So Diana’s replacement started on Monday. Last week Dave told me that they’d hired someone – some man who had spent fifteen years with a luxury leather goods company. I didn’t realize they were going to replace her so soon (or at all) so I spent the next few days trying to catch up on all my work. I didn’t want him to think I was a slacker.
On Monday when I walked into work, the first person I saw was Luke.
“He’s here!” he hissed at me.
“How is he?” I whispered back.
Luke shook his head ominously. I took that as a sign that this new guy (Dale) was not cool. I nodded and walked past him toward my desk. There was a tall blonde man with a receding hairline lingering outside my office.
“Hiii!” he sang when he saw me. “You must be Reese?”
I nodded. “Hi. Dale? How are you?”
We shook hands and he said, “So what’s your story? What do you do here? Are you married? Kids?”
I laughed. “Nope, not married and definitely no children.” I briefly explained my job to him and he stood there with his hand on his chin like he was pondering.
“Well, we’ll talk more at the staff meeting, okay Reese?” he said.
I said okay and went in my office. I worked alone for a little while before meeting Luke in the design room. We were discussing ideas for next year when I felt someone standing behind me. I turned and Dale was standing there.
“Oh, hey,” I said like it wasn’t super creepy.
“What exactly are you working on?” he asked.
I explained to him that we were brainstorming and trying to find inspiration for upcoming collections.
“And how much time do you spend doing this?” Dale wanted to know.
I looked at Luke. “Um, I’m not sure. Maybe a couple hours a week. We like to get all of our ideas down so when it’s actually time to design we aren’t starting from scratch.”
“Ooookay,” he said sounding kind of skeptical. “I just want to make sure we aren’t paying you to socialize!” He laughed on the last part.
Later on at the staff meeting Dale was officially introduced to the staff. He gave this big flamboyant speech about how happy he is to be joining us and to turn things around. Luke and I looked at each other like, “What is there to turn around?” So that was our first sign of trouble.
I got home and started on dinner while I waited for Brady to come home. I logged onto Facebook and the first thing that popped up were some photos Brady was tagged in. Joy! The first one was taken on a webcam (hello, 2004!) and it looked like Anna was sitting down and Brady and a male I didn’t recognize were photobombing her. The next one was of Brady, Anna and a different guy sitting on a couch. Brady looks extremely under the influence and is leaning his head on Anna’s shoulder. The last one was a selfie of Brady and Anna.
I showed Brady the pictures when he got home and said, “Looks like you had fun!”
I guess he caught on to my sarcasm and asked, “Are you mad?” He sounded surprised and confused, like I had no right to be mad.
“No,” I replied lightly. “But how would you feel if I was out until 6:00 in the morning partying with my ex boyfriend?”
“I suppose I wouldn’t like it,” Brady said slowly.
“Of course you wouldn’t. Why would I be okay with it then?” I demanded.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think of it like that. She has a boyfriend and I have a girlfriend. I wanted you to come…”
“That’s not the point. It’s about respect, Brady. I’m sure Landon knows her name. Yes?”
Brady shrugged. “Landon knows your name.”
“Anyway.” I flipped my hair. “The way you went about it was shiesty. The whole weekend you were shiesty.”
Brady had the nerve to kind of laugh. I glared at him. “Is this funny?”
“No. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say. The weekend was uncomfortable for me too, Reese,” he said.
“Why?” I exclaimed. “This is your family, not mine. You did nothing to make me feel comfortable even when your cousin was bullying me.”
I waited for him to say something, but he was silent.
“At some point you’re going to have to grow some balls, Brady. I’m definitely not going to put up with this shit,” I added.
Brady looked hurt. I felt kind of bad, but I totally, totally meant it. And he needed to hear it. I got up and finished dinner then ate by myself in the dining room. I cleaned a bit, took a shower and got in bed. I dozed off then felt Brady get in the bed a little while later.
He put an arm around me and I eagerly turned and kissed him. I can’t even control myself because he’s so adorable. I got on top of him, ready to hook up then go back to sleep, but Brady grabbed my wrists so I couldn’t move.
“Hey. I’m sorry about this weekend,” he said.
“Don’t let it happen again,” I said simply.
At that point, I was fine with where we ended it but the next day I got frustrated and annoyed that we didn’t actually solve anything. Because we never do. At least we are getting along and texting each other all day though. I was sitting on a table in the design room texting Brady when I heard someone clear their throat. It was Dale.
“Oh, hey,” I said, standing up.
“Hey there. What are you working on?” he asked.
“Um, I’m waiting for Luke. We’re going next door for lunch.” I felt like he wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer so I added, “When we get back I have a phone meeting with a textile manufacturer.”
Dale tapped his chin. “Okay. I’ll see you when you get back.”
So Luke and I went and had lunch then came back and got to work. I locked myself in my office for a few hours and got a ton done. I didn’t want Dale to think I didn’t do anything. But maybe he did because later on, he found me by myself again in the design room and he asked, “How much are we paying you?”
I thought it was kind of inappropriate to ask me that plus doesn’t he have some way of looking that up himself? I asked our head of HR, Tracy, about it later. She informed me that I don’t have to (and shouldn’t) discuss my salary with anyone so now I don’t feel bad about not telling Dale.
That evening, Brady and I decided we are going to renovate his place. Since he doesn’t want to move at all, I thought it was great idea – and it was his. So we are going to get rid of the carpet in the dining room (carpet is so 90’s), paint our bedroom and the second bedroom (which I’m going to turn into a home office), get all new living room furniture (Brady’s is so blah), create a guest suite in the basement, and make the main living area in the basement less bachelor pad with more strategic decorating. I’m actually super excited. It’s almost as exciting as buying a whole new place!
The rest of the week kind of sucked because I was busy trying to impress Dale. I think we all were, and he just didn’t seem too enthused by really anything. At Friday’s staff meeting, he informed us that he has a lot of changes he wants to make – all of which he thinks will benefit the business. He talked about restructuring, merging, hiring, etc. It didn’t sound like anyone’s job was in jeopardy (yet), but I think that was everyone’s fear.
On Saturday night, Brady and I had plans to go to dinner with Kendra and John. Kendra and John picked out an upscale restaurant in a hotel so we had to dress up. I wore a black turtleneck dress, over the knee boots, and a faux fur jacket because it was fucking freezing out.
The menu was all about shared plates with a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of. I just wanted nachos. The cocktail and dessert menus were really good though. Kendra seems really happy. Like freakishly happy. I don’t really get a chance to talk to her outside of our group texts everyday which I feel bad about, but she’s so busy. She hardly even responds.
But at dinner she kept looking at John with these weird glossy eyes, calling him “my love,” and touching his face. Like ew. But I think I’m kind of, a little bit jealous. There was a bar in the restaurant so after we finished eating we got a table by the bar and started drinking like we were back in college.
By the time we left the restaurant, we were all happy and drunk and super loud. We decided that since we were downtown and at a nice hotel, we would just get a room and stay there for the night. What a great idea! We didn’t even have anything to sleep in or any toiletries.
Kendra and I sent Brady and John to Walgreens to buy more alcohol (as if we needed it) and sat in the room waiting.
“Ken,” I whined. “I’m so jealous of your life. I want to be as happy as you are.”
She smiled her freakish married smile. “Then let yourself be happy.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Reese, if you love Brady, then just love him. You always make it so complicated. Don’t try to find every reason not to.”
I had so much to say, so many rebuttals (am I supposed to just forgive him if he cheats on me, like she did with John?), but I just said okay. And decided she was right.
The boys came back with vodka, cranberry ginger ale, and Cheetos Puffs for me. I love that Brady knew after that underwhelming fancy dinner, I needed something else. Love him for that. We started on the vodka and I blacked out.
I woke up this morning in the bed next to Brady. I was using my fur jacket as a pillow. Kendra and John were already gone – apparently the two of them didn’t need to sleep off all that alcohol.
“Brady!” I whined, waking him up. “I’m hungry and I feel like shit.”
“Me too,” he groaned.
We got up and called an Uber and had our driver stop at McDonald’s on the way home. Classy. We spent the day nursing our hangovers, working and online shopping (well, I did. Sephora has so many holiday gift sets and palettes that I cannot pass up!).
Kendra texted me saying, “I can’t believe we paid $400 to stay in a stupid hotel last night.”
I didn’t realize that she and John had covered the costs of the hotel, but promised her that Brady and I would take care of the hotel if we ever decide to do that again. Which we won’t.
Anyway, sorry this is kind of short! I’ve been so busy. Brady and I are flying to San Francisco on Tuesday and I have so much work to do before then. Does anyone else dread trips because of all the preparation it takes? I still need to do laundry, clean and pack, I have a meeting and two presentations at work and I have to do two interviews. Not excited about that at all. But if anyone has recommendations for things to do in San Fran, please let me know!