"My goodness, whose apartment is playing that filth?"
Nicole is walking with Dennis through his apartment building. His friends have promised to be on their best behavior for this one dinner, even if they aren't sure why Dennis sees her. Dennis tells them he sees past Nicole's fear of God.
"The only God I fear is Bea Arthur," Kasper had told him.
Nicole's devotion to 'traditional' living and families was not something Dennis mentioned to his friend group, who collectively equal one straight person (Dennis.) He told them that Nicole was old-fashioned and a bit unfamiliar with the "New York Lifestyle" (Dennis's words).
"Oh so no bathhouses or brothels?" Kasper had snickered.
Perhaps it's Nicole's smooth face and her beautiful blonde hair that throws Dennis off his dating rubric. He's hardly ever dated anyone who hadn't been from the city. But he couldn't help but fall for those green eyes and red lips.
"Really, red lips? That's your gold standard?" Kasper asked him.
"I just KNOW they're small," Ziya rolls her eyes.
"It's not just that!" Dennis had defended himself,
"She's the nicest and most honest person I've ever met."
And it's true, Nicole had always been honest; and soon, her honesty and purity will result in a very awful, utterly avoidable situation.
The day before Nicole was set to arrive, Dennis forced all his friends into the living room. He handed out agendas to the four friends and discussed the dos and don'ts of tomorrow's meal. If they break the rules, he's threatened them all with a two-hour cryptocurrency presentation and workshop.
"That is cruel and unusual," Kasper had cried.
But as much as they joke, they know more than anyone that Dennis is in love. They're not happy about it, of course. But they'll be damn sure to respect it. And they would have! If only they remembered the dinner was at 6PM instead of 7PM.
"I promise, it will be low-key, my friends are respectful when new guests arrive," Dennis assures Nicole as he opens his apartment door, where he is met by a group of four girls and one gay singing Fergalicious and twerking on one another. Fortunately, he slams the door shut before Nicole has time to see the group.
Nicole laughs, "why are you being so weird? Let's go inside I want to meet your friends!"
"Uhh," Dennis has trouble coming up with an excuse, "they don't appear to be ready for us quite yet," he says as he hears Miranda's solo.
They always claim they know me.
Comin' to me, call me Stacy
"HEY STACY" the girls and gay yell. Dennis knows what's coming next. He needs to get Nicole out of that hallway now before Kasper's moment comes. Unfortunately, there is no door thick enough to hold his voice.
"How about we go out to eat? I'm craving a nice crab leg right now!" He's desperate, hoping Nicole will agree. She will not.
"Baby, I feel like you're embarrassed by me. I want to meet your friends; you keep telling me how devoted they are to Christ; I'm so anxious to see them!" Dennis's eyes shoot up in realization. He forgot that little piece at the mandatory meeting last night.
"No, it's not that at all, it's just, I may have exag-"
Nicole cuts him off,
"I'm opening this door. We're having a lovely dinner, and I will make new friends to bring to church. The way you describe them," she smiles honestly, "they just seem so great. I'm envious of them, I want to be as full of faith as th-" She opens the door at a very inconvenient time for herself, Dennis, and for God.
The first thing she sees is a shirtless Kasper dowing a shot, with four women screaming "go bitch go," as he prepares for his performance. Nicole's face is frozen, and her body doesn't move. It's not the best time for Fergie to hit it. But, nevertheless, she's gonna do what she's gonna do.
Kasper climbs onto the table and roars:
All the time I turn around, brothas gather 'round
Always looking at me up and down, looking at my
I just wanna say it now
I ain't tryin' to round up drama, little mama
I don't wanna take your man
And I know I'm comin' off just a little bit conceited
And I keep on repeating how the boys wanna eat it
But I'm tryin' to tell that I can't be treated like clientele
Sara screams, "Fuck it up bitchhhh," followed by Megan's "CAUSE THEY say SHE DELICIOUS," which is followed by Miranda's "But I ain't promiscuous,
and if you was suspicious," "All that shit is fictitious," Ziya finishes it off.
As Kasper sings, "I blow kisses," the entire ensemble makes kissy faces and shouts, "MWAH."
The group has yet to notice Dennis and Nicole standing near the doorway with both mouths open with fear and disbelief. Finally, Dennis regains control of himself, races to the speaker, and shuts Fergie up.
Quite rude, seeing it was Ziya's who currently going off.
Just as she finished her line, "my body stay vicious," the music stops, but Ziya does not.
"I be up in the gym just working on my fitness, he's my witness," she notices Dennis in the corner of her eye as she violently shakes her closed right hand, simulating a fantastic handy. Then she's see's Nicole. The unfamiliar face did not stop her hand movements, but her eyes looked horrified when she saw the dark brown flounce sleeve shirred dress. Slowly, her hand slowed down, coming to a gentle stop.
"Oh, well hello!" Ziya tried to act like she didn't just make an invisible man come.
Miranda, Megan, Sara, and Kasper quickly gather themselves and put their shirts and one bra back on. It's best not to explain.
"I um, I... thought you were arriving at 7 PM," Sara smiles through her teeth, trying to remain calm.
Dennis is taking deep breaths, trying to remain calm. "No," he tries to say non aggressively but fails, "I texted you three times today saying 6."
"Oh, it's just usually that means the party starts an hour and a half after the real time," Megan chimes in.
They stand there in silence for what feels like two days before Miranda clears her throat and says to Nicole, "You must be Nicole, I am so excited to meet you. We've heard great things!" Though she'd hardly heard a single thing about her. She walks over to Nicole with her gigantic smile, preparing to hug. Unfortunately, her bra was not entirely secure, and so without Miranda's knowledge, she raced to Sweet Catholic Nicole, tits out, and wrapped her up in a hug. Nicole's eyes open up like an Old Navy at 9 AM. She screams, and Miranda jumps off, concerned. "What??" She panics before Kasper slowly turned her around so she can see her bra in his hands.
Miranda looks at the bra closely and slowly looks down at her breasts.
"I thought it was a little chilly in here."
Sara tries to break the tension, as Dennis is currently unable to speak, and it appears, breathe.
"Hi, I'm Sara, it's great to meet you!" Her smile looks glued on.
"Lovely to meet you," Nicole says with not a hint of a smile on her face. She looks at the room and swallows. "Though I must say that those songs might reflect poorly on our values. I just think if you're going to call yourself devote Christians you should know that Christ would disapprove of this."
Dennis looks up in surprise. He very much regrets not filling them in on this little tidbit. All four friends look at Dennis in confusion, where he gives them a look that appears like nothing but says, "go along with it or else I'll bring Brad and Chad to the workshop."
It does the job as Megan says, "Yes, I uh, I will do better, sometimes the devil takes control, you know?"
Nicole nods her head, "of course, but we must be stronger than it."
The girls nod their heads in agreement and mumble, "Hmmm, absousltely, yes." Two of them start snapping their fingers.
Poor sweet, stupid Kasper, wanting to be of help, jumps in, "the devil controls me sometimes too. His name is Marcus, and I would stop seeing him if his dick wasn't so damn big."
Nicole's eyes stare at Kasper; she looks lost for a moment, like when you first wake up after dreaming about giant hamsters ruling society. She grows increasingly frustrated.
"I think maybe I should go," she manages to say to the room, but mainly to Dennis.
"No!" he responds.
"I just, I feel as if I'm intruding is all."
Ziya waddles over to Nicole and puts her hand on her shoulder
"Sweetie not at all we just weren't expecting you! I'm so happy to meet you, I'm Ziya," she gives Nicole a big hug. Nicole doesn't hug back.
Nicole's face remains bothered for a while until she notices something. She sniffs the air and gasps loudly, "is that marijuana?" She turns to Dennis, her face growing angry.
"No…. No, it's, um, it's,"- Dennis stammers, but Kasper interrupts,
"Organic canab-" Dennis gives Kasper a death stare,
"Canape seed, plant, flower," Kasper tries to smoothly recover.
"Canape seed plant flower?" Nicole questions.
Sara chimes in to aid this operation, "Yes! It's a great vitamin for… for," she realizes she should not have chimed in to aid this operation.
"For penis size!" Kasper shouts like he just answered the million-dollar question. He looks proud of his improv, the little dumbass. He goes on,
"Dennis, don't you worry! You'll be up ready to go once those fully form."
Dennis's eyes shoot wide open; he looks up to the ceiling and asks, "why?" To God maybe, though he's conveniently away on business during this nightmare.
Dennis attempts to get a few words out, but Nicole quickly interjects
"I'm sorry, but you are disgusting," she yells firmly. The girls and gay and heterosexual-tag-a-long look at her in shock. As if a squirrel just murdered the mailman.
"You are not representing God and you're certainly not respecting morality. I'm ashamed to be in this room, honestly."
"Well there's a door righ-" Ziya begins to say before Dennis interrupts.
"I'm sorry, Nicole, really. I should have been honest with you about my… Deviant friends" he stares at them, with equal parts love and hatred.
"But they are my friends nevertheless. I tried to get them to make you more comfortable, and they would have. Sadly they are not good at reading instructions or clocks."
"Okay, that's a little"
"I can read a clock, thank you-
"Fergie doesn't run on time."
The four friends mumble all together.
"The point is, I'm sorry I wasn't honest. And I like you, God do I like you. But if you like me too, you're gonna have to get used to pretend to like my friends, just like I do with them!"
"Hey!" The choir yell.
Nicole's eyes are teary. She stares at everyone in the room individually for a long time. A bit too long, Kasper thinks inside his head. Like if this was on stage, the audience would start adjusting in their seats.
Finally, she opens her mouth, and a few seconds later, she quietly starts to speak.
"May I have some of that Canape seed plant flower?"
Dennis and his friends break into a giant laugh.
Megan grabs Nicole's shoulder and brings her into the living room. "Oh honey you can have as much as you'd like," she tells Nicole.
Who knows? Maybe it'll work out, and perhaps it won't. For tonight though, it doesn't matter.
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