Brad’s Search : Part 17


I walk into the Starbucks where Gary and I had planned to meet. He waves me over to his table. I set my coat onto the chair and go up to order my coffee. As soon as it’s ready, I grab it, walk back to the table, and sit down.

“Where’s Harry?”

“I’m not sure. I tried contacting him this morning, but I think he and Julia are sleeping in or something.”

I take a sip of my mocha.

“What did you end up doing last night?”

“Just went out to the bar.”

There are a few seconds of silence.

“Brad, I’m so sorry. I really wanted to be there with you. I did. It’s just - things are really delicate with Gina because of how everything went down with Kelly.”

“It’s all right, Gary. Don’t worry about it.”

“Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

“Well, you could - I don’t know - meet someone who could very well become a boyfriend.”

Gary gives me a wide-eyed expression. “You met someone last night?”

“Kind of. I actually met him very quickly for the first time when I was out running. But I saw him again last night and we sat and talked and he sounds really interested in me.”

“Brad, that’s fantastic!”

“I bet you feel a lot less guilty now, right?”

“Yes! So what’s his name?”

I start blushing when I say his name. “James.”

“Oh, I can see you falling in love already!”

“Hush. I am not.”

Gary snickers. “What does he do?”

“He’s an attorney.”

“Whoa there, mister gold-digger!”

A few people look our way. I shush Gary. “Sorry,” he whispers.

“At least I think he’s an attorney. He gave me his card last night and it’s for a law firm.”

“Why don’t you call and find out?”

“Call a law firm? On a Saturday?”

“Some are open on Saturdays. And so what if voicemail picks up?”

I shrug and pull out my phone. I dial the number on the card, and someone picks up. “Good afternoon. Law Offices of Briscoe and Feldman. This is James speaking.”

“James, hi, it’s Brad.”

“Brad! Good to hear from you! How are you?”

“Erm, I was wondering if…”

“…Yes?”

“…Is there any legal recourse for an ex-boyfriend who single-handedly wrecked a relationship of mine and quite possibly also the ones of his two best friends?”

I hear James chuckling. “I wouldn’t think so, but I’d have to check with the expert just to make sure.”

“Expert? Don’t you own the law firm?”

“Me? A lawyer? Hell no. My dad’s the lawyer; I just help out around the office.”

“Oh, I just looked at your business card and-”

“Yeah, sorry. I guess I should have explained.”

“That’s all right.”

“So, is there anything else you wanted to ask? Preferably something not law-related?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking, and I’d like to take you up on your offer. A date with you sounds wonderful.”

“Awesome! Give me a second to look at my calendar. We’ve been pretty slammed with gay couples wanting to come in and square things away before they get married.”

I look at Gary and give him a cheesy grin. He gives me one back.

James comes back on the line. “All right. Looks like I’ll be free Tuesday evening, and I don’t have to go in until late Wednesday morning. How does dinner on Tuesday sound?”

“Tuesday should work just fine.”

“It’s a date, then! How about I pick you up around 6? I’ll make the reservations - all you have to do is dress up and look cute, which I’m sure will be absolutely no problem for you.”

“Erm, all right.”

“Heh. Don’t worry, Brad; you and I will have a great time. I promise.”

“OK. 6 on Tuesday. I’ll see you then.”

“Sounds good. Take it easy.”

We both hang up. Gary looks at me and snickers.

“What?”

“If you two hook up, I totally know who’s bottoming.”

I reach across the table and slap Gary on the arm.

* * * * *

The rest of the weekend is relaxing and goes on without a hitch. Monday morning rolls around and I head off to work. Today we’re doing a few group interviews to select developers and testers for our client’s big project.

I step off the elevator to the sight and smell of donuts and coffee. Eric is walking around setting down packets of papers in front of each chair at our central meeting table.

“Oh, Eric, you sure know how to make me happy.” I reach for a donut.

Eric slaps my hand away. “Don’t touch those. Wait ‘til the interviewees get here.”

“It’s Monday. You know I can’t wait that long.”

Eric laughs. “Give me a moment and then we’ll run down and grab something together.” He finishes with the packets and quickly checks something on the laptop. We head to the elevator and run to the Starbucks on the corner. We place our orders, grab everything when it’s ready, and sit at a nearby table.

“Anything exciting happen this weekend, Eric?”

“Nothing too out of the ordinary. My wife’s parents are staying with us through Christmas day tomorrow.”

“Oh, I completely forgot about Christmas. Did any of our applicants cancel because of the holidays?”

“I made sure to ask on the application if they would be in town and wouldn’t mind coming in on Christmas Eve. No one had any objections so we’re in the clear.”

“That’s good to hear. It must be nice to have family around.”

“It is. Everyone seems to complain about in-laws, but mine are just fine. Go figure. Anyway, how was your weekend? Better than the last, I hope?”

“Yes. By leaps and bounds. I ran into someone at random a couple of weeks ago, and I met him again Friday night. He gave me his card and we have a date planned tomorrow night.”

“Hey! That’s awesome! You excited?”

“Very.”

“Well, one piece of advice: don’t screw this up by trying to date another woman.”

“Don’t worry; I’ll leave that to you and all the other straight and bi guys in the world.”

Eric gives me a smirk. We finish up and head back to the office.

* * * * *

The group interviews go fantastically. Everyone impressed us with their skills and talents so much that Eric and I decide to hire all of them. We plan to call them tomorrow morning and start everyone on the 3rd. We close up everything and head to the elevator.

“What do we do until the 3rd, Eric?”

“We talk to the client and get all of their project details squared away. That way we can figure out a game plan before everyone shows up to work after the New Year.”

“That’s it? This project manager thing doesn’t sound as hard as I thought it was.”

“It’s pretty easy, as long as we keep the client happy. Anyway, you did some great work today. We definitely waited too long in promoting you to this position. We should’ve done it much sooner.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“I hoped you would. Anyway, let’s meet up tomorrow around the same time and we’ll do a conference call with the client and get started on that. What time is your date with James?”

“At 6.”

The elevator reaches the ground floor and we step off.

“OK, no worries. We’ll be done way before that. Everything sound good?”

“Yep. See you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Brad.”

Eric and I part ways and I head home.