I hadn’t heard from Brady by the time I left town on Tuesday. I planned on talking to him, but I wanted to do it in person so it would have to wait until Wednesday night when I got back. I actually thought about canceling my trip so I could stay back and talk to him, but I figured that was a bit dramatic.
Tori ended up being at the store I was visiting and she was all like, “So good to see you again, Reese!”
I don’t know why, but I really don’t like Tori and I definitely don’t feel like I can trust her. So I avoided her for most of the day and kept all of our conversations short. She was asking how I like the job and Andrew as a boss and things like that. As if I would tell her the truth.
In the afternoon, I got an email from Diana. It said, “Reese, are you free this week? I would like to talk to you about an upcoming opportunity.”
Yessssss. So there was a chance I could go back! I was in a great mood for the remainder of the day and was even engaging in conversation with Tori. I told Diana I was free on Thursday morning to meet with her.
I got back to Chicago Wednesday afternoon and Brady still had not contacted me at all. I was feeling used and stupid so naturally I wanted to kick his ass. After I got home and showered and got settled in, I finally texted him.
“Seriously? What the fuck, Brady?” I said.
“What?” he replied immediately which only pissed me off more. I could imagine the fake innocent looking face he was making. There’s no way he can be this clueless.
“We need to talk as soon as possible so make yourself available,” I wrote back.
“And I want pizza so we’re getting pizza.”
“Okay. Just let me know when and where.”
I told him the name of a nice pizza place we’ve gone to before together and to meet me at 7:30. I started getting ready and decided that I was going to show up fifteen minutes late because fuck Brady.
He texted me at 7:20 saying that he had just arrived then told me he was sitting in the back. I finally showed up and told the hostess I was meeting someone and she knew exactly who it was. Maybe we just look like we belong together. Love that.
Brady stood up when I got to the table and I didn’t acknowledge him as I dropped my things and slid into the booth across from him.
“How are you?” he asked, sitting down. He had his stupid little glasses on and I kind of wanted to punch him in the face.
“I’m really fucking pissed off, Brady,” I said.
He looked confused. “Why?”
“Why?! Are you fucking joking?” I didn’t believe it when people commented that Brady is manipulative and only pretends to be oblivious, but at that moment I really believed it was true. “Why did you text me on Sunday? Why did you come over?”
Cue deer in headlights look. Brady looked down and I noticed that his neck was turning red. Usually I feel bad when he looks all sad and helpless like that, but I didn’t feel bad for him at all.
“I don’t understand why you even bothered me. You dumped me, remember?”
“I’m sorry! I don’t know what I’m doing!” he blurted out.
“Would you stop with that helpless bullshit? You’re a grown fucking adult. You know exactly what you’re doing. I’m not falling for that shit anymore.”
“You’re manipulative. I didn’t believe anyone when they told me that, but I do now. It’s not like you’ve never been in a relationship before. You can’t dump me without explanation then come over and say all that stuff and try to leave like it was a one night stand in the morning. You fucking bootycalled me! You’re an asshole! I know I said that I don’t hate you, but I take that back. I hate you!”
I started crying. I didn’t want Brady to see me so I buried my face in my arms on the table. Well then. That went south quickly.
He let me cry for a few minutes then I heard our waiter come over and ask if we were ready.
“Please give us a moment,” Brady said.
I cried in silence for a while longer until he finally said, “I’m sorry. I don’t want you to hate me.”
“I texted you because I wanted to talk. I didn’t intend for any of that to happen. I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to bootycall you.”
Brady saying “bootycall” is one of the top ten funniest things I’ve ever heard. I didn’t laugh though.
“I screwed everything up. I completely understand your anger and I’m not going to make any excuses for myself.”
“Deep dish,” I said in between my sniffles. “Italian sausage and peppers.”
“That’s what I want!” I exclaimed. “Please let the waiter know.”
“Oh. Um, okay.”
I heard Brady stand up so I quickly pulled myself together while he went to find our waiter. I pulled out my compact and touched up my face so maybe I could pretend that episode never happened. My eyes were red, but whatever.
Brady came back with a plate of garlic bread sticks and suddenly I didn’t hate him as much anymore.
“Do you want a breadstick?” he asked.
Instead of answering, I slid the plate toward me and grabbed one. Brady sure does know the way to my heart. I finished a whole breadstick before he started talking again.
“Are you okay?”
“Why did you break up with me?” I asked as I stuck another breadstick in my mouth. They were really good.
“I freaked out.”
“You freaked out?” I repeated.
“I was selfish. I was dealing with a lot and it just seemed like an added stressor to try to keep you happy.”
We both started talking at the same time, but what I had to say was obviously more important.
“I hope you’re happy with that decision.”
I quickly took a bite so I didn’t giggle. Good.
“So if you’re not then why didn’t you ever call me?”
“I didn’t know what to say. I was confused. I didn’t know what I wanted or what you wanted and I didn’t know what to do,” Brady said. “And Carly said you were happy so I thought I’d stay out of your hair.”
“Okay… So you were okay with never speaking to me again then?”
“Of course not.” Brady looked at me like that was utterly ridiculous.
“So you were okay with fucking me one last time then never speaking to me again.”
It was his turn to explain so I poured myself a glass of water from the carafe while I waited.
“I’m not good at this,” he said finally. “All I wanted to do was make you happy, but I feel like I don’t know how. If you’re happy without me then I don’t want to stop you.”
I felt something familiar tugging at my heart. You know what this reminded me of? Do y’all remember that conversation Carly and I had where she said, “If he’s happy without then let him be. Don’t ruin him.”? She must have said the same thing to him about me.
“I’m not happy without you,” I admitted. “I think we both suck at this.”
“No, this is my fault. Let me take the blame.”
“Okay.” I felt a small smile forming.
Brady started to say something, but our waiter came with the pizza. He cut two slices for us and served them on our plates. For some reason I just wanted to be close to Brady so I got up and went to the same side of the booth as him.
“Hi,” he said looking at me like this was completely normal.
I couldn’t handle the eye contact so I started working on my slice of deep dish pizza. Sausage and peppers was the right choice. We both ate in silence for a while.
“So when you came over drunk on Sunday,” I said. “Do you even remember what you said to me?”
“Did you mean it?”
I finished off the crust of my pizza.
“Then why did you try to sneak out the next morning? You weren’t even going to say goodbye!”
“You know I work early. I didn’t want to wake you,” Brady said.
“Were you going to leave a note? ‘Thanks for the pussy! Glad you’re happy without me!'”
I cut myself another piece of pizza and smiled to myself. I can’t believe I was ever afraid to call him. It’s just Brady.
“What I don’t understand is after you came over and I told you how I felt why you didn’t call or text me,” I said.
“Why didn’t you call me?” he exclaimed.
“It’s your job to call!” I exclaimed back. “Plus I texted you. That’s why we’re here.”
“Fair. I felt pretty stupid about the way I handled it. I thought you were mad.”
“Well, you did a great job of trying to smooth things over.”
We bickered back and forth until we were full then Brady paid the bill. As I slipped my jacket on he asked, “What do you have planned for the rest of the night?”
“Oh I don’t know,” I said breezily then looked at him. “Why? Do you want to come over?”
“I do.” Brady smiled politely.
I rolled my eyes. “I guess you could come over for one glass of wine.”
As I drove to my apartment with Brady trailing me, I felt anticipation building up. I decided that I was not going to have sex with him though. We hadn’t figured anything out. I definitely didn’t want to end up being fuck buddies.
I made Brady wait on the couch while I showered and brushed all the garlic off my teeth. I changed into pajama shorts and a v-neck and met Brady back on the couch.
“Why didn’t you pour us any wine?” I demanded then I went and poured two glasses.
We ended up sitting there catching up for three hours. He said he isn’t working as much and he’s much happier at work. So he isn’t looking to go down a different career path anymore. Hunter and Brady still haven’t spoken, but apparently their mom has heard from him so he’s at least alive. It seems weird that Hunter wouldn’t want to talk to Brady and I made the mistake of asking Brady if he’d done anything to piss him off. He changed the subject, but I could tell it bothered him.
I told Brady about how fed up I am with Andrew and my meeting with Diana. I didn’t go into detail for obvious reasons.
“Wow. What do you think Andrew’s reaction will be if you quit?” Brady asked.
“I don’t fucking care. He doesn’t value me as an employee anyway,” I replied.
Eventually we found our way to my bed and I didn’t even have the energy or desire to kick him out. Brady took off his tie and shirt and started kissing me. I kissed him back briefly then pushed him off.
“No,” I said as sternly as possible.
We laid there facing each other and I ran a finger along his tattoo and then down his chest to his navel. Brady reached down and tried to grab my pajama bottoms, but I pushed his hand away.
“No,” I said again.
He shifted a bit and I ran my fingers through his hair. When I first met Brady, his hair was really short – like a buzz cut. Now it’s grown out and it’s almost in that hipster haircut where it’s shorter on the sides. I hate it only because I don’t want people to think he’s a hipster.
“Cut your hair,” I instructed.
I leaned down and started licking and sucking his neck and Brady groaned. He pulled me closer by my waist and tried to push my shirt up, but I pulled away and looked at him in the eye.
Brady nodded like he understood. I loved how childlike he looked and decided to keep going – just to torture him.
So that went on for literally six hours. I would kiss his neck and chest, grab his dick and suck it for five seconds then stop, put his hand on my vagina to see how wet I was, but I wouldn’t let him touch me on his own or do anything. It was so much fucking fun. A couple of times he whispered, “Reese, you’re killing me,” and I could tell he was in agony. That only made me want to do it more. This was actually the worst case of blue balls of his life. I mean, if we’re being honest, he deserved it.
We kept falling asleep, but I would randomly wake up then start stroking his penis to get him hard again. Then he would wake up and I would fall back asleep. We probably only got an hour of sleep total.
Right before he needed to leave for work, Brady said, “A guy from work is getting married on Saturday. Do you want to be my date?”
I nodded, smiling. He wants to take me to a wedding? I loved the sound of that.
“What’s it going to take to make you not hate me?” he asked.
I forgot about my outburst at the pizza place where I said I hated him. That was mean. Oopsies. I shrugged.
Brady smiled and got up to start getting ready. “Can we talk about it later?”
I shrugged again. He picked up all of his things and stood next to the bed next to me.
“Okay,” Brady said. “I’m leaving now. Is that okay?”
“I suppose,” I said back.
“I plan to call you later this evening – perhaps around eight. Maybe we can discuss it then. Feel free to contact me before then if you’d like.”
I smirked at him. “Oh fuck off.”
After Brady left I needed to get up to get ready to meet with Diana. I was so fucking tired. I was meeting her at ten thirty at the office so I stopped at Starbs on the way to pick us both up a green tea latte. Had to butter her up if she was going to hire me back. While I waited for our drinks I texted Brady, “I’m so sleepy. :-(”
He replied, “I am too. I would stay up all night with you again though. :-)”
Brady never uses smileys or emojis or anything so I actually laughed out loud. I was so happy and excited, it felt like back when we first got together. I don’t know what we’re doing or where we stand, but I love the shit out of him right now.
When I got to Diana’s office she wanted to talk right away.
“There are some structural changes going on right now. One of the biggest ones is transferring all of our marketing and advertising efforts to a third party agency,” she started.
“Wow!” I said. That’s a huge change.
“We’ll still do small projects in house, but we want get into bigger campaigns and we just don’t have the team and resources to do it. I think it’ll be good.”
“So what about the ad team? Whitney?” I asked.
“We will find places for them if needed. There will still be a marketing role for Whitney if she decides to take it. It’s a lesser role, but maybe something she might be able to handle more,” Diana explained.
“So you are eliminating my old position!” I couldn’t help smirking.
She kind of rolled her eyes, getting what I was referring to. “Essentially. But we are downsizing the marketing department so we can focus more on product development. We want to put more effort in creating unique and worthwhile collections that people actually want. So instead of having all of our stuff manufactured overseas and not having much say in the designs, materials and small details, we want to design everything from start to finish. That’s where we figured you could come in.”
“Okay…” I wasn’t exactly following.
“We want to have a head of product development who would oversee the product development team we have in place. I can already tell what you’re thinking: you don’t know anything about design. That’s okay. You would be in charge of the team, coming up with collections and collaborations and actually being involved with what each piece looks like, approving specs and spec sheets, knowing the trends in the market, keeping in constant communication with our manufacturers…”
“Do you think you would be interested in something like that? Before I even told Dave you were considering coming back, he mentioned you and asked if I thought we could pluck you from your new job.”
“Really?” I can’t lie, I was excited to hear that at least someone was interested in me. “What if I suck at it?”
Diana gave me a look and said, “What kind of attitude is that to have? You aren’t going to suck. We can’t think of a better person for this position.”
At this point I knew she was just flattering me, but I was still smiling like a crazy person. “Thank you. I’m flattered.”
Diana smiled back. “When can you start?”
Oh shit. What did I agree to?
“I’ll let you know,” I said, not breaking my smile. I needed time to think, but I already felt like an asshole for having to quit.
I called Carly after I left and asked if she wanted to get lunch. Luckily she was in the city and she agreed. The first thing I asked her was where Chris is moving to after he finishes school. We hadn’t really discussed it, but it is a done deal as far as I knew.
“He has some interviews on the east coast,” she answered without missing a beat.
“Really? That’s far,” I said. “What are you going to do? Try long distance?”
“Well actually, I was looking at jobs there too. Like Philadelphia,” Carly said, stirring her ice water.
“What?! Seriously? What will your parents say?”
Carly has lived in the Midwest her entire life and didn’t even go away for college. She’s so close to her family. So this was surprising.
“I haven’t told them. They’ll support me though! It’s time for me to spread my wings!”
“Well, good for you two,” I said and I meant it. I felt a pang of jealously that they were planning their lives together, but I’ll always root for Carly and Chris.
“So what’s new with you?” she asked.
“I talked to Brady last night. Why did you tell him I was happy without him?” Saying this felt like I had released my breath I’d been holding.
Carly’s brow furrowed. “What?”
“He told me you said that,” I told her.
“Well what was I supposed to say? ‘She’s miserable and won’t stop crying. Please call her because she refuses to call you.'”
“Uh yes! He didn’t call me because he thought I was happy without him. And you told me not to call him because he was happy without me. I thought y’all never even talked about me!” I tried to keep my voice even.
“I didn’t want to give him too much information. All I told him was that you’re doing good,” Carly said.
“So you guys did talk about me?” I clarified.
“Just once. You came up in conversation one time. I thought you’d want him to think you were doing well!”
“Do you not want us to be together? Because that’s what it’s feeling like.” I really didn’t want it to turn into an argument, but it seemed to be going in that direction.
“Of course I want you guys to be together! I want both of you to be happy!” Carly said, looking genuine. Scared almost. “This is exactly why I didn’t want to get involved. I didn’t want to talk about him to you or you to him.”
“You’re one of my closest friends. I kind of feel like you should choose me over him, Carly,” I said sarcastically.
“Jeez, sorry for not wanting to get involved in your relationship problems,” she shot back.
We changed the subject and talked about what she wants to do in Philly. She applied for a bunch of non-profit jobs. She works as a nanny now and she says she loves it and the family she works for, but she feels like she should be doing something else, something that will make a greater impact.
After we ate, I still had some time to kill before I needed to get on a conference call with Andrew. I asked Carly if she wanted to go get pedis.
“Hmm, I can’t,” she said, looking at her watch. “I need to get back to the ‘burbs.
“Kay,” I said. I sensed that she was upset about our conversation, but I’m not going to apologize until she does. Maybe she meant well, but whatever plan she had kind of made things worse.
I’m still super tired from being up all night. Brady called a bit ago to tell me he was stay a little later at work. So cute how he made sure to keep his promise of calling me. Anyway, bed time. Bye!