Self-confessed nerd and Harry Potter look-a-like, Marty Owens runs a comic shop downtown. Marty needs a new website to help grow his business and Rick needs a guy he can eat cozy meals with, snuggle up to, and ... But no matter how many of Rick's boxes Marty checks, there's still Micah to consider. Fortunately Micah and Marty hit it off, connecting over a love of video games and all things Pokémon.
Rick starts coming by the comic shop after hours to work on Marty's website. Can they also build something long-lasting and meaningful offline, too?
JMS Books | Universal Book Link
“Go pick out our seats, but remember, if I don’t like them, I’ll pick out new ones.”
“Dad!” Micah cried.
Rick tried not to smirk. “And I’m sure Marty will want to sit with me. Go find a seat.”
Micah took a step back, then pouted at Marty. “Want to come with me? Dad can get popcorn for us all.”
“This isn’t a date,” Marty told him. “I’ll buy my own. Besides, he can’t carry three drinks and two tubs of popcorn at once. He might look strong and handsome, but he isn’t Superman.”
Rick felt his spine straighten, and now he was the one blushing a bit. He thinks I’m handsome? He looked at Marty in a new light. The guy owned a comic shop and could throw a compliment? “Careful there, bud,” Rick joked. “Another comment like that, and it might turn into a date after all.”
“I want to go on a date, too!” Micah crowed.
“You’re going to go get us seats,” Rick reminded him, “before all the good ones are taken. Now get.”
Micah’s pout was back, and he stormed away a few steps before he remembered he was heading off to see his favorite movie ever -- his words, Rick hoped the film lived up to them -- and began to race for the woman taking tickets.
Suddenly Rick found himself alone with Marty, and an awkward silence descended upon them. He shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels, wondering if they would have anything to say to each other without his son to run interference between them. Think, he told himself. You can flirt. Say something witty.
Only nothing came to mind. For the first time in forever, Rick was drawing a blank.
Just when Rick thought they’d never have anything to say to each other ever again, Marty spoke. “Your son seems like a great kid.”
Relief flooded Rick. Finally, something to talk about. “Yeah, he is. For the record, though? I don’t usually bring him along on dates.”
“Really?” A smile toyed at the corners of Marty’s thin lips. “I’ve heard Robert Downey, Jr., likes kids.”
With a laugh that dispersed the tension building between them, Rick said, “I told you, I don’t know him, so if you’re only hanging around me hoping to get his number, you’re out of luck.”
“It’s not his number I want,” Marty admitted.
Rick stared at him, surprised by his boldness. Definitely not as nerdy as I thought. “I’m not sure we have all that much in common,” he said. “In case you didn’t notice, I’m not all that into Pokémon. I’m only here because Micah likes it. I don’t even really know what the damn things are.”
“The word is actually a contraction for the phrase pocket monsters,” Marty told him. “Don’t worry, I can pass as an adult when I have to. I do own a comic shop, after all. What about you?”
Rick raised an eyebrow in silent question.
Marty asked, “What kind of work do you do?”
“Oh, I’m self-employed.” That didn’t really explain anything, so Rick added, “Web design.”
At that, Marty perked up. “Okay, talk about luck. I’m glad I ran into you then, because I’m looking to start up a website to sell some things online. Don’t say eBay,” he added when Rick started to speak. “These are collectibles and I want top dollar for them. I’ve looked into starting my own e-commerce site but I’ll admit I don’t really know what I need. Maybe you could help me out?”
Rick felt a gurgle of unease in his stomach. Seriously? They had just met -- was Marty expecting free advice just because he and Micah had hit it off?
His hesitation must have spoken volumes, because Marty hurried to assure him, “I’d hire you, of course. Maybe you can come by the comic shop early to see what I’m talking about. What do you think?”
“Sure,” Rick said, relieved. “Just promise me there won’t be any Poké-talk, or I’ll send Micah over instead.”