Chris – Erick’s Boyfriend
Dan – Chris’s ex-boyfriend
“Why would I be nervous?” Erick asks as he and Chris are seated by the host for dinner at Callendar’s on Wilshire. Once a regular haunt for the two of them, this was the first time either had been to the restaurant since before Erick was laid off from Lefty in January.
“Because you’re meeting my ex-boyfriend,” Chris responds as he slides into the booth.
“That should make for a fun evening,” the host chides with a wink as he places three menus down on the table.
“It will probably be more fun for me than for him,” Erick retorts as he slides into the booth next to Chris.
“Either way, I’m sure alcohol will be involved,” the host responds as he pats Erick on the back and walks away.
“Were you nervous when you met Mitch for the first time?” Erick asks.
“Not really. Besides, you two had been exes for a lot longer than Dan and I have been.”
“But Mitch and I had also reconnected by the time you and I met, so it would stand to chance that you could have been nervous.”
“But you two reconnected as friends.”
“Can you say that you and Dan are?”
“On one hand, the breakup was amicable. On the other hand, we haven’t spoken much since then, so…” Chris trails off as he sees Dan talking to the host at the front entrance and waves him down. Chris slides out of the booth to greet the hulking Dan. Erick’s eyes widen slightly as he gives Dan the once over. Dan smiles widely at Chris and twirls him around.
“I was hoping you would have let yourself go since we broke up,” Dan teases.
“On the contrary, I have to keep up with this one over here,” Chris replies as he turns Dan’s attention to Erick. “Dan, this is Erick. Erick, this is Dan.”
Erick slides out of the booth and rises to greet Dan, standing as tall and slender as he can. “It’s nice to meet you, Dan.”
“It’s nice to meet you too, Erick,” Dan replies with a smirk as he looks Erick up and down.
Erick slides back into the booth. Chris slides in next to him. Dan slides in next to Chris. “It probably would have been smarter if I had just come in from this side,” Erick says with a chuckle as the waiter comes over to the table.
“Good evening gentlemen. My name is Kevin and I’ll be your waiter this evening. Can I get you all some drinks?”
“I’ll have a sparkling water with a splash of cranberry,” Dan requests. “And could you please squeeze in a lemon and a lime?”
“Sure thing. And for you two?”
“I’ll have a vodka cranberry,” Chris answers.
“I’ll have the same,” Erick adds.
“Thank you. I’ll be right back with those,” Kevin says as he walks off.
“So what exactly are you keeping up with here?” Dan asks Chris.
“What do you mean?” Chris asks.
“When I joked that I had hoped you would have let yourself go by now, you said that you were trying to keep up with this one over here,” Dan recalls, pointing to Erick. “So what exactly are you trying to keep up with?”
“What are you getting at?” Chris presses.
“It seems to me he should be keeping up with you,” Dan answers with a laugh. He then elbows Chris in the side and then Chris starts laughing as well. Erick stares at the two of them for a moment.
“He’s just kidding, Erick,” Chris assures him.
Erick bursts out in laughter. “I’ll bet he is!”
“I’m glad you have a sense of humor,” Dan says as the laughter dies down. “Could you imagine me being so rude as to come out with something like that within minutes of meeting you?”
“I could totally,” Erick responds through his lingering, half-hearted laughter.
Dan reaches his hand across the table toward Erick. “Please forgive me if I’ve offended you.”
Erick reaches back. “It’s okay. Some people just can’t help themselves.”
Dan takes his hand back. “Erick, I apologized.”
Erick takes his hand back. “I know. And I accepted it.”
“But what was with that little side comment?”
Erick holds his hand against his chest. “It was just a general statement having little or nothing to do with you.”
Dan looks at Chris and then back at Erick. “Well, that’s not very nice.”
Erick looks at Chris and then back at Dan. “Well, neither was your comment.”
“Mine was a joke.”
“Mine could be perceived as such as well if you so desire to perceive it as such. Otherwise, I could see how you would be insulted. For that, I apologize.”
“Alright, you two. Enough. Why don’t we just start someplace else,” Chris suggests.
“That’s a good idea, Chris,” Dan says. “Perhaps Erick and I can then get on the right foot.”
Erick smiles condescendingly. Chris shoots him a quick glare. Kevin returns with the drinks. “Here you go,” he says as he hands Erick, Chris and Dan their respective drinks. “Are you all ready to order?”
“We’ve just been jabberin’ away playing catch up,” Dan answers. “Can we have a few more minutes?”
“Take your time,” Kevin replies as he walks off once again.
“We didn’t get to talk much on the phone earlier, Dan. What brings you into town?” Chris asks.
“Well, I’m participating in a couple of panels at a finance conference. I’m very excited about it. If that goes well, I’ll be in line for a major promotion at the firm.”
“That’s great!” Chris exclaims.
“Chris was just recently promoted as well,” Erick informs Dan. “He’s now heading his company’s newly-established creative marketing arm.”
Dan raises his glass to Chris and the two clink glasses. “Congratulations! You took a risk leaving your old PR firm, but I’m glad it worked out for you.”
“Me too, but back to you. Where’s your conference being held?”
“In Century City.”
“They’ve undergone a significant remodeling at the Mall over there since you relocated to Chicago.”
“In that case, you and I should do dinner over there before I leave. The sessions end by six.”
“That sounds good. I’ll coordinate it with you and Erick.”
“Oh yes, he can come too.”
“Thanks,” Erick replies half-heartedly. “When does the conference end?” he asks.
“The closing session is Friday afternoon. I was going to head back to Chicago then but I haven’t any plans for the weekend so I was thinking of extending my trip through the weekend,” Dan responds.
“You should!” Chris interjects. “You can stay at my place! I’ll just double-check with my roommate to make sure he isn’t going to be ‘entertaining’ this weekend.”
“I wouldn’t think of it,” Dan states. “I’ll just extend my reservation at the hotel.”
“Absolutely not,” Erick chimes in. “Chris, you have an event on Saturday that you need to prepare for and Dan, I wouldn’t think of having you stay in a hotel. You’ll stay at my place this weekend.”
Dan meets Erick’s smirk with one of his own. “Much obliged, Erick. This will give us a chance to get to know each other.”
“…or kill each other,” Chris says under his breath as he downs his vodka cranberry.
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