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Thread: Brad's Search

  1. #251
    100% Purly UnLoveAble 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Brad's Search

    Glad to read another chapter

    Good that Brad only went for dancing with that stranger...pretty much harmless fun..

  2. #252
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    Re: Brad's Search

    Part 53

    The time has come—or, at the very least, it’s on its way. I get to work early Monday morning to talk with Eric about the project and our upcoming meeting with our client on Wednesday. The whole thing has my heart almost pounding its way out of my chest. Though I put in a lot of extra work over the weekend to get this thing right, the perfectionist in me wants to make sure nothing, absolutely nothing, will go wrong.

    Eric and I also get a chance to talk about what’s happened with Paul and James. Things were so hectic last week that I never really got a chance to fill him in.

    Eric sighs heavily. “Gosh, I feel great that the kids were found, but damn, what a thing to go through for James and the kids!”

    “And they’re still going through it.”

    “True. And probably will be for a while. Do you know how things are going over there? Or when James will be back?”

    “I don’t really know much. He’s texted me here and there, but I imagine he’s had his hands full with the situation and getting to know Paul’s kids. He’s never even met them before. I have no idea when he plans to come back or even if Paul and the kids are going to come back with him.”

    Eric sighs again. “Wow. Well, if he’s still in Michigan when this weekend rolls around and you have nothing better to do, you should come over and meet Lorna and have her make dinner. And if James does come back, he’s invited, too.”

    “Oh, Eric, that’s so thoughtful of you.”

    “It’s the least I can do. I know James has been through a lot, and I know you’ve been stressed out by that and by work. I know it can’t be easy.”

    “Thanks, yes, it has been a bit hard at times.”

    “Plus, after working on this project with you, I’ve come to really enjoy getting to know you. You remind me a little of my younger days when I was a little more carefree.”

    “Oh?”

    “Yeah. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Lorna and our kids and I wouldn’t want to change a thing, but I see a person like you, successful in his career and moving up, with not so many other obligations. I was married and had my first kid pretty much right out of college, so I never really had time to enjoy my 20s.”

    “But there must have been things about your life that made it worth it, right?”

    Eric looks up at the ceiling and cracks a smile. “Yeah, you’re right. I guess it’s easier for us to be envious of the things others have and forget that there are good things in our lives, too, right?”

    His assessment seems spot-on to me. “Sure.”

    “Anyway, you up for coming over this weekend?”

    “Yeah, that sounds like so much fun! I don’t think I have anything else going on.”

    “Well, that’s great to hear. I know Lorna’s excited to meet you.”

    “I’m looking forward to meeting her, as well.”

    “Good, good. Well, we’ve got just a couple days before our client meeting, so let’s make this thing shine!”

    “You got it!”

    And with that, I get up and mentally close myself off to the world while I check, double-check, triple-check, and quadruple-check everything in our new system to make sure everything works for Wednesday.”

    * * * * *

    By the time I wrap up at work, it’s pitch black outside. I drive home and get ready for another solo night. It’s been almost a full week without having James by my side. Hell, it’s been almost a full week since I’ve really heard from him. When I get home, I give him a call.

    He picks up. “Hey Brad! Hold on a sec, let me get somewhere quiet.”

    “OK.” Sure enough, it’s pretty noisy wherever he is.

    “Sorry about that. How’ve you been?”

    “I’m good! How are things over there?”

    “They’re great! I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch; things have been fucking chaotic over here.”

    “I can imagine.”

    “Yeah, but things are good! We got to the police station on Wednesday and Paul’s kids ran right up to him and gave him big hugs. They gave me really big hugs, too, which was a big relief. I didn’t even know what to expect, but they’re as nice as can be.”

    “That’s awesome to hear! How old are they?”

    “Sammy is eight, and Rachel is five.”

    “Wow, they’re pretty young!”

    “Yeah. I mean I knew how young they were before I met them, but it doesn’t really hit you until you meet them.”

    “I guess.”

    “Uh huh. Well, Sammy is really into science and math at school, and Rachel would be beginning first grade next school year.”

    “Gosh, I can’t even remember when I was getting into first grade.”

    “Yeah, me neither. Anyway, they’re awesome kids. And they’ve been calling me ‘Uncle Jim’ all the time. No one’s ever called me that before. It gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling.”

    I chuckle. “That sounds so great to hear! Well, what are your guys’ plans?”

    James sighs. “I really don’t know. We’ve just been focusing on his kids the past few days and making sure they’re OK. I’ve talked to him a couple times about where to go from here. I’m trying to convince him to move himself and the kids over to Seattle, but as you can imagine, he’d be practically uprooting everything. He’s just not sure it’s the right decision right now.”

    “Yeah, that’s understandable. Still, that would be awesome if he came here and brought the kids.”

    “I know. That’s why I’ve been trying to convince him so hard. I know I should be thinking about the kids first, and I am, but it would be so great for me and for Dad if he moved with the kids closer to home.”

    “I agree.”

    “Yeah. So, I really miss you! How have you been doing without me there?”

    “I’ve been doing all right, I guess.” I dare not mention what happened over the weekend when I went out and partied. “We’ve got our big meeting with the client on Wednesday.”

    “Oh yeah. Are you ready?”

    “I fucking hope so. Taking a step back, I know I’ve checked everything and tried to break this thing in every way I know possible, but this thing is solid as a rock.”

    “Well I’m not surprised, with a genius like you at the helm.”

    I feel myself starting to blush. “Oh, I don’t know.”

    “I’m serious, Brad. I see how hard you’ve been working on this thing. Even though I don’t have the slightest idea what the fuck you’re doing, I know you’re the best person for the job, and you’re dedicated as hell. Shit, I remember times you’d be up late at night working in the home office and I’d go to bed without you.”

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—“

    “No, I totally get it! Dad was the same way when Paul and I were kids. Some nights he wouldn’t even come home because he had to work late at the office. It was tough for us as kids, and it took a bit of a toll on my mom, but he wouldn’t be where he was today without that dedication.”

    “I guess that’s true.”

    “It certainly is. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be successful in your career. Hell, you have a drive like no one I’ve seen before. You’re doing just fine; try not to worry about it so much.”

    “OK, I’ll try not to. It’s hard, but I’ll try not to.”

    “Good. You keep trying. Well, I better get going here. It’s getting late, plus I’m two hours ahead of you, so it’s extra late.”

    “Oh yeah, that’s right. OK, I’ll let you know. I really miss you.”

    “I miss you too, Brad. I’ll come home soon, I promise.”

    “You better! OK, sweet dreams.”

    “I’ll only be dreaming of you, babe.”

    I feel myself blushing again. “Good night. I love you.”

    “I love you, too. Good night.”

    We hang up. I hop in the shower to wash all the stress from the day away. The hot water feels really good splashing against my naked body. After my shower, I crawl into bed and drift off to sleep.
    Brad's Search - 70,000 words and counting!

  3. #253
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    Re: Brad's Search

    AWESOME to see YOU posting this again/some more!
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

  4. #254
    JUB Addict Craiger's Avatar
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    Re: Brad's Search

    I have to agree with Chaz, Brad and James have been missed, but all is well, they're back. Now, with Brad and his project and James with his nephew and niece, they are both busy making a go at life. It will be good when they are together again and back into the warmth of a family unit. Glad to see you posting again, AG.

    Craiger

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    Re: Brad's Search

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    AWESOME to see YOU posting this again/some more!
    Thanks, Chaz! It's been way too long! I had actually written this last part (and some of the next ones I have yet to post) a while back but too many things in life got in the way of getting them onto here. The good news is I've gotten back into writing and I still have LOTS of ideas for this story, so there will be much more to come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Craiger View Post
    I have to agree with Chaz, Brad and James have been missed, but all is well, they're back. Now, with Brad and his project and James with his nephew and niece, they are both busy making a go at life. It will be good when they are together again and back into the warmth of a family unit. Glad to see you posting again, AG.

    Craiger
    Thanks, Craiger! It's good to be back. I've missed connecting with others via the story thread and other places on JUB, so I'm hoping to reconnect with everyone here. Yes, James and Brad are getting very involved in their own lives; they don't seem to have much time for one another right now, but hopefully that changes soon.

    To all my readers: I know lots of you in the past who have commented were really enjoying reading each part as it has come out. I'm really sorry I fell off the radar and stopped posting for a while. Life sometimes sucks all the fun and creativity out of itself, which makes writing this story, as exciting as it is, hard to do from time to time. However, I definitely want to keep this story moving forward and I've kind of figured out what direction I want to keep it going. Thanks for being the awesome fans that you are, and I hope you stick around and keep enjoying the story. Cheers!
    Brad's Search - 70,000 words and counting!

  6. #256
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    Re: Brad's Search

    Part 54

    I wake up Wednesday morning feeling like death. Today is the day of our big client meeting, and, like a true workaholic, I had kept myself up way too late checking to make sure everything would run smoothly for our demo. I force myself out of bed and take a quick shower, and rush to head out of the door. There are a few more things I need to check for the project, and I need to head out early if I’m going to get any coffee.

    Eric wants the two of us to wear nice suits for our client meeting. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t care if I were in blue jeans, but it’s business, and I understand him wanting us to look sharp. Luckily, I was able to talk Charles into letting me borrow the same suit I wore to Patrick and Damon’s wedding. I really need to get one of my own, considering I’ve needed a suit twice in just this month alone.

    Problem is, I haven’t had the time, nor the patience, to learn how to tie a tie.

    I grab my usual Starbucks and get to the office. Eric and I have time for a quick meeting before the other developers arrive. We go over how the meeting with the client is supposed to go.

    Our client flew into town the night before and will be getting to our office in the afternoon. That leaves time for the development team to take care of any last minute concerns and to get everything ready for the meeting.

    Can’t you tell I’m going a little insane right about now?

    We meet quickly with the development team. To my huge relief, they bring very few concerns to the table, and what they do bring, we’re able to quickly handle. As confident as I am that the meeting with our client will go well, I can’t help but feel that something, the littlest thing, will go wrong.

    * * * * *

    My company built a room. It’s what they call a ‘relaxation room’. They tried soundproofing it as best they could, and have white noise machines and fragrance emitter machines and mini fountains and all sorts of things to help people relax, I guess. Anyway, for about an hour I closed myself in that room and tried relaxing as much as I could, but I swear it stressed me out more the more I tried to relax. So much for that.

    My phone’s alarm starts going off. It’s time for me to change into my suit and get ready for the meeting. I step out of the relaxation room and head to my office to change into my suit. I close the door to give myself some privacy, then strip down to my socks and underwear and pull on my dress shirt and slacks.

    Oh hell, the tie. At one point, I swear I could make it through life without ever having to wear or even learning how to tie a tie. But here I am, twice in a month, needing to wear one. As much as I hate wearing them, and as uncomfortable as I feel in a suit and feel that they should all be burned to a crisp, I’m finding myself needing to conform and wear the damned thing.

    I see the clock ticking closer and closer to our meeting time and I’m getting super frustrated trying to tie this god-forsaken piece of fabric. It finally dawns on me—Why the fuck not look up a damn video to learn how to tie a tie? I do a quick search on my computer, pull up the first video I find, and before I can even start watching, I hear a knock on the door.

    The door cracks open. It’s Eric. “Oh, Brad, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were in the middle of dressing.”

    “It’s all right, Eric. You can come in. Do you know how to tie a tie?”

    Eric scoffs. “Uh, yeah, of course! You don’t?”

    I look sheepishly at him, but don’t respond.

    He comes closer and motions with his hand. “Turn around.”

    He takes the tie and drapes it around my neck. I crane my neck down to try to see what he’s doing, but he places his thumb under my chin and gently tilts my head back up. “It’s easier if you keep your head straight.” He grabs both ends and, almost like magic, goes to work flipping one half on top of the other and twisting them like a very elegant pretzel. As he goes through his intricate process, I can feel his body getting closer and closer until there’s no space between us. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that he’s tying a tie around someone else’s neck, but I try as hard as I can not to focus on the fact that he's practically knocking on my back door. I don’t want to have to fight off a boner this close to the meeting.

    He puts his hand on my shoulder and turns me around, then grabs the knot with one hand and pulls and adjusts with the other until everything is just right. He looks me up and down. “There. That’s what I call a project manager ready for his first big client meeting.”

    “I’m surprised you didn’t need a mirror to do all that.”

    “It’s like tying your shoes. After you do it enough times, you don’t have to watch your hands and fingers do all the work. They just know right where to go.”

    I take a few quick breaths.

    Eric puts his hand on my upper arm. “You all right?”

    “I think so. I’m just jittery because of the meeting.”

    “Don’t be; you’ll do just fine. Come on, let’s go to the conference room and get everything ready.”

    I lied. I was jittery because of how good his body felt pressed against mine.

    Snap out of it, Brad.

    We make our way to the conference room. I begin connecting a laptop to the projector while Eric places packets of information about the project in front of each chair around the table. Once I have the laptop hooked up, I open the demo program I’ve been working on during the past few months as well as a presentation. Everything seems ready to go.

    “All right, Brad, the client should be getting to the lobby downstairs at any minute. Let’s go down to meet them.”

    With that, we take the elevator down to the lobby, and sure enough, three representatives from the casino—two women and one man—greet us. We all introduce ourselves—their names are Diane, Linda, and Phil—and head upstairs to the conference room.

    * * * * *

    After what seemed like a few hours, the meeting is finally wrapping up. Eric had done most of the talking, but I had spoken up as I was navigating through the demo and when any technical questions had arisen.

    Diane, who seems to be the leader of the group, chimes in. “Everything you showed us today was fantastic. We are really excited about getting this on board.”

    Eric responds, “We’re so happy to hear that! We are delighted that you’ve chosen us to work on this project for you, and we’ve certainly put all our best talent and effort into it. I'm glad to hear you’re pleased with what we’ve done so far. I’ve taken note of the tweaks and adjustments you’d like, and we will be sure to get those implemented. That said, what would be your ideal timeframe for launching this project for your property?”

    “Ideally, we’d love to launch it by this time next month, but realistically?” She turns to the other woman on her right. “Linda, how long do you think it would take to train everyone on this?”

    “Oh gosh, Diane, I don’t know all the ins and outs of this system well enough to say how long it would take to train everyone. I’m sure we could do it ourselves, but it would be great if we could have Eric on hand to handle any issues and hard questions that come up.”

    “That’s a great idea.” Diane looks at Eric. “Would you be able to come out to Vegas to help train our team, Eric? We can cover the roundtrip airfare”

    I glance at Eric. Even though our company has never worked on a project of this size, much less taken a trip to a different state to train a client on it, I could tell he already had an answer prepared. “Yes, we can certainly accommodate that, as long as Brad also gets to come along. He has a strong programming background and knows every single piece of this project very intimately. Just like you’d like me to be there to help with the issues and hard questions, I want Brad to be there when there’s a point where I cannot answer them.”

    Diane looks at Phil, the third member of their group. Phil just nods. Diane looks back at us. “That works for us.”

    Eric smiles. “Great! I estimate that it should take us the rest of this week and next to work in all the tweaks and adjustments you’ve given us and to get all the final branding in so that everything is ready to go. That would leave about a week or two for training if we were to go with your month timeframe. How do you feel about that being a sufficient amount of time before we launch?”

    The room is silent for a few moments. Diane looks at Linda and they whisper back and forth for a few seconds before Diane looks back at Phil. Phil just nods. Phil’s good at nodding. Diane looks back at us. “I think we should be able to get everyone trained in that amount of time. That shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Wow. It didn’t seem all that long ago that we started work on this project, and now it’s almost done. This project was so large, I didn’t think we’d ever get finished with it.

    Eric chimes in. “Well, I know Brad and I are delighted to hear that you’re pleased with everything so far. We will begin working on the finishing touches and will be getting in contact with you to schedule the training. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, Brad and I are here for you and we’ll take care of everything. If there’s nothing further, we can show you to the lobby; I’m sure you three are ready for a little R & R after our long meeting.”

    Diane nods. “Yes, it has been a long meeting, but we’re so happy with everything your team has done.”

    With that, the five of us rise up from the conference room table and head down to the lobby in the elevator. We make small chit-chat on the way down—well, all of us except for Phil. He hasn’t uttered a word this whole time.

    Once we all reach the lobby, we see the three of them on their way.

    Eric turns to me. “Ever been to Vegas, Brad?”

    “I’ve been a couple times with my parents when I was growing up, but never as an adult. What about you?”

    “I have. That’s actually where Lorna and I got hitched.”

    “You’re kidding!”

    “Nope. The two of us went down during a college break. We had been talking about getting married for a while. When we got down there, we saw one of those drive-through wedding places, and thought to ourselves, ‘What the hell?’”

    I chuckle. “What did your parents think?”

    “Well, by that point, Lorna and I were living together and were already practically married, so the piece of paper didn’t matter so much. We did throw a special reception with friends and family after we got back, though.”

    “Wow. I don’t know if my mom would forgive me if I ever did that.”

    “Then I’ve got one piece of advice: don’t.”

    I chuckle again. “Good advice.”

    “In any case, the two of us will have a great time while we’re there. It definitely won’t be all work and no play.”

    Eric and I both go back upstairs, gather our things, and head to our respective homes. We had been in that meeting so long that rush hour was already over. Hard to believe, I know.

    At least this project is nearing the end. The tweaks they’re asking for are very minor, and I know, or at least really hope, that they won’t break anything. I’m excited about it being almost finally behind me, and what a way to send it off by a trip to Vegas on the company’s dime!

    The day’s been so long that I don’t waste any time crawling into bed and passing the fuck out.
    Brad's Search - 70,000 words and counting!

  7. #257
    JUB Addict Craiger's Avatar
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    Re: Brad's Search

    With all my psychic powers, I see a bump in the road. I think James has been gone too long and needs to fly back to the nest quickly. Las Vegas has extremely heavy persuading powers that can place sound relationships in peril. The crystal ball is fading now into a rather gloomy fog. I can't foretell any more.......

    Swami Craiger

  8. #258
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    Kyanimal's Avatar
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    Re: Brad's Search

    ^ The SEER has spoken!

    Can't wait to hear if what's been foretold might unfold, and how!
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

  9. #259
    100% Purly UnLoveAble 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Brad's Search

    2 more chapters this month, glad to see this story continued

    Its been months since I've even looked at anything in the stories section here on JUB...

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