This novel originally appeared as Professional Courtesy six years ago - 2006. I've always liked the story and decided to take advantage of our Internet world; offer it in a style that's more compatible with my current writing style and update the ever-changing contemporary setting. Remember, Facebook had just recently been founded (2004) and Twitter (2006) was still an idea. Text messaging in 2005 had still not gained the popularity of communicating that it commands today. And consider what was going on in Steve Jobs' mind - iPod (2001), iTunes (2001), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010).
"Friendly, rustic, cozy and masculine" was the way most people described the El Rancho Steakhouse, a landmark restaurant on the North San Diego County coastline. It specialized in serving dry-aged prime steaks, lobster, prawns, and a wicked variety of martinis. It was a moderately busy Tuesday evening; the 'season' would officially kick off on Memorial Day weekend . . . just 10 days away.
"Did a Brian book a table tonight?" Lisa asked Eric at the hostess stand.
"As a matter of fact, he shoulda been here 10 minutes ago with three others." It was 7:40 p.m. and Eric Flynn was the closing manager tonight.
"A couple of them work with me at The Joynt. Brian's the new manager so I know they'll be here." Lisa, a cocktail server, had two jobs. At lunch, she worked at The Cheesecake Joynt, a casual restaurant seven miles south in Del Mar, which everyone referred to as The Joynt.
"Might be heavy traffic on the Five. But I'll give you a shout when they come in. . .we'll take good care of them." Eric smiled with a nod and returned to study the remaining reservations.
"Thanks." Lisa returned to the dining room just as the phone rang.
"Good evening, El Rancho. This is Eric, how may I help you?" While the hostess was seating a party he'd instinctively grabbed the telephone.
"Hi, this is Brian McGruder. I've missed my reservation cuz one of us hasn't arrived from L.A. But I just got a text that he's now driving by Camp Pendleton. Can I move it back to eight-thirty?"
"I can do that. But just so you know, our last reservation is at 9:00 p.m."
During the week the steakhouse closed fairly early. Southern Californians and the beach community residents in Encinitas liked to eat early at the many restaurants that dotted the coastline. The families would then go home immediately after dinner, and later the younger crowd would party hard at the nearby bars and clubs. On Friday and Saturday, they served until eleven.
"No problem. I'm in this crazy business, too, and we'll definitely be there. Lisa has told me nothing but good things about El Rancho. Bu-bye."
"Okay, Mr. McGruder, see you then."
Well as long as he gets here within a reasonable time . . . and it'll be cool to meet the new manager of The Joynt.
Just then a good-looking young couple walked into the lobby which was paneled in distressed wood. Eric checked the clock and verified it was 7:45 p.m. He also subtly checked the 'hunk factor' as the guy announced his name.
"Hi. My name's Scott. I have reservations for 8:00 p.m."
Eric momentarily glanced at the 'book' and ticked off the name. "Scott, welcome. Good to have you both with us." He flipped on his megawatt smile and quickly studied the attractive couple. While the blond girlfriend looked elsewhere, Eric gave the handsome surfer-type the 'ok' high sign. The reservation indicated that Scott was going to propose marriage tonight and Eric planned on making his young guest a shining knight in the eyes of the lady.
"Somewhere in a corner?" Scott asked, with an almost timid, pleading expression. He was wearing the Southern California uniform-of-the-day: tee, open shirt, low-riser jeans and flip-flops. The jeans were snuggly molded around a well-packed crotch. This was a typical look that would be modified to a tee and cargo shorts when summer arrived.
"Got a great table for you. Follow me, please."
Eric easily fit the image of a young father, older brother or adult son and always made the guests - whatever their age - feel comfortable, and his friendly, non-intimidating manner made him very popular with the locals. Regulars always called Eric for a reservation. Tonight he wanted Scott and his fiancée to remember this important evening and return to 'Eric's place', as many called El Rancho.
While seating the couple, Eric mentally undressed Scott: part of a game that kept life interesting and the long hours agreeable. However, he never let on that these male guests rang his chimes. Ah, all these straight, cute dudes not knowing what they're missing. And occasionally, his gaydar would ping - but business was business. It was not wise to muddy the waters at work.
Hot and hunky were the buzzwords, and the thirty-two year-old manager had an abundance of eye-candy. In addition to being popular with affluent coastal residents, the restaurant was only 15 miles south of Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. Nightly, the surfers, college students, single executives, families and Marines mingled together with an easy informality. El Rancho was a great place to take a date, wife or the guys for dinner. The quality was high, the prices were reasonable, and the atmosphere was very coastal California.
Most of the reservations showed up within the next 45 minutes. The dining room was hopping with activity and several people sat around the fire pit outside on the patio having after-dinner drinks and beers. Eric had just returned from making the rounds in the kitchen, dining room and bar, when a good-looking threesome entered the restaurant laughing. The two men, kind of a 'Mutt-Jeff' combination, escorted a lovely, twenty-ish, tanned woman dressed in a sweater, tight jeans and heels.
The taller man, probably around thirty, stepped forward and said, "Hi. You must be Eric?"
"Guilty as charged." Eric grinned as he observed the men.
The guy who'd just spoken was conventionally preppy handsome with short, light brown hair and matched Eric's trim, six-foot height. He wore a black crew sweater and khakis. Probably my age. The 'Mutt' was more in the short lithe, surfer mode. Eric guessed him to be in his mid-twenties. Pretty cool-looking group. Eric glanced at the clock. It read 8:25 p.m.
"My name's Brian McGruder," he said as he shook Eric's hand. "This is Karen, and my bodyguard is Steve."
Everyone laughed and the atmosphere immediately loosened between the strangers. Steve's a real hottie. Eric judged the guy's sun-streaked hair, freckles, great eyelashes and baby blues. Cute but not my type. Now Brian, on the other hand. . .whoa.
"You still going to be 'four'?" Eric asked, before releasing Brian's warm, strong hand.
"No, we've lost the fourth. He's still hung up in some sort of traffic jam in Orange County. It'll just be the three of us. By the way, here's my card, Eric. I'm the new manager at The Cheesecake Joynt. Karen, the kids and I just moved down here two weeks ago from L.A."
Damn, another hetero breeder. Eric mentally shrugged the thought away. "Lisa mentioned that. Welcome to the area, Brian. Allow me to buy y'all a round of drinks." He pointed out a table on the room diagram to the hostess and added, "I've got an ideal table for you and I'll stop by later."
"Please do," Brian said as the threesome was led to the dining room.
Just then, Lisa cruised by the front desk with a drink order.
"Oh, Lisa, your friends just arrived. They're at table 23. Brian, Karen and Steve. The fourth is tied up in OC traffic and won't make it."
"The missing dude would be Steve's boyfriend. Well, I'm sure they'll get together at Mother's later." Mother's, or 'Mom's' as the local wags had nicknamed it, was a hot gay bar nearby in Solana Beach. Eric would stop in after work occasionally.
A shame that all the cute ones are either taken or straight. Eric watched Brian in the dining room and laughed as he thought of his paraphrase on the old 'married or gay' saying. "Buy them the first round on me. Okay?"
"Thanks, boss." Lisa nodded and scooted into the dining room.
Two other parties arrived and were promptly seated. On Friday and Saturday evenings there was usually a small wait. Over the next hour Eric bounced between the dining room, 'stroking' the guests, and being at the front door to say good night. As GM for the past four years, he was very intent on building and keeping steady, local business. It reflected well on his year-end bonus check.
He smiled as a party of four Marines departed; he'd also bought them a round of drinks; Eric did this for everyone on active duty. It was not lost on the grunts that this generosity was heartfelt. Politics aside, he felt it was his duty to support the morale of the guys. It also didn't hurt that he found these young, trim, muscular warriors with their 'high and tight' haircuts very sexy.
As guests continued to leave, Eric pondered the past decade of his still-young life, taking personal inventory of his San Diego State years and a failed marriage with a college sweetheart. A 'B' average with a BS degree from school and an 'F' in a straight relationship. The only good thing from the two-year marriage was a terrific son.
The bad news was that 'Brenda the Bitch' moved to Virginia several years ago. She told Eric that it was best that their then four-year old son not be contaminated from being around his queer dad. What a piece of work she is. . .or was. While his son was in Eric's thoughts constantly, Brenda was day-old garbage. No matter how you package it, shit still stinks.
Since they were in Virginia, there was no way to enforce parental visitation rights. Thus, he had not seen Eric, Junior, in eight years, and his phone calls were never returned. Letters came back marked 'return to sender' in Brenda's handwriting for a couple of years, then even that stopped. He doubted that the kid was even aware that his dad had continually tried to contact him.
Eric had moved through a series of upwardly mobile restaurant manager positions before landing at El Rancho four years earlier. The evidence of his professional success was a great, secure, well-paying job and an ocean-view condo. Not so positive was his personal life. Just a string of boyfriends that went no further than some affairettes and occasional fast fucks that left Eric a 'dull boy' in the relationship department. Thank God for the Internet.
He warmly said good night to a family of four who he knew well. Eric had known the doctor, his wife and two sons since he had joined El Rancho. The boys, now 19 and 17 years of age, had filled out and were absolutely adorable. But other than admiring the two young, virile men, Eric maintained an older brother rapport. 'Plucking chicken' wasn't his thing.
Eric had just finished checking out the early servers' reports and deposits in the rear of the dining room when he saw the party from table 23 get up. He dashed around the side of the room, not wanting to appear eager to get back up front.
"Lisa was right on the mark. This is terrific food," Brian warmly said to Eric as they approached each other in the foyer. "And thanks for the drinks." He extended his hand and Eric shook it. Brian's eyes sparkled as he grinned.
"You've got to come down to The Joynt," Steve added. "Ask for my station so I can take good care of you." He smiled and also shook Eric's hand, firmly gripping Eric's arm with his free left hand.
"Can I offer you guys an after-dinner drink before the bar closes? You'd enjoy the fire pit," Eric suggested.
"Buddy, thanks for the offer, but Karen and I have to get back so the sitter can go home," Brian said. "Plus, I know that Steve is probably going over to meet his friend at, um . . . what's the name . . . oh, yeah, Mother's."
"I just got a call from Jerry. He's back from that Orange County traffic fiasco and waiting for me," Steve confirmed.
"Okay, guys. Karen, nice meeting you. Perhaps you'll bring in the whole family for an early dinner sometime? We've got a very reasonable kids' menu."
"At four and six, the boys will wolf down anything. We'll do that sometime."
"Eric, why don't you join us at Mom's? I'd like Jerry to meet you," Steve said. "And who knows who else might be there?"
There was a marvelous, impish quality about Steve's smile.
"If I can get this place shut down early enough, I might just do that. Thanks for the offer. Brian, welcome again to the neighborhood. I look forward to seeing you soon." Eric shook hands with all again, then waved goodnight. Damn, Karen's lucky to have that guy.
For the next 45 minutes, Eric went through the closing procedures and when the last dishwasher clocked out it was only 11:00 p.m. After turning off the lights and engaging the alarm system, he decided to take up Steve's invitation to stop by for a beer.
Mom's was almost on the way home anyway and it would be nice to know Steve better and meet his lover. Maybe he does have some other single friends?
Driving down the I-5 was almost like being on autopilot; Eric had made this trip almost daily for the past four years. At the Lomas Santa Fe exit, he turned right and headed towards old town. Normally, Eric would go inland and travel the road up the hill where his condo was perched high over the coastline. His home had been convenient to drag someone out of Mom's on more than one occasion.
Mom's was in the middle of a bar-infested block and somehow the gay and hetero crowd co-existed on the busy street. Parking was always a problem and tonight was no exception. Eric found a spot in a closed hardware store lot and hiked three blocks to Mom's. It was late enough for a guy's nocturnal horniness to kick in. Straight and gay pairings looking for love had started the nightly exodus from the bars to the cars. The street was quite lively with foot traffic.
Eric never minded being 'carded' at the front door of a bar. He was proud of his youthful image and loved the inevitable, unbelieving reaction from the door security man when his age was checked on his driver's license.
"Good evening," he said to the guy outside Mom's. He automatically pulled out his driver's license and waited for the big, trim hulk of a guy to verify his age.
"Hey, man," said the security guy. "I thought you were 25, tops. About my age."
"You been here long?" Eric asked. There must be a big turnover at the door. . .never see the same guy twice. "I get in here once in a while."
"Just started two weeks ago. This whole routine of verifying someone's age is new for me. But, man, you really look good for an 'old man'," he said with a chuckle.
"It must be the 1800 tequila I order for the margaritas."
"Then I'm switching to 1800 tonight." Eric didn't think the tall, young, muscular security doorman had to worry. Mom's hired door guys who were a combination of tempting studs and assertive security. Like the hunky bartenders, all the male employees were encouraged to flaunt their raw, clean-cut, youthful sexiness. Good marketing.
"Do you take it 'neat' or 'on the rocks'?" Eric asked, smiling at the possible sexual direction of the repartee. He admired the young man. The tight, black, security t-shirt showed off a very well built guy who obviously took care of himself. The right short sleeve almost, but not quite, covered a tat that was the bottom part of the USMC emblem.
"How I take it isn't any of your business . . . yet," the security guy said, laughing with a wink.
Eric loved that this man took the flirting positively and threw it right back.
"Until we get to 'yet', here's something to buy that drink after work." He palmed a five-dollar bill with a business card into the doorman's hand. Aside from the fiver being a small token of thanks for the doorman doing his job well, Eric knew that the business card would create a positive spin for El Rancho. The guy must come in contact with hundreds of people and I wouldn't mind meeting this hunk another time.
"Thanks. I'll take advantage of your generosity . . . later. By the way, my name's Brad." He held the business card in his hand and looked at it briefly.
Eric judged that this was more of a friendly acknowledgement than a come-on.
"When you come in, I'll have one with you if I'm still here."
"Jesus, I love your restaurant. Haven't been there for several years though."
"It musta been before my time. And I've been there four years." Eric stood back to let a few guys through the door. Brad checked their I.D.'s and waved them in.
"I was just out of boot camp at Pendleton. A group of us went to El Rancho to celebrate our graduation. That'd be six years ago. I was stationed in South Korea and then rotated to Iraq for two tours." Brad said with a shadowed seriousness.
"Wow, a war hero, too. I'm impressed." Eric slapped Brad's shoulder playfully.
"I don't know about that shit, but I was there. Just got out of the Corps last month and moved back here. Me and my buddy are going to attend Cal State San Marcos in the fall."
"Buddy, as in . . ."
". . . A real close buddy . . . we're partners. Hey, I didn't mean to mislead you. You understand I was just goofing with a nice guy?"
"Absolutely. And I was goofing with a nice guy, too. Tell you what; bring your buddy in for dinner and the treat's on me. I gotta meet the man that stole your heart." Fuck. Strike one and I'm not even in the door.
"That's a deal. Maybe I'll see you later," Brad replied with a friendly Marine salute.
Eric nodded goodbye and walked inside Mom's.
The long, narrow room was laid out to be very guy-friendly with a bar on the side for around 20 guests. On the opposite wall was a drinking ledge and in the center of the room were five 'high-top' tables and stools - a layout for eye contact and unobstructed cruising. Mirrors on each wall gave the room a greater visual width. The background music had a steady, driving beat that was accented by pulsing lighting.
Thank God California banned smoking in bars. Eric strolled through, remembering his younger barhopping years when he'd come home reeking like a cigarette butt . . . and he never smoked.
Quite a few guys were still in the bar, grouped together in couples, and Eric decided that there were very few singles still available. He was about to check the poolroom and the patio when he heard "Hey, Eric, over here" above the din of the room. At the end of the bar he saw Steve waving. He waved back and walked over to his new friend and a cute second guy.
"Hi," Eric said with a grin.
Steve immediately jumped off the stool and hugged Eric before planting a wet kiss on his cheek. "We are now officially friends, and this is my man Jerry Franz. He's still pissed that he didn't get down here in time for that great dinner."
Jerry stood and took Eric's hand. The 501's and form-fitting tank top flattered his sculpted body.
"Hi, Jerry. I'm Eric Flynn. Sorry you couldn't make it. Perhaps you two can come in soon? We've got a few nicely secluded dark tables for lovers only." Eric smiled and squeezed Jerry's hand for emphasis just as the bartender came over and took Eric's order for a Bud Light.
"Nice meeting you and I'll really look forward to the visit. I just transferred from Long Beach and don't know too much about this area." Jerry explained that Steve and he had met in Long Beach six months earlier, but Steve had already accepted a transfer.
"So, Jer and I have kept the flames burning via long distance visits until he can get his cute buns transferred."
"Steve told me that you're a single man?" Jerry asked.
"Yep. Too single, if you know what I mean." Eric shrugged as he jerked his left fist up and down, facing the guys with his back to the door.
"Well, I've got a guy that might just be a good friend for you," Steve said. "I'm pretty sure he'll be here soon."
"Really? Steve, you move fast." Eric was curious whom Steve had in mind.
"It's the 'Steve M4M Dating Service'," Jerry said with a laugh.
"Strike while the iron is hot, as they say," Steve replied. "And speaking of the devil . . ."
"Hey, guys. I found you," came a voice from behind Eric..
After turning around, Eric's mouth almost flew open with surprise when he recognized the man. "Um, hi again," mumbled Eric with a feeble smile. He tried desperately to recover from the shock as he was suddenly within inches of his fantasy du jour.
"Hi, Brian. Glad you could get away," Steve added. Both he and Jerry warmly greeted their friend with vigorous handshakes.
"Listen, if you'll excuse us, Steve and I are going to duck out to the patio for a smoke," Jerry said. "We'll be back in a few."
"Brian, this is a little bit of a surprise, seeing you here." Eric regained his composure and projected more assertion and command. Brian McGruder was still wearing the same sweater and khakis.
"Steve insisted that I show up. Seems he knows someone I should get to know better." Brian smiled and raised a you-know-what-I-mean eyebrow.
The bartender brought Eric's beer and Brian asked for the same. It took all of Eric's willpower not to be distracted from Brian's presence. "He said the same thing to me. But I gotta tell you, I don't mess around with married men." Eric stared back with edgy neutrality. Man, I'm about to experience strike number two.
"Neither do I, if that's any consolation, but . . . oh fuck, I think I have some 'splaining to do, as Ricky used to say," Brian replied.
Eric caught the 'Lucy' reference but was puzzled at the use of it. "Let's start with your wife and kids." Eric took a sip from his longneck and stared at Brian.
"I guess I just assumed you knew that I'm a single, gay man." Concern crept over Brian's handsome face. "And rule number one in our business is to never assume."
"Single? Gay?" Eric's mood changed from puzzlement to incredulity. "How do you explain Karen?"
"Easy. She's my sister and the two boys are her kids."
"Sister? Oh." A light bulb of understanding switched on in Eric's mind. Oh please, God, make this a hit to first base.
"Yeah. Her rat-bastard ex-husband disappeared, stopped child support and left Sis stranded, and she and the kids have had a tough time adjusting. When I accepted the transfer, Karen asked if she and my nephews could come down and temporarily live with me. What could I say? The boys will both be going to school in the fall and Karen will become a working mom. We've agreed that she'll find her own place by September."
"Well, you really had me going." Eric felt a continuing surge of relief knowing that they were both batting on the same team. The bartender set the second beer in front of Brian. He grabbed for the bottle and took a long pull as Eric started reappraising the man before him. Oh shit, could this be the real deal?
"I'll be honest with you. I overheard Lisa talking to one of the servers at The Joynt about you not long ago. She really likes you and was lamenting about how you have been in a dry spell with boyfriends. I guess that piqued my curiosity."
The two men cautiously studied each other's expressions and verbal nuances.
"Ha. . .you have no idea. Dry spell is an understatement, and I don't think a career in the restaurant business helps matters. I mean, I can't remember the last time I had a Friday or Saturday night off." Eric's eyes shifted to his beer bottle. He started picking away at the label.
"Eric, trust me. . .I do. It's been about eight years for me and I keep thinking that I'll find Mr. Right. But who wants to sit at home alone on weekends waiting for a guy who's at work? Today's Tuesday and this is my big evening."
Brian managed to rest his hand gently on Eric's shoulder very naturally, and Eric, in reflex, put his hand around his new friend's waist. He pulled Brian closer until their legs were touching. It was that moment, during the meeting ritual, when each tested the waters, tentatively.
"I don't have to be at work until early afternoon. How about you?" Eric mentally crossed his fingers and hoped Brian's turn at the bat would take them both home . . . literally and figuratively.
"I'm closing tomorrow night, so I don't have to be in 'til two." Brian physically emphasized with a firmer grip on Eric's shoulder.
"Then here's what I propose. I've got a fridge full of beer and a couple of neat chardonnays. What say we go back to my place and get to know each other better? I live right up the hill." Eric cautiously pushed his body into contact. His crotch to Brian's leg. Please, buddy, you're at the plate . . . take a swing.
"I'd like that." Brian emphasized the point by turning slightly and gently pressing his body closer. Bulges touched; only cloth separated the intimate contact.
"But would it be rude to leave the guys without saying goodnight?" Eric asked. Both were definitely aware of the other's physical excitement. Oh, yeah, this could be a home run.
"I think they'll understand."
"Good, cuz I'm not changing my mind." Eric pulled out a ten, laid it on the bar and took Brian's hand.
There was nothing said as the two men made their way to Mom's front door. Eric was excited and apprehensive at the same time. Is this going to be fast and dirty or something better? He could handle a one-night stand if that was all it was to be, but he was ready for much more. Taking the lead, he firmly held Brian's hand as they dodged other guys standing by the bar engaged in last-minute negotiations concerning their next step. The door was opened from the outside and Eric almost tripped on his way out.
"Well, looks like another satisfied customer," the tall doorman said as he kept Eric from falling.
"Um, thanks, Brad," he replied, not at all uncomfortable with the hunky guy's big hands helping steady him. "Meet my friend, Brian. He just moved down here from Long Beach. Brad just got out of the Corps."
"Hi, Brad." The two men shook hands and Brian added, "He's only had one beer. Honest." Brian smiled and brought his arms around Eric's shoulders in a protective, buddy-like stance.
"Nice meeting you. Have a good night, guys," Brad said with a wide grin. "And don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Sir, yes, Sir," Eric answered with a mock salute. "I think that assignment gives me plenty of room. By the way, I was serious about you and your buddy being my guests at El Rancho."
"I've got your card and I won't lose it."
"Semper Fi," Eric said as he gave the former Marine a 'thumbs up'.
The guys nodded good night and walked away from the door. Brad's expression telegraphed a mixture of surprise and admiration for the mission accomplished with Eric's quick hook-up.
"Damn. Those 'grunts' get better looking every day," Brian said as they moved a few steps further.
"That's just a sample of what comes in the restaurant every weekend," Eric answered. "Nice side benefit."
"Certainly makes working at night worthwhile." Brian turned and smiled.
"Definitely. I'm parked up by the hardware store. How about you?" It was a little after midnight and the streets were still active with foot traffic. Eric resisted the urge to hold Brian's hand.
"Actually, I'm across the street," Brian said. "Come on. I'll drive you up to your car so I can follow you."
"Sounds like a plan." They walked over to a vintage red Wrangler and Eric went around to the passenger's door. "A great beach car," he continued, opening the door and easing in.
"This was my first new set of wheels out of college," Brian replied as he clambered into the driver's seat. Before turning the ignition he leaned over and lightly kissed Eric. "I've wanted to do that since we first met at the restaurant."
"I hope there's more where that came from?" Eric said, responding with a firmer kiss. He felt a surge of energy. Not a bolt of lightening; more like an encouraging tingle of promise.
Their tongue tips touched for a moment.
"As you said, we both don't have to be to work until tomorrow afternoon." Brian winked and fired up the Jeep. "Whoops. You're unraveling my reserve. I hope I'm not becoming too bold?"
"Bold? I was just about to mention that I have spare toothbrushes." Eric laughed and rested his hand on Brian's thigh.
"And everything else?" Brian gave Eric a questioning look.
"Uh, huh. Let's be serious for a few seconds. For the record, I'm 32, very single, HIV-negative, love all kinds of sex . . . safely . . . although a little vanilla, and I take my coffee black in the morning." Might as well find out if there is any excess baggage.
"Okay, show and tell time for me. I just turned 30 and ditto to everything you said, except I like cream in the morning . . . and then coffee." Brian looked at Eric and they both broke up.
"Nothing like getting the preliminaries out of the way. But when we get to my place, let's have a drink first." Check one for the good guys, and I think he's got all the makings to be a good guy.
"I like the term 'first'." Brian beamed at the implications.
At the end of the next block, Eric indicated that the gray Cherokee, now almost alone in the lot, was his. Before getting out, he kissed Brian once more and said, "Just follow me. We're going under the Five and up the hill."
"Will do," Brian said.
With nimble agility and athletic grace, Eric trotted over to his car. He got in, started the Cherokee and drove to the curb opening. The red Wrangler was in idle and the shadowy figure was waving. Eric waved back and turned onto the street. He made sure that Brian was following.
Okay, be cool. Don't come across as the sex-starved, horny, male predator that I am.