Erik Nolan Ch. 01

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Of all the people Victor thought he’d befriend, a man like Erik Nolan would have been way far down the list. Of all the people he thought he’d have as a housemate, Erik would not have been on that list at all.

Erik was by far the most interesting person Victor called a friend and it boggled his mind that he even considered him a close friend. Victor didn’t subscribe to any belief system, but ‘blessed’ was a word he would have used for Erik. He was naturally outgoing, naturally tall, and naturally rich.

That said, Erik Nolan wasn’t a saint. He had a rough personality — not intimidating, but the kind that wasn’t afraid to make crude, non-PC jokes or offer blunt opinions. He liked a good party and a good drink.

This was the Erik Nolan Victor met in college and this is the Erik Nolan he shared Erik’s three bedroom, three bathroom house with. But before Victor even met him, he made a pre-judgement that their paths would likely never cross. For one thing, despite being in the same educational level, Erik was a few years closer to 30 than he was. He was the archetypal popular high school jock, if such labels still existed. Victor didn’t think he did formal sports. Victor definitely didn’t himself. People liked him, and girls liked him. Victor did drink occasionally, but wasn’t particularly loud or the people magnet he was.

But for whatever reason, whatever makes the universe work as it does, they hit it off. Maybe it was the ‘opposites attract’ thing.

Following graduation from their respective graduate programs, they were both young upstarts at new jobs, both single, and both self-dependent. So naturally (or maybe it wasn’t so natural) they rented an old but newly renovated house together — the mentioned tri-bedroom home all to themselves. Or at least, Victor rented. Erik owned the whole thing. How did they afford it? Victor had savings from working all through high school and undergrad and a bit of education funds from his dad too, while Erik almost exclusively had a boat load of money from his parents. Erik though wanted the extra space in case they took on another body.

About six months into living together, Victor’s mom and dad said they wanted to come see the place their son was so avidly raving about.

It had been years since Victor lived with his parents — his last year of high school in fact, because his schools were always outside their tiny town. He did, of course, go back to visit during summers and sometimes Christmases, but it was never more than three or four weeks at a time. He had gotten used to being on his own. Now with his own place and in the workforce, he was officially never going back. That felt good.

Erik initially made fun of him for getting a visit by his parents as a grown man, but he was basically cool with it — Victor thought he was anyways; he never actually said. Victor suspected that they weren’t ever going to get such a stay from his roommate’s parents. At least, not together.

Erik’s dad was a high level public servant, and his thick salary and sophisticated pension as well as his savings put the Nolans in a very stable situation financially. But despite his work ethic and savviness, Steve Nolan, like his son but in other ways, was not a saint. He was aloof and inattentive towards his wife, and didn’t realize his marriage was breaking down.

There was no person Erik loved and respected more than Elsie Nolan. At least, that’s what Victor believed. Erik wasn’t a touchy feely kind of guy, but he breathed affectionate wisps about his mom here and there. Every bit of a son feeling most attached to his mother seemed true for Erik and Elsie. Victor never saw a picture of her, but she had to be beautiful just judging by Erik’s tone.

His father was mentioned even less, and without the same fondness. Erik told Victor his parents separated while he was off in college and Victor guessed that it was sparked by his mom getting up and leaving her husband. His dad almost tried to compensate for the family breakdown by showering his son with money and allowing him free reign. It didn’t work, because Erik resented his father still, but he probably couldn’t lie that he hated having the freedom and disposal money.

Anyways, the plan for Victor’s parents was that they would stay for two or three weeks, depending on how long they felt. Erik and Victor both had a month off, surprising vacation time for how new they were to their jobs. Victor’s mom was emphatic about not wanting to ‘burden’ them or ‘overstay’ their welcome. Victor assured her they would accommodate her fine.

On the day of their arrival, Victor opened the door to his mom – with her short stature and all — rushing in to hug and kiss his son. The late afternoon sun brought plenty of light into the foyer. “Oh my god, my Victor…” she ensnared him. With Erik facing him while leaned against a wall, Victor knew he’d hear it from him later. Victor could see his all too familiar sheepish smile ridiculing him now. His grinning friend scanned them up and down as he took Ankara travesti in this surely ‘gay’ display.

Victor’s dad came in in a more reserved fashion, as was his style. He dropped the bags – a couple of older suitcases – and joined the Schafer reunion. Actually, he oddly tried to shake hands with Victor before his wife — Victor’s mom – told him to give me a little more than that.

“You haven’t seen him in who knows,” she flustered.

After forced into a father-son hug, the family collectively turned toward Erik, who was just smiling after watching this awkward sequence.

“Oh, guys, this is my roommate, Erik,” Victor rushed. “Erik, my parents, Amie and Kurt.”

Erik pushed himself from the wall and straightened his body while stepping towards them, his bare feet patting on the hardwood. He donned a white sleeveless shirt, a pair of Nike shorts, and red cap worn backwards on his head that covered his blonde hair. The Schafers were not a tall clan, and Erik certainly accentuated that. The male members were both about 5’4, a few tiny steps above the matriarch who was a diminutive 5 feet even. Erik was, in Victor’s estimation, 6 feet – maybe 6’1.

For the warm day, Amie donned a pair of white shorts and deep green tee. Sandals covered her uncoloured nail feet. She was a woman of fair complexion, not overly tanned with shoulder length brown hair and bangs across her forehead. She had a bit of shape to her hips and chest, but for the most part she was a slender woman. Victor’s dad had on a pair of brown slacks and a light blue button-down shirt. Like his son, he was a thin man of slightly darkened skin derived from his day job. While his arms and hands were hairy, the top of his brown hair was thinning.

Erik extended his hand, taking the new guests’ individually, and gave one of the more respectful greetings Victor seen from him. “Erik. Pleasure to meet you both.” Amie Schafer smiled back and offered a sweet ‘hi’ while Kurt Schafer just nodded and said ‘hello’.

“We still have those?!” Victor then said, turning to the raggedy cases by his dad’s feet.

Amie immediately shook her head. “I told your father we needed new ones, but he won’t listen.” She looked legitimately annoyed, but Victor didn’t think much of it. She rolled her eyes and landed on Erik. Victor wasn’t sure how much support she was going to get from him. He at least smiled — or grinned — back.

After a few more inconsequential words, Victor showed them up to their room. He knew Erik brought home more than a few overnight ‘guests’, but they never stayed in their guest room. The Schafers would be breaking it in. It was minimalist — what was one to expect from two guys decorating? But it had a lot of light, a queen-sized bed, and closet space, which were the musts to Victor. They didn’t complain. He showed them the shower, Amie said how happy she was to see her boy, and then he let them get settled.

The next move was to get started on dinner. He preheated the oven and turned on the stove. It’d be pasta and chicken strips tonight.

Prepping everything, Erik walked in just as he was setting a pot of water to boil. He traversed the tiled floor and reached into the fridge for a pre-stocked Heineken. He always had a beer stash in there at all times.

“Parents are all good?” he asked, after taking a swig.

Victor’s head wavered. “Yeah, I think so…it was a long drive. They’re tired and cranky.” The oven beeped that it was ready. He loaded it with a tray of frozen battered chicken. The water needed a bit more time, but Victor had the linguini ready to go.

“Yeah, your mom was really showing your dad who was boss. Dad’s a wimp, huh?” he laughed.

“No, that’s how things are in house,” Victor played off.

Even with two men in the family, Victor knew that his mom seemed to be the authoritative voice in the family. She was a sweet and loving woman, but he and his father knew not to argue with her because it was an argument they would lose. The suitcase stuff was just a weird by-product of that, he guessed.

“Plus, like I said, it was a long ride. Anyone would get annoyed,” he added. The water was bubbling now.

Erik shrugged it off. He took his beer and left the room. Victor finished off dinner, considering Erik’s words some more. If he was implying what he thought he was, it was a misogynistic comment to make. At least, it could have been interpreted as such. It fell in line with other things Erik said and did anyways.

He organized the table in a way that he was sure to make even his mother proud that she raised him right, and then went upstairs to summon his parents. The door was partly ajar and he heard their voice inside. They weren’t loud and combative, but somehow they sounded at odds about something. Victor tapped on the door and pushed it opened.

“Hey, hungry?” he interrupted.

Amie sighed, sounding relieved. She had changed into a long skirt and a blouse. His dad remained in the same clothes. “Yes. Let’s eat.”

While Antalya travesti trailing her son down the stairs, Amie mentioned that he never gave them the ‘grand tour’ of the house. Victor obliged. He figured they already knew the top floor (although maybe not that Erik had the master), so he focused on the ground level. He showed them the main floor powder room that was recently reno’d. He toured them through the living room with the restored fireplace and big screen TV. Finally, he led them through the kitchen and its granite counters and white cupboards.

“Wow, you did this?” Amie enthused about the table setup. Victor mentally gave himself a mental pat on the back as he told her that it was indeed his handiwork. She was glad to see it.

“Where’s Erik, by the way?”

“Oh! He’s probably outside. I guess I should show you that too,” he remarked, heading toward to the backyard walkout.

He slid the screen door and walked out to the charming yard. A spacious house meant a not so spacious outside, but it would do. Looking around, there was the patio area, a little walkout to a garden area, and a barbeque. A fence with bushes rounded the perimeter, shielding the neighbours’ yards for the needed privacy.

A shirtless Erik was sitting at the patio table. The discarded garment hung over top of the chair next to him. He had a cigarette in one hand and a phone, held to his ear, in the other. An empty beer bottle sat beside the ashtray and his hat next to that. Without it, Erik sported a wavy head of rich dirty blonde tresses. It was grown out a bit, but by no means long. As his parents stepped in front behind him, Victor saw his mom’s eyes widen a bit. Victor didn’t speak out of respect for his friend who was chatting and to allow his parents to take everything in.

Victor put his hand to his mouth to alert his roommate it was dinner time. Without a real acknowledgement from him, he led his parents back inside.

The Schafers began dinner in Erik’s absence. The now covered man walked in a few minutes in. He went right into the fridge and grabbed a beer while offering Victor and Kurt one. Like his son, Kurt was also the occasional drinker. “Amie? I’ve got wine too.”

The older woman waved her hands dismissingly. “Oh, I don’t drink at all.” Erik didn’t say anything to that and sat down.

After a toast to their ‘safe arrival’, dinner conversation centred on the guests. Amie Schafer worked inside the home.

“Plain old housewife,” she said behind a shy laugh. Kurt Schafer had a few more years on his wife and was a ‘lead operations technician’ at a community centre. What did that mean?

“I’m the head janitor,” he undersold, much to his wife’s visible chagrin. She shook her head and reminded him it was more than that. Kurt didn’t say more than that.

Amie fitted and swallowed some greens before asking, “So, what do you do, Erik?”

He answered that he was a high level account manager for a large financial firm.

“Oh,” Amie intrigued. “That’s pretty exciting.”

“Yeah, everyone is pretty useless, so I have to do it all and clean up everyone’s messes.” There was the Erik Nolan ‘charm’ Victor was used to. He didn’t think his parents would be too appreciative.

However, Victor then watched them go on a weird conversation line of ‘doing it’. He didn’t think it was sexual like his generation’s mind was programmed to think. It didn’t look like his mom thought of it that way, anyway. In any case, she was into it.

“Sometimes I do it too much at home,” she laughed. Victor thought it was a joke. He laughed — nervously. His father remained silent – as he had almost the entire time at the table.

After dinner, they ventured into the backyard. Erik took his usual spot at the end of the long oval table in front of his ash tray, still with remnants of his earlier endeavours. Victor sat next to him and Amie beside him. Kurt curiously sat at the other end, considerably away from everyone.

The sky’s turned golden glow turned a dark blue as they sat around the table. Tobacco scented the air while Erik casually worked at his cigarette. Somehow Victor was thankful it wasn’t a blunt wiggling between his fingers. Although they didn’t smoke, Victor knew his parents could tolerate cigarettes. His mom in particular told him it was disgusting habit, but she could ‘learn to be OK’ with it. She wouldn’t be as tolerant of weed.

“So Amie, I bet you get a few looks on the street, huh?” Erik suddenly said. Victor thought he was so unfiltered to ask a question like that.

His mom seemed to think so too. Amie audibly laughed it off. “Oh boy, that’s trouble…”

“Well, do you?”

Victor wanted — and expected — his mom to laugh it off again and not entertain the line of question, even as light-hearted as Erik made it out to be. She did laugh. But then she answered, “Oh gosh, not in a long while…”

“Oh come on,” Erik dropped his hand. “You’re what — only 44? 45? I’d say you still have it. You’re hot…”

It İstanbul travesti wasn’t that Victor didn’t think Erik was right. He was. His mom was beautiful. A son could see that. She had a pretty face, highlighted by long brown hair and hazel eyes, and a tiny yet curvy body. It was just that knowing Erik and the ‘cool’ persona he put on for people — it was hard to believe he was being nice and sincere just to be nice and sincere. Nice wasn’t the word Victor would have used for him. There was always something digging beneath the surface.

And then he added two monster words.

“…Sexy even.”

The compliments, the chatter…it occurred to Victor that Erik was flirting with her! He was unmistakably flirting with his mom! He had heard and seen this song and dance from his roommate. He made a living of it in college. He was good. He succeeded in most of ‘conquests’ (which was Erik’s word for many of his partners.) But this wasn’t the tall pretty blonde from the university volleyball team…this was his mom!

Victor was angry and annoyed inside. Once again, it wasn’t that his mom wasn’t objectively good looking. She was. But to hear the word ‘hot’ placed next to her name by Eric Nolan…that put him off.

Amie modestly thanked him behind some high pitched laughs. Victor looked across to his father to see if he was seeing this craziness too. He expected to see some ire on his face. But there was nothing. His head was almost hunched into his neck, his back almost hunched forward. If anything, he looked like he was getting drowsy as he just watched the rest of the table converse! He didn’t really say much the whole day, come to think of it.

Victor turned back to the conversation to catch the end of something Erik said. He didn’t make it out, but Amie was smiling and chuckling again. His head basically bounced between them while they amicably traded lines. He might as well have been back in the house. Kurt certainly wasn’t present despite being present.

He thought things might’ve stopped when his dad rose up. He just sleepily announced, “Going to bed now…Night everyone.”

And with that, he was gone. A few ‘goodnights’ went his way and then he disappeared into the house. Amie didn’t follow. Victor noted her smile still painted onto her face. There was a chill in the air and, without the patio light, it may have well been dark. Victor didn’t say anything but wished his mom would start yawning too.

More words were danced back and forward between Amie and Erik. Victor stopped playing ping pong and tilted his head look at the sky. He wished he had a star to wish upon right now. The light pollution of the big city concealed everything.

While Victor was distracted in celestial contemplation, suddenly Erik reached over and slapped his leg. Victor was understandably startled and let out a cry while he leaned forward in his chair.

“Look alive, Vic!” Erik amusingly commanded.

While he rubbed his thigh, his mom seemed to enjoy the horseplay. Victor didn’t know whether she liked the slap or his reaction more. Erik played around a lot like that with him so he was used to it. He was just caught off guard and a bit embarrassed to have it in front of his mother.

Amie must’ve heard Victor’s mental commands. She put her hand to her face and covered her mouth. “Well then, I guess I should call it a night too.” She pushed her chair out and lifted herself up. Victor saw the droopiness in her eyes. She was indeed tired. Thankfully.

“Need anything before you turn in?” her son offered.

Amie didn’t. Her lips went into an exhausted smile. “I think we’re OK.” She looked toward Erik and wished him a good night. He raised his glass to her.

After collectively watching her step inside, Victor and Erik sat at the table alone. Darkness took over the patio and after a moment Victor considered retiring into the house as well.

Just as he was about to leave, Erik lit up another cigarette spoke, stopping his friend. “Your mom really needs a good fuck, you know.”

“What?”

“Your dad isn’t doing it for her. She’s way unhappy.”

Victor shook his head and wondered where this was coming from. His hands relaxed on the arm rests, where he was readying to push himself. “What are you talking about?”

Erik coolly puffed a cloud into the air and fed more ashes into the crystal tray. “Your dad is a moron. Just like my old man. He stopped caring for your mom a long time ago. Definitely hasn’t fucked her in years.”

Victor knew he was likely right that they stopped being intimate. His dad had asthma and really limited what he could do — that must’ve included sex too. And they weren’t generally touchy feely and affectionate with each other. Victor knew they did bicker a little bit, but what couple didn’t? But to say that his dad stopped caring for her — that crossed a line.

“How do you know?” he quizzed.

“Because I saw it with my parents, dummy! Your mom’s trapped. She’s got a husband that doesn’t say much and doesn’t show her anything. Her marriage is pretty much going through the motions of living. ‘What are we going to eat…did anyone call today…did we pay the water bill…’ And she’s not going to open up to her son because they’re pretty much the same guy. She’s starved for attention, Vic.”

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