Chris – Erick’s boyfriend
Brent – Erick’s brother
Janette – Erick’s sister-in-law
Erick spots Chris’s car as it slowly approaches the Arrivals terminal at LAX Airport. He chuckles to himself as he waves it down and sees Chris waving enthusiastically with a silly wide grin on his face.
Chris pulls over. Erick opens the rear passenger door and places his luggage on the back seat. He shuts that door, opens the front passenger door and gets in. Chris takes Erick’s head in his hands and kisses him deeply.
“I missed you,” Chris tells Erick, releasing him.
Erick smiles and tastes his lips. “I should leave and come back more often.”
Erick puts on his seatbelt as Chris inches his way into the departing airport traffic. “How was your trip?”
Erick had just returned from a trip to Baltimore to see his brother Brent, sister-in-law Janette and nephews Allen and Stephen. Five-year-old Allen had recently graduated from preschool and was headed into kindergarten. Erick had missed the June ceremony, but Brent emailed him a video of highlights from the occasion. The video prompted Erick to plan a weekend trip out to see them before school started in September.
“It was…interesting,” Erick responds.
“We have something to discuss with you,” Brent prefaces as he, Janette and Erick are finishing dinner.
“This sounds ominous,” Erick responds.
“No, it’s a good thing,” Janette assures him. “At least we think it is.”
Brent and Janette look at each other for a moment. “We’ve been talking about…possibilities,” Brent begins.
“And as the boys continue to grow up,” Janette continues. “We’ve recognized the need to begin making provisions for their lives in the event our lives…”
“…end…prematurely,” Brent concludes.
Erick looks back and forth between Brent and Janette in anticipation of a point, though he had an idea as to where this was going.
“In the event....,” Brent resumes.
“Of our untimely deaths…,” Janette adds.
“We would like you to be the guardian for Allen and Stephen,” Brent says, completing their thought.
Erick laughs. “Wow, that was quite a display.”
“It’s not easy to talk about,” Janette says.
“Why not? It’s just death,” Erick retorts.
“Well, you may be able to just leave the party without saying goodbye, but our departures will require a bit more…preparation,” Brent responds.
“You think it’s easy to just write up a will that says ‘Everything goes to Mother?’” Erick lobbies back, feigning offense.
“What about Chris?” Brent asks with a touch of confusion.
“Mom would kill me if I left everything to him.”
“But you’d be dead.”
“She’d find a way to kill me – even in death.”
“Have you even thought about your personal affairs?” Janette asks.
“I think about them all the time,” Erick replies. “But I’ve had to cut down on them since I met Chris.”
“You and your jokes…,” Brent responds.
“Well, just so you know, a lot of whatever I may have at the time will go toward the boys’ college educations,” Erick tells them. “Some will go to Chris and some will go to Mom and Dad unless they’re already gone at which point what I would have left them would go to you two.”
“That’s very sweet of you,” Janette says.
“In all honesty, since you first told me you were pregnant with Allen, I’ve always wanted to be in a position to help you two out with paying for their college,” Erick adds.
“You don’t have to do that,” Brent states.
“I know. It’s not about having to. It’s about wanting to. And I want to. Simple as that.”
“What if you and Chris have kids?” Brent asks.
“I have no desire for anyone’s kids – especially my own. Chris is fine either way – or so he tells me.”
Brent and Janette exchange concerned looks.
“Um…you do know our kids are…kids, right?” Janette asks.
“Your kids don’t count. They’re my nephews.”
“So you would rather have our kids than your own?” Brent presses.
“Absolutely. Yours are already potty-trained.”
“Have you and Chris even had a conversation about children?” Brent asks.
“Strangely, yes -- but only as far as to say that if we wanted children, we’d adopt an older boy.”
“What about marriage?”
“What about it?”
“Would you ever get married?”
“It’s not legal in California yet.”
“But if it were?”
“We’ve talked about it. It’s not anything either of us is set on. Would you prefer us to be married?”
“Not necessarily. It was just a question.”
“And a reasonable one. So I guess this means you understand that Chris will in all likelihood be a part of this situation.”
“Yeah,” Brent and Janette reply in unison.
“Do you need to talk to him about it?” Brent asks.
“I will, but my answer is yes regardless.”
“Are you sure about that?” Janette asks.
“One thousand percent.”
“Wow,” Chris responds as he exits off the 10 East Freeway onto the 110 North Freeway. “What if I had said no?”
“These are my nephews. It would probably mean we have an unknown expiration date.”
Chris nods his head. “That sounds pretty harsh.”
“It wasn’t meant to be. You’re a part of my life. They’re a part of my life, but they’d be non-negotiable.”
Chris continues nodding his head. “I see.”
“I hope you would do the same if your sister asked you to take her kids for whatever reason.”
“Oh, that’s already been established between us.”
“So why are you upset?”
“I’m not upset.”
“You seem upset.”
“Not at all. I like talking about the future with you. And this is pretty serious future we’re talking about.”
“So if something happened to
my brother and sister-in-law, we’d take in my nephews?”
“Absolutely. And if something happened to my sister and her ex, we’d take in my nieces?”
Erick places a hand on Chris’s thigh. “Absolutely.”
Chris places his hand on Erick’s hand resting on his thigh. Their fingers intertwine. Erick sits back and relaxes in his seat. He looks up at the skyscrapers making up Los Angeles’ downtown skyline as they drive by. Despite being raised in New Jersey and having lived in Brooklyn and Massachusetts, driving or riding through downtown on the 110 always reminds him that he’s back home.
“That would make one helluva sitcom,” Chris says, ending a minute or so of silence.
Erick thinks about this for a moment and laughs. “Could you imagine? An interracial gay couple take in their dead siblings' children.”
“This fall, Chris Russell and Erick Davidson star in We Are Family.”
“Imagine the Emmys.”
“Imagine the protests.”
“What network would we be on?”
“Probably FX -- right after Sons of Anarchy,” Chris jokes.
After another momentary silence, Chris tightens his grip on Erick’s hand and smiles as the car merges onto the 101 North toward Hollywood.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > I Am Erick Davidson - An Original Short Story Series >