Sequel to "Ask and I'll Tell"
Seven years after they meet, and more than four years since RJ initially proposes, RJ and Pad are back. The wedding invitations have been sent again and the date is set. This time, both men are more committed than ever to each other and willing to make their relationship work.
But old issues surface that cause conflict before their big day. Will RJ’s recent diagnosis of sexual addiction disorder tear them apart? Can they weather the growing disapproval from their families over same-sex marriage before they walk down the aisle? Will RJ and Pad finally tie the knot?
The apartment was a mess. Dishes had piled up the last two days. He knew the laundry hamper contained enough clothes for ten loads of laundry.
So much shit to do, so little time.
He scratched his head and exhaled. Loudly. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. He extended his neck, heard the crack, and felt the slight tightening of his own trapezius muscles on the right side of his neck. He groaned in pain.
As he craned his neck, he stared at the photo he kept on the side of the fridge. Ransom James Davis stood with a broad smile with wavy brown hair combed. The picture depicted him shirtless, wearing a bikini, showing off his defined body including the six-pack abs, the large toned biceps, and thighs. Wayfarer sunglasses protected RJ’s violet-blue eyes. Pad stood next to him, paler and wearing a tank top. Pad wore matching sunglasses and matching bikini. Behind them was a large 747 flying over Maho beach in St. Maarten. Pad shook his head: he’d gained at least ten pounds since the photo was taken a year before.
Okay, stop dwelling on the negative.
His heart leapt. He seemed to experience these moments more often as the big day approached: they seemed a weird mixture of excitement, anxiety, and worry. Soon he would be Pad Davis. Pad Davis! It was his idea to take RJ’s last name. Everyone knew how to spell Davis. He wouldn't have to spell Davis. No more spelling his last name. And it felt right to take RJ’s.
I want to be his; and have him be my husband!
As he stood there in the kitchen, he pulled out a small memo pad from the junk drawer they kept for odds and ends, like keys, the odd recipe or two, and some coupons. He doodled his future name.
He did it in block lettering, then he did it in long hand.
He loved how it sounded and how it looked on paper. Then he said his name out loud, several times, finally singing the name to himself. Aunt Maddy was fine with the change in names.
Only Jen and Jack weren't so sure.
Hyphenate your name, they said.
Jack especially. He'd been the most vocal; Jack wasn't too keen on Pad marrying RJ and when Pad broke it off two years before, Jack was there to hold him while he cried. He only waited an hour later to tell Pad, “Good riddance.”
When Pad got back together with RJ, Jack wasn't that enthusiastic. In fact, Jack and Pad didn't talk for weeks. It hurt not to talk to Jack. Through their ups and downs, Jack and Jen were always there. In the end, Jack and Pad patched things up about RJ and when RJ re-proposed, Jack agreed to be Pad’s best man.
They were like brothers. Jen was like his sister. They’d known each other since grade school. Braces, pimples, eyeglasses, boys. They lived through shit and watched each other through all those changes, and stuck together, bad teenage hormones and all. They had their stupid teenage squabbles in high school and the world wasn't what they thought it was going to be. They all agreed being an adult wasn’t that much fun, but through all that crap, they were family.
He and RJ would be their own family.
He held up his left hand and stared for a second at the engagement ring that circled his finger. He visualized the white gold wedding ring in its place and sighed. RJ was better now. Counseling helped him and helped Pad.
No one was perfect; they both wanted and deserved second chances.