Chris – Erick’s boyfriend
Meredith – the hostess
Stephanie – Erick’s mother
“Did you see the look on the clerk’s face when we asked for a single room?” Erick asks with a chuckle as he and Chris walk into their hotel room. “I’m not sure if he was mortified or intrigued.”
“We’ll find out if he stops by later. He’ll either have a lead pipe or a bunch of dirty magazines,” Chris responds.
In previous years, Erick celebrated his birthday with gatherings at his apartment, brunches at Basix Café in West Hollywood or by simply inviting a bunch of people to his preferred bar at the time. This year, he opted for a getaway with Chris to a Comfort Inn off the 15 freeway in the thriving metropolis of…Cedar City, Utah.
Chris looks around the room with a mix of disdain and confusion as Erick excitedly flops down onto the bed. Chris walks over to the window, looks outside and chuckles. “What are we doing here?” he asks.
“I know it’s a bit random, but this hotel was my last stop before arriving back in LA – again -- three years ago from Massachusetts,” Erick explains. “Ever since then I’ve always wanted to just come back here and sequester myself for a few days.”
“Ok. What am I doing here?”
“At the time, I hadn’t considered being sequestered with anyone because I didn’t have anyone to sequester myself with…but now I do,” Erick replies while motioning for Chris to join him on the bed.
Chris smiles and approaches the bed. “So we drove eight hours to UTAH so that we could ‘sequester’ each other for three days?”
Erick laughs and pulls Chris down onto the bed. “We don’t have to ‘sequester’.”
“Don’t get me wrong. We’re here. We’re going to ‘sequester’, but what else are we going to do?”
“We do nothing.”
“I haven’t just done nothing since I was a sullen teenager wanting to be left alone in the basement to sleep, whack off and watch TV.”
“We can do that here.”
“Why would I need to whack off?”
“Keep talkin’ and you’ll find out,” Erick teases.
“You’re right. This is your birthday. However strange I may think this is, what do you want to do while we’re here?”
“I want to watch television, rent movies, go out for breakfast, have dinner delivered, sleep, talk and ‘sequester’.”
“For three days?”
“Yes. But most of all, I just want to enjoy my special day with my special guy,” Erick answers as he wraps his arms around Chris’s torso.
“When does he get here?” Chris asks with a smirk.
“About eight,” Erick retorts with a similar smirk.
The next night, after a day of eating, sleeping and “sequestering”, Erick and Chris are lying under the covers watching television. “I’ve always loved this show,” Erick says.
“You’ve seen this before?” Chris asks.
“What is it?”
“It’s The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. You’ve never heard of it?”
“I know George Burns. I have never heard of Gracie.”
“That makes sense. He was alive during our lifetime. But she died back in ’64.”
“How do you know that?’
“Oh Chris, you’re so cute.”
“No, really. How do you know so much about this?”
“Nick-at-Nite was one of my best friends in high school. I feel in love with old TV shows and I would research all the ones I watched or heard about.”
Chris smiles and kisses Erick on the top of his head. “You fascinate me sometimes.”
“Just sometimes. The other times you make me laugh.”
“And the other times?”
“You just make me happy.”
Erick is at a loss for words, so he kisses the closest part of Chris’s body closest to him – the armpit. Erick and Chris laugh. Erick then sits up to kiss Chris properly. “I love you, Christopher Hart Russell.”
“I love Oh, God!”
Erick reaches around, grabs one of Chris's nipples and twists it.
"Ouch!" Chris winces with a giggle as he pushes Erick's arm away.
“I’ve actually never seen that movie," Erick realizes.
“Then we’ll watch it on my birthday.”
“It’s a deal,” he says as he settles back into Chris lap to watch more Burns and Allen. “For some reason, they remind me of us."
“Of course. They’re in black and white...and so are we.”
“This was all so exciting two days ago,” Chris confesses over breakfast on the third day of the getaway.
“And what is it now?” Erick asks as blankly as possible.
“It’s just…not so much anymore. I think we should just go back home.”
“Are you serious?”
“Because I’m bored.”
“Yes, I’m bored,” Chris reiterates. “I’m not bored with you, just this trip.”
Erick stares blankly at Chris for a moment. “Fine. Then this trip is over,” he states flatly.
Erick was largely silent on the way home, staring straight ahead and sitting tensely with his arms crossed. Every time Chris struck up a conversation, he struck it down with one-word answers, gestures and head nods.
The Downtown skyline peered into view from the 10 Freeway headed west and Erick was happy to be back home. He thought about if and for how long he should actually be mad. After all, Chris did go along with the trip in the first place. And Chris is probably one of the few men in existence who could actually find Erick’s elaborateness endearing enough to take on as a boyfriend. Still, it was his birthday and he could pout if he wanted to.
“Are you hungry?” Chris asks.
“That was our exit,” Erick responds.
“I know. I want to take you to a nice restaurant for your birthday.”
“It’s okay. I’d rather just go home.”
“Well, I’m hungry. You can watch me eat.”
“Fine. I haven’t read the latest issue of Attitude magazine so at least I’ll have something to do.”
A short time later, Chris pulls into the parking lot of The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in Pasadena. “Are you coming in?” he asks.
“Only because it’s too hot to sit out here in the car and read,” Erick retorts as he gets out of the car and heads toward the restaurant entrance.
Chris rushes to catch up with Erick. He opens the door and lets Erick in first.
“Thank you,” Erick says begrudgingly as he walks in with Chris following closely behind.
“Hello, Mister Russell,” the hostess says.
“Hello, Meredith. It’s good to see you,” Chris responds with a kiss on the cheek. “This is my boyfriend Erick.”
Erick and Meredith shake hands. “Will it be just the two of you?” she asks.
“Yes,” Chris answers.
“Great. Your regular table is available in the back,” Meredith informs them.
“Thanks, Meredith.” Chris replies as they follow her to their table in the back area. Meredith opens the door and –
Eighteen people scream at Erick before bursting into spontaneous applause.
Erick’s jaw drops. Chris jumps up and down as if having just scored a touchdown. Erick looks at Chris and hides his face in his hands. Chris laughs and pulls him into a warm hug.
Erick turns around and sees John, Steve, Dana and Andrine from Lefty. April runs up to give him a hug. Moneca and Chris’s roommate Ethan both smile and wave. Grayson hi-fives Chris. Erick notices Keller Madison, another Leftyer, in the back talking to Mitch, Cole, Eugene and Hunter.
Erick’s mother approaches with a camera. “Erick, smile!” she commands as April ducks out of the way.
Erick blows a kiss to his mother. He looks around for his grandmother and spots her talking to his friends Jerome, Merkus and Gracy.
Erick turns to Chris. “Why didn’t you just tell me you had this planned?”
“Because I knew the expression on your face when we walked in here was going to more than make up for nine hours of vitriol.”
Erick gives Chris a playful jab in the stomach and starts to circulate the room.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > I Am Erick Davidson - An Original Short Story Series >