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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Walls - 24. May 2016

“Wake and bake, bruh! Best frickin’ way to start a Sunday.” Harley’s enthusiasm was infectious; CJ couldn’t stop grinning as he passed the joint back.

“You’re nuts, Harley. I don’t think I could do this all the time. Getting high first thing in the morning means I’ll prolly be useless the rest of the day.” Although sleepovers at CJ’s place weren’t as frequent as they’d once been, Harley had spent Saturday at the Prospect Street townhouse. His birthday had been on Friday and CJ surprised his friend with tickets to the Baked and Glazed Festival.

“I can’t believe none of the other guys wanted to come with.”

“Okay, you’re nuts and full of shit. Would you have come to cooking classes with me on a Sunday if it wasn’t because they’re cooking-with-marijuana classes?”

Harley chuckled and stepped off the skateboard as they approached Wisconsin Avenue. CJ had refused to drive if they were getting stoned. Instead, they’d agreed to walk for a bit and once they’d finished the doobie, took a cab to the festival. “Maybe not, but I thought for sure Ozzie would come.”

“He said he’s had enough eating out for now and planned on having lunch on the boat. He’s helping Uncle Tom get the PP ready for the season. We went out for dinner for Dad’s birthday last week and then we did it again two days later for Ozzie’s. And then we had that black tie thing with my dads on Friday. Plus, he said he wanted you and me to hang out as much as possible over the next month. He thinks once we graduate we won’t get to see each other that often.”

Sadness creeped into Harley’s voice at the mention of the upcoming separation. “I’m gonna miss you, and him, and your brother, and your dads when I move.”

“It’s only going to be a short time, bud. Two years will pass before we realize it. Dude, I’ve been in DC for three years and that’s almost as long as you and I have known each other.” CJ snaked an arm around his friend’s shoulders, giving him a half-assed hug. “And we’ll see each other all the time anyway. You’ll come up or we’ll go visit you in Orlando. I mean, it’s not that far away from Miami and we go there all the time.”

The funk which enveloped Harley at the mention of their upcoming graduation and separation dissipated as fast as it had come on. “We’ll have to spend lots of time together this summer. I’m not moving until August. So what’d you get Ozzie for his birthday? You never told me.”

“New rugby boots. He kept talking about these Adidas ones he thought were the best. But he wouldn’t buy them ’cause his are still in good shape. What about you? Did you get anything special from your parents for your birthday?”

“Not yet. But they’re taking my current bike and buying me a little bigger one. I saw one I liked when I went shopping with Cap and

“What do you mean you went shopping with Papa?” CJ stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and grabbed his friend by the elbow. “Harley…”

“Oh shit!” Harley clamped a hand over his mouth while shaking his head. “I can’t say. I can’t say. Cap will kill me if he hears I told you what your graduation present’s gonna be.”

CJ pumped an arm in the air and hugged his buddy for real. “Fucking A! I’m getting a motorcycle… I’m getting a motorcycle… I’m getting a motorcycle…”

“G’day, Captain. You’re up awfully early.” Owen had been in the garage with CJ, putting their luggage in the back of the Jeep and doing a final inspection of the vehicle. It was early Saturday morning and the guys were waiting for their traveling companions so they could get on the road to Nashville.

“When are you going to realize you’re the only one in this household who likes to sleep late, Ozzie? And it’s almost eight. This ain’t early.” Brett finished filling his mug, took a sip, and ambled over to sit at the breakfast bar next to César. “CJ, did you pack Lola?”

CJ gave his father a sloppy salute as he went to the coffeemaker, a travel mug in his hand. “Yes, sir! Just did.”

“That was the ugliest salute I’ve ever seen. We need to put you through basic training so you learn how to do it properly.”

“Forget it, Papa. I don’t think I’m cut out for the military. You might have a better chance with Ritchie. That boy’s ready to join up right now.”

César removed his reading glasses and looked up from the newspaper spread all over the counter. “When are your friends getting here?”

“They should be here any minute.” Owen glanced at his phone. “They both texted me already. Tank’s riding his scooter over and we’ll leave it in the garage in Defiant’s spot. Yavonny took a cab.”

“You’re all going to share driving duties, right?” César looked at CJ and patted the stool next to his. “You sticking to the two hour shifts?”

CJ rolled his eyes. Considering how much freedom the dads gave him, and the amount of traveling he did on his own or with friends, he was amazed at how anxious they’d been about this trip. He’d been adamant he was going to the tournament when he first told them about it and they’d expressed reservations about him missing a week of school. “Yes, Dad. Stop worrying, okay? It’s about a ten hour drive. I’ll take the first and last shifts. The guys will drive in between.”

“Stop worrying, my ass!” Brett looked at CJ and then at Ozzie. “We’re always gonna worry about you two. Just wait ’til you guys have kids. You’ll understand then.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, Papa. We know. Sons we are and fathers we’ll be. You tell us often enough and”―the chiming doorbell interrupted CJ’s reply―“I’ll get it.”

CJ shook his head in disbelief and chuckled when he opened the door. Tanix Janda, the newest, tallest, and heaviest member of their tight group of friends stood there with a gigantic backpack at his feet. “Damn, Tank, how the hell did you ride that little scooter with that big a pack? I would have fallen on my ass! Come in, bud. Come in. We’re having coffee with the dads.”

“Morning, CJ. It’s all in the balance, my friend. Where should I put the scooter and my bag?”

“Leave it in the courtyard for now. We’ll move it to the garage when we pull the Jeep out. And bring your bag in. We’ll take it out back when you move the scooter.”

“Come in, Tank.” Brett waved the giant man in and pointed at the coffeemaker. “Mugs are in the cabinet right above. Help yourself.”

“Thanks. Captain. Good morning, everyone.”

CJ was halfway across the large open space of the first floor when the bell chimed again. “That better be Yavonny.” He retraced his steps, opened the door, and smiled at the black guy standing there looking lost. “Come in, bud. Tank just got here.”

“Hi, CJ. Thanks for letting me ride with you guys.” This was Yavonny’s first time at the house and he seemed unable to stop gawking. “This place’s incredible. The house looks so conservative on the outside but this is all modern.”

“Yeah, it’s an old house but the dads had it redone when they bought it. I’ll give you a quick tour before we leave. Come meet the 'rents. Want some coffee?”

The newcomer followed CJ towards the kitchen area appearing somewhat apprehensive. “Hi, Tank, Ozzie.” When César stood and smiled at him, Yavonny extended his hand to shake. “Hello, sir. I’m guessing you’re one of CJ’s fathers. I’m Yavonny Johnson.”

“Welcome to our home, buddy. Have a seat. Let me get you a cup of coffee. How do you like it? Oh, and the blonde being unfriendly and still sitting down is my husband Brett. Jarhead! Get off your butt and greet our guest.”

“Jeez, what’s the big deal? He’s gonna sit his ass down in a minute anyway.” Brett’s lopsided grin seemed to relax their visitor. “Dude, my husband’s such a stickler for formalities. Sit down, kiddo.”

“I swear, Papa, you’d think you were raised with farm animals the way you act sometimes.” CJ reclaimed his previous spot and sipped from his mug. “We’ll get out of here as soon as possible, Yavonny. These two”he pointed at each of his fathers in turn“are being a pain this morning.”

“Watch it, boy.” Brett raised a hand in a threatening gesture. “Don’t make me spank you in front of your friends.”

“Yeah, right. Just try it. Your ass will be on the floor in no time flat.”

“Ignore them, mate.” Owen sighed and shook his head. “It’s taken me a long time to get used to them but this is the way it’s around here all the bloody time.”

Yavonny seemed lost trying to follow the rapid-fire comments being thrown around. He gingerly walked around the breakfast bar and stood near César. “Black would be fine, sir.”

“Black it is. But if you call me sir again, I may have to let my husband add you to the list of people getting spanked. It’s César.”

The younger man allowed a shy smile to form. “Thank you, César. I’ll try. Y’all have an interesting dynamic here.”

“Hah! Is that a polite way of saying we’re all crazy?” Brett laughed so hard at his own joke he spilled coffee over the newspaper section he’d snatched. “So how long have you been playing with the Scandals?”

“Only a couple of months. I moved from Atlanta at the beginning of the year.”

“You been playing rugby a long time?”

“Not really. I dated a guy back in Georgia who played and he got me into it. I played football in high school.”

“Atlanta?”

“No, I grew up in Macon. Moved to Atlanta after I graduated. Being gay and black, it seemed like the right decision. Macon’s so small town I didn’t fit in well.”

“You guys excited about the Bingham Cup? It’s a big deal, you know?” Brett’s tone was somewhat somber all of a sudden.

“Oh crap, not again, Papa.” CJ buried his face in his hands before dropping his head all the way to the counter. “First you interrogate the guy. Now you’re going to brag about Bingham again, aren’t you?”

“Screw you, CJ. If the four of you are headed to the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, I’m gonna make sure you all know who it’s named after.”

“Forgive my father. He and Bingham both went to Cal Berkley so he feels this weird connection with the guy.”

“Damn right I do. A gay jock who just so happens to be a fellow Golden Bear is automatically a brother. The fact he died fighting off terrorists just makes it an even tighter connection.” Brett leaned back slightly and crossed his arms. “Anyway, you should feel a connection to him too, CJ. He grew up in South Florida and Southern California. That means he lived in the two places your fathers are from.

“Mark was older than me. He’d already graduated when I started college. But I met him once. Hot man and the nicest guy. I read something somebody wrote about him which has stuck with me since. When he and those other passengers wrestled control of Flight 93 from the terrorists and ended up crashing it on that field in Pennsylvania, they probably saved a shitload of lives. The article I read said he shattered gay stereotypes with his actions. The image so many had of gay men being cowardly and weak didn't match up with the six foot four inch tall hunk who stormed the cockpit.

“When things were nasty in Afghanistan and Iraq while I was deployed, I used to think of him. Bare handed, without the weapons I carried on the field, he stood up to a bunch of fanatical Muslims and beat them. He was a hero. He lost his life fighting. He would have made a great marine.”

Somewhere along Interstate 81, between Bristol and Knoxville, the guys exited the highway for a short break and to switch drivers. When they got back on the road, Yavonny was behind the wheel with CJ in the passenger seat while Owen and Tank sat in the back. The temperature had risen since leaving Washington and they had folded down Defiant’s soft top during their stop.

“How long have you had this Jeep?” Yavonny took a quick glance at CJ before returning his eyes to the road ahead. The guy hadn’t been around that long and the two had exchanged little more than greetings in the past. When he heard Tank was riding to Nashville with Owen, he’d asked if he could get a ride and offered to pay for his share of the gas. CJ invited him to come along but had refused the money.

“About two and a half years. The dads bought it for me when I turned sixteen.”

“It’s in really good shape. Not a lot of miles on it.”

“Yeah, it didn’t have too many when I got it. And I don’t drive it that often. I mean, I ride the bus to school and

“Oh, shit! This better not be a driving-while-black stop.” Yavonny turned on the right turn signal and slowed down while glancing in the rearview mirror. He sounded fearful.

CJ turned to take a look behind them and saw the flashing blue lights atop a two-toned cruiser. They were being pulled over by a Tennessee Highway Patrol State Trooper. “Guys, make sure your hands are visible at all times, okay? We don’t want him to get scared of us.” The number of incidents where unarmed black men had been shot by police flashed through his mind.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Yavonny brought Defiant to a complete stop on the side of the road, turned off the ignition, and turned on the flashers. His hands were unsteady as he pulled on the hand brake lever and turned off the ignition. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I did wrong.”

“Relax, bud,” CJ said while still looking behind them. “I’ve been watching you. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Like that makes a difference when you’re my skin color. You have no idea what it’s like, CJ. Being black, some of us live in fear of the cops. What if he’s some sort of crazed, racist, hillbilly redneck? Black men are being shot even when they raise their hands and pose no threat to anyone. Oh, man, I don’t want to die.”

“Dude, relax, okay? We’ll be fine. I promise. Nobody’s getting shot or dying. Damn, he’s big!” CJ watched as the officer stepped out of his car, put on his hat, and after taking a glance towards traffic, approached the Jeep on the driver’s side. The man was smaller than Tank in height and bulk but his biceps were large enough his shirt-sleeves seemed ready to rip at the seams.

“Afternoon, boys. Where y’all from and where’s y’all headed?” The cop stood slightly away from Defiant and gave the four men in the vehicle a quick look over.

“Good afternoon, officer. We’re on our way to Nashville.” Yavonny sounded nervous and CJ felt bad for him. He had no idea what it was like to live in fear of cops. Even after his bad experience being unjustly detained years before, having Uncle Tom in the family gave him a different perspective on law enforcement.

“I see… I’ll need your driver’s license, registration, and insurance card.”

Before Yavonny could even reach for his wallet CJ stared at the man’s shirt, met his eyes, and spoke up. “I’m the owner of the Jeep, Officer Jennings. My registration and insurance card are in the glove compartment, okay?”

The trooper looked at CJ and took half a step back, resting his hand atop the holster strapped to his belt. “Any drugs or weapons in the vehicle?”

“No, sir.” Yavonny’s quick reply was followed by CJ giving Owen a quick glance.

“Ummm, actually, officer. I do have a handgun. It’s in a lockbox underneath the driver’s seat. I own it and the registration for it is also in the glove compartment.” CJ noticed the surprise in Yavonny and Tank while Owen sighed and shook his head.

“I’m gonna need you all to step out of the vehicle and step around it to the other side of the highway. What’s your name, son?” He’d taken a further half-step backwards when CJ mentioned the gun and was now staring at each of them as they climbed out of Defiant.

“I’m CJ, sir. CJ Abelló.”

“Very well, CJ. I need you to get the documents from the glove compartment for me. We’ll worry about your gun in a minute. I’m guessing your friends weren’t aware of the gun.”

“I was,” Owen said, raising his hand.

The officer gave the Aussie a cursory glance before returning his attention to CJ. “Are you a marine, son?”

“Huh? No, sir. I’m a student. I’m a senior in high school.”

“I see. What’s the story with your spare tire cover then?”

“Oh, that! My dad’s a retired marine. He gave it to me when I got the Jeep a couple of years back.” CJ watched the officer who was now smiling push up the left sleeve of his blouse to reveal a tattoo of the USMC bulldog. All of a sudden CJ was less worried about the traffic stop.

“How long was he in for? I did a couple of years before coming home to Tennessee.”

“I can’t remember how long he was in but he retired as a captain. He was in for a while and was deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. And then he was stationed at Quantico for a while before going to the Pentagon. That was his last posting. Could I ask you why you stopped us, officer?”

The man chuckled. “One of your brake lights is out. I noticed it when you guys merged into traffic. When I saw the USMC tire cover I figured I’d give a fellow jarhead a break. You should replace it as soon as possible. I’m going to write you a warning in case you get stopped again before it’s repaired. If you do before reaching Nashville, show it to the officer. They should just let you go without a problem. I’ll be right back.”

After he’d run the drivers’ licenses and car registration through, the officer came back to let them know everything was fine and had CJ sign the citation. He noted they had twenty-four hours to have the faulty light fixed. Officer Jennings handed CJ back his documents before reaching into his shirt pocket and retrieved a business card he also gave to CJ. “Y’all drive safe now, you hear. And if you and your dad are ever in Tennessee and get in some sort of trouble. You call me. I’m always happy to assist a fellow Devil Dog or his son.”

CJ stared at the card Officer Zachary Jennings handed him and smiled. “Thanks, officer. I’ll get the light fixed as soon as we find a store I can buy a new bulb at.” The guys were ready to get back in the Jeep and CJ suggested he take over driving duties; Yavonny appeared somewhat shaken up.

“Sorry about that, Ozzie. Yavonny, relax, dude. Nothing happened.”

“Still scared the crap out of me! You have no idea what it’s like to cringe every time I see a cop. But it’s a fact of life if you’re not white. Anyway, why are you apologizing to Owen?” Although Tank always called the Australian Ozzie, Yavonny was still new around them and used the full name most of the time.

“Because I hate guns.” Owen leaned forward so he could be heard above the wind noise. “CJ and I had a big row last year over it. The night his dad was mugged.”

Tank put his head almost next to Owen’s and joined the conversation. “Your dad was mugged? Who the hell was stupid enough to mug a marine?”

CJ chuckled at the frequent confusion when talking about his fathers. “Not that dad, Tank. The other one. Dad was held up at knife point in the parking lot of Papa’s building. But Papa Brett saw it happening on the security monitors and came out with his gun. He shot the fucker.”

“He killed him?”

“Nah, but he put two bullets in the asshole. Ozzie and I had been out to dinner.  When we got home, the cops were still there. I was pissed and I said I wanted to learn how to shoot. My boyfriend wasn’t happy with that and let me know it. We barely talked for a week after.”

Owen picked up the narrative at that point. “So we reached a compromise: since César and Brett keep guns at home and so does Tom, I relented and agreed to learn about gun safety myself.”

“Damn! That’s quite a change.” Tank sounded surprised.

“Not really. CJ and I talked about it. Even if I disagree, you guys are allowed to own guns in this country. I still don’t like it but I wasn’t about to break up with him over it.”

“Did you know we had a gun in the car?”

“Yeah, he stored Lola in the lockbox right before you guys got to the house.”

Tank looked at Owen in a way that made CJ chuckle when he saw the guy’s expression in the mirror. “Lola?”

“His gun’s name.” Owen rolled his eyes and sighed. “CJ likes to name inanimate objects. I heard he gave the Jeep its name as soon as he got it and he did the same with the gun. He made the mistake of telling his dads about this trip over dinner. Right after he’d told them about having to change Twitter accounts because somebody threatened him. It happened after one of his TV appearances on behalf of Clinton. That’s why the dads didn’t want him to come with us. You should have heard the screaming back and forth.”

“Somebody threatened you?” Yavonny’s eyebrows rose halfway up his forehead.

“Yeah, some douche said I should die for being gay and supporting Secretary Clinton. The dads don’t know the exact wording. I told them I was getting nasty messages and that was it. But Papa did his usual Alpha shit. He insisted I carry a gun whenever possible. He took me to buy it and then went with me to get the DC registration. He had to sign since I’m under twenty-one.”

“Of course, my boyfriend the activist couldn’t leave it at that. Now he wants to start a Pink Pistols chapter in Washington.”

“A what?” Tank now sounded confused.

CJ couldn’t stop laughing at the conversation between the two blondes in the back seat. “Damn! Anyone listening to this conversation would be scratching their heads. A bunch of fags talking about guns. There goes our reputation! Shouldn’t we be talking about decorating and Lady Gaga?”

“Asshole!” Owen slapped the back of CJ’s head but couldn’t stop himself from chuckling. “My dislike of handguns hasn’t disappeared but I’m trying to adjust to different circumstances. If my boyfriend’s in danger then I’m going to swallow my pride and make peace with having a firearm near me at all times. Hell, if someone tried to shoot CJ, I’d pull the trigger myself to defend him.“

“That’s ’cause you’re dick whipped, Ozzie.” Tank punctuated his comment by punching Owen on the arm. “You guys still haven’t told me what the Pink Pistols are.”

“The Pink Pistols’ a shooting club, Tank.” CJ’s comment made both passengers in the back seat lean forward again so they could hear him. “It was formed to encourage GLBT people to own guns and learn how to use them properly. For self-defense purposes.

“The idea’s that if enough of us do, and the world hears about it, we’ll be less likely to be harassed or bashed. Since the group encourages people to carry concealed weapons, homophobes won’t know if an intended victim’s packing or not. The more people who know that members of our community may be armed, the less likely they will be to single us out for attack.”

The remainder of the trip was spent discussing the pros and cons of gun laws in the United States and CJ was somewhat surprised he was the only one in the group to wholeheartedly support gun ownership rights.

Since tournament participants were being housed in the dorms at Vanderbilt University, CJ booked a room at the Marriot Hotel on the university campus. Bingham Cup volunteers manned a table for players to register so CJ parked the Jeep and Owen went to check in. He would be staying with CJ instead of with the rest of the team but he still needed his credentials to access the appropriate facilities during the week. Tank and Yavonny were left to settle into their room while CJ and Owen went to register at the hotel, promising to text their friends as soon as they were ready to meet again so they could go out to eat.

Although CJ planned on attending all the Scandals matchesand in all likelihood some othershe was not interested in watching the teams practice. Armed with his phone and a list of places he was interested in visiting, on Monday morning he set off to explore Nashville after having breakfast with Owen. His first stop was at a place called Barista Parlor he’d read about in a magazine article. A fifteen minute drive from the university campus, the coffeehouse was supposed to be a motorcycle-friendly place which allowed customers to park their bikes inside the large overhead doors of the converted industrial structure.

He purchased a latte and sipped from it while talking to the barista. CJ’s real intended destination was Moto Moda and that’s where he headed while enjoying his beverage. Located next doorattached to the same building as the coffee parlor was in―the shop catered to motorcyclists; it sold everything from riding gear to fashion wear to motorcycle parts and accessories. By the time he had finished his coffee, CJ had purchased a t-shirt even though he no longer wore them every day as he had when he was younger. He also had a new list of places to visit: local makers and creators whose products were for sale at the shop.

Heading back west and south, he crossed the Cumberland River once again and drove to Fort Houston. The cooperative membership space was home to an eclectic mix of woodworkers, motorcycle builders, photographers, metalsmiths, and other artists and craftsmen. CJ was in search of something specific based on a beautiful hand-tooled wallet he saw at Moto Moda. He’d thought of two items he wanted to purchase as presents for Owen. He eventually met the couple who owned Warfield Supply and, after discussing what he had in mind, CJ handed over his credit card and gave them Brett’s office address as the place to ship to. He didn’t want to risk the packages being delivered to the house and his boyfriend finding out what he’d bought before it was time.

When CJ returned to the hotel in the late afternoon, Owen was already in the room. His practice shorts and shirtwet and muddywere piled in front of the bathroom door and the shower was running. Grinning, CJ stripped and walked in to join his boyfriend under the water spray.

The following few days the pattern repeated: Owen went to practice, CJ went sightseeing and exploring, and they met in the hotel for a joint shower before convening with players from the Scandals and other teams. They explored honky-tonks, listened to live music, and ate lots of southern food. Tennessee required anyone ordering alcoholic drinks to provide proof-of-age and CJ’s fake ID was accepted in most places. He was not able to get away with just looking older and a couple of times he was refused service when the server or bartender questioned the validity of the driver’s license Sean had given him as a gift. CJ didn’t need the alcohol to have a good time and he abstained from ordering when he drove the Jeep anyway.

He and Owen did connect with a player from the Nashville Grizzlies Rugby Football Club who made a call on their behalf their second night in town. Later that evening, after they’d driven back to the Marriott, they smoked a joint while strolling through the darkened campus before returning to their room and getting in bed. They didn’t go to sleep right away and by the time they did, both were sweaty and woke up the next morning glued together.

“Come on, Arli. Don’t just stand there doing nothing! Take a punch.” The man shouting encouragement had been the first one on the scene as the fight started.

“Yeah, Arlington, you gonna let the little fucker beat you up? Hit him, man.” The comment came from another guy wearing an identical t-shirt; they were all members of the same club and vociferous in egging on their teammate.

The support from the guy’s fellow players motivated the giant man to lunge at his opponent who easily sidestepped him and in the process tapped at his jaw with an elbow. The blow was harder than intended and blood started dripping from Arlington’s lip. Arlington ran a hand over his mouth and stared at the blood. He was definitely irate now. His eyes slitted and his entire face wrinkled as he huffed.

The altercation had been going on for just a few minutes but he was obviously tired from his day of practice. He took another swing and this time his antagonist spun and hit him on the stomach with a bare foot. As air whooshed from his lungs he hunched over clutching his mid-section. Off balance, he was easily tripped and fell face first on the carpeted hallway floor. As more players came into the dorm, the crowd surrounding the two fighters grew.

“Don’t kill him, CJ!” Owen’s admonition earned him a quick glance, a smile, and a wink from his boyfriend.

“That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna say? ‘Don’t kill him?’ What the fuck, Ozzie? He’s fighting a guy twice his size.” Tank and Owen stood just outside the group of men surrounding the fighters. They were both sweaty and dirty having just returned from their own time on the practice field.

“Bloody right, that’s all I’m gonna tell him. And don’t exaggerate, the asshole he’s fighting’s not that big. No matter the size, CJ can take him.”

CJ jumped from foot to foot, dancing around the man he’d just knocked down but paying attention to Owen’s conversation. The Aussie and Tank had pushed their way through the spectators and stood in the ring of people closest to the action and CJ stopped for a moment to remove the Scandals RFC t-shirt he wore and tossed it at his boyfriend. “Hold that for me, Ozzie. I don’t want to get blood on it.”

A wolf whistle rang out when he turned and the crowd saw his upper body which had been concealed beneath the baggy shirt. “Fuck! Check out his abs,” someone shouted.

CJ rolled his eyes. Leave it to a bunch of testosterone-laden jocks to pay attention to his body while in the middle of a fracas. “Had enough, punk? Or do you wanna go again? I’ll try not to hurt you too bad if we go another round.” He was enjoying this. The initial punch he had thrown in anger; now it was a game. Realizing the man was not a danger, he decided to toy with him. He wanted to rough him up and teach him a lesson. Knowing he would come out the victor, CJ was no longer as furious as he had been. “Maybe next time somebody tells you no you’ll think twice about trying to grab their ass.”

Arlington wiped at his bleeding lip again and shook his head. He raised a hand so one of his teammates could help him up but backed away as soon as he was on his feet. CJ grinned and kept an eye on the guy as he reached down to retrieve his flip flops from where he’d kicked them. “You try that shit again with me or any of my friends, you’re gonna end up in the hospital.”

Tank tapped CJ’s shoulder and pointed towards the stairs to their right. “There’s your buddy from Wednesday. Nice busted lip and black eye on him. What was his name again?”

“Arlington.” CJ glanced in the direction Tank was pointing and saw his antagonist stop when he recognized the man who had humbled him in front of his friends. “He doesn’t look too happy to see me. If he and his friends climb above us we’re moving. I’m not leaving our backs exposed to a surprise attack.”

Owen, sitting on the other side of CJ, placed a hand on his boyfriend’s thigh. “Relax, mate. Look, they’re gonna sit right there. We can keep an eye on them.”

The Scandals had been eliminated from the competition the first day of play so they’d become spectators. It was Sunday and they were at the stadium for the championship match. An all-Aussie contest between the Melbourne Chargers and the Sydney Convicts.

“Hey, CJ, I’m sorry I missed the beat down, man. I hope you know we would all have jumped in if you needed us.” It was one of the other Scandal players sitting behind their row who’d leaned in to talk to them. “I heard about it though. Where the hell did you learn to fight like that?”

CJ turned to look at the man and shook his head. “It wasn’t all that, dude. The jerk pissed me off. But after I realized he couldn’t really fight me, I relaxed. Then all I wanted was to teach him a lesson. Anyway, I started training when I was a kid. I have a couple of black belts. And I spend most Friday nights at the dojo.”

“Remind me never to piss you off, okay?”

CJ shook his head and grinned. He didn’t like to be the center of attention, but there had been plenty of guys who had heard about the fight and had approached him with questions or comments afterwards. “Don’t try and grab my ass after I tell you I have a boyfriend and I’m not interested. I promise not to break any bones or kill you if you don’t.”

At the end of the match, the Melbourne Chargers celebrated their victory in the middle of the pitch by raising the trophy. They’d won the 2016 Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Cup.

Thank you Mann Ramblings, Kitt, and Reader 1810 for your hard work.

It doesn't matter if you're reading this right after it's posted or sometime later in time, if you enjoyed it don't forget to like the chapter and/or leave a comment in the review section!

C. A. Hazday
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments



Great Job Carlos.....I swear CJ could sell ice to an Eskimo...He can charm his way out  of any situation.

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@gazza456

 

Sydney hosted the Bingham Cup in 2014. Even though I had CJ in Australia that summer/winter, the dates of the competition didn't fit with my timeline.And anyway, it worked out for the best since with Owen playing for the Scandals it gave me a realistic reason for CJ to be there. The 2018 contest will take place in Amsterdam! :D

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First off Yaaaaaaay my hometown Macon got mentioned😁😁😁😁😁😁😁( its actually pretty big) I loved this chapter. Lola is an awesome name. I bet no one is gonna grab CJs ass anymore.

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Great chapter, just shows how different people react when stopped by cops. I am glad nothing bad happened. And of CJ Triumphed yet again. Interesting fight . Can't wait for more. Thank you. Really great story.

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1 hour ago, dughlas said:

CJ has a great ass and there will always be some idiot that thinks being bigger gives him permission to do whatever he wants ... unfortunately not everyone is able to defend themselves as CJ does.

 

CJ's had his mouth and fists to defend himself and now he has Lola which he'll hopefully never have to use. Not all of us are that lucky but all of us can learn how to defend ourselves one way or another. Still, the most important lesson is CJ won't allow himself to become a victim.

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55 minutes ago, JeffreyL said:

You have written your usual good chapter with CJ, his squad, and family. I am always impressed the way you weave commentary on current topics into your story. CJ is on a trip with friends and we get commentary on racial profiling. CJ gets harassing tweets, his dad insists on getting him a pistol, and we have a continuation of the discussion on handgun control. I appreciate the food for thought. Thanks. Jeff

 

Moi? Commentary on social issues? LOL

 

OK, maybe a little. But in all cases I've tried to make it relevant to the story and applicable to CJ's circumstances. I started the gun debate two years before, when CJ was visiting Owen in Australia, and tried to show the Aussie's attitude changing albeit slowly. Hopefully it rings true.

 

 

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Papi Carlos, 
Thank you for another wonderful chapter. Sorry it took so long to review. I'm trying to find my footing today. I'm in a reflective mood... So I guess the reflective review. 
This chapter kept bringing me back to Harley! The beginning brought us back to the realisation that life will be changing for CJ. The normal routine will soon just be memories. 
Harley being in this chapter reminded me how much CJ has grown... As a character and a person. He is confident, motivated, ambitious and doesn't have the self doubt from the beginning. 
Sir, you should be so very proud of this series. You have written it with love, respect, realism, and hope. Hope not only for your characters, but your loyal readers. 
JP XOXO

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26 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

LOL- I KNOW Macon isn't that small but still, compared to Atlanta or Washington... I've driven through it a gzillion times and stopped there more than once. The Harley-Davidson dealership's always a great place to stop for a bathroom break and a free cup of coffee while on a motorcycle trip!

It is nice when they're not filming a movie and blocking traffic. Of course I'm biased on that point because I was cast as an extra for that Jackie Robinson movie but the day before I was told I was not needed. That and The Fifth Wave blew up a street.

Edited by Wesley8890
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@BlindAmbition

 

You're a good boy, JP. I enjoy your comments no matter what inspires them or when you write them. There'll be plenty of good byes in the next chapter and in the Epilogue when a large chunk of the Squad graduates. They man not be in the same town in the future, but I think then bonds forged while at Walls will stand the test of time. It's hard to narrow down the theme of this series but I think the title says it best. It's all about CJ, his coming of age, and what he does with the advantages he enjoys because of his wealth and looks. Brett had the same opportunities and didn't waste them. I don't think CJ will either.

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9 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

Georgia and Louisiana have both marketed themselves as film locations and I know of a bunch of blockbusters filmed in both places. We go through similar stuff here in South Florida and I'm always happy to see the signs. It means money being pumped into the local economy. Same reason we put up with Canadian drivers in qinter. Although we know enough to steer clear on anyone qith a Quebec license plate!

 

Go ahead, Canukcs, I'm expecting to be trashed for the cheap shot. :P

They're too nice to do that

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Loved the chapter, but felt a bit cheated that you didn't include a few words in the part when CJ went out exploring the town while Ozzie practiced. The words:  "Went by an auto parts store and stopped for a tail light."

 

CJ is always so responsible so I guess it could be assumed he took care of it.  Maybe it's just me being needy to have it specified...

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