Darrin Houghton, Broadway dancer, and Brad Grabosky, NFL football player, are engaged. However, Brad is reluctant to announce a date for the wedding. His excuse -- he doesn’t want to be the poster child for gay rights in the NFL. Darrin is getting discouraged, wondering if he and Brad are ever going to actually hear wedding bells.
Darrin and the cast of his current musical are to perform on a float in the NYC pride parade. He asks Brad if he plans on coming to the parade. Brad says he’s sorry, but he has an important team meeting to attend.
Downhearted, Darrin heads to the parade alone. Just as he’s about to get up on the float, a commotion breaks out. Darrin turns; what he sees takes his breath away.
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
It had been six months since the wedding of two of Darrin's fellow dancers from the show. Brad Grabosky, at the time, a very closeted star NFL football player, had surprised Darrin by showing up at the wedding. After the ceremony the two had gone out for drinks and Brad had declared he was ready to live a more open life, saying, "I don't want to make some big coming out announcement to the media. I want to just let it happen gradually, however that works out."
He then compared the process of his coming out to a football game, saying that he and Darrin were close to the goal line and they had a few downs yet to play. But, when they crossed that goal line for the touchdown, it would be their wedding day.
Darrin had imagined that wouldn't take much time. But the game seemed to have stalled, and he and Brad were in a similar situation to where they were before Brad had asked Darrin to marry him. True, the pair went out frequently now rather than staying hunkered down in Darrin's apartment. They attended parties hosted by Darrin's gay friends and even went to gay bars. Darrin had gone to all of the playoff games and the Super Bowl the previous year. Brad had invited him to the celebration parties following the Hounds victory. However, Brad had only introduced him as a good friend, not his fiancé, or even his boyfriend.
When Darrin questioned Brad about this, Brad reminded him that they were taking it slowly and letting folks figure it out for themselves. Brad said he didn't want to become the poster child for gay rights in the NFL. So, despite Darrin's disappointment in the situation, he loved Brad and had no intention of walking away from the only man he'd ever considered marrying.
However, on nights like this, after both a matinee and evening performance, Darrin's fatigue caused his defenses to slip. His dissatisfaction that things with Brad remained stagnant got the upper hand.
And, his friend Carl, a fellow dancer, didn't help.
"I thought you two would have been married by now. I mean that's what he told you after Alan and Tony's wedding waaaaay last December, if I remember correctly."
Darrin had defended his man by saying, "Brad wants to let the news come out to the press gradually; he doesn't want it to detract from the team or the team's focus."
"But that's what you said when the Hounds were in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. That was ages ago now."
Darrin sighed. Privately he agreed with Carl. It was June. The sports world was zeroed in on the NHL and the Stanley Cup, the NBA championships, and baseball. Football was a distant memory. To Darrin's mind this would be the perfect time to walk down the aisle and let the world know who the real Brad Grabosky was.