The following week, Paige continued bossing me around like I was her assistant or something. She started sending me things she wanted me to do with no context (big pet peeve) and leaving papers in my office with a sticky note asking me to complete it. So she was on the top of my extensively long shit list.
The only bright spot was that I’d finally gotten Winnie into a cute little boutique daycare where she’ll be going part-time. Honestly, thank God. It’s hard to get anything done being home with her all day plus Winnie is such a social child and she needed some friends. You won’t believe this, but Brady’s mom helped us get in. I haven’t spoken to that woman in months and months, but Brady got the information and contact from her. So thanks, I guess.
Mike called me in his office so he could interrogate me about a bunch of our projects. After that, I complained about Paige and made him tell me what each of our roles were. He gave a typical man answer (a manswer, if you will).
“Your role is to work together to make sure all of our projects are completed on time and to 100% standard,” he said.
“Yeah, but what are our specific tasks?” I asked.
Mike rolled his eyes at me. “I’ll have Paige set up some time with you to discuss that. I’m not going to get involved in the minutia,” he said.
Of course. And do you think Paige ever reached out for that meeting? She always claimed to be sO bUsY and frequently misses our regularly scheduled touch bases. She, for some reason, started being overly nice to me though and would chat with me to complain about work and Mike and would make eye contact with me to roll her eyes when he started acting crazy in meetings.
Brendan came over to hang out with me and Winnie on Friday night. The two of them whipped up dinner while I minded my business on the couch with a glass of wine. Winnie put on the whole helpless girl act and pretended she was clueless in the kitchen even though we’re in there together ever night. She pretended she couldn’t get off her step stool so Brendan had to pick her up and let her down. And I totally shouldn’t have found it as cute and amusing as I did — she’s just like me! We’ll address the possible manipulation at a later date.
Brendan would be spending the rest of the weekend in Pennsylvania because his sister was graduating. Winnie and I headed for Brady’s the next morning and I stopped at Starbucks to get snacks and drinks for us and a coffee for Brady. I literally can’t believe how nice I am to him after everything that’s gone down.
“You must need something,” Brady said when I handed him his coffee.
“Excuse me? I don’t need anything from you. I’m just being nice. But if that’s going to be an issue with you then I won’t,” I said with an attitude. I guess he couldn’t believe it either.
“No, it’s not an issue. I’m just surprised, I guess,” he said.
When he said that I felt kind of bad. Yes, he’s a complete asshole, but we’ve been getting along so well lately that I didn’t want to ruin it. On Mother’s Day when Brady took Winnie to the baseball game, he sent me a ton of pictures and we had basically been texting everyday since then. Mostly about Winnie and her new daycare, but I also complained to him about Paige and Mike.
“Anyway. Winnie has been concerned about her flowers all week so we’re gonna go check on them,” I said.
The three of us spent the majority of the day in the backyard with all the plants and toys. At one point, I went inside and made myself a mimosa (had to get through the day somehow) and came back outside.
“Oh, nothing for me?” Brady asked playfully.
“Ughh,” I rolled my eyes and handed him the mimosa and went back in to make another.
Winnie and Brady are so cute, I must admit, and I’m obsessed with watching them together. It’s hard to imagine that the gentle dad who was patiently following her around the yard and helping her down the slide into the paddling pool was the same man who yelled at me and threatened to bankrupt me in court. I couldn’t think about that for too long or I’d be ready to fight him again.
Eventually Winnie was cranky and ready for a much needed nap which was my cue to leave. I wasted time trying to sober up while Brady put her down because after three or four mimosas, I was feeling toasty. He came back and was complaining about how she refused to sleep unless he sang to her. Like, a song.
“Wait,” I said as I pulled up my phone camera and tried not to laugh/cry. “What song is that? Sing it again.”
Brady started singing again (imagine Brady singing!!!!) and I discreetly recorded. I only got like half a second of footage until he stopped and I was keeled over on the floor in tears by then.
“I’m dead!” I squealed. “I’ve never heard you sing before!”
“Delete that now,” Brady said, smiling.
“Literally no. That made my week. I’m sending it out to everyone I know.”
“Don’t!” he said and tried to grab my phone from my hand. I snatched it away before he could get to it.
He chased me around the kitchen island for a little bit trying to get my phone from me then I ran toward the dining room and Brady grabbed the back of my shirt really hard and I heard a big rip.
“I’m sorry,” Brady said immediately.
What the fuck? I reached around, trying to assess the damage. “Did you actually rip my shirt?”
“Uh, it isn’t that bad,” he said.
I stormed past him to the full length hallway mirror and saw that the strap from my top was indeed splitting from the rest of the fabric. A tailor could probably fix it, but who has time to go to a tailor??
“I can get you a new one,” Brady said as he joined me in the mirror.
I glared at him. “The designer doesn’t make this top anymore so that would be impossible.”
“Oh. Can you get it fixed?”
“I don’t know, Brady, I’ll need to check. Maybe next time don’t grab me so violently.”
“Ugh, I’m sorry,” he said, starting to get aggravated at me. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
I ignored him and gathered my things to leave. Now he was on my shit list too right under Paige.
On Sunday, I sat around and did nothing except troll through Instagram. Brendan had called and texted a few times throughout the day to check in and see what I was up to and ask if I wanted to hang out with him and his family for MDW. He wouldn’t be back in the city until way later since he was helping move his sister back. And confession: I’d been stalking his ex’s Instagram (why yes, I did create a Finsta so I could watch my boyfriend’s ex wife’s Instagram stories) to see if she was at the graduation as well. On Sunday afternoon, she posted pictures with Danielle in her cap and gown, confirming my suspicions.
Omg, so they were all together? As far as I understood, they hadn’t seen each other at all since the divorce. She posted pictures with Danielle and with Danielle and what I assume are her parents and with Brendan’s parents. Brendan himself was nowhere in sight. I kind of thought she might post a picture of him with a broken heart emoji like she used to, but nope. And then as I was tapping through watching her videos and Boomerangs of all the festivities going on and I spotted Kendall. Kendall!? She posted a Boomerang of him opening a champagne bottle. There was so much going on. Why was Kendall there? Where was Brendan? He was probably like a foot away. Were they talking? Should I be worried? Was he dumb enough to go back to the girl who cheated on him and played with his mind?
I got even more concerned when Brendan sent me a short text at the end of the night saying he was tired and going to bed. He wasn’t even going to call me? He always calls me before bed. In my mind, he was definitely with her. They’d rekindled things or were at least trying and he was going to break the news to me in person at lunch the next day.
When I woke up, I had 26 new emails that had come in overnight, mostly from Mike and Paige, forwarding things along for me to fix and figure out. I groaned as I scrolled through them. Why the fuck were they both sending emails between ten PM and six AM? In Bethenney Frankel’s words: GO TO SLEEP!
I got up and ready and headed into the office. The day was super busy, of course, since I was in charge of putting out everyone’s fires. Paige sent me a message that said, “He’s at it again,” and it’s like, girl, you are too!
It didn’t even occur to me that I hadn’t heard from Brendan all day until he texted me in the afternoon. He sent a video of his parents’ dog “speaking” on command. I guess to show Winnie since he was telling her about the dog and showing her pictures last time we all hung out. And it’s like, who gives a fuck, what about your ex-wife??
“Cutie❤️” I said back and then he didn’t reply.
Cool. Great talk.
Later that night, I noticed that Brendan’s Instagram miraculously popped back up and he posted a picture with Danielle with a long caption about how proud he was of her for finishing school. Interesting timing. Suddenly after seeing his ex he was back on Instagram where all of their pictures and sappy love letters were still posted? And why did he have time to write a thesis on Instagram, but hadn’t even bothered to call or text me? I was ready to kill him and wished I’d never gotten caught up in their entanglement.
“You okay?” Brendan finally texted me as I was laying in bed.
Really? Didn’t I tell him to stop saying that to me? And no, I wasn’t okay, I was spiraling and it was his fault!
“Just fine,” I said back.
“Wanna come over?” he said.
And now he was trying to booty call me?? I was mentally adding him to my shit list right between Brady and Paige.
“No, it’s late and I’m in bed,” I said.
Brendan said, “Okay. Miss you.”
He was probably thinking, “That’s never stopped you before,” because I used to always go hook up with him late at night. But I’ve grown from being that girl.
The next morning Brady dropped Winnie off. I went downstairs to wait for them and I’m not gonna lie, I was in the mood to be mean to Brady. He did rip my shirt, after all.
“Good morning to Winnie and literally no one else,” I greeted them.
“Good morning to you too, Reese,” Brady said over his shoulder.
“Whatever,” I scoffed and flipped my hair at him.
“You’re still mad at me?” he said.
“I don’t have the time or energy to be mad at you. And I don’t care if you have a good morning or not, so…”
Brady laughed. “Jeez, okay.”
I spun around to storm away and Brady called me back. I’d made sure that we had Winnie’s bag so what did he want now?
“What, Brady?” I said, sounding impatient.
He launched a bag at me hard, aiming for my face I think, but I caught it.
“The fuck? What is this?” I asked.
The asshole drove off. I typed a text to him as we all walked back into the building.
“If that would’ve hit me you’d be paying for my rhinoplasty and facial reconstruction surgery, you dweeb.”
But then when we got upstairs, I saw that in the bag was a top NWT from Intermix, that was the same designer as the one he ripped. Not the same style, but similar enough. Now I really wanted to kill him because how did he do that? How did he know? And why was it kind of cute?
I sent him another message, this one more sweet and affectionate than the last: “You’re so annoying.”
I spent the day running “errands” aka moving things from site to site. Sometimes if you want something done, you have to just do it yourself! A ton of projects were delayed because the crew couldn’t figure out logistics — if something they needed was at point A they had no idea how to get it to point B. I just started grabbing shit and loading it in the back of my car.
“Oh damn, do you want me to carry that for you?” one of the adorable 22-year-old workers asked as I teetered around with a big, loud box filled with metal.
“No!” I screamed at him. If he wanted to help, he would’ve helped before!
“You want lunch?” Brendan texted me as I arrived at my third stop of the day.
Ugh. Obviously yes, I wanted lunch and to finally find out what was up, but there was no way I’d be able to since I was in the absolute trenches. I sent him a message explaining that and he was like, “Cool, fine, sorry you’re doing all that.”
When I got back to the office though, I ran into him and Thomas in the downstairs lobby.
“Oh hey! Good to see you guys!” I said.
Brendan stepped forward and pulled me into a big hug, one that could not be passed off as platonic. When he let go of me, I tried to like, push him away, but he held onto my hands.
“Okay, text you later, bye!” I said, removing myself from his grips. We were going to need to talk about his out of control PDA, among other things.
I was relieved later when he invited himself over to hang out with Winnie and me. Perfect. From the way he was acting, I didn’t really get the vibe that he was talking to his ex again, but I was still dying for more information.
So I made him tell me about the weekend and Danielle (Brendan lovesss his sister which is so perplexing to me because she’s not even nice or fun) and the graduation. He’s really excited that she’s living in the city again and he will get to see her more often. So then I had to pretend to care about Danielle a little bit before innocently (y’all know me) asking who was at the graduation. He rattled off some names of their family, Kendall, and then his ex-wife. I barely even let him finish.
“Really? And what did she have to say?” I asked, feigning surprise.
“Nothing to me,” Brendan said. “Her dad said hi, but that was it. So it was kinda weird.”
“Oh.” Nothing at all? That’s so rude. You know what doesn’t make sense to me? How Brendan is super close with his sister who is super close with his ex-wife. If the ex is as terrible as everyone is making her out to seem then how can his sister continue being besties with her? Something is not adding up. But I knew better than to ask questions because the last time I brought up his ex-wife, it exploded in my face.
So Brendan changed the subject and started talking to me about his family’s Memorial Day cabin jaunt and how we’d be able to go out on the lake and did I want to bring anyone and etc. And I love Brendan so much, but he’s going to have to understand that I am not into lakes or nature or the wilderness. I would get in that outdoor hot tub with a glass of Pinot Grigio, but that was it.
We were good after that. Busy, but good. Brendan continued complaining about Thomas, who was being a little menace. Thomas would take Brendan off email chains (petty) to try to do things without him and I would add him right back in. Don’t try it with my boo!
We took Winnie to (early) dinner on Friday night — Brendan was going to help Danielle build a desk or something, but promised to come back and spend the night with me later. I totally expected him to cancel or flake because he was tired, but he was true to his word and came back and snuggled with me. The next morning we woke up to fool around (basically just touch each other everywhere) and talk about where we wanted to go for dinner later (2 dinners in a week? A rare treat!). Winnie screamed in the other room. Sometimes Winnie wakes up and screams at the absolute top of her lungs and she’s fine and it’s fine, I explained.
“Oh my god, that freaked me out,” Brendan said and I laughed. Time to get up! Baby was ready to see her daddy.
A while later, Winnie and I were back at ole Brady’s. I hung out with them for a while and pretended to still be mad about him ripping my shirt and nearly taking my eye out with the new one.
At one point he made a big show of stepping aside so I could walk past him and I said, “Oh, are you not trying to rip my clothes off today?” I didn’t even realize the innuendo until it was out of my mouth.
“Not unless you want me to,” Brady said back with a smile.
I had to turn my head because I was smiling too. Excuse me?
“No I don’t,” I said, not facing him. “But you can keep buying me a new wardrobe if you want.”
I got the hell out of there soon after that.
Brendan and I got dinner later that night before we were meeting Kendall and his other two friends nearby. I texted Kristina to join us, but not Lola because I wasn’t ready for her to scare Brennie off yet. My outfit for the night was a skort with a long sleeved bodysuit and platform, chunky heels. On the walk over, I kept reminding myself that I couldn’t ask Kendall about the graduation or the ex-wife because you know that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Nope, I was not going to bring that up at all!
We hung out around the fire pit of this third floor rooftop. Kristina was like, “Omigawd, heyyy Brendan, imagine seeing you here!” We ordered a bottle of rosé and she was complaining about how she’s getting old and now she’s ready to get engaged to Garrett. Mind you, she’s like 28 and has only been with this dude for a few months. But she insisted she’s ready to start popping out kids so she and Garrett needed to get a move on. It reminded me of Carly, who was so quick to get married to Chris, but then once the commitment hit her she started messaging guys on Tinder. But that’s none of my business.
Kendall was telling me about this girl he’s been talking to and how she might meet up with us later. I’m just gonna say it. Kendall is so hot. He’s like if the actor Michael B. Jordan and Trevor Noah had a hot, muscular love child. And he’s really touchy-feely — not in a sexual way, but in like, a European way (he’s not European). He’s so nice. He greeted me by saying, “There’s my girl!” and gave me a big hug and I was like, aww, I didn’t know I was his girl! I think he works as a personal trainer or physical therapist or something involving other people’s bodies. That’s where he met this new girl.
“So…not Danielle?” I said, half joking.
Kendall laughed at me and put his arms around me and I’m sure I don’t need to mention that he smells really nice. I was really going to need sexy Kendall to stop trying to make me fall in love with him.
The boys went off to play cornhole (I refuse to play a game with such a name) and Kristina and I sat there double fisting rosé and aperol spritzes. She was telling me about her freelance jobs and I was just nodding, feeling myself getting tipsy.
Kendall’s girl arrived and she was hot and exuded sexual energy in a way that made me wonder if I wanted to sleep with her too. She had big, shiny curly hair and clearly does a lot of Pilates or something because her arms were incred. And we’re around the same height, but somehow her legs went on forever and she was wearing Vans! Sorry, but Danielle has nothing on her. My bad. Her name is Cassidy and I was immediately obsessed with her. I would even forgive her for only being 25.
Later on, I squeezed next to Kendall in one of the Adirondack chairs.
“Okay, I approve,” I told him.
“She’s cool, right?” he said back, proudly. And then he was telling me that they weren’t official, they hadn’t even really gone on a date yet and were mostly just having sex. Honestly, that somehow made them both hotter.
We got up to go to the bar and finally being alone and away from Brendan, I said, “You have to tell me about the graduation.”
“Danielle’s?” he seemed completely unsurprised about my line of questioning and was stalling.
“Yes. Brendan said his ex-wife was there.”
“Did she say anything to you? Was it awkward?” I practically jumped down his throat and I’m surprised he was even entertaining me after last time.
“Kind of, yeah,” Kendall said and then thought about it. “Actually yeah. At least she was.”
“Tell me everything,” I demanded.
He hesitated before saying, “This is between us, right?”
I mean, probably not, but I nodded. “Duh.”
“She cried to Danielle and me because seeing him was harder than she expected. Like, a full on meltdown.”
“I know, I just walked away. That’s all on her,” he said.
“Ugh. Did Brendan say it was hard seeing her? Do you think they’ll try to work things out??”
Kendall laughed. “Absolutely not. She came in so hot before that. You wanna know one of the first thing she said to me?”
“Yes I do!”
“She said, ‘Is Brendan seeing that slutty single mom’?”
“I know. I assume she was talking about you, I don’t know who else she would be talking about.”
Of course she was talking about me! Who else fits that description besides me? And I guess maybe it was kind of accurate, but it was still mean. I said, “Oh, she’s nasty.”
“Yeah, sorry. See what I mean though? I shouldn’t have told you any of that and Brendan doesn’t know so don’t say anything,” Kendall said.
“My lips are sealed,” I said, unenthusiastically.
I told myself I wasn’t going to let the comment ruin my night because who is Brendan’s ex-wife in this world? *Yolanda Foster-Hadid voice*
You know it ruined my night though.