Brady and I went ring shopping. He mentioned going so I found a jeweler, made an appointment and sent him a Google calendar invite with all the details. We just needed to go get ideas though because apparently Brady’s family has their own jeweler. Like I just want a huge diamond in a vintage setting, is that so much to ask for? I want it to look like a 6 generation family heirloom even if it isn’t, you know? Or I’ll take a sleek modern platinum band with a large emerald cut center stone. I’m not picky.
Anyway, I was impressed with the questions Brady thought to ask. Not just, “How much?” but also things like, “Does the shape of the diamond affect the value?” and “Is it typical to upgrade the ring after a certain timeframe?” He’s so cute.
There were two rings that I fell in love with. One was like I mentioned before: emerald cut center with two smaller diamonds flanking it with an intricate band. It was seriously so beautiful, but almost too much for my little finger. The diamond was huge, but I feel like with a smaller, more wearable diamond it would just lose the effect. The second one was a basic cushion cut with a halo and a thin, plain band. I’m kind of over the whole halo thing everyone is doing now. They’re gorgeous, but I feel like it’s so unoriginal and so uninspiring at this point.
On our way home, I reminded Brady of all my proposal requirements. 1. Ask my dad/parents obviously. 2. Make sure someone is there to document the entire thing. 3. It can’t be done at our house. 4. I must have a fresh manicure at the time of proposal. Brady laughed and said he was well aware of my requirements. Because I’ve told him a dozen times.
A few of us from the office had to make a quick trip to New York at the beginning of the week. The group included Mike, his assistant, Scott and me along with the top person from my sales team and from Monica’s team. I finally cornered Scott about how he’s been treating me (like a child) and how I felt that I was not going anywhere with this company or my career and that my responsibilities are being taken from me. So he started easing up on me.
I’m not sure what has gotten into me, but as soon as I landed on Monday morning, I texted Brady’s mom and let her know that I was in the city for a couple of days. And would they be around? Brady’s parents finally purchased a place in the Upper East Side, but are doing some renovations so still staying in a hotel when they’re there.
She responded and we made plans to get lunch on Tuesday before my flight. And I felt weird about it (why would I even text her?!) so I didn’t tell Brady right away.
Our first stop in New York was a kitchen and bath showroom in Brooklyn. We don’t specialize in kitchen and bath (beyond a customized backsplash or countertop or something), but Mike thinks it’s a huge growth opportunity. They took us on a mini tour first and Mike went on a more extensive tour while the rest of us sat in the waiting area drinking coffee and tea. Scott wouldn’t sit though because he was so concerned about what Mike was doing so the rest of us gossiped.
I was listening to a story about Monica taking a three hour lunch break when we all heard Mike shout, “Reese, can I get you over here for a minute?”
I looked around like, “Who, me?” because why would Mike need me of all people?
For an opinion, apparently.
“How do you think something like this would reasonate with our customers?” he asked me.
They were standing at a little bathroom set up. It was minimalistic and industrial, but was obviously country barn inspired with the dark, dark hardwood floors, stand up tub and angular pedestal sink with pipe-like legs. I thought about our customers – always requesting more mirrors, more details, more glitz. Lots of them were minimalists, but still wanted $18,000 Spanish chandeliers.
“You know,” I started. I couldn’t offend all these kitchen and bath people. “Our customers love modern with vintage inspiration. So good hardware and knobs, subway tile, intricate wallpaper…”
They all nodded.
“So I think certain elements of this we could work with, but this whole design wouldn’t work for our customers,” I said.
And after I gave them that piece of advice, they wanted me to finish the tour with them so I could tell them what else would work with our clientele. I felt like an expert which I guess to them, I was. We met back up the team in the waiting area and Scott was practically jumping out of his pants with anticipation.
As we were exiting the showroom, Mike said, “Scott, I want you and Reese to spearhead this operation. She will get you up to speed on what we talked about and the ideas we brainstormed.”
Scott was all like, “Of course, Mike. I can’t wait to hear about it and get started,” and I couldn’t help rolling my eyes.
Mike interrupted him and said, “Is anyone else starving? I can’t survive on just three cups of coffee.”
I kind of felt bad for Scott because he really was super excited and Mike dismissed him. So I smiled at him and he gave me this strange look.
Mike took us to lunch even though we had a lunch meeting later in the afternoon. And since we’d already eaten and weren’t hungry, we just drank wine at the meeting. I was a little surprised by how much Mike was trying to include me in everything. Asking for my opinion and saying, “Reese, did you get that? We will have to discuss it more when we get back to Chicago.” It was almost like I’d had that career conversation with him and not with Scott.
Apparently Scott noticed too though. Mike went back to Jersey for the night and the rest of us headed back to the hotel in Manhattan. Scott and I ended up a few feet behind the group and he said, “Mike was nice today, huh? He seems to really be including you. I’m sure he sees the potential in you like I do.”
“Yeah,” was all I could think to say.
“Unless… You think it’s something else?” Scott said.
“Hmm?” I said, looking at him confused.
“I mean, I don’t know.” Scott shrugged with his hands in his pockets. “He’s told me he’s having marriage problems. Perhaps, you know, he’s crushing on someone in the office.”
I was so caught off guard and disgusted by what Scott said. Did he really think Mike would only want to include me in things because he had a crush on me? Like fuck you. And last I checked, Scott was the one who was claiming marriage problems and then inappropriately inviting me out for drinks outside of work.
I laughed and then I stormed off because I didn’t want to cause a scene. I half expected Scott to text me and apologize or invite me to the hotel bar or something, but I didn’t hear from him all night. I was so pissed off that I had to call Brady to vent.
“I think your best – and probably only – option would be to prove to Scott that there’s a reason Mike wants your input. And it’s not just because you’re incredibly hot,” Brady said.
And he was so right. So the next morning I got up and chugged a 20 oz Red Bull, preparing to kill it.
“Sleep well?” Scott asked when I walked down to where we were meeting in the hotel lobby.
“Yep,” I said, curtly.
“Great. So our agenda is pretty packed today, but I thought I’d take everyone to my favorite Italian restaurant for lunch. It’s phenomenal, the best Italian food outside of Italy,” Scott said.
“I didn’t plan on spending my lunch break with y’all so I already have plans with my boyfriend’s parents,” I said, deliberately not apologizing or sounding apologetic.
“Oh! Of course. I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you,” he said.
I walked away. I ignored Scott for the rest of the morning which only made him try to get me to talk to him more. Whenever he would come stand near me, I would walk away and reply, “Yeah,” to whatever he said. I know it was childish and petty, but it was that or throw a tantrum which I’m not above doing. Just not in front of Mike.
Scott did remind me of my lunch date with Brady’s parents though. He walked up next to me and asked what time I was meeting them and where and I looked down at my watch and realized I should get going. Which sucked because Mike was about to start splitting up the work for when we got back to Chicago. I excused myself and Scott said, “She’s got plans with her future in-laws,” and smirked at me. I rolled my eyes at him.
Mike looked surprised and almost offended that I was splitting from the group, but on my way to the restaurant he actually texted me saying, “Do you need me to send a car to pick you up?”
Mike has only texted me a couple times. But they were group texts and obviously written by his assistant. So it was weird as fuck. But I texted him back saying that I’d meet them at the airport.
Brady’s mom was waiting for me at the restaurant. Just his mom. She was sitting there looking displeased wearing a navy cowl neck top and her hair pulled back.
“Oh, hello,” she greeted me, not sounding particularly happy to see me. But she still stood up and hugged me.
I was really happy to be in work mode, wearing the most modest black shift dress and pumps. I always feel so much taller than her when I wear heels.
“So what brings you to the city?” she asked.
I told her about work and or group, leaving out the Scott drama obviously. Like I said, I was in work mode so I sounded really no nonsense and articulate and like, not stupid. I think it surprised her. And so she was actually interested in what I said and we had an intelligent conversation about the industry.
And then, abruptly, she asked, “When do you and Brady plan on coming to Massachusetts to meet with our pastor?”
It caught me so off guard. I just looked at her.
“I’ve been telling him, just find a weekend when neither of you have plans. Surely you can skip partying for one weekend, can’t you?”
So much for bonding.
“Of course we can,” I said.
“I really wish Brady would visit home more. It’s not like Hunter can with the babies and all… So if Brady could… or would, rather. He’s completely capable,” she said.
I sensed she was trying to guilt trip me into guilt tripping him so I said, “Well, he has been working a lot lately. Even on the weekends.”
She gave me a look like, “Did I ask for your input?”
“And if he plans on taking up a career that’s going to require more from him, he needs to take advantage of his free time now. We won’t be around forever. You understand that, don’t you darling?”
“I’ll talk to him,” I responded. Guilt trip successful.
“How’s your mother?” Brady’s mom asked.
“She’s doing well. I just saw my parents last weekend,” I said, making a point to inform her that I still go back and visit home.
“Are she and your father still living separately?” Brady’s mom had pulled out her phone and glasses and wasn’t looking at me. Her ring caught my eye. Huge diamond, unique setting and obviously had been upgraded at some point.
I told my mom not to tell Brady’s mom about she and my dad’s issues so I was instantly annoyed with her. I started wondering just how much my mom had told.
“Um, temporarily yes. I’m sure they’ll figure something out,” I said.
“What exactly is the problem?” she pried.
“I don’t know. It’s not really my business to talk about.”
Brady’s mom sat her phone down and took off her glasses. “Well, she did agree that you and Brady should get married in Massachusetts. We have a more solid church background and obviously our pastor will need to officiate. That is, if you and Brady still plan to get married?”
Brady and I are not getting married in Massachusetts. That was never a part of any plan. Poor thing. Brady and I are leaning more and more towards a destination wedding that no one is invited to.
I smiled and said, “Okay.”
When I left the restaurant, Brady had called me and texted me asking how it went.
“Your mom wants you to visit home more. She almost started crying at the table because she misses you,” I replied.
Then I called my mom.
“Hi babe!” she answered.
“Mom, why did you tell Brady’s mom about you and Dad? Now she thinks I’m from some broken home,” I said.
“I didn’t tell her anything about me and Dad. Do you think I want that woman judging me?” my mom said and I believed her. She feels the same way about Brady’s mom that I do.
Which meant the only other person who could have told her is Brady. He barely even talks to his mom so why would he share my family’s business with her?
I texted him, “Why would you tell your mom about my parents? Now she’s never going to let us get married.”
He didn’t text me back right away so I called an Uber to take me to the airport. I fell asleep on our flight back to Chicago and proceeded to have a sick dream about going on a picnic with Scott and then making out all over the picnic blanket. Brain, can you stop? I’m not attracted to Scott whatsoever, but in that dream I was.
Brady denied telling his mom anything and suggested that she came to the conclusion herself.
“She probably didn’t even know if it was true until you confirmed it,” Brady said.
“Is she really manipulative like that?” I asked.
And he said, “Yeah.”
Brady’s mom claimed that Hunter was too busy with his kids and wife to visit, but he visited over the weekend. They partied really hard (stayed out until 4 AM on both Friday and Saturday night), but hung out with me during the day. Hunter needed to vent about how hard having two babies is and how hard it is to keep his wife happy now. While I wanted to be supportive, I wanted to tell him to shut up because that’s going to be me and Brady’s life in just a couple years.
Hunter is the kind of guy that every girl lusts over (I mean, he’s 6’3 with a beard and a manbun) so women always stare at him when he’s out in public. But I was really surprised and insulted when a girl at the grocery store started flirting with him and he flirted back. I get that Dom is probably not the most pleasant wife to have, but he still has to be faithful to her.
This beautiful petite redhead came up to Hunter and asked him about almond milk and then proceeded to preach her vegan beliefs. Brady and I continued on with our shopping figuring Hunter would catch up with us, but by the time we were done, he still hadn’t. And we found him still by the almond milk talking to the ginger girl. Their body language had changed: she had one hand on her hip and one in her hair while he was standing with his arms crossed and feet apart like a bouncer or something.
“What the fuck are they talking about?” I asked and Brady shrugged.
I thought I needed to go over and mention Hunter’s wife (they don’t wear rings, mind you), but before I could, Brady said, “Hey Hunter, we are headed out.”
So who knows if Hunter met up with the beautiful redhead while they were out until 4 AM that night.
Brady and I are going to Arizona to see some of my friends later this month. I’m sure it’s going to be a mistake (especially since I’m not drinking), but we will see. I love Arizona besides all the drama.