I can’t believe we’re already up to the eighth stop on the 13months13scenes tour. It’s been so much fun checking in with the guys and sharing a bit of their everyday lives with you. We’ve had sweet, sexy, and downright dirty—as seems to be the gambit they all enjoy putting us through—but today we have something just a touch more personal. Let me give you a quick history – both factual and fictional – so you can see how things unfolded.
On January 6, 2015, Florida became the 36th state to officially lift the ban on gay marriage, but Miami couldn’t wait that long and began issuing marriage licenses ten hours before the rest of the state. You’d think I would’ve had my boys race to the courthouse on 5th, right? No for two reasons. First, Red deserved more than a quickie courthouse wedding scene and second, because I was lucky enough to be in Ireland in the week leading up to their own marriage equality vote. When I needed a wedding date, it seemed fitting that they would exchange vows on May 22nd while Ireland was voting, and what better place for them to honeymoon than in a country that was literally celebrating love and equality.
Tying two of my favorite characters to one of my most memorable vacations in a location that was actually heralding in their own real life equality ruling was…a privilege, truly, but there was more good news to come back here in the states.
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for all and I was once again traveling. My oldest son called me shortly after I landed in New Orleans to give me the news and to hear the sheer happiness in his voice is something I’ll never forget. So instead of a wedding anniversary or birthday trip, Red and Bull have chosen to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage equality in the US, in the place where I first heard the news. And since July 26th marks a year since Their Reason hit the shelves, it made the perfect scene for this month’s stop on the tour.
“Did she tell you where they were standing?” Red asked as they found a table at Café Du Monde within view of Jackson Square. They landed in New Orleans just after nine that morning, dropped their luggage at the Omni Royal on St. Louis Street, and raced back out the door to follow in Jessie’s footsteps.
“She said they were between the entrances of the park and the cathedral.” Bull set out their coffees and pulled the map they grabbed from the hotel out of his back pocket while Red unwrapped their beignets. “Can we just take a moment to be grateful that they thought to stop here first?”
Red grabbed his cup and tapped it against Bull’s in agreement. The coffee was a little more bitter than he was used to, but it went perfectly with the sugary treat. “Damn, that’s good. I thought it was gonna be all hype, but wow, I could eat these all day.”
Bull leaned in and took a quick kiss, licking at the powdered sugar that clung to his lips. “Hmm, tastes even better on you. Let’s get a dozen to take back to the room.”
“I can’t tell if your serious right now?” Red peered over, but Bull just shrugged. Food had yet to find a way into their bed, though that was more a lack of culinary inspiration than real aversion. Normally, he was up for anything Bull wanted to try, but the potential embarrassment of having the maids find powdered sugar in their sheets had him wrinkling his nose. “Remember when you left the lube on the room service cart?”
The poor guy who came to remove their cart spotted the bottle before they did, took one look at their haphazard state of dress and started to squirm. The pale blush that had been riding the guy’s cheeks when Bull smiled at him, became a raging inferno when Bull plucked the bottle off the cart and said, “We’re gonna need that for later.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone turn quite that shade of purple,” Bull laughed.
Sure, they could laugh now, but there was a real tense moment when they feared the guy was going to pass out. “Okay, now imagine the look on the maid’s face when they find powdered sugar in our sheets.”
“This is New Orleans, I’m sure they’ve found worse things in the sheets.” That had Bull tilting his head thoughtfully. “What if they think its drugs and called the cops?”
Red gaped for a second until Bull started laughing again. “Consider me officially out of this adventure.”
“Why don’t we pick up one of those boxes of beignet mixes to take home…?” Bull let the thought trail off with a leer.
“Well,” Red considered, though they both knew what his answer would be. In the privacy of their own home, the only limit was their imagination. “I could be persuaded.”
“Luckily, we have this afternoon free, so there’ll be plenty of time to convince you.” Bull wiped off his hands and laid the map out on the table. “Okay, so if we go by Jessie’s vague calculations, the timestamp on their receipt was eleven ten and they people watched for a bit while they enjoyed their breakfast.”
Red looked over the map and pointed out the restaurant right across from where they were sitting. “Then they crossed over toward Monty’s and her hubs stopped to light them a cigarette.”
“We’ll skip that part.” Bull quickly interjected. “But they stood there for a few minutes talking to one of the horse drawn carriage drivers. She said it was a two cigarette stop, maybe ten minutes.”
“That’s a weird way to mark time, isn’t it?”
“She created us and this world, so I never thought of her as normal.”
“True.” He couldn’t argue with that logic and Red was forever grateful that Jessie created a world where they got to live happily ever after, so he let it go. “Okay, from there she said they turned right onto St. Ann and headed toward Chartres because she wanted to make a dinner reservation at Muriel’s.”
“Where she said the food was really good, but not as good as Coop’s Place, which is over here somewhere.” They both hummed over the map until Bull pointed to the intersection of Decatur and Ursulines where the hole-in-the-wall, adults only, bar/restaurant that Jessie gushed about was. “We’re here for five days, so we have plenty of time to try them both.”
Red glanced at the time on his phone and started cleaning up the table. “We should start walking.”
When Bull took his hand and guided him across Decatur, Red noticed an older couple frowning at them. It wasn’t anything new. He knew he was gay at a young age and even though there wasn’t anyone to come out to or anyone who wanted to date him, the kids in school seemed to know just by looking at him. It was just one in a seemingly long list of things to bully him about.
As an adult, he never bothered to hide it and Bull was proudly out, so there was never any thought of keeping their relationship low key in public. Not that they were humping each other on the street corner, but if a man and a woman could hold hands, why the fuck couldn’t they?
Seeing that frown today, of all days, pissed him off. It was the first anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage a right nationwide. So not only did he have the right to hold Bull’s hand in public, he had the right to wear the ring that declared to the world that they were legally wed, a family, and how dare she frown at his family?
“No matter how far we come, there will always be someone who wants to keep us down.” Bull’s voice was low as they cleared Decatur and stopped under the wrap-around patio on the second floor of Monty’s. “We’ll never change everyone’s mind. What we can do is continue the fight for rights and acceptance as a world-wide community, not just for today, but for future generations.”
“You’re right, I just wish she wouldn’t sneer her opinion so loudly.” Red couldn’t hold back his disdain. “Why is that open disapproval okay if we can’t openly show our affection?”
Bull tugged him close until they were standing chest to chest. “Why can’t we? If I kiss you right now, who’s going to stop me? No one has the legal right to do so and anyone who tried would learn a very quick and painful lesson.”
To prove his point, Bull leaned down right there to kiss him and it wasn’t some chaste brush of lips. No, his caveman declared to everyone waiting in line for a beignet or a horse drawn buggy that they were together. There was a smattering of applause, a couple of suggestions on where to get a room, and few derogatory remarks—none of which mattered at all when Bull was kissing him.
“Let’s get this done. I have an urgent need to see if our hotel room is ready.” The teasing whisper was accompanied by a gentle nudge of Bull’s hips and Red couldn’t help but chuckle. In another second, they would be humping on a street corner.
When Bull took his hand to tug him down St. Ann’s, Red put everything else out of his head. They were here to celebrate the milestone ruling and each other, and no old frowny face was going to bring him down. He was loved and accepted by the only person who truly mattered, and hit the jackpot with their extended family. Why should he concern himself with the opinions of total strangers?
The area around Jackson Square was busy with tourists, street performers, and artists selling their wares, and they took their time browsing just as Jessie did. Finally, they reached the corner of Chartres and Bull pointed out a guy setting up metal drums on the far side of the park entrance. “Didn’t Jessie say it was hard to hear what her son was saying at first because a guy was playing the drums?”
“Yep.” They started to walk in that direction and then Red pulled up short, pointing at the women reading someone’s fortune. “She said there was a tarot reader too.”
“Amazing.” They continued to look around for markers that Jessie provided and when the drummer started tapping out a few test beats, they were standing right between the entrances to the cathedral and the park. “This seems about right, doesn’t it?”
“I think so.” Red smiled a little. They planned out this little adventure so they could be in roughly the same spot Jessie stood at around the same time she heard from her son. It had all seemed so fitting since their love wouldn’t have been possible without her. Now though, with no one calling them, it seemed a little anti-climactic.
Bull gave him an encouraging smile, pulled his phone out of his pocket and looked to the heavens. “Jessie, surely you’re going to make my phone ring now, right?”
Red laughed right up until the phone rang. “Okay, that was freaky. I’m almost terrified for you to answer.”
“Jessie wouldn’t fuck with us.” (Boy, does he know me or what?) Bull slid the little green circle from left to right to accept the call and then hit the speakerphone so they could both hear. “Speak to me.”
“Bull?” The muffled voice was cut off by the sound of laughter. Happy children’s laughter that they both knew very well. “Hey, man, sorry to interrupt the vacay, but they kids’ want to tell you guys something.”
There was some more fumbling and then two voices screamed, “We set a date!”
It took Red a second to connect all the Malone pieces and then he was grinning at Bull. “Oh, Jon, Ty and Chase are getting married. Isn’t that wonderful?”
“I always knew you were the brains of that operation, Red.” Ty’s teasing voice came back on the line. “We thought you’d like to know. Now have a great time in NOLA and hit us up when you get back for the deets.”
“Ty! Wait, at least tell us the date!” Red begged, but all they got was dead air. “He won’t answer if we call back, will he?”
Bull slipped the phone in his pocket and turned them Southwest toward St. Peter Street. “Doubtful.”
“Did you suspect? I mean, Florida finally started printing birth certificates to include same-sex parents back in May, and that was the last hurdle they were waiting for.” Red looked around as they continued on past St. Peter. “Where are we going, anyway?”
“Back to the hotel to celebrate,” Bull said with a smirk. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be out on the street when everyone realizes Jessie dropped that bomb without giving a date. Do you?”
Red laughed as they hustled the three blocks to their hotel. He didn’t know what he expected when they hatched this plan, but another wedding in their growing family was a great surprise.
This is just another example of why the fight didn’t end with the Supreme Court ruling or any of those more regional rulings. While Florida may have finally got it right on family recognition, it is still legal throughout the state to fire someone or deny them access to housing or accommodations because of their sexual orientation. While there are more localized non-discrimination protections in place, as well as major corporations providing the same, 47% of Floridians live in a place that doesn’t protect them. That’s just one state. Do you know what’s happening in yours?
Okay, now I’ll answer the big question: March 31, 2017. That seems pretty specific, huh? It’s my ten-year anniversary 🙂
(Jessie – I totally had a message typed back to you when Ty hung up that phone…)
All the places in this story are real and if you’re ever in NOLA, go to Coop’s Place and order the Chicken Tchoupitoulas, it will change your life. If you’re not a fan of chicken, my husband raved about the Rabbit and Sausage Jambalaya.
© 2016 Jessie G Books, Inc. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessie G and Jessie G Books, Inc. with the appropriate and specific direction to the original content here at BFD Book Blog.
I hope you enjoyed One Year Later with Bull & Red in the 8th installment of my #13months13scenes tour. The guys from Sizzling Miami, Devils Pride MC, and The Forgotten Soldier series will be appearing on different blogs throughout 2016 with little slice of life moments like this.
Did you miss a previous installment?
|December 20th||KathyMac Reviews||Christmas Theme|
|January 20th||Book Lovers 4Ever||New Year Theme|
|February 20th||Carly’s Book Reviews||Valentine Theme|
|March 21st||3 Chicks After Dark||Spring Break|
|April 20th||Sassy Girl Books||April Fools Theme|
|May 20th||Two Chicks Obsessed||Memorial Day Theme|
|June 21st||Foxylutely Books||!!Jessie & Greg’s Birthday Surprise!!|
|July 20th||BFD Book Blog||Bull & Red’s 1 Year Anniversary|
Mark your calendars, there are still 5 more installments to come!
|August 20th||Molly Lolly||Romance Awareness Month|
|September 20th||Bike Book Reviews||Kyle’s Birthday – preview of Saving Saul|
|October 20th||Divine Magazine||Halloween Theme|
|November 21st||Joyfully Jay||Thanksgiving Theme|
|December 20th||Prism Book Alliance||Christmas Theme|