Flight attendant Tanner Bradac and his occasional make-out buddy Clark Arnold find themselves on a layover in San Francisco on the day the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. Tanner is as happy about the ruling as any of his Facebook friends rainbowing up their profile pictures, but it doesn’t affect him personally -- he doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Color him surprised, then, when he and Clark get caught up in the celebratory spirit of the day and return home as lawfully wedded husbands.
The wedding may have been a last-minute light-hearted lark, but Tanner and Clark are willing to give marriage a go. Tanner loves Clark -- at least, he really wants to love Clark -- and he figures the rest should just fall into place. How hard can being married to a guy you barely know really be?
Even Clark’s news the next morning -- “I got the job!” he squealed, nearly fumbling his phone into the coffee he was stirring into a liquid dessert in his excitement to share the email -- was good. You know, in principle.
“That office job?”
Clark nodded, beaming. “Assistant Station Manager, yeah. Oh my gosh!” He flung his arms around Tanner’s neck and kissed him. “I was hoping they’d pick me, I was afraid they’d think I was too young. But it’s an assistant position, and I have a business degree, and I felt like I killed the interview. Plus I guess maybe not everybody wants to move to Boise ...”
They certainly don’t. Tanner took a tactful gulp of his coffee, careful to keep his face from agreeing.
“When do you start?”
Clark scanned the email, then exclaimed, “September first!”
“September? But that’s like ... now.”
Clark laughed; he was giddy. “It’s soon, yeah. Oh, Babe, we’re going home! I can’t wait.”
Tanner, whose home was most assuredly not in Idaho, resisted the urge to say so, instead offering his husband a congratulatory kiss. “I wish you’da gotten that email while we were walking up here, I’da bought you that coffee to celebrate.”
“That would have been sweet of you. What if I let you buy me dinner tonight instead?”
Tanner smiled. “You’d do that? For me?”
Clark affected a magnanimous nod, then burst into giggles. His glee was infectious, and it’s not like he would leave for Boise that afternoon; this was something Clark had wanted, and Tanner was fully prepared to celebrate his success.
“It’s not like we’re gonna be the first airline couple that’s ever lived apart,” he pointed out later as they staked out their spot at the hotel pool. Just this side of naked in his tiny trunks, Clark was angled into the glare of the morning sun like someone had slid him under the broiler in a pan, while Tanner and the ice bucket of minis sheltered in the shade of the towel hut.
Clark’s head lolled to face Tanner. “Do we have to live apart?” he asked without opening his eyes. “I’m kinda starting to get the hang of this whole ‘Tanner’ thing.”
“I mean, you’re gonna be the station manager. If you can talk the company into a Boise base, I’ll be the first to transfer.”
“The assistant station manager, but I’ll definitely put that in the suggestion box. For real, though: you can commute. It’s not like it’s that far.”
“Says the guy who won’t have to do it. After all the standby hoops we had to jump through just to get a honeymoon in South Dakota, you think I want to go through that every time I go to work?”
“It’s a big raise, babe -- a big one. You wouldn’t have to fly as much. Hell, you wouldn’t have to fly at all if you didn’t want to.”
“I like flying.”
“I know you do. I didn’t mean that like I want you to quit, I’m just saying if you didn’t want to commute ...”
“But, what ... you’d come visit on your days off?”
“Well yeah, of course.”
Here Clark did open his eyes. Well, one eye, squinting against the glare with the other. “What’s the difference?”
This stumped Tanner for a second, but he stammered through what was bouncing around his head in case an explanation came out. “I don’t know. I guess, the apartment, Ernie, Jesse ... it’s just ... my life is in Denver.”
“But now I’m your life, too. Right?”
“Well yeah, of course. I mean, I hope so, right?”
“You hope so? We’re married.”
“Well yeah, I know. But I mean, we kinda got married just for fun, right? Not to run off to Idaho.”
“So what, like if you’da known, you wouldn’t have married me?”
Tanner chuckled. “There were probably all kinds of reasons not to marry you.”
Clark sat up like someone had released a spring beneath his chaise lounge. “What’s that supposed to mean?”