Brad’s Search : Part 8


Whose hand was that rubbing my torso?

“Good morning, sleepyhead.”

I open my eyes and shoot up. It takes me a moment to realize where I am - and to realize that quickly sitting straight up wasn’t such a good idea. My head starts pounding pretty badly.

“How did the king of my jungle sleep?”

“I’m not sure; the last thing I remember is you calling me a lion last night.”

“You don’t remember anything from last night?”

“To be totally honest, no, I don’t. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, that’s OK. I taped the whole thing just in case.”

My gasp probably woke up the rest of the people in Capitol Hill who were still sleeping.

“Just kidding. I do have to say, though, you were quite the performer in bed.”

“Almost as good as Cirque du Soleil?” Wow. If that didn’t give me away, nothing will.

“Not quite as good, but at least the tickets to your show were free.” I chuckle. “You don’t look so hot. Can I get you some painkillers?”

“How about some Irish coffee?”

“That I can do.”

If sitting straight up was a bad idea, attempting to get out of bed was the worst mistake ever. Alcohol can be so unforgiving. Nevertheless, I make my way to the kitchen and sit at one of Kelly’s barstools.

“Here you go; I made it extra strong, just the way you like it.”

“Kelly, you will be the death of me.”

She smirks and lets out a quiet, but sadistic laugh. “Are you going to be OK to make it home on your own?”

“Oh sure; I’ve been through worse than this before.”

“Good. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to get my assistant to see you home.”

“Assistant?”

“Yes; I’m the executive director for Marriage Equality Washington. Linda, whom you met at the bar Thursday night? She’s my assistant. She’ll be dropping by - actually, she should be here any minute now.”

“Do you mind if I use your shower? I at least want to be presentable when Linda arrives.”

“Sure thing, hon. Go ahead. Towels are in the cabinet under the sink.”

I gulp down the rest of my Irish coffee and head to her shower. I get a good look at the nether regions: no unusual burning sensations or odd textures. That’s a good sign. I finish up my shower and get dressed, just in time.

“Hey, Linda, remember Brad from the bar?”

I catch Linda giving me a very suspicious look for a split second; Kelly seems to have missed it.

“I do remember Brad from the bar. How was your date?”

“Hi, Linda. Kelly and I had a wonderful time. We ate at this really great restaurant-”

“I told you he liked Japanese,” Linda said quietly to Kelly.

“-and we ended up here after that.”

“And then?”

There were a few uncomfortable seconds of silence, which Kelly saved us all from. “The drinks were strong.”

Linda gave Kelly a very understanding glance. “I see. You’ll have to tell me more about that, Kelly.”

“Anyway, ladies, I’ve got some, er, things for work to do before tomorrow, so I should probably get going. I’ll call you, Kelly. Thanks for letting me spend the night. It was a pleasure seeing you again, Linda.”

“Pleasure’s all mine, dear.”

“I’ll chat with you soon, Brad. I can’t wait for next weekend!”

I gather my wallet and phone and head out. As I close the door, I barely hear Linda say, “Next weekend?”

* * * * *

I feel my phone buzzing in my pocket. Gary’s calling.

“Hey Gary; what’s going on?”

“Not much, loverboy. I’m surprised to see you up on your feet this early.”

“See me?”

I turn around and see Gary and Harry a half-block behind me. They walk a little faster to catch up.

“You look like you could use some coffee, Brad. Let’s hop into this Starbucks.”

“I hope they also have Baileys.”

We all duck inside. Gary and I find a table while Harry offers to grab our coffees.

“How did it go after dinner?”

“I wish I could remember.”

“Wel- wait, what? You don’t remember how the rest of the night went?”

“The drinks were strong.” I didn’t have any better of an excuse.

“You really don’t remember anything?”

“The last thing I can remember was her shoving her hands in my pants.”

“Oh my god!” Gary was trying very hard to keep his laughter inside. Harry arrives with our coffees.

“So guys, what have I missed?”

“Harry, you’re not gonna believe it. I think our loverboy just made it with a woman last night.”

“I had drunk so much, she suggested we go back to her place and I just went along with it. We go inside and she straight-up open-mouth kisses me. Then we go into her bedroom, she shoves her hands in my pants, and I can’t remember anything past that.”

Gary saw the confused look on Harry’s face. “The drinks were strong.” Harry’s confused look went away.

“Well, you’re not the only one who had an exciting evening.”

“Oh?”

“Tell him, Harry.”

Harry’s cheeks turned bright red. “Gary and I were at Cooters, minding our own business, when Julia shows up with a big group of girls.”

“Wait - the Julia you had a crush on in college years ago?”

“Yeah, that Julia.”

“Why were a big group of girls at Cooters?”

“It was Julia’s friends birthday. Her friend is a lesbian.”

“Oh.”

“Anyway, she sees me and runs over to our table. We both realize how long it’s been since we last saw each other. She lives in Portland now, but her friend is having this week-long birthday celebration, and Julia will be in town this whole week.”

“Are you going to make plans to see her again before she leaves?”

Gary chimed in. “Even better. Julia told us that she and her friends are avid skiers. They’ll be going to Mount Rainier this weekend. And Harry decided to tag along with us.”

“So that’s me, Kelly, my mom, you, Gina, and now Harry.”

“Right. We’ll have to take separate cars. I can take Harry, Gina, and myself. When does Sharon fly in?”

“Her flight should get here by Friday evening, but not too late. I’m planning on picking her up and then heading straight to the lodge.”

“She’s not bringing a surprise boyfriend with her, is she?”

“No, unless she’s been keeping secrets.”

“Does she know about Kelly?”

“Of course I haven’t, and you two keep it on the down low. I already know it’s going to be an awkward situation. I just need to figure out a way to get past next weekend.”

“Well, do what you will, but you know Gary and I believe that honesty is the best policy.”

“You two are the whole reason I went on that date last night in the first place!”

“But we didn’t suggest you go as far as sinking your submarine.”

“Brad, what’s done is done. There’s no point in regretting it, but we’ll help to make this weekend run as smoothly as possible.”

“Thanks, Harry. I’m sorry guys; I didn’t mean to get angry. It’s not your fault that things got way out of hand last night. I’m just really nervous for the weekend.”

“Don’t worry about it, Brad. We’ve got your back.”

“Thanks. I need to be running anyway. There are some files and things I need to get organized before work tomorrow.”

We all stand up. I give great, big hugs to both Gary and Harry. They reassure me that things are going to be OK. But I need more convincing than that.