“Hey, Cam. Dinner’s ready!” Erick announced as he set the table for dinner. Cameron had brought home ingredients for spaghetti and asked Erick to make it for dinner. This had all but become a biweekly ritual between the two of them as Cameron really likes how Erick makes spaghetti. Erick doesn’t do anything particularly extraordinary with it and can’t understand why Cameron likes it so much but it provides great bonding time for the two of them so Erick is therefore more than happy to oblige.
“Thanks for cooking tonight,” Cameron said as he emerged from his bedroom and took a seat at the already-set dining area table.
Erick brought to the table two plates full of spaghetti with meat sauce doctored up from a Prego base. He placed one plate in front of Cameron and the other in front of himself as he sat down. “No problem. I like doing it. Besides, I can try different recipes on you before trying them on Mike.”
“What was tonight’s experiment?” Cameron asked as he wound the first bite around the fork.
“I used ground Italian sausage instead of beef,” Erick said as he cut his spaghetti with a knife and fork. “For the sauce, I used garden vegetable marinara and added seasoned salt plus more oregano. I am sure it was already in the sauce but I wanted it to jump out and smack you in the nostrils.”
“Me likey. Next time you make him dinner, do it this way. You can’t go wrong with oregano,” Cameron says as he takes another bite. “I am sure he will appreciate the gesture. He’s Italian. It will remind him of being back in his motherland,” he concluded.
Erick laughed. “You’re an idiot. Mike’s from Arizona.”
As Erick and Cameron were finishing dinner, there was a knock at the door. Erick got up to answer it and found Damon on the other side. With him was a lovely young lady that both Erick and Cameron heard a lot about but hadn’t actually met. She and Damon had been dating for the last several weeks but he had yet to introduce her to any of his friends.
“Well, well, well. This must be the lady friend we’ve heard so much about but haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting,” Erick teased as he gave her a hug and brought her into the apartment. “I am Erick and I may never forgive Damon for keeping you such a secret from us.”
“I am Kayla. It’s nice to finally meet you,” Kayla replied with a laugh.
Cameron appeared right behind Erick and gave her the once-over. “Trust me, the pleasure is ours. I am Cameron,” he offered with an extended hand.
“Are you guys always this friendly?” she asked as her hand met Cameron’s.
“Well we have to be this way with you. It was a mandate from on high. He doesn’t want us to mess things up for him with you,” Cameron explained as a pointed in Damon’s direction.
“Ok. Enough. You two are not funny.” Damon commanded as stood between Erick, Cameron and Kayla to break up their bonding session.
“What’d we do?” Erick asked with a mock innocence.
“I think we embarrassed him in front of his lady friend.” Cameron whispered loudly into Erick’s ear.
“Are you two done?” Damon asked. “We need a favor from one of you.”
“Only if Kayla asks,” Cameron demanded with a smile.
Kayla returned a laugh. “Well, my mother is coming to town in the morning and we’d like to take her out tomorrow night. We were hoping one of you would come and make it a happy foursome.”
“Where are we going?” Cameron asked.
“We’ll go to dinner and then maybe a club.” Kayla replied.
“I don’t dance. Erick, that’s all you,” Cameron said as he headed back to the dining table and to his dinner.
The next night Erick, Damon, Kayla and Kayla’s mother were finishing dinner at the El Cholo Restaurant in Santa Monica. While Erick and Damon had carried on a lively conversation about their jobs with a few quips from Kayla about her burgeoning relationship with Damon, Kayla’s mother only managed to offer a few polite laughs here and there in a lackluster attempt to involve herself in the dinner conversation.
After her mother excused herself to visit the facilities, a concerned Kayla turned to Erick. “I’m sorry my mother has been a bit of a drag tonight, but would you mind dancing with her a few times when we get to the Dakota? Hopefully that will at least raise her spirits for a bit.”
“No problem. I’ll do what I can,” Erick acquiesced.
“We haven’t exactly done a great job of drawing her into the conversation and if she isn’t doing much talking, why would she want to dance?” Damon asked.
“What does she like to talk about?” Erick inquired.
“Well, she loves old TV shows I’ve never heard of,” Kayla responded.
Erick’s ears immediately perked up and a wide smile spread across his face. “You leave your mother to me,” Erick reassured Kayla with a few gentle pats on her hand.
After leaving the restaurant, the quartet made their way to the Dakota lounge across the street. Erick and Kayla’s mother were in absolute hysterics over great moments from their favorite past television programs – many of which were mutual favorites. Lagging behind the giggling duo were Damon and Kayla, who marveled at Erick’s almost immediate success in bringing her mother out of her shell.
Shortly after arriving to the Dakota, Damon and Kayla made their way to the dance floor while Erick continued his discussion with Kayla’s mother over drinks at one of the lounge tables that line the walls around the dance floor. The two attracted a few quizzical eyebrows as a startling burst of laughter exploded out of Kayla’s mother in reaction to Erick’s reimagining of Diane Belmont’s classic “Vitameatavegamin” routine from She’s My Wife.
“I can’t believe they are still talking about this,” a frustrated Kayla said as she and Damon returned to the table a short time later.
“I just hope they’ve hit the 1980s so that I can at least participate,” Damon added as the two sat down.
Kayla briefly listened in. “I don’t think so. I have no idea what Room 222 is.”
“I am amazed at how well your mother and Erick are getting along,” Damon observed.
“It’s kind of eerie,” Kayla concludes before chuckling to herself. “What if they get along so well that he becomes my stepfather? I’d be older than my own stepfather!” Kayla continued before dissolving further into laughter.
Damon smirks at Kayla. “He’s now talking about Love is All Around.I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
Kayla continues laughing until she realizes what Damon may be saying and abruptly stops.
“Really?” she asks.
“Well no wonder my mother is having such a good time with him. My father is too.”
“You should probably bring him next time.” Damon concluded.
“Hey guys, welcome back.” Erick offered as he realized Damon and Kayla had returned to the table.
“Oh thanks,” the twosome replied in unison.
“I love this song!” Kayla’s mother suddenly exclaimed. “Let’s go dance, Erick!” she said as she pulled Erick by the hand and led him to the dance floor.
Damon and Kayla’s eyes follow the newly bonded duo to the dance floor. “I’ve never seen my mother like this,” Kayla announced. “I didn’t even know she knew this song.”
“What is it?” Damon asked.
“It’s Fire Burning by Sean Kingston,” Kayla replied as she and Damon watched Erick and her mother on the dance floor.
Damon laughed. “Not only does she know the song, but she is teaching Erick how to dance to it.”
As the evening concluded, Erick and Kayla’s mother walked arm in arm a few steps ahead of Damon and Kayla. As they stopped off at Kayla’s car, Erick was just finishing a classic tirade from the first episode The Huxtable People, his all-time favorite series.
“I hate to break up this paddy-cake but we have brunch plans and spa treatments tomorrow, mom.” Kayla informed as she walked passed them and unlocked her car doors with a remote clicker.
Kayla’s mother brushed her off. “Make out with your boyfriend for a minute,” she said before turning back to Erick. “You remind me so much of her father. He was a good man.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Johnson.”
“I had so much fun tonight.” Kayla’s mother said as she gave Erick a peck on the cheek.
“Enjoy the rest of your trip,” Erick responded as he gave her a hug.
“I will. Here’s my card. Please keep in touch. I want to know what you think of The Paper Chase,” Kayla’s mother said as she handed him her card and got in the car.
“Finally! I show I know!” Damon exclaimed as he and Erick headed back to Erick’s car.