Brad’s Search : Part 50


James, Paul, and Willie break their hug. I continue to look on without saying a word.

James takes a deep breath and looks up. “Paul, I’m really glad you’re back in my life. But,” he hesitates, “this is all still so very new to me. I need to step out and get some fresh air. I think—”

Paul cuts him off, placing his hand on his brother’s chest. “Shh. You don’t need to explain. Take all the time you need. I’m not going to leave you this time.”

James takes Paul’s hand in his and gives it a squeeze. “Thanks, Paul.” He then turns and walks toward me. “Can you join me outside?”

“Sure.”

We both walk together out the front door and sit in some pretty comfortable chairs on the outside porch.

James stares off into the distance. It is quiet for the next few moments until he lets out a rather loud sigh. “God damn, what I wouldn’t give for a joint right now.”

I don’t know whether he’s joking or being serious, so I just laugh quietly to myself.

He turns to look at me. “Brad, you may as well leave me right now. Things are only going to get more hectic from here, you know.”

I shrug my shoulders, and then stand up. “OK.” I begin walking away, and a few seconds later, I hear a gasp.

“I was just joking!”

I turn around, run to James, bend down, and kiss him on the lips. “I know, hun.” We both chuckle. I continue, “It wouldn’t be life if things didn’t get hectic every once in a while. You stayed by my side when things have gotten crazy in my life, and that’s worth everything to me. You’re worth everything to me. It’s worth more than any challenge or obstacle we have yet to face.”

He tilts his head and smiles. “I’m so glad I have you in my life. I don’t think I can ever express with words how grateful I am for you. It just runs so deeply.”

“I feel exactly the same for you. I don’t know where I’d be without you, and I don’t really want to think about it.” I lean down and kiss him once more. “Now come on, let’s go back inside. They’re probably worried that we’ve frozen solid out here.”

James chuckles. With that, we head back inside the house.