Brad’s Search : Part 51


My eyes open even before my alarm goes off. Not often that that happens. I guess that means I’m getting enough sleep. James is still sawing logs next to me. I decide to get up and go to my computer in the home office downstairs and tune in to the live news broadcast to help wake my mind up. I get the video started right as the weather segment starts.

“It’s going to be a chilly morning here in Seattle this Monday morning, the eleventh of February. But, temperatures are expected to warm up later in the week.”

Who am I kidding? The news won’t wake me up. I need fucking coffee.

I head back upstairs to shower. As I stand under the hot water, it’s hard not to think about what happened the past weekend.

Luckily, things went a lot more smoothly after James and Paul’s fight on Friday. The two of them got very impassioned, but everyone seemed to forgive each other by the end of the night. James and I spent more time with Paul and Willie over the weekend, showing Paul some of the sights in Seattle and giving James and Paul a chance to catch up.

But now it’s Monday morning, and I have my work cut out for me. My team at work is meeting with our client next week about the project we’ve been working on for them. Everyone, co-workers and friends, thinks everything will go just fine, but this is the first time I’ve been in charge of a project like this. I always worry something will go wrong, and that makes me incredibly nervous. Maybe I don’t need coffee.

I finish showering and get dressed. James starts to stir awake, so I give him a quick peck and tell him I’m heading to work early. Any extra time I can devote to this project to make it perfect will be worth it one hundred percent. I run to Starbucks to grab a quick breakfast and coffee and head into work.

Eric and I head out to lunch, and I tell him what went on Friday night and last weekend.

“Gosh, it sounds like the two of them sure have a lot of baggage that’s been building up over the last fifteen years. But I’m so happy to hear they’re on speaking terms now and are starting to figure things out.”

“Tell me about it. I’ve seen how much it’s been bothering James recently. I can’t imagine that taking such a toll on my thoughts and feelings for that long.”

“So how long is Paul in town?”

“I think he flies back home to Michigan this Friday.”

“OK. Well hopefully that will give James enough time to come to terms as much as he can and feel better about having Paul back in his life. They certainly seem to be off to a great start.”

“I think so, too.”

* * * * *

The work day wraps up and I head home. James cooks a pretty fabulous dinner for me—a fettuccini alfredo with smoked salmon. I would have never thought to pair those together, but it was absolutely delicious.

Afterwards, James and I sit by the fireplace.

“So is every day this week going to start with you leaving for work early?”

I sigh. “Probably. I can’t help it. It’s the first time I’ve ever had this much responsibility at work, and I don’t want to fuck it up my first time, you know?”

“I completely get it. Dad’s gone out of town a few times and left me in charge of much of the law firm. Even though I’m no lawyer, I’m the one Dad trusts the most to make sure everything stays running smoothly when he’s gone.”

“So you don’t mind?”

“Of course not. As long as you promise me things will go back to normal soon and I can start cooking you breakfast again.”

I give him a quick peck on the lips. “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal.”

James gets up and moves some of the logs on the fire to keep it nice and hot. “So I was talking with Dad and Paul today, and we were planning on having lunch tomorrow close to where you’re working. Do you think you can pull away from work long enough to join us?”

I think for a second. “Yeah, that should be fine. I can meet you guys.”

“Fantastic.”

* * * * *

The next morning starts much the same as the last. Before the sun even comes up, I’m out the door and on my way to work. We only have five full working days before our client comes for the demo, and it’s all I can think about.

James sends me the address of where he, Paul, and Willie are going to lunch. I close everything down and head out the door to meet them.

Luckily the place they chose is only a block or two away from work, so it doesn’t take me long to walk there. I meet them and we place our orders.

I turn to Paul. “So I hear they’ve been showing you around. What do you think so far?”

Paul smiles. “You know, so much has changed since I grew up here and moved away. I’m falling in love with this place all over again, and I’m actually thinking of moving back.”

Willie laughs and throws his arms up. “Really? That would make me so happy, having both of my boys back home.”

I look at James. “What do you think?”

James nods. “I feel the same way. I know it’s only been a few days that Paul has been here, but I really like having him here. It will take some time, but it already feels like all the pain from the past fifteen years is being erased.” James looks at Paul. “I feel so much closer to Paul now than I think I ever did. Of course I’d be happy if he moved back here.”

Our food arrives and we eat and keep making small talk. After we’re almost done, Paul pulls his phone out of his pocket. He’s getting a call.

He looks at his phone to see who’s calling and gets an inquisitive look on his face. “Sorry guys, it’s the private investigator.” He then answers the call. “Hello?” A few seconds pass.” Yeah, give me a second.” He then gets up and walks outside.

The three of us glance at each other. We don’t say anything for the next few moments, but I can only imagine what’s going through everyone’s head.

Paul comes rushing back to the table, flabbergasted. He’s trying to speak but is fumbling his words.

Willie places his hand on Paul’s shoulder and tries to get him to sit down. “Paul, what’s going on?”

Paul takes a few quick deep breaths and looks down at the table as he says what’s gotten him so worked up. “They found them.”

Willie looks confused, but tries again to get the news out of Paul. “Who found whom, Paul?”

Paul is stammering, but he gets it out. “The private investigator. He- he found Sam and Rachel.”

James interjects. “Where?!”

“At the border. She was trying to bring them into Canada.”

I glance at James with a puzzled look. He whispers to me, “Paul’s wife’s family lives in Canada. I guess she was trying to sneak them with her back home.” He then turns to Paul. “Where are they now?”

“The investigator said the kids are in police custody and that Patricia’s been arrested for trying to sneak them across.”

Willie pats Paul on the back. “It’s a good thing you filed a domestic dispute like I told you to, or else they probably would have gotten across and would have been a lot harder to track down.”

Paul continues, “He says I can see the kids and pick them up today. I have to see if I can change my flight to today. I have to see them. I just can’t wait another day.”

James abruptly interrupts. “I’m going with you.”

The three of us stare at him. Paul looks puzzled. “What?”

James repeats himself. “I’m going with you. You need someone by your side, especially after all you’ve gone through with your kids missing for weeks. You need someone, and that someone is me. I’m going with you.”

We all sit silently for a few seconds until Willie speaks up. “Well, we better get a move on then and get you two packed and on your way to the airport.”