Erick Davidson is a single early thirtysomething from New Jersey who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade but leads a decidedly atypical LA existence.
“How did you find out about this place?” Chris asks as he and Erick walk into the new Weho Bistro on the corner of LaCienega and Holloway.
“I ran into the owner yesterday on my way to Larrabee’s and he invited me to come out for the opening today. He’s running it with his partner,” Erick explains.
A young man comes up to greet them. “Good afternoon, welcome to the WeHo Bistro. To celebrate our opening, we have samples of our wine selection to my right and samples from our menu to our left,” he says with a wide smile.
“Thank you,” Erick replies as the young man walks away.
Chris looks around. “I need to find the restroom.”
“It’s on the other side of the wine station,” an older gentleman sitting at a nearby table answers.
“Thank you,” Chris says as he rushes off.
Erick smiles and nods at the older gentleman as his own form of a thank you. He then looks around for an empty table for two. The European-influenced bistro is buzzing with a cacophony of quiet chatter from clusters of older gay men, aging Grace Adlers and a combination of the two. Erick looks through the large front window to the café-style tables outside occupied by preppy young hipsters engaged in casual conversation and taking their time to eat as if actually on holiday in Europe.
Two middle-aged women look at their watches and get up from their table. Erick approaches the table as they walk off. He sits down and the same young man who greeted them a few minutes earlier walks over to clear the table. The young man pulls a damp cloth from his back pocket and begins wiping off the table. Erick takes notice of the young man’s forearms and follows them to his stretched-out biceps. His eyes reach the young man’s chest, which agitates in front of him like the inside of a washing machine.
“What’s your name?” Chris asks.
Erick and the young man look up. “Jordash,” he replies.
“Jordash?” Erick asks.
Jordash stands upright. “My mother liked their jeans.”
“I’m Erick. This is my boyfriend Chris.”
“It’s nice to meet you both.”
“Erick thinks you’re cute,” Chris informs Jordash.
“Am I wrong?”
“I was staring at you when you were wiping off the table,” Erick confesses to Jordash.
Jordash smiles. “We have some fantastic crepes with tomato, zucchini and feta cheese coming out. I’ll bring them over as soon as they’re done,” he says as he walks away.
“I could kill you for that,” Erick says.
“But you won’t,” Chris replies with a smirk.
“Only because the sex is good.”
“Now if I said that, I would sound like a fetishist.”
“So you’re not attracted to me for my…height?”
“I’m attracted to you for the same reasons you’re attracted to me.”
“That’s what I thought. Height.”
Chris chuckles and then changes the subject. “You’re not going to believe what’s hanging in the bathroom.”
“I hope it’s a disco ball.”
“It’s better than that. It’s a picture of the hind parts of a naked man.”
Chris pulls out his Droid.
“Those hind parts look familiar.”
Chris stares intently at Erick as if trying to transmit a private message. “I know.”
Erick looks at Chris as if trying to receive said message. His eyes widen when it’s received. “This is the painting?”
Chris nods his head. “Yep.”
“Wow. I wonder how they got it.”
“I don’t know.”
“How do you feel about it?”
“I feel fine. It’s not like anyone’s going to know that’s my backside hanging in the bathroom, but I never thought I’d see it again after posing for it in college. How do you feel about it?”
“I feel fine. Unlike everyone else, I get to have more fun with your backside than just staring at it.”
Chris chuckles as Jordash returns with a platter of the aforementioned crepes. “Hot and fresh. Right out of the oven.”
“Are you describing Erick or the crepes?” Chris asks.
“May I have your attention please?” a graying but youthful gentleman asks as he stands in front of the bistro’s main entrance. “My name is George and this is Gregg, my partner in business and in real life. We would like to welcome you to the official opening day of our restaurant. Thank you so much for coming. We have some great wines for sampling and other samples from our fantastic menu. We are very excited for this venture and we hope that you’ll come visit us regularly.”
The bistro patrons applaud.
“Gregg doesn’t know what I’m about to do but with Prop 8 being declared unconstitutional and because today well....today, it seems like the perfect time to do this.”
George pulls a ring out of his pocket and kneels down in front of Gregg. Several bistro patrons gasp while others clutch their chests. Erick does both. “Gregg, will you marry me?” George asks.
Gregg looks down at George and smiles. “Of course,” he replies.
The bistro patrons explode in riotous applause and cheers as George and Gregg kiss. Several patrons walk up to the newly-engaged couple to offer their congratulations.
“Wow,” Erick says with the hint of tears in his eyes. “That was beautiful. I’ve never seen that before – except on TV.”
“Did you know this was going to happen?” Chris asks Jordash.
Jordash shakes his head. “Nope. From the surprised looks on everyone’s face, I don’t think he told anyone. Here’s another crepe, Erick. I’m going to circulate but I’ll come back in a few minutes,” he says as he walks off.
Chris looks at Erick for a moment. “Is that something you want?”
“You seem really touched right now.”
“I am. It was beautiful. I love love. I hate it too.”
“Do you want to do that?”
Chris chuckles. “No.”
“I’ve thought about it but it’s not a life goal of mine. If we did, do you want me to take your last name, have you take my last name or hyphenate?”
Chris tilts his head. “Chris Davidson. That could work. Chris Russell-Davidson makes my last name seem like my middle name, but I think it looks better on paper.”
Erick rests his head on his hands. “Erick Russell. I’d have to get used to that. Erick Davidson-Russell. That’s pretty funny. It makes my last name also sounds like a middle name.”
“Why don’t we just take each other’s last names?”
Erick thinks about this for a moment. “It’s great that we can make up our own rules.”
“Well, if it’s something you ever want to do, I’m open to it but I like what we have and I want to have it for a long time. Happy Valentine’s Day, Erick.”
Erick stares blankly at Chris for a moment. “It’s Valentine’s Day?”
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