"I'm telling you, this place is going to make you love sushi." I said to Cayden in the elevator on the way down to the hotel lobby.
"I don't know about that. I'm being honest when I say I don't quite care for sushi much. I don't like seafood, and I can't stand the texture of that seaweed wrap thing."
"Well, I used to dry heave at the mere thought of sushi, but I'm telling you, this place turned me. Now I crave it."
I was talking about RA Sushi, a swanky sushi place in the Shops at Legacy. He'd heard me rave about it time and time again, but he was pretty set on the fact that he wouldn't like it, but he agreed to give it a try.
The elevator doors opened and we walked through the lobby. I turned toward the front desk to wave goodbye to Everett but he was gone. The other guy was standing there. The one with the confused look on his face. Only this time when he looked up at us his face looked embarrassed, flustered, guilty.
"I'm reading your blog right now," he admitted, pointing to his computer screen.
By the look on his face, I guessed he was probably reading Chapter 6: America's Favorite Pastime. Poor guy.
We left him to his reading, and once we stepped out into the warm summer air I said to Cayden, "That guy is going to know a LOT more about us by the time we get back."
My family met us for dinner because they're always looking for an excuse to go to RA. Birthdays? RA. Celebrations? RA. Corbin home visiting from OU? RA. So of course my international boyfriend being in town warranted a family gathering at RA.
We all huddled over the menus trying to decide which rolls would turn Cayden into a sushi lover. We decided on Crunchy Shrimp Tempura (my favorite), Las Vegas, and Tootsi Maki, with Pork Gyoza and Edamame to start us off.
He tried each one, hesitantly at first. We all tried to watch for his reaction without him knowing we were all watching him. It was the same reaction with every roll he tried. He'd dunk the piece into the soy sauce and pause before bringing it to his lips, probably giving himself an internal pep talk saying, "You can do this. Just chew and swallow. Try not to gag, and don't spit it out in a napkin. OK, go." Then he'd take a deep breath and shove the whole thing in his mouth. His face would start neutral, but the more he chewed, the more he tasted, the more pleased he'd look. He'd swallow and then put his hand on my leg to get my attention, although he'd already had it.
"Babe, that one was so good! It's not too fishy. Just right!"
He'd say that after each one he tried.
Dad talked about wanting to take Cayden to the Nascar races next time he was in town. No, we're not the stereotypical redneck, trashy Nascar family. My dad's company had a car in the races, so he had a hook up. I've never been to the races and never want to. But Cayden loves the sound of fast cars—the engines purring, the tires squealing. And it just so happened the races were going on during Cayden's next visit (races are Nov. 7. Cayden is coming back Oct 29-Nov 8). I had to warn him ahead of time that most of the people he'll see at Nascar are not representative of Americans.
"So, what's your hotel room like?" Mom asked from across the table.
"Oh it's awesome! The bathroom has a sliding door and the ceiling has that unfinished industrial look," I said, deciding to leave out the part about mirror in the shower.
"And there are cement walls and artwork on the walls," Cayden said.
"Can we come see it?" Meg asked.
Up in our hotel room I gave Meg her dress back and Mom gave us Cayden's leftover birthday cake. I couldn't wait to get under the covers and eat birthday cake and drink wine and fall asleep full, buzzed, and satisfied on Cayden's chest.
"So... how are you going to open the wine?" Meg asked.
Back downstairs I found Everett.
"What are the chances we can borrow two wine glasses, two forks, two plates, and a corkscrew?"
"Back in a minute!" he answered, shuffling off to gather our things while the rest of my family explored the lobby and swung around in the hanging chairs.
Seconds later he returned with everything I'd requested.
"Well, Cayden it was go great to finally meet you," Mom said as he bent down to hug her.
"We'll try to catch a game or something when you come back," Dad said as they shook hands.
After the rest of my family said their goodbyes, mom turned back and said, "Just so you know, you're welcome in our family."
Everett closed his eyes and covered his ears again. "Don't ruin it for me! I don't want to know!"
"Oh, don't worry," Meg said. "They break up next chapter."