It took me several seconds to realize what Brady said. His father just died.
“So I’m going to stay here tonight,” he continued.
“Oh my God, Brady. I’m so sorry. Are you okay? What happened?” I said back.
“Do you want me and Winnie to come be with you there? Where are you? I can drive—”
He cut me off. “No, that’s completely unnecessary. I’m in Massachusetts and I don’t want to drive in the dark. I’ll be home tomorrow.”
God. Even in a situation like this he was so cold and logical and emotionless. We hung up and I sat there trying to process what he just told me. Brady’s father, who I had spent a good chunk of time with, had passed away. How? I knew he was sick, but I didn’t know it was that bad. But once I thought about it, how would I know? I hadn’t seen him in some time and it’s not like Brady would tell me.
How was Brady handling it? And his mom? She must be devastated. As much as I don’t like her, I felt awful at the thought of her being widowed. I hoped she and Brady were at least helping each other through it. And what about Winnie? She loved Brady’s dad. Just thinking about that made me burst into tears. I could not imagine how Brady must be feeling.
He came home the next evening and I immediately started peppering him with questions. He was vague with details — dad collapsed and had to go to the hospital — but was sure to let me know that Hunter would be coming and may stay with us for a couple of days. And then I demanded to know how he felt. Brady was acting almost robotic — not outwardly sad or upset; just stated the facts. Did he care? Had he already cried? Had it not sunk in?
“You know I wasn’t very close with him,” he said.
And that caught me off guard. Brady has never hidden the fact that he isn’t that fond of his parents, but his dad was dead! No matter what, it’s still his dad. And it’s not like they were estranged; we spent a lot of time with his parents. And if he supposedly wasn’t that close with his dad, why did he drop everything to drive to Massachusetts? It didn’t make any sense.
Over the weekend, I kept asking more questions. When was the funeral? How was his mother doing? Was she alone? Should we go be with her? Should we send her flowers? What should we tell Winnie?
“She doesn’t like flowers.”
Eventually, I was sick of the short answers and ready to punch him in the face. I understand that everyone handles grief differently, but this was ridiculous.
“Do you like, not care about this or are you in shock? Or do you not want to talk about it with me?” I said.
“I’m not in shock. His health has been declining for several years and he was stubborn about treatments. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react,” he said coldly.
“You kind of sound like an asshole,” I couldn’t help saying.
Brady was silent for a moment and then he said, “Thanks Reese,” and walked away.
So of course, I felt bad after that. After I made dinner and we all ate together, I apologized.
“Don’t apologize if that’s how you feel,” Brady said, which was honestly one of the smartest things he’d said in weeks.
“I just feel bad about your dad and I wish you’d let me be there for you,” I said.
“I feel bad too but there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Seriously? I was so frustrated all I could do was cry. And then on Monday morning, he went to work like everything was normal. I assumed he’d take at least a few days off so I was surprised when I woke up and saw that he was gone.
“You didn’t take the day off?” I texted him.
“No. Why would I?” he said a few hours later. I just wanted to fucking shake him. Because your fucking father just died, that’s why you’d take the day off! It’s called bereavement. What the fuck?
The week went by in a bit of a blur. I felt like a zombie. I called Brady’s mom to offer my condolences and she didn’t answer, of course, and never called me back. My mom insisted on sending flowers (even though apparently she doesn’t like them) and I had her add my name to the card since Brady’s mom had no interest in talking to me. I’m probably the last person she wanted to speak to with everything going on and I don’t really blame her.
The funeral was scheduled for Friday of the following week. Brady took that Wednesday off, mainly because Hunter was arriving from California and he wanted to meet him. Of course. He let me know that they’d probably stay in Massachusetts, but he’d be back the next day. And this is completely awful, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was going to be a repeat of Florida. I really needed to get over myself.
But out of sight, out of mind I guess. Once Brady left I finally texted Brendan back. He’d reached out a few times the past few days, but I was so preoccupied with everything else that I hadn’t responded. So I made up some excuse about being busy with the baby because I didn’t want to share Brady’s business. Plus I needed an escape. I’d already cried six times thinking about Brady’s dad. Brendan was both the last person and only person I wanted to talk to and somehow, without even knowing what was going on, he made me feel like everything would be okay.
My parents came for the funeral and I was so excited to see them and especially that they were staying with us through the weekend. With everything going on, I needed my parents.
The services took place at a beautiful church in Massachusetts. I was surprised to see Brady’s mom stoically greeting everyone – politely laughing and smiling. Meanwhile, I could barely keep it together and sobbed throughout the service. I mean, how could not? It was so sad and I seemed to be the only one sad. Brady just sat there like a robot, although eventually he did put his arm around me and rubbed my shoulder to try to console me. It was the first time he’d touched me in weeks — months even.
And my demon child, who was sitting in my lap, continuously rolled her eyes and told me to stop crying. I wanted to say, “If you had any idea what was going on, you’d cry too! But you don’t! And you’re the one who cries when you’re sleepy instead of just going to sleep so I don’t want to hear it!” The nerve of that girl.
Brady didn’t shed a tear.
We all went to Brady’s parents’ afterwards. It was all a little awkward mostly because Brady’s family is awkward and my mom couldn’t read the room and was over the top in the delivery of her condolences. It’s like, I think they get it. Winnie got to see her uncle Hunter, which was pretty cute even if I hate him. Oddly his wife and kids didn’t make the trip, which he said was due to covid. Doubtful. She probably finally left him and he was too embarrassed to admit it.
It started to get better though because someone (Brady’s grandmother, I’m pretty sure) opened wine and champagne. Thank God. I chugged that shit like it was going to disappear.
Later that night, we came back to our house with my parents in tow. I put the baby to sleep and then the grown ups stayed up a little longer having wine and catching up. And Brady and I sat there talking and joking around with my parents like nothing was going on between us. As if we hadn’t given each other the cold shoulder for months. And seeing him actually smiling made my chest tighten. Maybe we really did like each other! Or maybe he was just so miserable being around me, he needed a buffer. That made sense too.
My mom and I made plans to go the grocery store in the morning and whip up a big southern breakfast for everyone. Then we all went to bed. And me and Brady did our normal bedtime routine — changing into pajamas and brushing our teeth in silence — and then we got in bed. I wanted to say something, not just go to sleep like I normally would. But I didn’t know what to say.
But then Brady rolled over in the dark and said, “Are you up?”
“Mmhm,” I said.
“Just wanted to say thanks for your support. I know it’s been hard,” he said.
And it’s like, what support? I’ve been a blubbering mess for a week and not exactly a stable person to lean on. So I felt guilty about calling him an asshole and assuming he was doing something bad with Hunter and about Brendan. Still unsure what to say, I pushed myself over so I could hug him. And it’s like he was waiting for me to because he put his arms around me and pulled me even closer. It was cute. He made it hard to be there for him, but at least he appreciated my efforts. And Brady definitely has trouble expressing himself with words so even just a hug seemed to say a lot.
We stayed like that for a while, not saying anything, and I thought he’d fallen asleep. But then I felt that he was getting a boner. Really? At a time like this? But I guess he couldn’t help it and at least that confirmed he was still somewhat attracted to me. What? Getting ignored for weeks on end can really take its toll on the self esteem.
And so he pulled me even closer and nuzzled my neck and then…I guess we had sex. Which I didn’t mean or plan to happen. We didn’t even kiss or say anything else — we just had a quickie and went to sleep. And afterwards, I for some reason felt guilty because I felt like I was cheating on Brendan. How would he feel about me sleeping with my boyfriend? My little fling with Brendan was only okay as long as Brady and I weren’t speaking.
The next morning I got up and met my mom and Winnie in the kitchen. I must have looked like shit because my mom said, “Oh, babe. Are you okay?”
I shook my head and told her I’d tell her all about it later. She knew something had been going on between me and Brady (the house hunting trip to Houston was a good clue) but we hadn’t fully discussed it. My dad and Brady joined us and as he walked past me, Brady swatted me on the butt like everything was normal. And then when I looked at him like he was insane, he grinned at me with little hearts in his eyes.
What. The. Fuck.
So my mom and I hopped in the car to go to the grocery store and as we walked through the aisles, I told her what was going on with Brendan. She already knew about him, of course, but I’d downplayed everything previously. She didn’t know the full details of the separation or about the divorce or the kiss. I explained how our relationship seemed to ramp up on its own especially after Brady pushed me away. And I told her how I actually might have real feelings for Brendan.
“Do you see Brendan outside of the office often?” she asked.
“Only for lunch. We just text a lot. Like, all day and all night.”
And then finally, she said, “Oh, Reese. I’m so disappointed.”
Which is not the response I was expecting. Usually when I tell her about my stupid decisions, she just offers up advice with no judgement. “Disappointed? Why?”
“Because Brady loves you,” my mother said.
“Does he? Why do you think that?”
“Because he tells me. All the time. He loves you and Winnie so much.”
Naturally, I burst into tears. My mom stopped pushing the cart and just stared at me.
“Maybe he said that,” I managed to choke out. “But he definitely doesn’t act like it.”
“Have you told him what you need from him?” my mom asked as if this wasn’t the most obvious thing in the world.
“Only a million times. He knows. He doesn’t like to communicate and he has no feelings and our relationship is toxic—”
My mother cut me off. “And you think a relationship with this Brendan would be better? As soon as he thought he had a chance with you, he kicked his wife to the curb. And you don’t think he’d do the same to you if the opportunity came up?”
It seemed unnecessary to correct her — the wife had actually kicked him to the curb — so I just stood there sniffling.
“Think about Winnie. Do you want her growing up in a broken home?” my mom said.
“Yeah because growing up with parents who hate each other is better,” I mumbled. And no offense, but growing up with parents who didn’t exactly like each other is probably how Brady turned out like he did. I wasn’t about to say that out loud.
“Well, I’m going to talk to Brady about this,” she said after a few seconds of silence.
“What are you going to say?” I exclaimed. Really? It’s like she was just dying to share my business.
“I’ll tell him what we discussed and see what he wants to do. If the relationship is as toxic as you claim and you went and got involved with someone else then we need to fix it. Or at least get the baby out of there. She’s more than welcome to stay with us in Houston.”
My mother and her big fucking mouth.
**Thanks for all of your messages and comments! The past few months have been a lot. I think I’ll have one more update post to get you up to date on my current situation. Love you all!**