Monday, June 5, 2017
TLR CHAPTER 122
Coral and Ryan's Rehearsal Part 2
Duke and Harry were waiting at the gazebo entrance when the two men walked in. James was talking to everyone about the ceremony and where they would stand. He smiled when he saw his two grooms. "The couple has arrived," he announced with a smile.
The O’Donnell’s watched with sour expressions as Ryan and Coral entered the gazebo.
Zahra wiped her eyes, a happy smile on her face. Omari gave his wife a long suffering but loving look and took her hand. "It's just the rehearsal, darling," he reminded her. Their daughters smiled and hugged their mother. The husbands shared understanding looks over their wives’ heads.
Harry went over to Ryan and smiled, "Well, tomorrow's the big day," he said, "I'll have to be certain to get you here on time," he grinned, "the partners can't see each other until the actual weddin'."
Ryan bit his lip and looked at Coral. "Are you sure I can't see you before we get married?"
"It's an old tradition, Ry. The couple doesn't see each other until the ceremony," Coral explained. "So, you're going to stay with Harry and Brody tonight, and Duke is going to stay with me and help me get ready tomorrow. Don't worry hon, it's only for a few hours," Coral reassured. "And it will make us appreciate each other even more tomorrow night," he smiled.
James said quietly, "Ryan, its customary that the couple spend the night before their wedding apart. This way once they are officially married it marks the beginning of their lives together. Harry will take good care of you, and Brody will be there as well."
"And Ry," Coral added quietly, "I expect you to behave yourself tonight. Understand? We may not be able to see each other but if there's a problem, I'm only a phone call away."
Ryan bit his lip, then nodded. "'Kay Coral...I'll be good. Can Castiel come with me?"
"That's my boy," Coral said, pulling Ryan into a hug, "and no, you can’t take the fluff ball with you, I’ll take good care of him. Don’t worry, I’ll even let him sleep with me.”
Ryan sighed, but nodded. “All right Coral.”
Lydia looked at Jerome. "Well that will be a change. I only hope he keeps his promise to behave... this time," she said.
Jerome looked around and said, "Well there are enough people here to keep him in line. I just hope he doesn't do anything to embarrass us. As usual."
Ryan's green eyes flickered, but he remained silent at hearing his parent’s conversation.
Coral's eyes flashed angrily but he forced himself to smile. "Why don't we all take our places and get on with the rehearsal, shall we?" he suggested. Ryan remained a bit stiff in Coral's hug, relaxing fractionally as he pulled him close.
Mutt's lips were compressed in anger. He took a breath as though to say something to the O'Donnell's but Jeff gave his shoulder a warning squeeze. He gave his husband a quick but almost indiscernible head shake as though to say, 'Not yet.'
The gazebo had been set up with all the chairs arranged to accommodate the families and friends of the grooms on either side of a main aisle. There were also two aisles on either side for the grooms to walk down so that they could join in front of James.
Taking his place, James said, "After the groomsmen and ring bearer have reached me and taken their places, Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell, as you approach from the entrance, you will walk with Ryan down the left aisle and hand him to Lucas here," he said fondly looking down at the little boy who was beaming with pleasure. "Mr. and Mrs. Okoro, you will walk with Coral down the right aisle and hand him to Lucas as well. He’ll join their hands together. Then everyone may take their seats.
Coral, you will stand to my left as I'm facing you, Duke will stand beside you, and then your groomsmen will stand beside Duke by height, Shorty, Heath, Jeff and Jake, tallest to shortest." He turned to Ryan. "Ryan, you stand to my right as I'm facing you. Harry will stand beside you to your left, then Torren, Adam, Jax and Mutt, again, from tallest to shortest.”
"Little Jake, Jare, Kyle and Bastien, you four are going to be ushers. It will be your jobs to escort people down the aisle and make sure they're seated. Little Jake, you and Kyle will take care of the left side of the gazebo. Jare, and Bastien will take care of the right. Understand?"
Kyle and Bastien grinned, happy that they would have a role in their uncle's wedding.
The boys all nodded, but Bastien asked a little nervously, "Are we supposed to pretend to do that tonight?"
"I don't think that's necessary," James smiled. "Just make sure that everyone is seated and comfortable before the ceremony starts tomorrow. Just watch Little Jake and Jarrod and do what they do, and don't forget," he said, looking directly at the twins, "this is a joyous occasion so there will be no cutting up."
Jake and Jare blushed but nodded.
Then James leaned down toward little Angela and Austin and said, "One of you will walk in front of Coral and the other in front of Ryan. You will scatter some ferns on the floor for them. Once they've reached the front, you may go and sit with your parents."
Austin's brows furrowed slightly. "Why do we skitter ferns on the floor? Doesn't that make a mess? Mama says we shouldn't make messes."
"It's a very important job," James explained seriously. "You're giving them a fresh start by tossing the ferns, little by little until you get to the front. Understand? And don't worry about the mess, it won't be there long."
Austin nodded sagely and looked at his little sister. "Understand?" he asked.
"Yes, we get to make a mess and not get in trouble," Angela smiled. "I like that."
Everyone laughed except for the O’Donnell’s.
"Alright then," James replied, pleased and amused by the little girl's response. "Today is a practice so that we all know what to do, alright? Once the music begins, I want you two to walk ahead of our grooms and their parents, and pretend to throw the ferns."
“Can I walk in front of Uncle Ryan?” the little girl asked.
Austin started to complain but then realized that he would be in front of his Uncle Coral and agreed with his sister.
James smiled at the children, recognizing that they had worked it out between them and then turned his attention to Jonathan and smiled. "You have an important job as well. Coral and Ryan's wedding rings will be tied to a little silk pillow. It's going to be your job to come up the center aisle as your cousins are scattering the ferns, walking at the same speed they are so you all get to me at the same time and stand here,” he indicated a place to his right, "and hold the pillow. Ok?"
Jonathan grinned and replied, "Ok!"
"Caitlyn and Tamara, once the ceremony is over and we're back at the lodge, you two are going to be in charge of taking the presents and cards to a special table and stacking them in a safe pile as people hand them to you. Envelopes will go into a small basket we'll have there for that purpose."
"We can do that," Caitlyn said happily.
"What if we break something?" Tamara asked nervously.
"Just be careful with the boxes, that's all we can ask of you. If anything is too big for either of you to handle alone, you can work together to place it carefully on the floor near or just slightly under the table. If worse comes to worst, don't be afraid to ask for help."
"Ok," Tamara replied, obviously relieved.
"Sasha, you'll be in charge of the guest book, making sure that everyone signs in as they walk in. You just hand them the pen and point to where the next available line is."
Sasha stood a little straighter and smiled her understanding.
Seeing Noah's increasing expression of sadness, James said, "And Noah, you'll be standing at the entrance to the gazebo, handing out carnations for the men to wear in their lapels, and flower bands for the women to wear on their wrists. This is also a very important job and I know we can count on you," he smiled.
Noah's relief was almost a physical thing. He'd been so afraid that he, as usual, would be lost in the myriad of children. He smiled up at the tall man gratefully and gave him the thumbs up, which caused James to grin and return the gesture.
As everyone took their places, Tank, who had been standing silently to the side, started the music.
Cary, sitting as unobtrusively as possible at a console behind James, checked the white balance and auto focus on the video cameras he'd set up to record everything, began filming the rehearsal procession to practice for the big day tomorrow. He was looking forward to editing the event and presenting Coral and Ryan with the finished product.
Mike, who had been busy snapping candid photos of the guests, stopped clicking away and moved closer to where the couple would stand during the actual ceremony. He wanted to make sure and capture his friends’ special moment.
James gave the signal for the groomsmen to begin their walk down the center aisle. Once they'd gotten into position, he motioned for Jonathan to follow them.
Angela and Austin, keeping an eye on their cousin as he made his way down the center aisle as well, began to walk ahead of Coral and Ryan and pretended to scatter the ferns as the grooms and their parents followed sedately several steps behind.
Jerome looked down at Ryan. "Well I guess this makes me the father of the bride... love that my only son has now become my daughter... are you going to be wearing a white wedding gown too?"
Mrs. O'Donnell's expression was smug but she said nothing.
Ryan gave his father a look, his green eyes flashing. He remembered that he was going to behave as he had promised Coral, but it was getting very, very hard to keep that promise.
Jerome and Lydia handed Ryan off to Lucas as James had instructed while Omari and Zahra did the same with Coral.
Lucas, with a wide grin, took each man's hand and gently brought them together. He gave the men's hands a little shake of congratulations and favored them with a brilliant smile before returning to the seat next to his mama and papa.
James was about to begin the rehearsal when he was startled into silence as Mrs. O'Donnell began to speak to her husband, making no effort to keep her voice down.
"Ryan looks so puny next to all those tall muscular men don't you think dear? I still really don't see what that man sees in him."
When Ryan heard his mother's remark. He turned green eyes on Coral. They held anger, fear, self-loathing and uncertainty. He suddenly turned and bolted. He ran as fast as he could toward the path that led to the falls.
Coral threw a look at the elder O'Donnell’s which should have knocked them stone dead before running after Ryan.
"What is wrong with you people?!" Jeff asked angrily. "How can you talk about your own son like that? Like he's not even there, putting him down right in front of him? In front of us? Can't you get over yourselves for one day? This is supposed to be a special time for him. He wanted you here to share their joy, and all you're doing is running him down."
"What I don't understand is why you even came, if you're so homophobic that you can't even accept your own son for the good, kind man that he is," Torren added. "Homophobes!" he spat before Eric could stop him.
"Why don't you two just go home? Coral and especially Ryan don't need you here if all you're going to do is make cruel remarks," Mutt growled.
The other men all stood about, either with arms crossed or fists clenched in anger, glaring at Ryan's parents and telling them off.
Coral's sisters and brothers in law had a few choice words for the obnoxious pair as well.
The children had mixed looks of anger and confusion on their faces. None of them could ever imagine their parents talking to them the way their Uncle Ryan's mother and father had been.
Little Jake and Jarrod gave the two killer looks and would have added their own two cents if Shorty hadn't put a hand on each of their shoulders, grateful that Bo wasn't in earshot. He wasn't sure he could have handled all three of them at once. Not, he thought, that his boys didn't have a right to their opinions, but he was sure that they would undoubtedly say something they'd regret later.
Jerome looked at the others as Lydia shrank behind her husband. "We haven't said anything that isn't true. I never thought I'd be walking my son down the aisle to get married to another man, and he certainly is puny next to all of you," he replied, seeming not to understand that his and his wife's words and attitudes were entirely inappropriate.
Ryan ran as fast as he could. Being lighter than any of the other men he flew along the path toward the falls. Tears blurred his vision as he fled.
Coral ran as fast as he could after his fiancé, his heart thundering with anger at Ryan's parents and worry over his lover. How could those people claim to be his parents? How on earth had such a wonderful man come from two such obnoxious people? He saw his fiancé ahead and quickened his stride.
"Honey! Ry! Hold up, Angel! Come to me!" he called.
Ryan hesitated at Coral's call, but continued to run. His foot caught a tree root and he went flying face first onto the path which was luckily covered with a thick carpet of moss to cushion his fall.
Coral caught up to his boy and knelt down on the ground beside him. He pulled him up as gently as he could and into a loving embrace. He could feel Ryan's heart beating a mile a minute, his breaths short and raspy from emotion and running.
Ryan began to sob and choked as he did so not being able to breathe properly, but clung tightly to Coral.
"Oh, my Angel. My poor Angel." Coral said quietly, rubbing his love’s back and shoulders as he hugged him. "I'm so sorry, Ryan. I'm sorry for ever suggesting that you call your parents. I know you only did it to please me. I'm sorry I let them go on for as long as I did. I hoped that if we ignored their criticism they'd figure it wasn't working and they'd stop. Will you ever forgive me?"
Ryan clung tightly to Coral and nodded. He choked out, "Not your fault... thought they'd be happy for me for once..." He sobbed hard once again.
"I thought that once they saw you they'd realize that you're not the boy you used to be. You've been wonderful, despite their verbal barbs, and I'm proud of you. You've done really well holding your tongue. I only wish I could say the same thing for those so-called parents of yours."
Coral could still feel Ryan's uneven breathing and elevated heartbeat and tried to hug him even closer. To wrap himself around his partner so that nothing could ever hurt him again. He wished he could think of something to say or do that would take Ryan's hurt away.
What he really wanted to do was go back to the gazebo and give the O'Donnell's the bum's rush to the gate.
Ryan's sobs eased after a while and he quieted in Coral's arms. "I'm s-sorry...I shouldn'ta run away."
Coral sighed. No, Ryan shouldn't have run, but he could completely understand his boy's reason for doing so.
"I just want you to relax and calm down now. I'm just glad I was able to catch up to you. Once you're back together we're going to go back to the gazebo and have a word with your parents. Think you can do that, Angel?" Coral asked, wiping the streaks left by Ryan's tears.
Ryan stiffened a little at his future husband’s words, but then nodded. "I think so Coral...I want them to be proud of me... to at least like me even if they don't love me."
"It's what we all want, Ry. I'm just not sure they're capable of giving you what you need and deserve. They definitely lose the Parents of the Year award, as far as I'm concerned. Are you alright now, hon? Ready to go back?"
Ryan bit his lip and then smiled at Coral's parents of the year remark. He shivered a little at the suggestion to go back, but nodded. "Yes, we can just tell them I got cold feet all of a sudden, but we worked it out."
"No, we don't need to change history to suit them," Coral said. "We're going to go back there and we're going to talk to them, like adults, even if they're the ones who refuse to act like adults. We're going to be as brutally truthful with them as they seem to like to be with you. We'll leave it up to them whether they want to stay or go. Ok?"
Ryan bit his lip. "I don't want them mad at me or at you either Coral. Let's just forget it."
"Right now, they should be the ones afraid of getting me mad, not the other way around. We'll handle it, Hon. Trust me?"
The green eyes searched the brown ones and then Ryan nodded. "Yes Coral...I trust you." Then he gave the man a huge hug. "Am I in trouble?" he asked quietly.
"Not in the slightest, sweetheart," Coral said, leaning down to give his man a gentle kiss. "Meeting your parents has opened my eyes. I understand much more than I did before. We'll go back. We'll talk to them. You will not run away again or I will swat you," Coral said with a wink to let him know he wasn't serious. He rubbed a smudge of dirt off of Ryan's cheek and kissed him again. "Let's get going, Hon," he said, beginning to walk Ryan back to the gazebo with his arm snugly around his boy.
"You haven't said one kind thing to him since you arrived. He's your son. Your only son. He's a good, kind, decent man and you should be proud of him, not knocking him down every chance you get," Jeff said, doing his best to keep his tone level.
"How can you treat your own child like that?" Zahra asked, truly not understanding.
"We love Ryan dearly," Omari added. "Would you rather share in your son's happiness or lose him forever? Think about that."
James added, "He's a valuable member of our staff here and loved by all of us. He's a great security officer and relates well with the other staff and residents. He's respected and cared about by us all."
Jerome and Lydia looked from one angry face to the other, confused. "I think that the lot of you are being very unreasonable... and rude. Since when is telling the truth a bad thing?" Jerome asked, truly not understanding the other men's ire as he unconsciously stepped closer to his wife.
Lydia stood beside her husband and held his hand tightly, trying to control her slight tremors at being confronted by so many angry people. She took a deep breath and then the frown faded from her face as comprehension dawned. "I understand now!" she said, delighted. "You don't know him as well as we do, or you wouldn't be getting as upset as you are," she said condescendingly.
"That could be it." Jerome nodded thoughtfully to his wife. "I think that might be it in a nutshell." He turned to the men with a conciliatory smile on his face and explained, "We're Ryan's parents. No one knows him like we do. If you knew that boy as well as you think you wouldn't be protecting him. Let me tell you a few things about him..."
"It's you who doesn't know your son," Jarrod shot back.
"Maybe the Ryan you knew has changed, grown up in the years since he left home," Little Jake added heatedly, "which is something I can't say for you two."
"We're mature adults," Jerome replied, looking haughtily down his nose at the young man, "your elders! You should show more respect..."
"When you show not only Ry but the rest of us respect, you'll earn ours," Jarrod said, cutting the man off.
"An' jus' because yer our elders," Adam said stiffly, "doesn't automatically make ye mature, as ye've shown here t'day."
The O'Donnell's stood, outraged, mouths working as they tried to think of something to say.
"Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell, we've been listening to you since you arrived and all you've done is say terrible things about Ryan. Not only about him but to him," Zhara said, finally filling in the outraged and uncomfortable silence. "We can't allow that to continue."
"They simply can't handle the truth," Jerome said to his wife. "They seem to have some romanticized version of that boy in their heads. And the fact that they're being so uncivilized..."
Before Jerome could continue, Shorty said angrily, “You do realize we can hear every word you're saying, don't you? Do you really think that's civil," he added sarcastically, "acting like we're not even here? Treating Ryan like he isn't a human being with feelings."
Omari sighed and as calmly as he could, said, "Lydia, Jerome, Ryan is your son. Doesn't that mean anything to you? Don't you want him to be happy? What does it matter who he marries as long as he's happy, don't you understand that?"
After a long silence, Lydia finally said, "This is the only child we have and the only wedding...no matter how odd, he'll ever have."
Jerome nodded and then looked up at the men. "We'll keep our comments to ourselves for the rest of our stay."
"Do you think you're capable of that?" Shorty asked angrily, not caring if he alienated the couple who had managed to alienate everyone around them with their negative attitude toward their own son.
"As far as him being 'puny'," came Coral's voice from the top of the gazebo steps, "he can lift me. Don't underestimate his abilities or his worth to us, and to me especially. I won't allow you to hurt him anymore. Your presence was wanted here, and we'd still like you to be a part of our day, but not if you're going to make him feel unworthy or unloved by the people who mean the most to him. If you love him, be happy for him."
Coral had his arm wrapped firmly around Ryan's shoulders, keeping his body in front of Ryan's to shield him.
Duke smiled. "Coral's tellin' the truth. I'm the biggest man here and I can hardly lift him. Ryan's got a lotta strengths that may not always be recognized by others, but we do recognize them here and celebrate them."
"So, don't just keep your comments to yourself," Zhara said, "don't think them in the first place. Your son and his happiness should always come first."
Jerome looked around at all the people surrounding his son now and said with humility to Lydia, "I do believe our son has found his place here and I'm glad,".
Lydia nodded. "Yes, he has friends here," she said more sincerely than she had since her arrival.
Her husband said, "We'd like to participate and we'll make no more comments while we’re here."
Ryan sighed inwardly. He knew it was the best he'd ever get out of his parents. "Thank you, Dad... Mom," he said quietly.
Jerome nodded. "You're welcome, Son."
"Shall we try this again? One of the grooms running off isn't part of the ceremony," James teased with a smile for the couple.
Coral grinned and leaned down to whisper in Ryan's ear, "You'll need all that breath for our wedding night, so no more running."
The young man blushed and gave his fiancé a smile. "All right, but I recover pretty fast," he told him, blushing even more with the double meaning.
Coral stood up and looked at Ryan's parents. "I also thank you, Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell, for your willingness to put aside your differences and make your son's day special."
Lydia nodded. “You’re welcome,” she replied, and her husband echoed her, the first sign of warmth in his tone since he'd arrived at the resort.
Coral smiled. It looked as though things were going to be alright after all. He went to Omari and his mother and waited for Ryan and the O’Donnell’s as well as their groomsmen at the entrance to the gazebo to start the procession down the aisles once more and rehearse their wedding ceremony.
James again directed everyone and as the grooms arrived side by side, the parents took their seats and the other men fanned out on either side. He instructed, "At this point I will begin the actual wedding ceremony. I'll give a preliminary start, we’ll read a passage from Plato, make some statements about marriage and then ask each of you to recite your personal vows. After that I will ask you to exchange rings, then the formal wedding vows and then will tell everyone that you are legally married. You may kiss, then the wedding reception will begin." He grinned at them both.
"Now, don't forget your rings. Jonathan, you keep a good strong hold on that pillow and make sure the bows stay tied, alright?"
"Yes sir," the child replied with a grin.
"When I ask for the rings, you may untie the bow and hand Ryan's ring to Duke, who will hand it to Coral to give to Ryan, and the same when you pass Harry Coral's ring. Coral's is the larger of the two, in case you have any trouble telling them apart."
The slight crease on Jonathan's brow disappeared and he smiled his gratitude.
Ryan teased Coral, "Good thing Duke doesn't have to hold my ring the whole time. He'd have a hard time keepin' track of somethin' that small."
"Duke could put your ring on his pinky finger," he said to his fiancé. "As long as we don't have to cut it off we're all set." He grinned back, throwing a wink over his shoulder at the tall man to let him know he was kidding.
Duke laughed. "Don't worry Ry, Jonathan won't let me lose it. He'll probably tie it to my ear or nose or somethin'," he teased.
"Or something," Coral whispered out of the corner of his mouth.
Ryan laughed. "A ring through your nose would be an interestin' sight Duke."
Duke shook his head at the younger groom and grinned.
After the rehearsal, everyone made their way to the lodge for dinner. Tank, once again supplied the music while quiet Cary, glad that he wasn't part of the throng, happily moved around the outer edges taking video of everyone laughing and talking. Mike wandered through the crowd, taking pictures. Inviting the people to gather round for family and group shots.
The TLR men mostly kept to themselves, talking and laughing, shooting glances at the husbands to be and whispering behind their hands. The future grooms spent time with each of their families. Coral was glad that the O’Donnell’s kept their word and didn't cut Ryan down again. He wasn't sure he'd have been able to keep civil if they hadn't.
Ry seemed to be stressed and tired, so his fiancé suggested that they go outside and walk in the fresh air for a little while after dinner, leaving the O’Donnell’s and the Okoro’s to chat amongst themselves.
Jerome leaned in toward the Okoro patriarch and asked quietly, "Omari... Coral is your only son, aren't you resentful that he wants to be gay? Wants to marry another man instead of a woman?"
"We're not overly religious folks," the man replied, "but we believe that our son is as God made him, and we accept him for who he is."
"And whomever he wants to marry, as long as that makes him happy, then we're happy also," Zahra added.
Lydia asked softly, "What about that he can't give you any grandchildren. No males to carry on the family name?"
"There are ways for the two of them to have children," Zahra reminded them.
"If they decide at some point that they want children," Omari added, “they can do as many other couples and hyphenate their names, so that any children they have will carry both names."
Jerome looked puzzled. "Hyphenate their names? How on earth can they have any children? They're... well… both men."
Lydia nodded. "If they adopt, the children won't be of their true blood."
"I and my brothers are adopted," Zahra said with a hint of heat in her tone. "And my parents couldn't have loved us more if we'd been their blood."
“And little Lucas is our newly adopted son. We love him as dearly as any of the others. As Desmond Tutu once said, 'You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.' "
Ryan’s mother flushed slightly at the rebuke.
"As far as passing their genes and names on, there are women who are willing to be surrogates, so they can be natural parents," Omari said.
Jerome listened attentively. "A surrogate, hmm? That's interesting. I would never have thought about that for my son."
Lydia said, "I do hope Coral is patient. Our son has been a handful and has had a very bad temper, quick to anger since he was a very little boy. It would seem to me that Ryan would have to be very grounded before a child could come into the family."
"That's true of any parents, Mrs. O'Donnell. But if he’s as you say, then I know that our son is the man to help him. He's very patient. He's a kind and loving man, and I know that Ryan makes him very happy," Zahra said, smiling gently.
The other woman nodded. "All right. I only hope Coral won't regret getting married to him."
"Keep in mind that your son is not the little boy you knew anymore. He's grown now, an adult. He may still have his flaws, we all do," Omari added, tension in his tone and steel in his eyes aimed at the O'Donnell's, warning them silently not to repeat their mistake from the gazebo. "But he's working to overcome them. Coral has had only good things to say about him whenever we’ve spoken on the phone and we’ve seen his wonderful qualities for ourselves at the family gatherings he’s been to."
Lydia blushed, and taking the hint exchanged a look with Jerome at hearing her son had been with these people and hadn’t thought to come home at all. She lowered her eyes as that knowledge sank in, and her heart felt heavy. Had they really been that hard on him as a child? she thought. Had he grown as much as all these folks had insisted?
She raised somewhat watery eyes and smiled at the Okoro’s, feeling somewhat relieved, and if she were honest with herself, a little happy for her son as well, "That's good to know. It seems he'll be in good hands."
Zahra cocked her head a little to the right and looked at the other woman. "Coral is crazy in love with your boy. He's not blind to Ry's faults, any more than he's blind to his own. He'll be the first one to admit that. Real love is caring for and accepting another person despite their faults and flaws. My son doesn't see 'flaws', he sees 'Ryan'."
Lydia awarded the Okoro's with a genuine smile. "I'm glad then."
Coral knew his Brat well enough now to be able to tell when he was worrying. He stopped walking and turned Ryan toward him. He put his arms on his lover’s shoulders, linking his hands behind the younger man's head. "Talk to me. What are you worried about?"
"Stayin' away from you... I'm already havin' a cravin'... will Brody know what to do if it gets bad?"
"It's only for one night, hon." His future husband smiled gently. "And if you're worried, we can talk to him about it together. You can tell him what works for you. Ok?"
Ryan wrinkled his nose. "I only want you swattin' or spankin' me, no one else."
Coral couldn't help but to laugh. "I've never spanked you for having a craving," he chided lightly, "do you mean to tell me that a spanking is the only thing that'll help?"
Ry blushed and looked down. "Well... no… I suppose talkin' about it does help sometimes."
"If you need to talk, Brody and Harry will both be there. And I'm sure that they can help you keep your mind at ease and off drinking until the cravings pass. You've done wonderfully so far. It's going to be alright."