Brad’s Search : Part 27


Gary, Harry, and I plan to meet at Cooters. Typical. I’m on my way when they call and say they had arrived. I finally get there and head inside, and they wave me down to their table. I join them.

“Hey guys.”

“Hey Brad. We got you a beer.”

“Awesome, thanks! How’re your weekends going?”

“Gina and I are taking it pretty easy. Just relaxing at home. Lately she’s been really into her photography, so she hasn’t had much free time otherwise.”

Then Harry speaks up. “And I’m just home alone.”

“Have you and Julia spoken at all?”

“That bitch? Hell no.”

We all laugh. Our server approaches our table, and we place our order.

“So how are you and James doing?”

“We had the most romantic evening on Thursday before he flew out. He cooked, we had wine, fell asleep in front of his fireplace...”

Harry interjects. “Whoa. Where does this guy live?”

“Just north of Lake Union, in Fremont. He’s got this huge place.”

“Sounds impressive.”

“It is. Anyway, he gets back a week from today, so it’s going to be a lonely week for me. Anyway, Harry, speaking of lonely: Have you met anyone else since Julia left?”

“Not yet. I haven’t really had the heart to look. Julia seemed so promising. It’s just horrible the way she treated you. I hope there’s a better woman out there.”

I nudge Harry on the arm. “I dunno, you might have to try dating a man!”

Harry chuckles. “No thanks. I think I’ll leave dating the guys all to you. James is a great catch; I wouldn’t want you having any more competition.”

“Oh, which reminds me: There’s this other guy who kind of got on my case.”

“Who’s that?”

“Some guy named Derek. He works at this deli that James goes to a lot. In fact, that’s where I met Derek the first time, when I went with James. Anyway, this guy was supposedly straight, but was curious about what sex with a guy was like, so he and James messed around sometime a while back. And I don’t really care about that. But I go to the deli again with my coworker, and Derek sees us and thinks I’m cheating on James and calls him up and rats me out!”

“Wow, what a dick! What did James do?”

“He ignored him. Derek had actually cheated on his own girlfriend when he messed around with James, so he didn’t have much room to talk, anyway.”

“Ouch.”

“Well, anyway, I ran into him again at the gym today. He apologized and said he was just looking out for James’s wellbeing, which I can understand. He seems like an all right guy. He even invited me to hang out with him sometime.”

Gary and Harry look at each other, then Gary speaks up. “I don’t know, Brad. I smell a rat.”

“What makes you think so?”

“Why would he go out of his way to tell James you were cheating, which was obviously a lie?”

“He may have genuinely been misunderstood. That’s understandable.”

“I think he thinks you’re moving in on his turf. Otherwise, why would a guy who cheated himself be so concerned with someone else who could be potentially cheating? That seems a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?”

I think for a moment. “Yeah, that does make sense. But... I don’t know. I’m not too sure. I’ll just give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess. But don’t worry - I can look after myself.”

“Tread carefully, Brad. We’re looking out for you, too.”

“I will.”

* * * * *

We finish up dinner and go our separate ways. On my way home I give James a call. The phone rings and rings, and eventually his voicemail picks up, so I decide to leave a message. “Hey James, I guess you’re busy hobnobbing with everyone. Give me a call if you can tonight, or if not, I should be free all day tomorrow. I hope you’re having lots of fun over there. Wish I was there with you. All right, talk to you soon. Bye.” And I hang up.

I think about it for a bit, and decide to take Derek up on his offer. Still on my way home, I call him.

“Hello?”

“Hey Derek, this is Brad.”

“Oh, hey, Brad. How’s your night going?”

“Going pretty good. Just heading back home from having dinner with friends. What are you up to?”

“Nothing really. Just enjoying the weekend.”

“Well I wanted to ask if you were free any time this week and wanted to hang out.”

“Yeah, that sounds fun! I’m pretty busy during the week. I’m taking some classes - don’t want to work at the deli forever. But Friday nights are always pretty good. What about you?”

“Friday is good for me, too. Want to get together then?”

“Sure! Head out to a bar, maybe?”

“I think I can manage that.”

“Cool. Well, I’ll let you go.”

“OK. See you Friday, then.”

“See you.” And with that, we hang up.

* * * * *

I get home, take off my pants, and put on some lounge shorts. I lie on the couch and start to watch a romantic movie. I’m halfway through when my phone rings. It’s James.

“Hey! How’s your night going?”

“Hey there. Going pretty well. I got your message. You’re right; things have been pretty busy here.”

“Well, I’m glad you could pull yourself away for a little bit.”

“Yeah. How are things on the other side of the country?”

“Oh, the usual - gray, dreary, and moist. It would be better if I had someone to cuddle with.”

“Well, just imagine me there in your arms.”

“Yeah, I tried that last night. Didn’t really help that much.”

James chuckles. “How about when I get back on Saturday, I spend the night at your place? Then we can cuddle all weekend.”

“You know just how to send shivers up and down my spine.”

“And all the way down to your boner.”

He is right.

There is silence on the line for a few seconds, then James continues. “So, that’s a yes?”

“It’s a yes.”

“Awesome. Hey, look, I’ve gotta get going and hobnob some more. I should be free tomorrow. Can I call you sometime in the afternoon?”

“Yeah. I’ll be here.”

“Great.”

“OK, get back to it, mister party animal.”

“All righty. Have a good night, Brad. Talk to you tomorrow.”

“Bye.”

I hang up and finish the rest of my movie. I head to bed and grab a pillow to cuddle with. And just like last night, it doesn’t help me miss my James any less.