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“Shit, these new jeans are too tight,” Eric thought as he tried to subtly adjust the front wedgie they were giving him. “The last thing I need is to feel like my nuts are in a vice while trying to charm Alyssa’s parents. Maybe I can head to the bathroom real quick before they get – ah shit.”
His plan was foiled as he saw Alyssa and an older couple walk through the door of the restaurant. He was at the bar, nursing a beer in an attempt soothe his nerves, but stood up and waved to them as he was spotted. “Shit, she wasn’t joking. Her dad really is wearing sweatpants to this restaurant…tucked into work boots? He may be so behind fashion sense that he’s actually looped around the other side and is pulling of a fire fit right now. Gotta respect that.”
He smiled wide and grasped her father’s hand in a firm grip. “Hey there, I’m Eric. Great to meet you.” His enthusiasm was met with a blank stare and a mumbled response. “Hi, I’m Paul.” He glanced at Alyssa, wondering if he had screwed up already, but she just rolled her eyes slightly and smiled at him. She had told him that her father was a man of few words, and somehow she had undersold it. Luckily, her mom was just the opposite.
He shifted his attention to the woman standing next to his girlfriend and was immediately forced to use all of his willpower to hold eye contact. “Holy shit,” he thought as he reached for a handshake. “Her mom’s not shy about letting the girls out. Then again, if I dropped 10K on tits like those, I’d have ‘em out at all times also. How did Paul pull this woman? Fuck, stay focused. Your girlfriend has a hot mom. That’s a plus. Now you know she’ll age well. Or have a Botox addiction. Either way, not bad.”
Realizing his internal monologue was spiraling, Eric’s mouth decided to take over from his brain and introduce himself. He received a dazzling smile in return as the woman gripped his hand in a soft, but firm, grip. “Eric! I’m Cheryl. I’ve heard so much about you, but my daughter didn’t mention how handsome you are.”
Alyssa cut in as Eric’s mind stalled. “Oh my god, mom. Let’s at least get to the table before you start flirting with my boyfriend.” Her tone was one of true annoyance disguised as playful banter. Cheryl swatted jokingly at her as they made their way to the table. “Oh stop it. I’m not flirting, I’m just being friendly.”
Once at the table, the conversation turned to familiar topics. Cheryl peppered Eric and Alyssa with questions about him, their relationship, and their future plans. Eric, in turn, asked about family stories, their lifestyle, and did his best to include her dad in the conversation.
“This dude really just doesn’t talk.” Eric thought after yet another question he directed at Paul was answered by Alyssa and her mom. “Then again, maybe he never gets the chance.” He nodded in rapt attention as Cheryl talked about how she had met Paul at a college mixer where he had, in her words, “saved her from a gross guy who had been getting handsy with her.”
“Woah,” Eric said, impressed with the meet-cute story. “Paul to the rescue, huh?” He grinned at him with what he hoped was an enthralled expression, his vision slightly blurred from the several bottles of wine they had consumed with dinner. Cheryl didn’t play around when it came to ordering booze, that was for sure.
Paul gave a short chuckle and grunted his first words in nearly twenty minutes. “Knocked that asshole out.” Eric’s eyes widened in shock and respect as Cheryl rubbed her husband’s arm. “He sure did,” she continued. “And then I whisked him away before the police arrived.”
“Well, shi– shoot,” Eric said, catching himself. “That’s a great story. And now you’ve been together for what? Almost thirty years? That’s amazing.” He was laying it on thick, but then again, so was the wine. He didn’t even know how many glasses he had had. Every time he started running low, Alyssa’s mom had topped him off.
The waiter appeared and placed the check on the edge with a subtle smile. “Whenever you’re ready.” Paul tossed a credit card onto the black folder and stood up with a grumble. He waved off Eric’s attempts to pay for dinner before walking towards the bathroom. Alyssa stood up as well. “I have to go to the bathroom too,” she announced unnecessarily, before following her dad a little unsteadily in her heels.
Eric turned to Alyssa’s mother, who was polishing off her glass of wine. “Thank you guys so much for dinner,” he raved. “I’m glad I finally got to see meet the woman who raised such an amazing girl.” Cheryl smiled at him. “She’s beautiful isn’t she? You know, I looked almost exactly like her at her age. So this is what you have to look forward to.” She winked saucily as Eric stared on in shock.
His brain raced, fighting off the effects of alcohol to try and get a handle on the situation. How did he play this to not continue the flirtatiousness but still stay in her good graces? It was a tough one, for sure. He would need to find the perfect response. Something witty and charming. “Well, it’s good to know she’ll just get hotter with age!” His mouth said, without consulting his brain in any way.
“Excuse me?” Cheryl said, her face suddenly stoic. Eric paled. “I just meant, uh, you’re a beautiful woman, and, uh, I’m lucky that Alyssa has such good genes, uh, you know, not that looks are the only important thing…“ Eric’s floundering trailed off as he saw Alyssa and Paul returning from the restroom. He was fucked. He knew he was fucked. He had called his girlfriend’s mom hot, to her face, and now he was going to get broken up with and possibly have his ass kicked at the same time.
Perspiration beaded on his forehead as he stared helplessly at the woman across from him. His eyes pleaded with her to not say anything, to let his wine slip up be just that, to let him survive this dinner. Suddenly he jumped as he felt a foot slide down the inside of his leg. Cheryl laughed uproariously at him.
“Oh, you men are so cute when you’re flustered. I’m glad you’re so fond of my Alyssa.” Eric stared in confused relief as she stood up to greet her husband and daughter. “What do you guys say we go around the corner for a nightcap? Eric, can you let us old folks bore you for a bit longer?” .