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Eric sat at his desk, squinting groggily at a way-too-bright computer screen. The brightness was relative, of course. To others, it might appear to be “extremely dim” or “set at its darkest level,” but to him, it seemed as if the excel spreadsheet was emblazoned on the fucking sun. That’s right. It was Monday, and he was still hungover.
“Christ,” he thought as he attempted to look like a productive employee. “How am I still feeling like garbage from Saturday night? Who’s idea was it to go to a late-night bar? Oh, right, mine.”
He groaned as he reflected on their night out. All the confidence he had had when talking about hitting on girls had dissolved the second he had ran into Carly. He was annoyed that Jack had “won their bet” and had spent all Sunday gloating about it, but in truth, he was relieved he hadn’t done anything stupid. He was not relived, however, that he had ended up drunk texting Alyssa all night and making plans for her to meet his parents.
It wasn’t that he didn’t think it was time for his girlfriend to meet his parents. They had been dating for long enough, and he’d already met hers. He knew his parents would love Alyssa, and he knew she would have no problem getting along with them. Plus, as his drunk brain had pointed out, this weekend was the perfect opportunity. His little brother was coming home for Thanksgiving break, and since he had abruptly decided was spending the holiday with his girlfriend’s family, Eric and his parents had decided to do a pre-thanksgiving at his dad’s house. Which meant Alyssa had the opportunity to meet his whole family at once. Unfortunately, this also meant something far more sinister – both his parents would be in the same room at the same time.
Just the thought of that dynamic made him break out in a cold sweat. He pulled out his phone to text them. “Maybe if I talk to them like reasonable adults, they’ll manage to keep it together for, like, four hours.” He thought, not even believing his own words. Opening up a group chat with his mom and dad that had lain dormant for months, he typed slowly.
Eric [10:18am]: Hey guys! Just a quick heads up, I was thinking about inviting Alyssa to our early Thanksgiving this weekend. Is that cool?
Mom [10:21am]: Oh honey that sounds great! Joel and I have been dying to meet her!
Dad [10:28am]: Joel isn’t coming to our family Thanksgiving. Eric, that sounds great. I’d be delighted to have her.
Eric [10:29am]: Great! I’ll let her know it’s this Saturday. Dad, what time are we getting to your house?
Mom [10:34am]: Excuse me? It’s family and partners. Joel wants to spend Thanksgiving with his boys too.
Eric [10:35am]: Mom, Alyssa and I can grab dinner with you and Joel this week sometime as well!
Dad [10:42am]: His boys? Shelly, you met him a few years ago. The kids are adults. Doesn’t he have his own family to be with? Anyway, he’s not coming to my house.
Mom [10:48am]: Well, there’s no reason to do it at your house. We can do it at a restaurant instead. That way we won’t have to eat dry turkey anyway.
Dad [11:03am]: Sure, let’s do Thanksgiving at an overpriced buffet. Why don’t we do it at the restaurant you made us eat at on Christmas when you got too drunk to cook?
Mom [11:05am]: What a rude thing to say in front of our son. Eric knows I was just tired that day.
Dad [11:07am]: Tired from lifting your wine glass so many times?
Eric [11:08am]: Wow ok I think Alyssa and I are actually going to skip this dinner. We can just all meet up separately another time.
Mom [11:11am]: Oh don’t you dare. You’ve been hiding her long enough. You’re coming and we’re meeting this girlfriend of yours. We won’t embarrass you.
Dad [11:13am]: Son, you tell Alyssa that we’re excited to have her and you two can get to my place at around 3pm.
Eric [11:15am]: I’m not inviting her until you two promise to keep it together and not fight. Mom, she’ll just meet Joel another time. It’s not a big deal.
Mom [11:18am]: I don’t understand why he wouldn’t be able to come. He’s been nothing but kind to you.
Dad [11:19am]: Yeah kind of high.
Eric [11: 21am]: DAD this is what I’m talking about. Stop picking fights. Mom, Joel is fine. I just don’t want to overwhelm Alyssa with people. Unless you want me to start going to her place for Thanksgiving like someone…
Mom [11:28am]: Oh, don’t even start about your brother. I’m so annoyed at him. We’ll be very cordial don’t worry. Right Steve?
Dad [11:32am]: Yes, we’ll be civil. It will be a fun meal. Tell her to come hungry. I’m getting an 18 pound bird this year.
Mom [11:34am]: 18 pounds?? Why so big for two people? It won’t come out well, you’ll see.
Eric [11:40am]: Ok, sounds good. I’ll invite her. Talk soon!
Eric has left the chat. .