drunk on christmas.

My dad arranged to pick us up at 11:00 PM on Tuesday night when we landed and as we were waiting for our bags, I got really, really nervous. Even though Brady’s parents are kind of closed off and cold, I would say they are still fairly normal. My parents are not normal and our families couldn’t be more different.

On the way to meet my dad, I put out a disclaimer and let Brady know I was not responsible for any of their actions. Brady laughed and told me it was fine. Poor guy had no idea what he was in for.

My dad was waiting for us right outside the terminal. When I saw him standing there I realized he and Brady’s dad kind of remind me of each other with the tall athletic build, graying hair, and preppy attire. Maybe they aren’t so different? 

“Hi pumpkin bear!” my dad greeted me with a big hug. Pumpkin bear, seriously? 

“This is Brady,” I said, pulling away. I wasn’t as worried about my dad as I was my mom.

They shook hands and talked about how it was nice to meet each other. We headed out to my dad’s Honda Accord and loaded our luggage in. I let Brady have the front seat and he and my dad proceeded to have a conversation about cars the entire ride to my house. My dad was raving about his Accord and said, “I tried to get Reese to get a Honda, but she snuck off and got that BMW instead. I guess nothing was stopping her from getting what she wanted.”

My dad looked at me in the rearview mirror and I glared at him for trying to make me look bad. Brady probably thinks I make irresponsible financial decisions and won’t marry me.

When we pulled up in our driveway, I realized that our house just isn’t as grand and beautiful as Brady’s parents’. And you can see all the neighbors’ houses. Ugh. 

My mom was waiting by the door wearing a bathrobe with a glass of red wine in her hand.

“Oh my gosh, hi Brady!” my mom exclaimed, ignoring me. Before Brady could even put his stuff down she threw her arms around him and kissed his cheek, spilling her wine a little bit in the process. Oh my God. My mom was drunk on wine.

“I’m Jacqueline and that’s Scott,” my mom said pulling away.

“Mom, they’ve met,” I said.

“Brady, you’re so handsome!” My mom still had a tight hold of Brady’s arms like she was afraid he would run away. My mom is petite, she’s probably an inch or two shorter than me, but she was stopping him from walking like a linebacker.

“Um, thank you.” Brady’s neck was turning red. “It’s nice to meet you.”

My mom was still holding him hostage in the doorway and my dad said, “Jackie, let the boy go. They just spent hours on the plane and they’re tired.”

My mom pulled away and turned to me. “Hey babe! Fab coat. Do you guys want a glass of wine?”

“No, we’re fine,” I said. I needed to get Brady away from Drunk Mom ASAP. Plus my dad was right, we really were tired.

My dad helped us drag our luggage up to my old room which I was happy to see my mom had cleaned and removed her things from so it just looked like a normal high school girl’s room (i.e. disgustingly pink). It was so weird seeing Brady in my bedroom.

We got ready for bed quickly and my mom shouted goodnight from the hallway and told us she would make breakfast in the morning. I got undressed and put my hair in a bun and climbed into bed. I can’t remember falling asleep. I can’t even remember Brady getting in bed with me. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out.

I woke up on Wednesday morning really early and got excited for Brady’s birthday.

“Heyyyyy birthday boy!” I squealed snuggling up next to him.

Brady rolled over and put his arm around me, but I think he was still sleeping. I climbed on top of him and pulled my shirt off.

“Brady, wake up,” I said sternly. “Let’s have sex before my parents get up.”

That got his attention. “Okay.”

So we did and then started getting ready. I really, really hoped my mom was out shopping or something, but she met us at the foot of the stairs.

“There you guys are! It’s about time you got out of bed. Breakfast is ready,” my mom said excitedly. She was definitely dressed like a Texas mom: boyfriend jeans and a cropped sweater, logo Tory Burch flats (she would), hoop earrings and a topknot that matched mine. She looked kind of cute actually.

Don’t be fooled – my family never has meals together. But my mom insisted we all sit down and have breakfast at the breakfast nook. Probably so she could compete with Brady’s mom. Yes, I’ve told my mom all about Brady’s mom.

I should also mention that my mom isn’t a very good cook. The eggs had a gray tint to them, the pancakes were soggy and it didn’t help that she used that gross precooked bacon that you make in the microwave.

We all sat around the table that we never use and my mom stacked our plates high with “breakfast.”

“So Brady,” she started immediately. “How are you?”

“I’m doing very well, thank you,” Brady said and then he took a bite of those questionable eggs. He didn’t immediately die or make a face so I figured they must be okay.

“Is this your first time in Texas?” my mom asked.

“No. My grandfather actually lived in Lubbock for the majority of his adult life. I visited him frequently before he died.”

Wait. I didn’t know that, did I? Brady doesn’t talk much about his grandfather. In fact, the only thing I knew was that he got that tattoo to honor him. I had no idea he lived in Texas.

“And the rest of your family lives…where?” my mom continued on.

“Mostly Massachusetts. My older brother lives in San Francisco, my grandparents live in Florida, I have family in DC, Philadelphia, Maine…”

“Wow! So all over the place!”

Brady nodded.

“Reese said your parents don’t like her,” my mom blurted out.

“That isn’t true. They have nothing but good things to say about her,” Brady said.

“Really? She said your mom thinks-”

“Mom!” I exclaimed, staring at her wide eyed. I’d definitely told her about Brady’s mom calling me controlling, but only to see if she has gotten that feedback too. We are really similar. I didn’t expect her to ask him about it.

“Oh.” She looked at me and realized her mistake. “So what’s your brother doing out in California?”

“He’s an aerospace engineer so he designs airplanes. He recently got married.”

“Yeah to the girl with the pink dreads!” I said excitedly. I’d told my mom all about Dom and how rude she was to all of us.

“Oh wow! Your parents must be so proud of you two!” my mom gushed.

“I hope so,” Brady said. 

“We wanted another child,” my mom said, nudging my dad. “And Lord knows we tried, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”

“Reese was enough on her own though,” my dad grinned. “No way we could’ve had another one of these running around.”

“I can imagine…” Brady started.

“Reese was a good kid,” my mom said, giving my dad a look. “She has always been so ambitious and driven. Do you know what she wanted to be when she was growing up?”

I turned and shook my head furiously at my mother. God, is it so hard for her to keep her mouth shut? Brady didn’t need to know my lame childhood ambitions.

My mom looked at me and nodded then looked back at Brady. “An artist.” She looked so delighted with herself.

Brady smiled at me warmly like that’s the most adorable thing he’s ever heard.

“She’s so talented. Her paintings have been published in calendars and there’s an original piece hanging in the library at her old high school. Remind me to show you some before you leave!”

“Thanks Mom!” I said sarcastically.

“So Brady,” my mom said, resting her chin in her hands dreamily. “What else?”

“Um, what do you mean?”

“What do you like to do for fun?”

I literally had to stop myself from shouting, “Me!” Mature.

Brady started telling my mom how he likes to run and play golf and my mom interrupted him to tell him that my dad also likes to play golf. Then she tried to figure out a time they could go while we were there. My mom noticed that Brady had finished his eggs and pancakes (no one else had touched theirs) and she exclaimed, “Oh you liked breakfast! Do you want more?”

And then she proceeded to slop the remainder of the eggs and two pancakes on his plate before he could even answer. 

“Mom!” I groaned loudly. I gave Brady a sympathetic look.

“What do you guys have planned for tonight? I’m sure you’ll want to get crunk for Brady’s birthday?” my mom asked. Yes, she said “crunk” like it’s 2005.

“We are going downtown. So I need to borrow your car,” I answered.

“You can borrow my car, doll,” my dad said.

I gave him a disgusted look for making such a heinous suggestion. “Uh, no. We can’t be seen in your Honda downtown. No offense.”

I’d booked a swanky hotel downtown and planned on taking Brady to dinner then going out to get drunk with some of my friends and then going back to the hotel to have birthday sex.

Other than that, I didn’t really have anything planned so we just hung out at my parents house for most of the day. I was really impressed with how well Brady was handling my mom and dad. In fact, he and my dad were hitting it off quite nicely. At one point, my mom and I were discussing what I should do with my hair next (bob? highlights? dreads?!) for hours while my dad and Brady hung out in his office talking about who knows what. I was so engrossed in the discussion I was having with my mom that I completely forgot about my boyf. Oops.

Eventually I hijacked my mom’s car and we headed to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I chose this place my parents always used to take me for my birthday because a. it’s one of my faves and b. it has an amazing bar and is right in the middle of a bunch of the clubs I frequent.

I got dressed in shorts, a crop top and a blazer and we went to dinner. Brady tried to pay our (kind of outrageously expensive) bill, but I told him to quit being ridiculous and let me pay. After we had dinner, we moved over to the bar to wait for my friends.

Just putting it out there: my Houston friends are so much different that my Chicago friends. I know we party a ton in Chicago, but I feel like for the most part we all have our shit together. Brittany got her masters at USC, but doesn’t work and parties five to six nights out of the week. Natalie just got engaged to a professional football player and quit her job in marketing to plan her dream wedding (and she hasn’t asked me to be a bridesmaid so I’m over her). Our other friend Meghan is still working on her bachelors, but is such a trainwreck that she’s never going to finish.

So obviously I didn’t have any shortage of friends to come out and help me and Brady celebrate his birthday. Plus Kendra was coming with her younger cousin, Jasmine, and Jasmine’s boyfriend.

Just when I was giving Brady a disclaimer about my insane friends, Brittany and Meghan came bounding in.

“Reese!” Meghan screamed at the top of her lungs. Before I could even stand up from the bar stool to greet her she ambushed me with a hug. “I fucking miss you!” 

Brittany gave me a hug then pulled away and said, “Who’s this?”

“This is my boyfriend, Brady!” I said excitedly.

She flipped her long black hair over her shoulder before sticking her boobs out and her hand in his. “I’m Brittany.”

Brady shook her hand politely and said, “It’s very nice to meet you.”

We pushed two tables together to accommodate our group and Brittany insisted on taking care of the first round of shots: Brady’s choice. He looked at me before deciding on tequila. I’ve obviously rubbed off on him.

While we waited for the rest of our friends, we ordered beers and Brittany started asking Brady questions. First she asked him about where he went to school and his job then bragged about how she has a masters and went to USC.

I turned my attention toward Meghan and started talking to her for a little while. She told me about how she took a semester off from school because “life has gotten so crazy.” And that she’s been dating (hooking up with) this guy and he asked her to move in with him and since she’s living with her parents she’s leaning toward taking him up on that offer. One thing about Meghan is that she desperately needs a man at all times. Like she can’t function if she doesn’t have a boyfriend. It’s really sad actually.

I didn’t tune into Brady and Brittany’s conversation again until I heard her ask him if he thinks his parents will ever apologize.

“I don’t know. I’m not counting on it,” Brady answered.

“Apologize for what?” I couldn’t help asking.

Brady turned to me. “Just the way they treated me and Hunter when we were growing up.”

“How did they treat you?” I asked. 

He gave me a weird look and didn’t say anything for like a whole minute. He opened his mouth to say something, but Meghan screamed that Kendra and Natalie had arrived.

Sure enough Natalie was walking in with this huge guy who looked kind of looked like the Rock, but ugly. Kendra, Jasmine and Jasmine’s boyfriend came in behind them. I introduced everyone and we decided to make our way down to the club.

I grabbed Brady’s hand and pulled him along with me. “What was that all about?” I asked.

“What?” He looked confused.

“How did your parents treat you?”

“You know how they treated me. We’ve talked about this before.”

But we haven’t. All he really told me was that they weren’t affectionate or whatever, but nothing really that specific. I decided not to press the subject and just have fun for Brady’s birthday. 

Brittany got us in VIP with bottle service and I demanded Patrón, Grey Goose and pineapple juice. We all drank and danced to Beyonce (because Beyonce). I obviously danced with Brady the majority of the time, but once when we weren’t dancing together I saw Brittany twerking in front of him. Not really twerking on him, but really close in front of him like she wanted him to see. Gross.

I ignored it figuring she didn’t realize he was behind her. Meghan asked me to go to the bathroom with her and when we got into the stall she had a meltdown.

She was sobbing into the toilet and the only words I could make out were “he” and “ashamed” so I’m not really sure what message she was trying to get across. Then she started barfing and the bathroom attendant called security to threaten to kick her out. Of fucking course. And y’all thought I was bad.

When we got back to our section, I immediately found Kendra and asked her if she’d seen Brady. She looked around for a moment before pointing to a corner near the bar where Brady and Brittany were talking.

“What the fuck?” I asked, drunkly. What were they possibly talking about?

“Don’t cause a scene on Brady’s birthday,” Kendra warned. 

“I’m not,” I assured her before marching over there. I stuck my hand in between them and grabbed Brady.

“Hey baby,” I cooed, kissing him. He wrapped his arms around my waist and squeezed me tight.

“I love you,” he whispered.

That’s more like it.

We partied for a few more hours without incident until people started trickling out. Natalie and Jasmine and their men went home first so the rest of us walked down to my favorite Houston late night bar. I sat in a little corner with Brady and made sure he was enjoying his birthday.

“I am. I can’t lie though, I can’t wait to get back to the hotel with you,” he said.

And he didn’t even know what I had in store! Eventually, we all decided to call it a night and head home. Once we got outside, Brittany linked her arm through Brady’s and walked down the sidewalk ahead of us. Uh, okay? I let it happen for a few minutes while I talked to Kendra about my plans for later. Then I sped up behind Brady and Brittany.

“Do you see yourself marrying her?” I heard Brittany ask.

She must have heard me coming because she turned around and said, “Hey sexy!” And then she put her arms around me and kissed me on the cheek. “I had so much fun tonight, I wish you were in town more often!”

She obviously meant she wishes Brady was in town more often, but I wasn’t going to point that out.

“Same,” I said. 

Brittany pulled away, but held onto my hand. “Do you guys just want to stay with me so you don’t have to drive all the way back to your parents house?”

Brady looked at me expectantly like he wanted to know my answer too. Uh, no.

“We actually got a hotel, but thanks for the offer!” I said.

We said our goodbyes and she hugged me and Brady before leaving. Like how do you tell your friend not to flirt with your boyfriend? Is that not common sense?

So I rushed us back to our hotel room because I bought this really cute lingerie set and I wanted to seduce Brady for his birthday. I quickly changed in the bathroom and came back out to Brady on the bed. He kind of laughed but pulled me on top of him.

We slept in on Christmas morning and I ordered a huge breakfast feast from room service. After we were stuffed with waffles, bacon, eggs, fresh fruit and mimosas, we decided to exchange gifts. 

I insisted on going first because I was so excited about my gift. I can’t remember who, but someone commented that Brady seems like someone who appreciates experiences over material things and I couldn’t agree more. So I booked us a vacation to Mexico!

It isn’t until March and I was a little afraid of making such a big commitment, but I knew he would love it so I just did it. It’s for four days in Merida which I think is in the Yucatan Peninsula (?). I wanted somewhere that has some history and attractions, but also has places for us to drink at night so after talking to someone on TripAdvisor I decided on Merida.

Brady obviously loved it, but was worried about being able to get days off from work. Ugh. I made sure to book it Thursday through Sunday so we would only have to take two days off. I feel like asking for two vacation days three months in advance isn’t outrageous. 

Brady gave me my gift next. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I for sure was not expecting a pair of sexy ass Tom Ford pumps that fit me and my wardrobe perfectly. I can’t believe he picked them out.

He was all like, “Do you like them?” 

And I was too busy running around trying to break them in and figuring out how I could wear them while in Houston to respond. Brady also threw some book in there that was written in like the 1800s or something and he said it reminds him of me. I’m not sure how a book from the 1800s could remind him of me, but whatever.

I was Instagramming my new shoes when Brady said, “Oh yeah, my parents sent you something too.”

He was holding up a fairly small gift wrapped box. I felt terrible because I didn’t get his parents anything except the card I threw in with the gift Brady sent them. I had no idea we were on the gift exchanging level.

“Oh. Thanks,” I said, awkwardly taking the gift from him.

Y’all will never guess what Brady’s parents gave me.

It was a bible. A maroon leather bible with my name monogrammed in gold on the bottom corner.

“What is that?” Brady asked.

I held it up. “A bible?” I’m not sure why they thought I needed a new bible, but I guess I appreciate it. Plus they personalized it so that was nice. It’s kind of odd though, right?

Anyway, after we checked out of the hotel we headed back to my parents. On the ride there I considered bringing up the Brittany situation, but ultimately decided against it. It’s not like he really did anything wrong plus we were all drunk.

When we got back to my parents we exchanged gifts with them. They got me a Kate Spade bag and wallet (my mom) and Nike Roshes with a gift card (my dad). I got them an iPad and an e-reader. They got Brady a t-shirt from my dad’s alma mater (in a size XL so I’m not sure what giant they thought I was bringing home).

After we exchanged gifts, my grandparents stopped by. They weren’t too embarrassing except for the fact that my grandmother talked Brady’s ear off. I think it’s a rule that grandparents have to be constantly talking. She had Brady trapped in the kitchen for like an hour. 

After my grandparents left, my dad and Brady went to play a round of golf on the golf course in our subdivision. My mom and I stayed home and drank wine/set up the new iPad/looked for dinner recipes on Pinterest. When the boys got home my mom and I started making drinks and dinner. By the time we were done with the meal, we were both completely drunk and forcing my dad and Brady to take shots. My mom was that mom who allowed me to drink underage at home because she’d rather me do it at home where I was safe than elsewhere where I could be taken advantage of. Those were her words. 

So we all had dinner drunk (so no one knew how bad the meal really was) and then played Monopoly. At around midnight we all retreated to bed, but Brady and I stayed up until like three am talking. He said that he really enjoyed the visit and thought my parents were very welcoming. I told him how embarrassing they are (especially my mom) and he was all like, “You have nothing to be embarrassed about. They obviously love you and are very proud of you.”

That made me feel better. 

Our flight left Houston at 9:30 AM on Friday morning so we had to wake up early to get ready. My dad planned on taking us, but at the last minute my mom decided she wanted to go see us off as well. Naturally it took her forever to get ready and Brady kept looking at his watch and saying, “We should probably get going.”

She practically cried when they dropped us off. During our final hug, she said, “Babe, please hang on to him. I love him for you.”

Which I’ve never heard her say, but I guess that means she approves. Not that I was worried about it. She seemed to like my ex the few times they met, but she never said anything like that.

I planned on sleeping on the way back to Chicago, but Brady sat up in his seat with a weird look on his face. I couldn’t read it so I asked if he was okay.

“Yeah. It’s just weird,” he said. “Hunter didn’t call me for my birthday or Christmas and that isn’t like him.”

“Do you think he’s okay?” I asked cautiously.

“I hope so. No one’s talked to him. I’m getting concerned.”

I tried to assure him that everything is fine, but I don’t even believe that myself. Why wouldn’t Hunter call his own brother for his birthday? I’m convinced that something bad happened to him and the proper authorities need to be notified.

When we got back to Chicago, Brady took me home then went straight to work. I spent the majority of Friday looking at cute bathing suits and coverups for Mexico.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I am exhausted!

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i’m expecting jiff under the christmas tree.

Kendra and I made up on Friday. Well, she texted me a picture of a gold sequin dress she’d seen online and asked if she could wear it for New Year’s Eve. I guess that meant she wasn’t mad anymore.

I replied, “Yes, it’ll look perfect with your DSquared booties and your hair up.”

So we are officially back on.

I talked to Diana on Friday afternoon and she told me that she had someone in mind to replace me. She wanted me to meet the girl and sit in on the interview on Monday. Since apparently I’m an interview expert now I said sure. 

After work I met with Preston for dinner. He was craving Chick-fil-a which is (amazing) disgusting, but after what he’s been going through, I figured he deserved it. We got our food and took it to my apartment so we wouldn’t be caught eating it in public. 

“How are you feeling?” I asked as we sat our sandwiches, nuggets, waffle fries, and milkshakes on the counter.

“Honestly, I’m fucking pissed. But on the bright side, I’m back on Grindr and I’m hanging out with this guy later. I kind of missed it.”

He proceeded to tell me about how he’d met up with a Grindr date on Thursday night and they got a hotel room. Preston totally planned on having rebound sex, but he got too drunk and passed out. Story of my life. 

Brady worked late on Friday night, like really late: until almost 11:00. He texted me when he got off, but didn’t make any attempts to hang out so I figured he was probably tired.

On Saturday morning, Brady told me to come over because he missed me which is so cute. When I got there we had breakfast, hooked up, got dressed, went to Bloomingdale’s, went to the grocery store, came home, napped, made dinner then turned on a movie. We’re like a little married couple already.

Chris was home and the two of them decided to smoke. But instead of pulling the big bong out, they had this little glass pipe thing. I was watching curiously because I’ve never seen one before and Brady tried to pass it to me. I shook my head.

After they finished smoking, they sat on the couch, stoned. I was sitting in the middle of them while they talked about gas prices and the economy or something lame. And then suddenly, right in the middle of their conversation, Brady stopped talking and pulled me on his lap and started kissing my neck. I giggled and pushed him away since Chris was right there.

Brady looked up at me with half-open, red stoner eyes. I kissed him quickly and tried to get up but he grabbed my waist and held me down.

“Brady.” I said his name like I was a fed up high school teacher.

He smirked at me while he stuck his hand up my shirt and squeezed one of my boobs. And then he pinched my nipple and I felt my vagina pulsate. Probably time to end this.

I jumped up and scurried off but before I could get too far Brady slapped my ass, hard.

“Isn’t she so hot?” I heard him ask Chris as I turned down the hallway.

Hot? Whatever. I’m way more than hot. I hope Chris defended me. 

I went to Brady’s room and got on Facebook/Instagram/SnapChat/rubbed the sore hand print on my ass. I was looking at puppies (have you seen Jiff the Pom?! Need.) when Brady walked in.

“You hurt me,” I told him.

I was laying on my tummy across the bed and didn’t move from my spot. 

“I’m sorry,” I heard him say as he came behind me. He rubbed my ass softly and then he pulled down my shorts and kissed the tender spot he slapped.

I flipped over slightly and shoved a picture of Jiff in his face. “Can we get a dog?”

Brady stared at Jiff for about fifteen seconds before saying, “That is a genetically modified dog.”

“No he isn’t,” I scoffed. “He’s just really well groomed. Can we get one? It’ll be our first taste of parenthood.”

Brady laughed and said okay. So I’m expecting Jiff under the tree on Christmas.

On Sunday morning, I woke up before Brady and decided to make breakfast. I put some bacon in the oven and then pulled the eggs out of the refrigerator. I noticed the little black pipe thing sitting on the counter and couldn’t help picking it up. I don’t know why I was so intrigued by it.

I was examining the bowl part with the weed remnants in it when I thought I kind of heard something in the hallway and when I looked up Brady was walking into the kitchen. Apparently he scared me and I dropped the pipe on the tile floor. It shattered. Oops.

“What are you doing?” Brady asked and for a second, I thought he was pissed. But then he smiled and walked into the kitchen only wearing a pair of sweatpants.

“I’m making breakfast,” I said sweetly. I couldn’t help throwing my arms around him and kissing him because he’s just so adorable. “Your pipe thingy fell off the counter and broke.”

I pointed to the glass all over the floor. Brady looked down at the mess and looked back at me. And then he grabbed my hips and pulled me close to him so I could feel that he was hard. I grabbed his dick and started stroking it, considering giving him head in the kitchen.

I was about to pull it out when we heard Chris down the hall say, “Smells like bacon!”

We quickly pulled apart and Brady busied himself cleaning up the glass while I continued working on breakfast. Y’all will be proud to know that I made a delicious breakfast without burning anything (except two pieces of toast which doesn’t count).

By the way, thanks for all the comments on my last post! I was honestly hesitant to post it because I was so embarrassed/horrified about the outcome of what I did. None of you made me feel any worse about it so thanks! Some people are saying I should show him the message, but I deleted our message thread on Facebook and I don’t think I can get it back. I’m not sure if I should show him anyway because neither of us has talked about what happened since Thursday night. Do I really need to bring it back up? And how do I do that without pissing him off all over again? (I know, I know, we suck at communicating)

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shit shit shit.

On Thursday, Andrew wanted to have another touchbase phone call. He wanted an update about how my interviews were going, if I’d found any candidates on my own (I hadn’t) and when I would be available for travel – I told him at the beginning of January, just like Kate and I discussed.

On my way home, Brady texted me saying he was on his way over. It was only 4:45 which was extremely early for him, but I thought nothing of it. I got home and changed into a pair of shorts, a tank top, and a zip hoodie then made a drink and waited for Brady to get there. I buzzed him up when he called and unlocked the door so he could let himself him. I was sitting on the couch half listening to the news/SnapChatting when my door flew open and Brady stormed in. 

“What the fuck did you say to Jessica?” he demanded, looking absolutely furious.

Oh, shit. Shit shit shit.

“Um, nothing,” I said really quietly.

“Yes, you did!” Brady bellowed. I had never, ever seen him this mad before and I cowered into the couch. His face was turning red.

“Whatever you said really upset her and now everyone in the hospital knows what happened. Everyone! And she won’t talk to me so I have no idea what you said!”

I looked on with huge, scared eyes.

“What the fuck were you thinking? Do you think? I told you that you have nothing to worry about! Why did you even feel the need to say anything to her?”

I was silent. You know the really painful lump you get when you’re about to burst into tears? I had that and I tried to swallow it down. 

“I can’t fucking believe you. You go out of your way to embarrass me! You thrive on it!” Brady’s fists were balled up at his sides and I actually thought he might punch me. “Are you going to say anything or are you just going to sit there looking stupid?”

My mouth opened, but nothing came out. I was afraid that the moment I tried to say something I would start bawling.

“Let me see the message,” Brady said in the most normal voice he’d used all day. 

Oh God. The message. I couldn’t possibly let him read the belligerent and hateful message I’d sent her. He would never speak to me again.

“I deleted it,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like my own.

“No you didn’t, Reese. Let me fucking read it,” Brady said and I could tell that his anger was coming back.

And that’s when I cried. I curled into a ball in the corner of the couch and cried so Brady couldn’t see me. I can’t handle this kind of confrontation. I literally just wanted to die.

I heard Brady walk a couple of steps and sigh as he sat down on the couch. When he didn’t say or do anything for a few minutes, I peeked through my arms and saw him sitting on the other end of the couch, staring straight ahead with his chin resting on his steepled fingers.

I must have fallen into some sort of crying coma because the next thing I remember is Brady gently tugging on the bottom of my hoodie. I pulled my hoodie away and tightened up in my ball.

“Reese,” Brady said. Then I felt him scoot closer to me and grab my arm to try to pull me out of my ball.

“Reese, look at me.”

I knew I probably had mascara smeared all over my face, but I still looked up at him.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you,” Brady said. He wiped my cheek with his thumb. “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t want you talking to her,” I heard myself say. “Or her talking to you. I want you to myself.”

“You have me to yourself. How many times do I have to tell you this?” His voice was gentle. “I don’t want anyone else, Reese.”

I sniffled.

Brady put an arm around me and I fell into him, my face resting on his cold jacket.

“Sorry,” I said.

“It’s okay,” Brady sighed and we were both silent for several minutes. I tried to piece together how everyone found out about Brady and Jessica because if my message. Unless she showed people? But I don’t see why she would unless she just wanted to incriminate herself. I bet all of Brady’s coworkers think I’m insane. Which is accurate.

Eventually we got up wordlessly and walked to my room. Brady took off his jacket, shoes and tie and got in bed. I got in after him and he pulled me on top of him. He pushed my hoodie off and tossed it on the floor.

I smiled, liking where this was going. I began slowly unbuttoning his dress shirt and then pulled it and his white undershirt off. I ran my hands over his smooth skin, my fingernails grazing his little chest tattoo, his subtle skinny boy abs and the purplish red hickey I’d left on his neck. I thought back to when we first met – when we had those innocent sleepovers where he explained why he couldn’t wear a shirt to bed.

It’s so crazy how things change. Remember when I first met Brady? I was so enamored with him. He was this successful pharmacist who used big words and liked to run and keep his condo clean. I tried so hard to pretend to be this perfectly put together girl who also ran and didn’t drink into her face fell off thinking that’s what he wanted. I kind of miss that.

“I love you,” I said abruptly. “Do you still want to meet my parents?”

“Yes. Do you want me to?” Brady replied.

I nodded happily.

“I like you like this,” he said.

I scrunched my nose. On top of him? With mascara all over my face? Horny? “Like what?” 

“You put on this front like you don’t care about anything so you’re abrasive and confrontational and mean. It’s like you’re afraid to show that you are capable of being emotionally invested in anything.”

I felt like he opened me up and read me like a book. I blinked.

“When you make yourself vulnerable you look so happy and carefree.”

I didn’t confirm or deny Brady’s psychological diagnosis of me and instead helped him finish getting undressed. He flipped me over so he could be on top and then we proceeded to have the best make up sex ever. It wasn’t like scratching, spanking, “Are you sure you’re sorry?” “Yes, please forgive me.”

It was like, “I love you,” “I love you more,” “Do you still want to marry me?” “Of course.”

Which is so not me.

So I was up all night thinking about what Brady said. I know it’s true, but I had no idea he could tell too. God. I’m such a trainwreck.

Standard

can i message her?

Andrew called me just before noon on Monday. He didn’t tell me what he wanted to talk about, but I assumed it probably had something to do with the interviews. 

“Hey Reese!” he greeted me when I answered. “How’s your morning going?”

“Good,” I told him. “I have a lot I want to do before I leave this job so I’m pretty busy.”

“You’ll have time to do interviews this week though, won’t you?” Andrew asked, sounding concerned.

“Of course. I scheduled them so they won’t interfere with anything.”

“So you’re doing all of your interviews over the phone then?”

“Yes.” Did I have other options?

“Okay. What kinds of things are you going to ask the candidates?”

This caught me off guard. I’d printed off some stuff I found online like “twenty five common interview questions” and “retail manager interview questions” but I hadn’t even looked at them yet. My first interview wasn’t until that afternoon.

So I just bullshitted and told him that I would want to know about their work ethic, how their former supervisors would describe them and some other random questions I kind of remember from my internship interview (my “interview” with Diana consisted of us talking about our favorite shoe designers).

“Good,” Andrew said. “You ought to throw some behavioral questions in there. That’s the direction interviewing is going in these days.”

I rolled my eyes and said okay.

“And like I said, I want to have a team in place by Christmas and we can’t just hire these people over the phone. So I was thinking, you could fly out to Tennessee next Monday and start conducting some in person interviews and hopefully making some decisions. I will be there on Tuesday and we could both leave Wednesday. I assume your job gave you the week off for the holidays?”

I didn’t say anything. I’m going home next Tuesday and Wednesday is Brady’s birthday. No way am I missing that.

“Actually, I already have plans for next week. I’m flying to Texas to see my family on Tuesday,” I said.

“Would you be able to call the airline and change to fly to Texas out of Tennessee? That way you can still interview your own people. I’ll of course cover any additional charge.”

I considered lying and making up some sob story about why this wouldn’t work. I don’t want to be that girl who uses her boyfriend as an excuse, but I can’t help that I already have plans. And even if I didn’t, that’s Christmas Eve. Why would I want to be traveling for a job I technically haven’t even started yet?

“I can’t do that. I have to fly with my boyfriend. It’s his birthday and we have plans that I don’t want to deviate from,” I said, feeling like such a whiney bitch.

“Ah, the truth comes out,” Andrew said and I rolled my eyes. “So are you just expecting me to hire your people, Reese?”

I absolutely hated the way he said my name. “I don’t know what I expect. I guess I didn’t realize you would want me to travel next week before I made my plans. Sorry about that.” Why was I apologizing?

“Okay,” Andrew said, sighing frustratedly. “Well, I hope you and your boyfriend enjoy your vacation.”

Ugh. I wished I never would’ve mentioned having a boyfriend.

Kendra came over on Monday night. She’d hung out with that Eric guy over the weekend and apparently he tried to have sex with her. And she was not having it.

“Why are guys so fucking disgusting? I’ve known him like a week! What gave him the impression that I would have sex him? Do I look like a slut?” she cried.

I smirked. “I mean…”

“Shut up, Reese!” Kendra screamed. “Dating is hard. Where do the guys who aren’t just looking to hook up hang out?”

“Not at the bar,” I pointed out.

Kendra was silent for a moment then peeked up at me cautiously. “So, I have a confession.”

“Yes?” I thought she was going to say she let Eric eat her out or something. 

But Kendra said, “I called John. We are going to talk things over tomorrow night.”

I froze. “You what?”

“Before you yell, I don’t plan on taking him back or anything like that. I just want to hear him out. I haven’t really heard his side…”

“Kendra!” I calmly shouted. “His side?! He cheated on you! He had sex with someone else.”

“I know, but I know there must be an explanation…”

“His dick was in another girl’s pussy!” I yelled. “What other explanation do you need?” I know it was harsh, but Kendra sounded like she was softening. Like if John said the right thing, she would fall right back into his arms.

“Reese.” Kendra looked frustrated and tired. “I’m just going to give him the chance to talk. Then if I start acting irrationally, you can kill me.”

I told her okay. I know I originally wanted Kendra to talk to him, but I feel like now she’s not as mad and more likely to forgive. I mean, it’s her prerogative if she wants to forgive him, but as a friend I would encourage her not to.

After Kendra left I went to Brady’s. Chris was at work so we grabbed a blanket and went down to the basement to watch a movie. I told him about Andrew and how ridiculous and hard on me he’s being.

Brady said, “I think it’ll be good for you to have someone constantly challenging you. It doesn’t seem like your current boss does that very much.”

I gave him a blank stare. “Why would I want someone constantly challenging me?”

“If no one is ever challenging you then you won’t get better. You won’t learn anything or improve at your job,” Brady said.

That was a good point. Brady always sees the positive in everything. I wish I was more like that.

I laid my head in his lap and we watched something on Netflix. I was starting to doze off when I felt his phone vibrate on the arm of the couch. I couldn’t help peeking to see what/who it was. Imagine my horror when I saw Jessica’s name. She’d texted him, “Thanks. :)” with an emoji and everything. Brady didn’t make any moves to answer or touch his phone and I couldn’t see him to see if he saw it too. What the fuck was she thanking him for? Did she send him a nude and he complimented her so she was thanking him? Did she ask a work related question and he answered? I had so many theories.

But I wasn’t going to confront him. How many times did we have to go over this? I was exhausted of fighting about it. I told myself it was innocent and continued watching the rest of the movie. When it was over, Brady finally looked down at his phone and read Jessica’s message. Then he put his phone in his pocket. 

I wanted to say, “Don’t worry, I’ve already seen it,” but decided against it.

On Tuesday, I texted Brady in the morning asking if he wanted to go to lunch. I wanted to make my presence known since apparently Jessica thinks she’s back in. Brady said sure and would let me know what time he would be able to take a break. It turned out to be at 1:00 so at 12:30 I rushed out of the office to meet him. I told him I would just swing by and get him so he didn’t have to move his car. Before I got out to meet him inside the hospital, I reapplied my lip gloss and powder and made sure I looked perfect in case Jessica decided to show her face.

She didn’t and Brady and I had pasta and salads at a place nearby. Brady said he was “working late” so I spent the evening searching for gifts for him and organizing my interview notes to give to Andrew. Since apparently he will be doing my in person interviews, I wanted to let him know who my favorites were.

On Wednesday, I was supposed to meet Kendra and Carly for dinner and drinks. Kendra still needed to tell me how her talk with John went. Carly and I showed up at the same time so we snagged a table. We ordered sweet potato fries, spinach dip and vodka Redbulls.

Since I still hadn’t figured out what I wanted to get Brady for his birthday/Christmas, I asked Carly what she thought I should get him and what she was getting Chris. She said Chris told her exactly what he wanted so she really didn’t have to guess. Brady would just tell me he didn’t want anything. He’s so modest like that.

And then Carly said, “Oh yeah, I have something to tell you, but you have to promise not to say anything.”

“Okay. What is it?” I asked curiously.

“Seriously!” she exclaimed, leaning close to me and grabbing my arm. “You can’t tell Brady I told you. If you do, Chris will be pissed and never tell me anything again!”

“Okay, I won’t say anything!” Now I was anxious. What was this big secret she wanted to tell me? Obviously, I thought the worst and was already trying to figure out if Brady’s plane ticket to Houston was refundable.

“So Chris overheard Brady arguing with his mom about not coming home for the holidays. Well, maybe not arguing, but having a disagreement. After he hung up, Chris asked him about it and Brady said that his mom is upset because she thinks you’re controlling and you’re forcing him to spend the holidays with you. Chris asked me if I thought that was true.”

“Wha?” I uttered, unable to form words. Me, controlling? Yeah right! Brady insisted on spending his birthday and Christmas with me! If I’d known his mom wasn’t okay with it I would have never even asked.

“Don’t worry, I defended you. And Chris said he doesn’t think you’re controlling either and that Brady just really likes you.”

What kind of person does Brady’s mom think I am if she believes I would purposely try to keep him from his family? I’m not Dom! And didn’t Brady say that he didn’t spend the holidays with his family last year either? Was that my fault too?

Kendra showed up a few minutes later and I grilled her about her talk with John.

“It was fine,” she sighed. “It put a lot of things into perspective.”

“Like what?” I asked. 

“He opened up about how he’d been feeling the last few months of our relationship. I’d been trying so hard to excel at my career that I was kind of ignoring him.”

I glared. “Ignoring him?”

“Yeah. I wasn’t concerned about him and his life which is probably just as stressful as mine.”

“So that’s an excuse to cheat on you?” Carly clarified.

“No. Is that what I said?” Kendra snapped. “I just said it put things into perspective. I was working a lot, would come home and get in bed, and refuse to have sex with him.”

“You sound like you’re blaming yourself,” I pointed out, draining the rest of my drink. “None of this makes it okay for him to cheat on you.”

“I didn’t say it makes it okay!” Kendra was becoming visibly frustrated. “But I get it. You can’t just ignore your boyfriend and expect him to take it.”

“I don’t like the way this conversation is going,” I said. “If John felt like you were neglecting him, he should have broken up with you. Not cheated on you.”

Kendra’s eyes cut to me, blazing. “Yeah? Is that what you said every time [Nameless Ex] fucked another girl? Which was literally every single weekend.”

I didn’t say anything as the waitress placed another vodka Redbull in front of me. I took a gulp.

“Why would I take relationship advice from you? You don’t even know what a relationship is! Your first ‘boyfriend’ treated you like shit and was also dating every other girl in school. And now you have Brady wrapped around your finger and he’s like your little lovesick slave. So no offense, but you’re the last person I would take relationship advice from.”

Ouch. That stung. Kendra threw her menu down and stormed out before I could think of a response. But really, I just wanted to cry.

“Wow, that was mean,” Carly said quietly.

“It’s fine,” I said quickly.

We finished our drinks then I told her about Jessica texting Brady. “It could be innocent, but knowing her I doubt it was.”

“Wait, let me see what she looks like again. I forgot,” Carly said. 

I pulled up Jessica’s Facebook profile on my phone and let Carly look through her pictures.

“She’s pretty.” Carly held up my phone and picture of Jessica filled the screen. It was a semi professional headshot where Jessica was looking down and the wind was blowing her hair behind her. Carly saw the disapproving look I was giving her so she added, “I guess.”

“Can I message her?” I asked, snatching my phone back. I went back to Jessica’s main profile and clicked the message icon.

“And say what?” Carly’s eyes widened.

“I don’t know. Tell her to stay from Brady?” I typed, “Hey Jessica!”

“Okay, but be nice. You don’t want to make it awkward for him at work.”

Who gives a fuck if it’s awkward? They got themselves into the situation. I stared down at my phone as I waited for Jessica to respond. It said she was active fourteen minutes before so she was probably near her phone. And then the little green circle appeared. 

“She’s online,” I announced, excitedly.

“Oh my gosh, what are you going to say?”

The waitress brought us each another drink and we thanked her.

“I’m not sure yet. I’m waiting for her to respond.”

I looked back down at my phone and saw that she had messaged me back. 

“Hi Reese, how are you? I heard you and Brady are spending Christmas with your family. That sounds fun!!!”

I don’t know if it was the fact that she and Brady are obviously still discussing their personal lives, or the patronizing sounding message, or the big fight I’d just had with Kendra, or the four vodka Redbulls, but this girl was not prepared for the lashing I was about to give her.

“What are you saying, Reese?” Carly asked as I typed rapidly on my phone.

“Just politely telling her that Brady is taken,” I said two minutes later as I pushed send. I reread my message as it turned yellow and then white.

“Can you stop talking to him? I think it’s a little inappropriate for you to continue to push yourself onto him now that we are together. Just because you gave him one blow job and sent him multiple nude photos of yourself (which I have on standby if you want to keep this up) doesn’t mean he owes you anything. He’s expressed that he’s not interested in you whatsoever and that I don’t want you guys talking about non work related things. So now you’re just being rude. So if you don’t mind, please don’t talk to him, text him, smile at him, send him pictures of your huge tits, or suck his dick. Thanks Jessica!”

I stared at my phone and got excited when Facebook told me that she’d seen it. She started responding as Carly told me about Preston. I haven’t talked to Preston is a few days because he’s holing himself up in his apartment. Carly says he’s trying to repair his relationship with Mr. Murphy because he’s genuinely in love with him (his money), but Mr. Murphy isn’t really having it right now. Apparently he and Dillon are living together. Preston is devastated.

I looked down at my phone and it still said, “Typing…” She must have had a lot to say. I was kind of excited to see how she would respond to this. A couple minutes later she was still typing. I made a bet with myself that she was probably going to tell me that they’re still hooking up or something ridiculous. But then, she stopped typing and it appeared that she logged off. She never replied.

After Carly and I left the restaurant, I went to Brady’s. I waited in his room while he finished up some work then he joined me. I wanted to ask about his fight with his mom without letting him know what Carly told me.

“My parents are so excited to meet you. Are you sure your parents don’t mind you not spending Christmas with them?” I asked innocently.

“Yeah, it’s fine. They’re going to New York anyway,” Brady said, taking off his tie and crawling into the bed next to me. 

I pushed him back and climbed on top of him, straddling him. “You’re sure?”

“Mmhm.” Brady started unbuttoning the buttons of my DVF shirtdress. “Now that we’re older Christmas just isn’t the same. It isn’t a big deal.”

He pushed my dress off so I was just sitting there in my underwear.

“I’m really happy you want to come with me,” I said, making sure that he knew it was his decision and I wasn’t controlling  him.

“Me too,” Brady said. He looked at me for a few moments before smirking. “Come up here.”

I knew what that meant so I ditched my panties and climbed the length of his body until I reached his face. I straddled him and lowered myself onto his mouth then I grabbed fistfuls of his hair as he began gently sucking me.

Jesus Christ, this man knew what he was doing. Not even ten minutes later, my entire body was quivering as I yanked on Brady’s hair, about to come. He had his arms wrapped around my legs, trying to steady me because my hips were bucking like crazy. Brady moaned into me; he was enjoying this.

I threw my head back and lifted up a bit as I came. Have you ever had an orgasm that was so intense that you just needed to collapse and sleep afterwards? That was me. But Brady wrapped one arm around my waist and lowered me and used the other to unbuckle his pants. I couldn’t even sit up straight, but he still entered me and used his hips and arm to bounce me. I laid on top of him like a dead body. I can’t remember the last time an orgasm has knocked me out of commission like that.

But I didn’t want to be completely useless so with the little energy I had left, I stroked his hair and kissed his neck, ear and chin. When I felt him about to come, I started sucking on his neck hard, knowing it would leave a mark, but not caring.

“Uhh, Reese!” he groaned and the way he said my name made my female parts perk up again.

We laid there for a moment, still intertwined and trying to catch our breath. And then Brady whispered, “I love you so much.”

I smiled groggily to myself and squeezed his face against mine right before falling asleep.

Standard

party animal.

I was only able to set up five interviews by Wednesday morning, but I lied and told Andrew that I had eight. I was still waiting to hear back from some people so I figured he wouldn’t find out. He said, “Great Reese! I can’t wait to hear how they go!”

He didn’t bother giving me an interview guide or any direction really so I guess I have to figure it out on my own. I haven’t talked to Kate because I don’t want to seem like a whiney baby and so far, what Andrew has asked me to do hasn’t interfered with my current job. And like y’all said, it’s good to hire my own people and I’m lucky that Andrew is giving me that opportunity. So I’ll take it.

At the end of our Friday staff meeting, Diana announced that I would be leaving. Everyone seemed surprised and after the meeting Whitney stopped by my office.

“I can’t believe you quit,” she said.

I smiled and nodded.

“What is your new job?”

I knew she just wanted to know so she could judge/talk shit so I was as vague as possible. “It’s with a fashion retailer. It’s a huge salary increase.”

“That’s cool. Does Diana have anyone in mind to replace you?”

I smiled, knowing she was hoping her name was in the running.

“Not yet. She strongly believes in promoting from within but she said there’s no one here she thinks would be cut out to do it,” I said. 

“Oh.”

I guess that was kind of mean, but whatever. I bet Diana will promote her anyway so I don’t feel bad about leading her astray a bit.

After work, I planned on eating something disgustingly good for dinner then spending the evening in bed watching tv, but I got a text from Carly as I was leaving that said, “Are you doing anything tonight?”

And I was like, “Nope, no plans.” Then a few minutes later I added, “Why? Are you?”

She said, “Yeah, we are going to the bar later. Wanna come?”

And I was like, “Okay.”

So that’s how Carly persuaded me into going out on Friday night. I went home and got my things then headed to Brady’s. We ordered pizza, drank wine, then got ready to go out.

We were meeting some of Brady and Chris’s friends at the bar, but I made sure Paul or John wouldn’t be there. Am I hard to get along with? I shouldn’t have to be worried about a confrontation with his friends. But I can’t help that those guys are assholes!

When we got there everyone got beers so I decided against my tequila and Sprite since apparently it wasn’t that kind of night. But then after my beer, I needed some actual liquor. Jacob called me a party animal.

Nothing too crazy really happened at the first bar except when this girl one of Chris’s classmates was talking to just randomly dropped it like it’s hot in front of Brady. Then she turned and gave him what was supposed to be a sexy wink and Brady just looked around with the most hilarious expression on his face. It was like panicked/confused/mortified.

And the girl looked so desp that I couldn’t even be mad at her. I actually laughed out loud. I don’t think she knew Brady and I were together so maybe I wasn’t being all over him like I normally am. Or maybe I was and she just didn’t care? You know how girls can be these days.

A few minutes later, I went to the bathroom with Carly and when we came back out, the dancing girl was making out with Chris’s friend. So good for her.

By the time we made it to the next bar, Carly and I were tipsy and up to our usual shenanigans (running to the bathroom hand in hand, dancing, ordering shots, making new friends). We started talking to these two guys in the Air Force and one of them told us they were stationed in France. Carly actually studied abroad in France and the name of the base didn’t sound familiar to her so she called an emergency bathroom meeting. Then she Googled the base they told her about and found out that they were lying. We avoided them the rest of the night.

The real action happened when the bar closed and everyone was spilling out. Carly and I skipped out ready to take on the after hours bar (hey, we like to party) and the guys followed. I heard some belligerent voice say something like, “This is the douchebag I’ve been looking for.”

I turned and this random man I’ve never seen before in my life lunged at my boyfriend and grabbed him by his Northface! Chris and friends immediately stepped in to help push the maniac off and a big scuffle ensued. The bar bouncers and a cop patrolling the street had to pry the man off Brady and then handcuff him for being a psychopath. It happened so fast. It was all very dramatic.

“What just happened?” I asked.

“Mistaken identity, it seems,” Chris answered.

“Yeah, I’ve never seen that guy, but he said I tried to fight him in the bar,” Brady laughed. “So he tried to kick my ass out here.”

I turned and glared at the man, who was now sitting in the backseat of the police car. How dare he lay his filthy hands on my boyf? The cop wanted to speak with Brady and I was so stressed and shaken up by the drama that I made Carly find us cigs then we walked around the block to smoke them.

“I can’t believe that just happened. Brady would like, never get in a fight,” I said, taking a drag.

“I know!” Carly agreed. “He’s like, the nicest person ever!”

Just then, Brady and Chris rounded the corner and found us.

“That’s fucking disgusting,” Brady kind of yelled, snatching the cigarette out of my mouth and throwing it. Carly threw hers down and smiled innocently.

Oopsies.

We stopped at the late night bar (only because their kitchen was still open and I needed cheese sticks) then headed home.

On Saturday, Brady and I finalized our birthday/Christmas plans. He had trouble getting days off, but was able to snag a few so we are flying to Houston on Tuesday (the 23rd) after he leaves work and coming back on Friday morning (the 26th) so he can still go in for a few hours. Workaholic. After we bought our plane tickets, I was inspired to keep traveling and I told Brady we should go to New York City or Vegas for New Years. He laughed.

“I wish. Even this time off is a bit of a stretch. Unfortunately, my job doesn’t stop for holidays.”

I pouted, but this made sense. And at least he gets those few days and he wants to spend it with me! I have to plan something really amazing for his birthday. Speaking of which, I have absolutely no idea what gift I should get him for his birthday and Christmas. Literally, I’m at a loss. Help? Any ideas?? I always got my ex things like watches, shoes, designer sunglasses, etc, but he was super flashy. Somehow, I don’t think Brady would care for any of that. I would reach out to Hunter and ask, but apparently he’s shunning us or dead (knock on wood). You guys always have amazing ideas though!

I predict this week will be pretty busy. I set up a ton of phone interviews and squeezed them into my lunch breaks, commutes to and from work, and random times throughout the day. I haven’t heard from Andrew since last week, but he’s supposed to call me this morning. And I’m kind of dreading it.

Standard

i want to be a trophy wife.

Oh Friday afternoon, we had our staff meeting and I participated as usual – presenting my ideas and shutting down Whitney’s. After the meeting, I caught Diana on her way into her office.

“Hey,” I said, following her in. “Can we talk?”

She looked at me and said, “Oh shit,” like she knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. “Yes. Shut the door and sit down.”

I shut the door and sat with my hands in my lap. I still had no idea what I wanted to do or say, but I was leaning toward taking the new job. I just needed to talk to Diana.

“What’s going on, Reese?” she asked after she was settled in her desk chair. She was giving me her full attention, not distracted by her phone or computer like she normally is.

“I got offered another job,” I said, not wasting any time.

Diana nodded.

“They offered me more money and better benefits, but I don’t know if I want to take it.”

“Your mom warned me this may happen. What’s the position?” she asked.

I rolled my eyes. My mom can’t hold fucking water. Remind me never to tell her anything ever. I gave Diana a not-so-brief rundown of the position, my trip to New York and my reasons for being apprehensive about taking the job.

“I don’t want to just jump ship, but I feel like this is a good opportunity,” I said.

“It sounds like it,” Diana admitted. “And it sounds like you would really excel at it.”

“Do you want me to leave?”

“Of course not,” Diana smiled. “But I would never want to hold you back. When I graduated college I landed my first job in New York City. I was doing public relations for a magazine and I really, really enjoyed it. But then I randomly got an opportunity to work for a pretty well known interior designer. It seemed risky because I was going from a large corporate establishment to a small design firm, but after talking to all my friends and family and praying about it, I decided to go for it. Not only did I love my new position, it molded me into what I am today. I without a doubt would not be here if I hadn’t taken that job. And not two months after they hired someone to replace me at my old job, they eliminated the position entirely. So I know I made the right decision.”

“Are you guys eliminating my position?” I asked.

Diana kind of laughed. “No, Reese. What I’m saying is, you need to do what you think is right. Don’t worry about I have to say or what anyone else has to say. Only you know what’s best for you.”

I nodded.

“I don’t want you to leave, Reese. In fact, if you do, I’ll be quite upset. But that’s me being selfish.”

I felt tears stinging my eyes.

“It sounds like the opportunity for growth is there. Take it. You just got this wonderful promotion in May, but what can you do next? Take my job?” Diana smirked.

I started crying as I realized she was right and that meant I was leaving.

Diana called my name in a voice that told me I was being ridiculous so I tried to pull myself together.

“You sound to me like you want to take this job. So take it. Take it or I’ll fire you.”

I couldn’t help laughing.

Diana told me to go accept the position and then booted up her computer dismissing me.

I stood up to leave. “I have a question.”

“Mmhm?” she said, not looking up from her computer.

“Is Whitney going to be my replacement?”

Diana stopped typing and looked at me for a moment. “I mean, that would be the obvious choice. I will need to talk to Tracey about our options. Do you have someone else in mind?”

I shook my head and turned to leave. I wanted to tell Diana all the reasons Whitney does not deserve my position, but decided not to. Diana will make a good choice without me having to bash anyone.

Back in my office, I emailed Kate back letting her know that I accepted the sales director position and we discussed a start date for me. We decided that even though they need me as soon as possible, I wouldn’t start until after the holidays so I can wrap up everything with my old job. Kate agreed that that was fair.

Then I sent out a mass text message letting everyone know that I had just quit my job. Brady responded that we should go out and celebrate so I let everyone know the plans. 

The rest of the day was weird. Diana wanted to officially announce my departure at the next staff meeting so I had to keep mum about it. Not that I had anyone to tell. 

After work, I went shopping and got a dress and new pair of shoes. Then I grabbed dinner and headed to Brady’s. To my fucking dismay, when Brady let me in, John was in the living room holding a freaking beer. I hadn’t seen that asshole since the news broke that he cheated and needless to say, I was not happy.

“Hey Reese,” John said, smiling nervously.

I glared at him as I slowly dropped my stuff. I made a face at his stupid little sweater and loafers and his grotesque hairline. I can’t believe Kendra wasted six years with him. And I can’t believe that at least two women have had sex with him.

I didn’t stop glaring at John as he turned to Brady and said, “I guess I’d better go.”

I nodded, agreeing. John gave me a little smile as he walked past and I had to refrain from jabbing him with my keys. Brady walked John out then returned to the living room.

“What the fuck was he doing here?” I demanded.

“We were just having a beer…” Brady said slowly.

“You’re still hanging out with that clown after what he did?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were still mad.” Brady bit his lip.

“Why wouldn’t I still be mad?” I seethed. “He cheated! Is that not a big deal?”

“It is. I apologize. I won’t hang out with him again.”

I grabbed the food and went to set up our feast without another word. After we ate, we made drinks and talked. I asked about Hunter and Dom since I haven’t really heard about them since the party. Brady admitted that he hasn’t talked to Hunter since the party, despite calling and texting him several times. I wasn’t going to say it to Brady, but that seems fishy. Why would Hunter just fall off the face of the Earth? I guess I can understand him wanting to distance himself from his awful parents, but Brady? They’re pretty close. I hope Dom hasn’t done anything crazy.

We got ready to go to the bar with Chris and Kendra. Preston was wallowing after being played and Carly was working. We got to the bar and immediately started with shots and stood there hanging out. It was a little bit weird being out without Carly, but Kendra and I hung out and talked while Brady and Chris stood next to us.

I thought about telling Kendra that I saw John, but even in my tipsy state I realized that it probably wasn’t the time or place. Maybe I shouldn’t tell her at all ever? We’ve done a really good job avoiding him completely the past few weeks.

While we were talking, two semi attractive guys approached us.

“My friend and I are having a bet,” one of them said. “Are you two sisters?”

I rolled my eyes as Kendra giggled. “Do we look like it?”

“Yeah. Are you the older one?” the guy said.

Kendra and I look nothing alike (we aren’t even the same race) so clearly these two were just using a generic line. But Kendra seemed to be enjoying them and she hasn’t shown any interest in any guy since John so I stood there smiling like a good wing woman. Kendra was hitting it off more with the taller of the two, which was fitting, so I was stuck talking to the shorter one.

I was half listening to him talk about being in business school when I felt a hand slide across my back. It was Brady. I kind of squealed and threw my arms around him. There’s just nothing like seeing bae when a lame guy is talking your face off.

“How’s it going?” Brady asked, turning toward my new friend. He kept his hand on my back protectively, kind of like he wanted the guy to know I’m off limits. 

The guy answered and the three of us talked for a moment before the guy said he was going to get another drink. Kendra was still talking to the friend so we motioned to her that we were going to go sit at the table with Chris.

After we sat down, I asked Brady what he seriously wants to do for his birthday. It’s good to ask people important questions when they’re drunk because then you get real answers out of them. Brady said he wants to spend his birthday with me which was exactly the answer I was looking for. We brainstormed ideas and I threw out my idea for him to come to Houston with me and he said okay!

I was like, “Really? You don’t want to go home to see your parents?”

Brady shrugged. “We usually don’t do much for Christmas. I would rather be with you.”

I smiled and kissed him because that’s just so cute. Naturally, we started talking about getting married and our future. We decided we will get engaged next summer then get married in the winter. Then we will live in Chicago for a few more years while we’re still young before settling down in Massachusetts. Brady asked if I would still be able to work my job in Mass.

“I’ll quit. I want to be a trophy wife anyway,” I told him.

Brady laughed, but I was actually serious. I let him know that he definitely needs to get permission from my parents before proposing, I hate sappy shit but I want a romantic proposal (I wouldn’t mind getting in engaged in Paris), and I want a vintage inspired halo ring with a diamond that’s at least two carats. Brady said okay.

“Are you writing this down?! Do you even want to know my ring size??” I demanded.

Brady picked up my left hand and studied it. He didn’t drop my hand as he said, “I’ve got it under control.”

After a couple more glasses of beer, we met back up with Kendra and decided to call it a night. She told me she exchanged numbers with that guy and wanted to see him again. Good for her.

When we got back to Brady and Chris’s, we all hung out in the kitchen eating tortilla chips. Brady and I were clearly super drunk and Chris just watched us, amused. Once the chips were gone, Brady and I retreated to his room to look at plane tickets. We didn’t book anything, but just wanted to get some ideas about what days we would need off from work. 

We for some reason got a random craving for ice cream, but of course, Brady didn’t have any in the freezer. I really need to teach him how to go grocery shopping before we can get married.

“Maybe Chris will take us to get ice cream. He isn’t drunk,” I suggested.

“Okay. Go ask him,” Brady said.

“No, you ask him. He’s your roommate,” I replied. Although I’m around Chris frequently, I feel like I really don’t know him very well. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with him alone.

“But it was your idea. Plus, he can’t say no to you.” Brady grabbed my shoulders and guided me toward Chris’s room down the hallway.

Fine. I walked down to Chris’s room and knocked lightly. He opened the door and as sweetly as I could, I said, “Brady and I were wondering if you could take us to get ice cream? We will buy you whatever you want.”

“Umm.” Chris looked like he was ready for bed and I kind of felt bad, but not really.

“Please?” I gave him my doe eyed look that has helped me get everything I want.

“Okay. Let me get dressed,” Chris finally said. 
 
Chris took us to one of those Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’ hybrid shops and we all got cones. And then I figured since we were already there, I would get a dozen donuts for the morning. I hate Dunkin’ donuts so I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. Kendra hung out with the guy from the bar, whose name happens to be Eric, on Saturday night. She texted me throughout the date, telling me that she didn’t know how to behave on a first date with someone because she was in a relationship for so long. My first piece of advice was to stop texting while on a date.

On Monday morning, I got an email from Andrew that said, “Reese, I am happy to hear from Kate that you accepted my job offer. I’m excited for you to come on board. Did the two of you discuss a start date?”

I immediately replied, “I am very excited as well! Kate and I determined that I will start the first week in January after the holidays. I look forward to working with you.”

A few minutes later, I got a call from Andrew on my cell phone. I wasn’t sure what he would want, but knew it had to be important so I answered.

“Good morning, Reese. How are you?” he greeted me.

“I’m doing great. I’m just at work right now,” I said, hoping he would get the hint and cut to the chase.

“So you and Kate decided you will start in January?” Andrew asked.

“Yes.”

“I thought you understood that this position needed to be filled right away. I was under the impression that you would be starting immediately. The new store in your region is opening in January and no one has been hired for it yet.”

“Okay.”

“You probably want to be the one who determines who works in your store because it’s a reflection of you.”

“Okay.”

“I mean, I need you screening applicants and doing interviews. Can you start doing that immediately? We need to have a team in place by Christmas.”

I didn’t say anything, but I was really annoyed. I never told anyone that I would be starting immediately. That was never a part of the plan.

“Okay,” I finally said, trying to hide my frustration.

“Great!” Andrew exclaimed. “I’ll send you the login and password for your new work email and forward you all the resumes I’ve received thus far. Try to set up some interviews for later this week and next week.”

I said okay and we hung up. Since I wasn’t really working on anything, I set up my new work email and was bombarded with emails from Andrew right away. They were all resumes and cover letters for people applying to different positions. I opened a few resumes and saw people with experience in fashion design, cashiering, food service, etc. It was kind of overwhelming.

I replied to Andrew on one of them and said, “I don’t really know what I’m looking for.” How was I supposed to know if someone who had five plus years working in a pet store would be good in my store?

Andrew quickly emailed me back, “You don’t know what kind of person you want working in your store, Reese? Do you know how to read a resume?”

I didn’t appreciate his sarcastic response. Kate assured me that I would have a thorough training and I wouldn’t be thrown into anything, but I definitely felt like I was being thrown into it. And besides that, wasn’t there other preliminary things I needed before I started working? What about my tax forms? Do they not do background checks? Don’t I need to sign a contract? I wasn’t about to ask Andrew all this, but planned on asking Kate later.

Ten minutes later, Andrew emailed me again and said, “Please have at least eight interviews set up by Wednesday morning.”

Seriously? Does he think I have all this free time? I responded, “K.” And he said, “Thanks Reese!”

I didn’t hear from Andrew again on Monday and didn’t have time to look at resumes for the rest of the workday. After work I went home and started looking at the resumes on my laptop. I created three folders for screening them: yes, maybe and no.

Brady called when he got off and I told him to come over. When he got to my apartment, I told him what happened with Andrew and that I didn’t know what I was doing. Instead of agreeing with me that Andrew was being ridiculous and unfair, Brady said Andrew was right in that I should want to hire my own people if I would be held accoutable for them and that looking through the resumes shouldn’t be too hard or take much time.

“What?” I exclaimed, turning my laptop toward him. “Look at all these resumes he sent me!” I opened one of the email attachments. “This woman has no relevant experience. She teaches opera singers. How will I know if she would be good at selling stuff?”

Brady leaned forward and scanned the resume. “It says here that she majored in communications and interned with Michael Kors. Isn’t that a fashion brand? To me, this says she probably has no problem speaking to people and she is also on top of current fashion. I think she could be a good candidate for an entry level position in the store.”

Oh yeah. That made sense and I should’ve thought of that. That’s probably what Andrew meant by “Do you know how to read a resume?” Brady helped me filter through the rest of the resumes and decide who was worth interviewing or not. The new store is apparently opening in Tennessee so I wasn’t sure how Andrew expected me to interview them. Obviously questions are off limits with him so I wasn’t exactly sure what to do since he wants eight interviews set up by Wednesday morning. I’m not traveling anywhere this week or next.

After Brady helped me with my work, I made us drinks and we watched tv on my couch for a little while. I must have made the drinks really strong because I was borderline tipsy when I finished my first one. But I also think I drank it too fast because I told Brady I was going to my room to change then I fell asleep. Oops.

Standard

help!!!!!

When I woke up on Monday morning, I had a text from Brady that said, “Have a great day.”

It was from 4:35 AM and I couldn’t tell if Brady was 1. up early for work, 2. up late because he couldn’t sleep or 3. randomly woke up and decided to text me. I wasn’t sure how to feel though. After not talking all day on Sunday, that’s all he had to say?

I waited until I got to work to text back and asked if he wanted to meet for dinner. He replied yes and I told him the name of the restaurant I wanted to go to.

I got a text from Kate a little while later that said, “I’m heading into a meeting. What are your salary requirements? I think you got it.”

I always told myself that I wouldn’t leave my current job unless I was getting at least a ten or fifteen percent raise. It seems like a lot, but I love my job. I’m not going to take some other job for a few extra dollars a month. Plus maybe if my salary request is too high, they won’t offer me the job and I won’t even have to worry about it. I quickly texted Kate my number and she said, “That’s exactly within our range. I’ll let you know.”

I didn’t hear from Kate for the rest of the day and worked up until it was time for dinner with Brady. I planned on going in there and demanding answers about Saturday night and why he didn’t stand up to Paul. I waltzed into the restaurant with determination and found Brady standing near the door. He looked so adorable in his glasses and his little checkered shirt. I couldn’t possibly be mean to him.

“Hi,” I said. 

Brady smiled and said, “Hey. There’s a wait.”

I grabbed his hand because I couldn’t help myself. He’s just so cute. After we were seated and ordered, we talked about our respective days for a little while. Then when I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I said, “I’m not going to lie, I’m still a little irritated about Saturday night.”

Brady looked confused. “Saturday night?”

“Uh yeah,” I said. “When you were supposed to meet us at the bar and you went home…”

“Oh. Yeah,” Brady said, nodding.

“I mean, I know I’m not your mother, but it would have been nice if you would have let me know you were going home. I had no idea if you were even okay.”

Brady was looking down at the table, avoiding eye contact and just said, “Yeah.”

I wanted to reach across the table and strangle him.

“Is that reasonable?” I asked through clenched teeth. “I obviously don’t need to know your every move, but letting me know that you were going home would be the courteous thing to do.”

“That’s reasonable. I dropped the ball-” Brady started.

“And I just thought after you saw my reaction when you left your phone at the bar, you would’ve learned…” 

Brady’s neck started turning red and I suddenly felt like I was lecturing him and decided to steer the conversation toward a lighter subject: Brady’s birthday. It’s on Christmas Eve which is so inconvenient. I bet growing up it sucked having a birthday so close to Christmas. Do you get double gifts? Brady said he never really minded. He said he would probably go home to Massachusetts for the holidays although he hasn’t made any official plans yet. And he told me that last year for the holidays he didn’t even go home to see his family, he went to like Brazil or something. Which is really weird. Maybe if he isn’t too enthused about going to see his parents, he can come to Texas with me?

On Tuesday, Preston called me after work and invited himself over. He stormed into my apartment wearing a black ensemble and Chelsea boots and ripped his sunglasses off his face (it was dark out).

“I have so fucking much to tell you,” he said dramatically.

“Spill,” I automatically said.

“I don’t want to tell this story a million times. Call the girls, will you?” Preston was pacing around my living room and kitchen, clearly on edge.

I rolled my eyes, but still texted Kendra and Carly to see if they could stop by. Carly was out in the suburbs, but Kendra said she would be over in half an hour. While we waited for Kendra, Preston kept mumbling stuff like, “I should’ve known,” and “He won’t get away with this.” I didn’t even bother trying to get anything out of him.

Before Kendra could even get her coat off, Preston said, “My voice of reason. I’ve never been so happy to see you,” and hugged her tight.

Kendra gave me a weird look as she hugged him back. “What’s going on?”

Preston sat down on the couch and chewed on his nails a little bit. “I don’t even know where to begin. Dillon has been texting Mr. Murphy.”

“And?” Kendra asked.

“And Dillon told Murph that I asked him to have sex with me. Basically blaming the whole thing on me.”

“But you guys have already had sex…” I said.

“I know!” Preston said, already out of breath. “But Dillon didn’t want Murph to know that…because they had sex on Thanksgiving.”

“Wait. What?”

“I know!” Preston exclaimed. “Mr. Murphy confronted me about seeing Dillon behind his back so I confronted Dillon about talking to my boyfriend. Dillon told me everything. He said that he and Mr. Murphy have been secretly texting for weeks, but they just now had sex.”

“So Mr. Murphy has no idea that you and Dillon have been sleeping together?” 

“No. He thinks Dillon and I are just friends. Well, thought. And now he thinks I tried to cheat on him with Dillon, but he beat me to it.”

We were all silent as we let this all sink in. I could barely keep up.

“Honestly Preston,” Kendra said after a moment “Serves you right.”

Preston gasped. “Kendra!”

“What? You tried to play both of them and you got played yourself. You got exactly what you deserve.”

“And get this,” Preston said, completely ignoring her. “All that shit Dillon told us, about how his house burned down and everything, it’s all a fucking lie. His parents are rich and are putting him through school and paying for his $1,700 a month apartment. He was never homeless or in any movies.”

I started laughing uncontrollably. Who lies about that kind of stuff? That’s serious psychological/personality issues.

I didn’t hear from Kate again until Wednesday afternoon. She sent me a text around 3:00 PM that said, “Check your email :-)”

And I found an official offer letter with the job description, the benefits, and of course the salary, which was $15,000 more than I asked for. I blinked a few times. I quickly texted Kate back to make sure I was seeing it correctly.

She replied, “Andrew put your offer together. He must really want you on board.”

Remember how I said I could see myself convincing him to give me extra vacation days? I can already see him getting wrapped around my finger.

Then reality set in. The offer is significantly more than I’m making now. So I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. I waited two hours to text Kate back, “Can I have some time to think?”

She said yes and I told her that I would have an answer by Friday. Then I worked my ass off until it was time to go meet Brady for drinks. I couldn’t wait to get his thoughts. I quickly changed into leggings and Rag & Bone boots then waited for him to pick me up. 

Just so you know, Brady is the one who immediately started ordering tequila. It was supposed to be a lowkey night. I told him about the job offer and asked what he thought i should do.

“What’s stopping you from taking it?” Brady asked.

“Well, I like my job. I think it’s risky to just go for another job when I’m completely comfortable and happy with my current job,” I said.

“Okay, that’s easy. Then why are you considering leaving?”

“Because.” I took a long sip of my drink. “They’re going to pay me a lot more. Plus I’ll get to travel and everyone in the company is young and fun.”

“You realize you aren’t going to be traveling for leisure? You’ll be working and you most likely won’t have time to enjoy your trips,” Brady pointed out.

I gave him a look.

“I’m just throwing that out there. I know people who have to travel for work often and it’s actually sometimes more of a hassle than anything.”

“Yeah. But I also just have a good feeling about this company. Everyone I’ve met so far has given me good vibes. Except that one bitchy interviewer…”

He asked me more questions and I realized that I was trying to defend this new position. Every time he would point out a negative, I would explain why I didn’t care or mind or why it doesn’t matter. Maybe that means I want to take it?

After a few hours and too many drinks, we left. We were both pretty drunk, but Brady insisted he could drive. Thank God we made it to his place in one piece (after a pit stop at McDonald’s) and we sat on the kitchen counter eating our McNuggets.

I was sipping on my (disgusting) strawberry milkshake when Brady hopped off the counter. He turned to face me and pulled me to the edge so I was straddling him.

“Want some of my shake?” I asked sweetly.

He didn’t answer my question, but instead reached into the waistband of my leggings and pulled them off in one motion.

“What are you doing?” I asked, giggling

“I want some of you,” he mumbled and then he started eating me out right there on the kitchen counter. I feel like we’ve christened his entire duplex. I wonder if poor Chris knows.

Anyways, today is Friday and I have get back to Kate with an answer. I plan on ambushing Diana after our staff meeting at 3:00 PM. I still don’t even know what I want to do. Help!!!!!!!!!

Standard

don’t drink and shop.

Kendra and I needed to go shopping for Thanksgiving so we did that during the day on Wednesday. Brady had to work, but insisted I take his credit card to pay for everything. I’m not exactly sure what we got, but we spent almost $400.

Kendra kept saying, “Are you sure he won’t mind?”

And I assured her that he insisted on paying. I mean, he did, right? And it’s not like he gave me a limit or anything. I still got rid of the receipt immediately just in case even though he probably won’t even notice. 

Kendra was making the major foods at her house and put Carly and me in charge of a few of the sides, dessert and setting the table. I threw some things in the oven then started setting the table. Then Carly showed up and she brought alcohol so the two of us started taking shots. Since Brady and Chris were downstairs, Carly and I took over Brady’s room and started getting ready and gossiping about Preston. He legitimately has two boyfriends now.

“Get this!” Carly said, doing the hideous open mouthed mascara face in the mirror. “Mr. Murphy and Preston are going to dinner tonight, like an expensive seven course thing. But he also has plans to make dinner with Dillon so he doesn’t know what to do.”

“He probably just shouldn’t participate in Thanksgiving this year,” I said.

“And then!” she exclaimed. “You know how Mr. Murphy gives him a weekly allowance? Well, he spends a ton of it on Dillon. He takes Dillon shopping and everything!”

We predicted that this situation is going to end badly.

I got dressed in a pair of One Teaspoon shorts, a sequin tank and a cardigan that I got a couple sizes too big so I could channel my inner Olsen Twin. 

Brady knocked on the door and when I opened it, he said, “Um, did you have something in the oven?”

I totally forgot that I was cooking. I scurried to the kitchen, but the pie and dinner rolls were almost black. Oops. Naturally, I blamed it on Carly.

“Carly, why didn’t you take the pie and dinner rolls out?” I shouted. She didn’t respond.

Luckily, Kendra showed up soon after that and we helped her bring everything in then I asked her to help me whip together some sides together. “Help” meaning she cooks while I finish my makeup.

Brady’s friends started showing up soon after that. First Jacob, Stacey, Dan, and a doughy cheeked guy I’ve never met named Paul showed up. Then that girl Brady works with that I met at his party came. She seems nice enough, but I don’t know why she was invited. Her name is Maddie and she came with her friend, Abby. I was really annoyed by their names.

Everyone started drinking and hanging out while we waited for the food to be ready. The doorbell rang and I announced that I would get it. I wasn’t sure who else we were expecting, but I wanted to be the first to see. 

I opened the door and Carly’s older brother, Kyle, was standing there. I think I’ve mentioned Kyle before, but we’ve had this ongoing flirtationship for years. We’ve never hooked up because Carly would kill me, but we flirt and tease each other endlessly. 

“Reese,” Kyle said, grinning. He’s so hot. He’s just like, a man, you know? He’s tall and fit and even though he had on a backward cap I could see that his blonde hair has grown out and was peeking out down by his neck.

“Hey Kyle,” I smiled back.

Kyle snaked an arm under my cardigan and around my waist and I could feel his cold fingers on my skin. I hugged him back lightly and he kissed me on my cheek as he pulled away. “Long time no see. How have you been?”

“Fabulous,” I sang. “Carly didn’t tell me you were coming.”

“I wasn’t going to turn down Thanksgiving dinner in the city. What did you cook?”

“Everything,” I lied walking away.

I had no idea that Chris and Kyle had never met, but I watched Carly introduce them. Then she stood there biting her nails hoping they would hit it off. It was so cute.

Finally, all the food was ready and we set up a buffet so everyone could load their own plates. I packed my plate with turkey, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes then made a glass of wine and tequila (sangrila). I sat next to Brady and Kendra sat on the other side of me and Kyle was sitting directly across. He kept making eye contact with me and smirking and winking. I hadn’t formally introduced Brady as my boyfriend to him, but I’m sure he got the memo.

Someone suggested we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Ugh. I hate shit like that. Everyone was saying that they are thankful for their families and their friends and Kendra said she was thankful for the opportunity to be a lawyer. It was so cheesy.

When it was my turn, I told everyone that I thought the little activity was stupid, but I was thankful for tequila. Then I made us do a toast.

After I finished my drink, I turned to Brady and said, “Can you make me another drink? I don’t feel like getting up. Three parts tequila, one part wine.”

“Sure,” he said and stood up.

That Paul guy must have been watching and he said, “Dude, you’re so pussy whipped,” to Brady.

I smiled. Brady is “pussy whipped” just because he was willing to make me a drink? That’s a little ridiculous I think. Brady didn’t deny it and just shrugged and went to make my drink.

Eventually we all made our way downstairs to continue drinking/watch football. Carly, Kyle and I were kind of huddled together catching up since we hadn’t seen Kyle in a while. He’s moving to the city from the suburbs for a job so we were mostly talking about that. The condo he’s looking at isn’t far from my apartment and I told him.

“Oh yeah?” Kyle said, slinging his arm around my neck. “You’ll have to show me around the neighborhood.”

I giggled and pushed him off playfully while Carly shot me a dirty look. Brady appeared next to me at that exact moment. He looked from me to Kyle and smiled politely.

“Hi,” I said guiltily. This would probably be considered flirting.

“Hey. I’ll be over there,” Brady said and gestured to somewhere across the room. 

I decided to leave the Kyle situation alone and go find my boyf. I saw Mabby on the way there and asked if they were having fun.

“Not as much fun as you,” Maddie said smiling and I sensed some shade.

“Well, not a lot of people can be as fun as me,” I said, walking off. I was going to stay and passive aggressively tell her that she needed to lighten up and trim her split ends, but decided against it. Maturity – 1, Drunk Reese – 0.

I found Brady sitting in a chair talking to his friends and I plopped down on his lap/the arm of the chair.

“Hey lover,” I said affectionately. “I missed you.”

“Me too,” he said, kissing me on the cheek.

And then I heard that Paul guy, the same one who called Brady pussy whipped, say, “Goddamn, can you take your girlfriend’s titty out of your mouth for five minutes?”

He said it in a low voice and didn’t mean for me to hear, but I heard.

“You’re fucking rude!” I blurted out.

Paul gave me a shit eating grin and said something like, “You really picked a good one, Brady.”

“Where’s your girlfriend, ugly?” I demanded.

Paul laughed which only made me more mad.

“And as much as you clearly love Wendy’s, that doesn’t count.”

“Reese, stop,” Brady said gently.

I spun around to face him. “Me? Why are you taking his side? He started it!”

Brady gave me a look that said, “Just shut up and we’ll talk about it later.”

I got up and stormed off. I met up with Kendra and told her what happened. She rolled her eyes and said something about me always making a scene. Whatever. I wasn’t just going to let him say whatever he wanted. People were starting to trickle out including that asshole Paul. I hope I scared him away. 

Brady found me and mentioned that he and Chris wanted to go to Best Buy so as the last few guests were leaving, I changed into something warmer so I could tag along. I’m usually not into Black Friday shopping, but I was drunk and kind of just wanted to see the shit show.

When we got to Best Buy, it was surprisingly not that crowded. I was expecting/hoping for lines, fights, riots, tasers, etc. Brady and Chris were looking for DVDs or something lame and I followed along for a little while. Then I got bored and wandered off. A guy who worked there saw me walking around aimlessly and asked what I was shopping for.

“Oh, nothing really,” I said.

He insisted on showing me some of the deals they were having so I followed him around the store. He showed me a laptop that I definitely don’t need, but it was on such a good deal that I had to get it. He also showed me an iPad that I decided I could get and give to someone as a gift. Then we looked at the Beats headphones which were over half off. I need a nice pair of headphones for when I run and work out so I told the guy that I wanted those too. I also picked up an e-reader to reads books on, a case for it, a phone case, a keyboard for the iPad, and a green Kitchenaid stand mixer. 

We ran into Brady on the way to the cash register. He looked at my full cart and gave me a confused look. “What is all this?”

“Just some stuff I need,” I said. I was feeling judged so I told him I would meet him at the registers.

In total, including the geek squad protection for my laptop, I spent over two grand. I felt like I got good deals (except later I found out that the laptop was only $50 off so I was swindled).

After Brady and Chris paid for their things, I made Brady load my things in the car while I watched.

“Jesus, Reese,” Brady said as he put my new mixer in the backseat. “What did you do?!”

“What?” I replied defensively. “Those are all gifts and they were good deals.”

But now I’m kind of regretting buying all that stuff.

I met with my potential new boss on Friday morning. I woke up hungover so I took two Advil, drank a glass of water and put on about six layers of concealer under my eyes. We met for coffee and I knew what he looked like because I’d stalked his LinkedIn profile. I immediately found him sitting in the back of the coffee shop with a laptop.

I walked to the side of his table and he looked up from his laptop at me curiously, flicking his eyes over my body and face.  

“I’m Reese,” I told him.

“Reese!” he exclaimed, surprised, and stood up to shake my hand.

His name is Andrew and he is tall with dark hair and warm dark eyes. Andrew kind of reminds me of Freddie Prinze, Jr. He’s good looking for sure, but I could tell that he’s past his peak. He probably used to be the fucking man in high school and college, but the partying caught up with him. He’s probably only a couple years older than me.

We sat down and small talked for a while and then even though Kate told me it would be a casual meeting, Andrew pulled out an interview guide and started asking me questions. I wasn’t really prepared for this, but I surprised myself with how well I was talking about profit and loss, target markets, employee coaching and overall business acumen. 

An hour later, Andrew said, “Reese, I think you would be a really good fit for this position. However I’m going to be bluntly honest with you.”

I really had no idea what he was going to say. He looked down at his notes and kind of sighed then said, “As a sales director, you would be in charge of sales managers and assistants who have years and years of experience. A lot of them will probably be older than you. I’m a little concerned about you being taken seriously.”

I swallowed and blinked a few times. That was not what I was expecting at all. Taken seriously? What the fuck was that supposed to mean? 

“I mean, I’ve not had a problem being taken seriously thus far…” I said slowly.

“Maybe ‘taken seriously’ isn’t the correct term,” Andrew said. “But you’re a young, great looking woman. I don’t think that is what anyone will be expecting from a sales director. This is a high caliber job, you know.”

I’m not a feminist by any stretch, but a woman can’t be taken seriously in a “high caliber job?” That’s rude. 

What he said left a bad taste in my mouth, but something about Andrew made me really like him. The way he shook my hand was so personal and warm, I suddenly had visions of innocently flirting with him and tricking him into giving me extra vacation days.

Kendra and I got dinner and drinks on Friday night and I told her what happened with Andrew. 

“Reese, that isn’t legal,” she told me. “He can’t say that to you. It’s offensive and illegal.”

Even though Kendra’s probably right, I’m not going to like, press charges on him. If he doesn’t think I can handle the job, then that’s his loss. Plenty of people think I can be taken seriously.

On Saturday night, the gang (me, Brady, Carly, Chris, Preston and Dillon) planned on going out. We hit up a night club first and drank and danced and had a really fun time. I didn’t get us a VIP table, but one of the bartenders gave us all free shots and took them with us.

After a while, Brady and Chris said that they were going to a bar close by. Since the rest of us were still having fun, I told them we would meet them there later. After they left, Carly confronted me in the bathroom about her brother.

“Ya know, Brady asked me about you and Kyle,” she said.

“What did he say?” I asked with wide eyes.

“He wanted to know if you guys have history or if Kyle likes you. I obviously said no.” Carly cut her eyes to me in the mirror, looking stern. 

That made me feel really awful. If only Brady knew how little of a threat Kyle is. If I wanted Kyle, I would have had him.

After we left the bathroom, I texted Brady to see where they were. He didn’t respond right away, but we still closed out our tabs preparing to leave. When we got outside, Brady still hadn’t responded so I suggested we go to a bar around the corner. I figured we could waste time until I heard back. I started talking to this hot black lawyer and decided he would be perfect for Kendra. I introduced them and then lied about having to go to the bathroom so they could have some alone time.

I ended up going to the bathroom and calling Brady, but he didn’t answer. I texted him, “You need to answer your phone so we can find you!!!!”

I went back out there and found Kendra, but the lawyer was gone.

“Did you get his number?” I asked excitedly.

Kendra made a face. “Uh no. He’s weird. And the law school he went to isn’t even Top 25 or anything.”

“Kendra!” I exclaimed. “Who cares what law school he went to. Don’t you want to get laid?!”

She gave me a dirty look and ended the conversation. We hung out at the bar until it closed and since Brady never called me back, I took an Uber home with Kendra and Carly.

I didn’t hear from Brady again until he called me on Sunday morning.

“Hey. I ended up coming home and passing out last night. I didn’t even make it to the bar,” he said.

I didn’t want to argue with him or question him and start a fight so I just said, “Oh.”

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t even drink that much so I must have been extremely tired,” Brady went on.

“Yeah,” was all I could think to say. I wasn’t about to pretend to be okay with this, but I also didn’t want to argue.

Brady asked if I wanted to come over, but I told him I had plans with Kendra. Kendra did ask me to go to church with her and I declined, but after talking to Brady, I changed my mind.

Brady and I didn’t talk for the rest of the day.

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