Brad's shop is known as the most popular tourist attraction for certain men in his home town, Astoria, Oregon. Brad doesn't do relationships -- why would he? He’s an unashamed slut, and he loves it.
British IT programmer James is much happier working with software and computers than people. He finds escape in his encyclopedic knowledge of childhood films like The Goonies and Short Circuit.
When James walks into a quilting shop in Astoria, he decides he'll take his brother's advice and talk to a stranger. That stranger is Brad, melting slowly behind the counter during the longest heat wave America's had in years.
Can a man who thinks in binary code and always plans things to the finest degree cope with the twists and turns of emotions? Can someone who never thinks before he leaps allow himself to jump into the biggest unknown, a relationship? And how can they cope with James’ impending return to England?
Will two men who never exp
James smiled. “I wanted somewhere that was nothing like Portland. Like how I enjoy the crafts and things, I wanted a base to embrace.” He giggled to himself.
“I did a rhyme.” James laughed to himself again, this time quieter.
“And you, are a very clever man.” Brad was firing on all V6 charming cylinders, wondering when he’d get to seal the deal, but also enjoying where they were now, at the exciting before sex part, the bit he sometimes enjoyed more than the sex itself. “Carry on, you wanted a base to embrace…”
“To embrace the creativity, the liberalism, the scenery, just somewhere I could enjoy being in small town America, rather than a big city. Everyone goes to New York and LA and San Francisco, it’s so been done. I wanted to see what the real America’s like, the America no one talks about, the America of the films of my childhood.”
“You know there’s an anniversary festival for the thirty years since they made The Goonies here, don’t you? Every year in Astoria Goonies Day is the first Saturday in June. The festival’s that weekend this year too.”
Avoiding eye contact, James said quietly, “Might have. I read something about it, maybe.”
Brad rubbed his hands, with the pleasure of a plan all coming together. “I’ll do a tour for you. I offered to run the tours, since I’ve lived here most of my life, and know the film backwards and upside down. They’re starting from down at the docks, but they didn’t want me. I could do you one, just us two on the tour, no tourist crowds. How’s that sound?”
James bit his lip, then took the last sip of his cocktail. “Yeah. Sounds lovely.”
“Say that again.”
James furrowed his brow. “Don’t you say lovely? Oh, I suppose it’s all awesome, or super cute, that sort of thing. Hmm, we’re a bit more self-effacing in the UK, I think you’ll find.”
And then, because Brad couldn’t stop himself any longer, because he found all this self-effacing and the accent and the chest hair too much to resist, he leaned forward, and kissed James, pushing his tongue in James’ mouth, enjoying the taste of his slightly salty lips, pushing himself closer on the bench so he could put his hand on James’ leg, creeping upwards, towards the groin. Enough of all this chatting. He had his eye on the prize and wanted to enjoy it.
James jumped, moving back from Brad’s touch. “As much as I’m enjoying it very much, I just think.” He looked around the deserted bar. “Here?”
“As long as we don’t start fucking on the table, Luke don’t mind us gettin’ a little friendly and closer. Who’d you think booked this place for their twenty-fifth anniversary?”
James shrugged. “Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell?” He pushed the half empty glass across the table.
“Ha ha. Frederick and Tom, the two guys who run Kitsch-N-Synch, the antique store opposite the shop, that’s who. Tom runs the dance studio with Miss Patsy, open week nights. She’s been leaving the door open ‘cos of the weather, little kids been nearly melting in this heat. Didn’t you see them doing their plies and twirls when you explored downtown?”
“I certainly didn’t see any antique shop opposite your shop. There was just the entrance to the docks.”
“That’s ‘cos I also work in Old Things & Objects, a couple other days of the week. Keeps me off the street. I can’t be tied down, doing the same thing all the time. I need some variety, change, different things to get hold of. Ya know.”
James stared at Brad’s tight T-shirt and shorts.
“You’ve not seen much of the city yet, have you?”
“That’s why I needed a tour guide.” James smiled, avoided eye contact.
“I just wanna kiss you right into next week.” Brad leaned forward and kissed him with a long, slow, sloppy kiss, licking James’ lips, then around his neck, before breathing into his ears, “Shall we get out of here?”