at them both. “From the look of those knuckles, you gave as well as you got. Good for you.”