April – a friend of Erick’s
Eugene – Erick’s neighbor friend
Dan – Chris’s ex-boyfriend
“Chris, there’s nothing to worry about. Dan and I just got off on the wrong foot the other day. We’ve been very civil since you left this morning. We’re going to Basix for brunch. April is meeting us there, so we’ll have supervision…”
Dan, Chris’s visiting ex-boyfriend, rolls his eyes. Chris is working a day-long marketing event for work and Erick is on the phone with him trying to allay his fears that the catty back-and-forth that went on between him and Dan the other day won’t repeat itself.
“…After brunch, I’ll take him over to the Gendarmerie so he can have a spa treatment.... Yes, we’ll meet you at Larrabee’s around six. Chris, it’s going to be fine,” Erick assures him as they end the call. “Good luck today. I love you, too. Bye.”
“Were we really that bad the other day?” Dan asks.
“I guess so. He has bloodshed and police action in his forecast tonight.”
“It’s like two people aren’t allowed to get off on the wrong foot.”
“I’ve gone to family gatherings that went far worse,” Erick deadpans. “That’s why I haven’t been to one since I could grow hair.”
Dan chuckles. “Shall we?” he asks, extending his arms in the direction of the door.
Erick nods politely. “We shall,” he says as he walks toward the door. Dan follows.
As Erick and Dan walks out of the apartment, Erick’s neighbor friend Eugene makes his way down the hall toward them. “Hey, Erick,” he begins. “I was just coming down to ask if you’d like to do brunch, but I guess you two already have plans.”
Erick and Eugene hug. Dan gives Eugene the once over. “This is Chris’s ex-boyfriend Dan. We’re meeting April at Basix, but feel free to join. Is that alright with you, Dan?”
“I never say ‘no’ to the company of a handsome fella, so absolutely.”
Eugene and Dan shake hands. “I was already going to say it’s a pleasure to meet you, but it’s definitely one now,” Eugene jokes.
Dan slides his arms inside Eugene’s and leads him down the stairs. Erick shakes his head and follows.
Basix’s tall, striking maitre’d topped with platinum blond hair teasingly hides behind his clipboard as he sees Erick walk into the café. “Very funny,” Erick chides back.
Bradley greets Erick with a smile and a handshake turned bro-hug. “How many today, troublemaker?”
“Four. Three other troublemakers and a cutie with curly hair,” Erick answers, pointing to Eugene. He sees April walking toward the café. “And there’s my cohort in crime.”
“You owe me another hottie then.”
“I’ll be on the lookout.”
Bradley laughs. “Give me about ten minutes,” he says as he walks off to help clear a table and seat the next set of customers. Erick walks back outside to wait with Eugene and Dan. April gives him a hug when she reaches the group.
“April, you remember Eugene. And this is Chris’s ex-boyfriend Dan.”
“Hey Eugene,” April says as she gives him a hug. She turns and shakes hands with Dan. “It’s nice to meet you. I hope Erick is showing you a good time.”
“He’s doing what he can,” Dan responds. “Bradley’s hot, though.”
Eugene gasps. “What about me?”
“Don’t worry. Him, I’ll just look. You, I’ll just touch,” Dan replies. Erick and April exchange disbelieving glances.
“How long is the wait?” April asks.
“He said about ten minutes.”
“You seem to be chummy with him,” Dan says. “He couldn’t seat us right away?”
Erick looks around. “It’s brunch. On a Saturday. In West Hollywood. That’s like showing up late to a crowded church wondering why you have to stand.”
“Shall I talk to the maitre’d myself?” Dan presses.
“We should all just stand here and wait to be seated,” April admonishes.
“Can we just go back to how cute I am?” Eugene interjects.
Erick and April laugh. Dan is less than amused. “Fine, we’ll change the subject.”
Erick recalls an earlier part of the conversation. “What did you mean, ‘he’s doing what he can’?” he asks.
“Oh, Erick. We were getting on so well. Don’t take offense. Chris told me you weren’t working, so I understand that we can’t really do anything…enjoyable.”
Erick shoots April a glance. “Such as?”
“Such as eating at a much nicer place than this.”
“Have you even eaten here before?” April asks.
“I used to eat here when I lived here," Dan explains while looking around the room. "I was rather poor in those days.”
“And what are you now?”
“Much better off.”
“Well, where would your rather eat?”
“This is fine, April. It’s good to go down-home sometimes. Besides, Bradley wasn’t here when I lived here before. He’s a major plus for me to dine at this…place.”
“Erick and I happen to like coming here.”
“As you two would.”
“Are you really this much of an ass?”
“So I’ve been told, yes.”
“And here I thought Erick was being paranoid when he told me about you.”
Dan shakes his head. “Not in the least. And while that explains why he asked you to join us for brunch in the first place, it doesn’t account for Eugene’s purpose here.”
Eugene looks back and forth between Erick, April and Dan. “Eye candy, of course.”
Erick looks at Eugene for a moment. “Now that he brings it up, exactly how coincidental is it that you happened to be coming over to invite us to brunch as we were heading out?” he asks.
“Quite -- even if Chris hadn’t called me to ask me to come along and maintain peace between you and Dan,” Eugene explains, pointing to the two of them.
“But that’s partly why Erick invited me,” April says.
Eugene puts an arm around April. “At least you served the other part – which is why Chris, in turn, invited me.”
“I feel duped,” Erick jokes.
“You shouldn’t,” Dan replies. “I’m sure Chris has done or said things behind your back before.”
Erick looks at Dan suspiciously. “It’s only out of morbid curiosity that I’m indulging you by asking, ‘like what?’”
“Like his first impressions after April and Grayson introduced the two of you.”
Erick turns to April. “I have no idea what he’s talking about,” she says.
Erick turns back to Dan. “He told me you were a little too....full for his tastes.
“Why are you telling me this? He clearly changed his mind since we’ve been together for well over a year.”
“Then it’s a good thing April convinced him to go on that first date with you.”
Erick turns to April. “What’s he talking about?”
“This is not about me, this is about Chris!” April exclaims defensively.
“You had to convince him?”
“It didn’t take long,” April assures him. “But once again, this is not about me. It’s about Chris!”
“Erick, that doesn’t matter,” Eugene interjects. “Chris is with you now. Dan, some past just needs to be left there. This is one of those pasts.”
Bradley motions them over to an empty table. “It looks like our table’s ready,” Dan says with a smirk. He nearly clips April as he walks ahead of her toward the table. April rolls her eyes and follows behind.
“This is going to be one tense brunch,” Eugene says to Erick in observation.
“This brunch is the least of my worries,” Erick says. “I’m still stuck with Dan for the rest of the weekend.”
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