i’m driving myself crazy.

I decided to get over the fact that I was overlooked for the promotion and that Monica is an idiot and just focus on my job. Like, what the fuck ever. Being mad and bitter about it was affecting no one, but myself.

It’s honestly just easier not to worry about anyone else or the office politics. I had so much time to think about other things – like overanalyzing every single thing Brady did or said. He’d ask things like “What day did you say you would be required to work late?”

I’d previously told him that we were working on a big project and had planned a late night in the office and I guess he could be wondering so he could plan to do something else, but that something else could involve his other girlfriend.

My mom and I planned a vacation and we ended up changing the original date we planned to go (they were a week apart). When I told Brady, he got a weird concerned look on his face.

“But I thought you were going the week before?”

And why would it matter? It’s not like Brady and I made plans for either date.

“Well, we changed it.”

Brady’s face calmed down. “Oh, maybe that will be better then.”

I can’t tell if Brady has always been this sketchy or if I’ve recently gone more psycho or if things aren’t sketchy at all.

One random Tuesday at work this girl named Julie accosted me and said, “Oh my God, Reese!”

She gave me this strange knowing kind of smile and sidled up next to me.

“What?” I replied, hoping she wasn’t going where I thought she was.

“Scott!” she hissed.

I gave her a look that said I still didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Everything’s been confirmed. He told Kelsey all about you guys. Apparently they had some sort of fling too and that’s how she got promoted.”

Kelsey is Mike’s former assistant and once he left, she got promoted to the operations team.

“Fling?” I repeated.

“Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what happened, but she has something against him. Maybe messages or pictures. She blackmailed him,” Julie said.

“I’m not sure what any of this has to do with me,” I said, not revealing anything.

“We are all wondering why you didn’t do the same thing to get promoted too! He has so much to lose with the wife and baby and new job!” Julie laughed.

I just stared at her for a minute before saying, “First of all, I have nothing to use against him as blackmail because we never did anything.”

Julie stopped smiling.

“And even if I did, what kind of person would blackmail someone in order to get a promotion? That’s pretty low if you ask me,” I said and I meant that. I may do a lot of morally questionable things, but what Kelsey did (if it were true) is wrong. Obviously Scott had no business doing what he did, but still.

So that’s what everyone has been talking about at work the past few weeks. Julie apologized to me for making that assumption, but continued gossiping with everyone else about me and Scott’s affair. It’s hard to focus on work when everyone is questioning your moral character.

On Monday, Scott texted me saying, “Where are you going for lunch?”

“I don’t know,” I replied.

“Let’s try the new taco place down the road. My treat. It’ll be nice to get out of the office even if it’s only for an hour,” he said.

I sat there and debated whether or not I wanted to spend a whole lunch period with him. But then I decided I was curious to see what he wanted. Scott and I don’t talk much these days and certainly don’t go to lunch together so obviously there was a reason for this invitation.

“Okay. I’ll meet you there in fifteen minutes,” I said.

I hopped up and threw on my jacket and scarf so I could get out of there before Scott did. If we left fifteen minutes apart, then no one would suspect we were going to lunch together right?

We met outside the taco shop and ordered food then sat down. Scott commented on my super modest taco duo compared to his massive overflowing burrito bowl with a side of chips and salsa. I shrugged and dug into one of my tacos.

“So, I’m sure you are hearing what everyone is talking about around the office,” Scott said in a lowered voice.

I just looked at him like I was confused.

“About you and me…and some other coworkers…” he went on.

“Oh yeah, about how Kelsey blackmailed you for a promotion,” I said.

Scott’s face started coloring. “Among other things, yes. That isn’t true, by the way. I had nothing to do with Kelsey’s promotion.”

“You approved it,” I pointed out. Nothing happens in the office without Scott’s approval.

“After our director of operations sought her out and wanted her. I can assure you that Kelsey got this promotion because of her hard work, not because of me.”

I rolled my eyes. “And Monica too?”

He looked taken aback. “The New York team loved Monica. You know I would have chosen you in a heartbeat if it were just up to me.”

“You had the opportunity to and you didn’t so I know that’s not true,” I said.

“I don’t like the way that turned out either, but it was out of my hands, Reese. I want to apologize for that and for everything that is going on now. I feel like I’ve made a mess of things and I didn’t intend to.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

“I mostly feel bad because I’ve ruined any chance for a relationship with you. Friendship or otherwise-”

I put my hand up to stop him. “Please. Don’t even go there. That’s never going to happen… you have a happy life with your baby and wife.”

“But it’s not a happy life,” Scott said looking down and for a brief moment, I felt bad for the guy. But then I thought about him sending inappropriate messages to Kelsey when I wasn’t replying quick enough.

“Yeah, well I don’t want to be involved in it. You have a wife and a baby and I have Brady. The only relationship we can have is a working one.”

“You’re back with Brady?” Scott wanted to know.

“Yes. It was bound to happen,” I said.

After all that, the only thing Scott took away from the conversation was Brady and me. When we finished lunch, I told him that he had to wait 15-20 minutes before going back to the office because I didn’t need people seeing us walking in together. He told me he’d go for a walk and come back later.

As soon as I walked into the office, Julie was walking out of the break room.

“How was your lunch date with Scott?” she asked.

“What?” I was surprised that 1. she was bold enough to ask and 2. she’d caught on even though I thought I’d timed it correctly.

“Come on, Reese. I’m not an idiot. You both left at the exact same time. What did you talk about?” she wiggled her eyebrows and I walked away.

I went over to Brady’s after work. He wasn’t home yet, but texted me saying he would be soon and that I could start dinner if I wanted. I put some chicken in the oven and started chopping up vegetables. Brady got home and said he had about an hour of work still to do, but once he was finished, he would be all mine. He chatted with me from the dining room even though I didn’t want to disturb him since he was working. There was a brief lull in our conversation and then his phone rang. I stopped chopping and turned down the boiling water so I could listen.

“Hello, Sydney,” Brady answered. It sounded really warm and affectionate and I frantically tried to rack my brain to try to remember him mentioning a Sydney before.

“Yeah, I got home a little while ago. I tried waiting for you, but I was ready to be out of there.” He laughed.

“He’s always asking for pills and we always tell him no. Yeah. For sure. I’m glad you did that, thank you.” He laughed again. “No, I appreciate it. I’m not eating dinner yet, don’t worry.”

“What time do you think you’ll be in tomorrow? Okay. Why don’t you call me on your way in and we can discuss it? Yeah, I have to drive up to Palatine in the morning which will take forfuckingever, right? So call me then. I will probably see you Friday, too. Cool. Well, thank you, Sydney. I really appreciate you telling me that. Talk to you tomorrow. Good night.”

And now I’m focusing all of my energy on figuring out who Sydney is. It sounds like she works with him, but the conversation just sounded really personal. Normally I would just demand to know who she is, but I guess technically I have nothing to be jealous about (especially with her being a coworker and that’s exactly what he will tell me when I ask). But Nick calling me insecure that one time really stuck with me and the last thing I want to do is look insecure and now I don’t want to ask Brady about anyone or anything. Like I’ll just be calm and cool about everything and not make a scene about anything. I can confront him and then he’ll assure me that she’s just a coworker and that I’m overreacting as usual and then he will resent me and regret even hanging out with me again. I’m driving myself crazy.

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i don’t know if i should be doing this.  

Brady texted me on Sunday night that he was having a couple people over on Monday for Labor Day. I rolled my eyes and decided I wasn’t responding.

On Monday morning my friend, Lexi, texted me saying, “I heard Brady is having a party today. You think we should go?”

And if Lexi was hearing about Brady’s party then he’d probably invited more than a “couple people.”

“We should go,” I texted back.

I got dressed and met Lexi out so we could eat and catch up before going to Brady’s. I didn’t let Brady know that I was coming because I thought it would be interesting to surprise him.

When Lexi and I arrived, the first person I saw was Hunter. He did a double take when he saw me.

“Whoa!!” he exclaimed like he was super surprised to see me. “It’s been a while.” He pulled me into a hug and then saw Lexi when we pulled away.

“Hey, I’m Lexi,” she said, shoving her hand in his. I thought nothing of this encounter because Lexi is always super outgoing and flirty and Hunter is pretty good looking.

“So what have you been up to?” Hunter asked me.

“Honestly, nothing new. Life is boring lately. How’s the wife and kids?” I replied. I glanced at Lexi out of the corner of my eye to gauge her reaction. Her huge smile didn’t break.

“Oh, they’re all good,” he said nonchalantly, almost brushing it off.

Brady appeared next to me with a beer in his hand. “Well, hello.”

I don’t know why, but seeing Brady and Hunter together made me kind of nostalgic and happy. To my surprise, Brady put his arm around my neck for a hug.

“You guys look just alike!” Lexi exclaimed.

I hadn’t expected Hunter to be there so I didn’t tell Lexi that they were brothers beforehand. I’ve never thought Brady and Hunter looked alike, but after Lexi’s comment I studied them. Hunter is a solid four or five inches taller than Brady and in general is just larger and has a larger presence. I guess I could see the resemblance in the nose and blue eyes though.

Brady and Hunter looked at each other and smirked and then Brady focused back on me.

“I’m glad you decided to come,” he said.

“Yeah, well. Lucky for you, Lexi dragged me here,” I said back.

Brady smirked at me because he knew that wasn’t entirely true. “Can I get you a drink?”

I said yes and followed him to the kitchen.

“Patron with lime,” I requested.

I watched Brady as he meticulously grabbed a rocks glass and the bottle of Patron, cut a lime and squeezed it into the glass. It was so hot. Why is Brady so hot when he’s just making a drink? When he finished he took a sip.

“Had to make sure it was good enough for you. You’ll love it,” he said and handed me the glass.

I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help smiling. We started talking about our weeks and then about restaurants including this new steakhouse that’s been hard to get reservations at. Brady said he’d gone the weekend prior.

“With who?” I asked.

He got this look on his face like he was caught.

“Oh, a friend of mine,” he said.

“A girl friend?”

Brady smirked at me and tilted his head. “Does it matter?”

“Of course it matters. I wouldn’t have asked if it didn’t. So who was it?”

“A girl. It was a date,” Brady said defiantly.

Even though I’d assumed it was some sort of date, hearing Brady say it out loud actually kind of upset me.

“Oh. And where is this girl now? I’d love to meet her,” I said.

“I bet you would,” Brady said, smiling. He took a sip of his beer, but didn’t take his eyes off me or stop smiling.

“Yep, so I can warn her to stay away from a guy who actually can’t follow through with his commitments and in general is kind of a baby about most things.”

Brady’s eyebrows shot up like he was surprised, but he still said, “I wish I’d gone with you.”

I didn’t know what to say so I said, “Okay, Brady.”

He said, “Okay. Well enjoy your drink.” He walked away and it frustrated me to no end. Like stay and argue with me some more.

I went to find Lexi, but she wasn’t where I left her. I ran into Lindsey who was there with some guys from work (Lindsey is such a guy’s girl). I hung out with her for a little while and we caught up because I have not seen her in so long. She mentioned wanting to leave Chicago which made me sad because Chicago is a great city. She talked about how she and her boy want to move and settle in Ireland because they just took a long vacation and loved it. It actually sounded incredibly boring.

About two hours later I realized that I hadn’t seen Lexi or Hunter since Brady and I left them. I texted Lexi asking her where she was and then I ran into Brady again.

“Have you seen your brother?” I demanded.

He shrugged. “Not for a while. Why?”

“Because they’re missing. And I know how he is and I know how she is,” I said.

“And they’re adults. You don’t have to babysit them.”

I wanted to smack him.

“Well your brother is married with several kids and it is concerning that you don’t care about his extra martial activities. So…”

Brady actually had the nerve to roll his eyes at me. “Reese, it’s not your business.”

We went back and forth all day. Both of us wanted the last word and to continue talking to each other. Eventually it dwindled down to just a few of us and Lexi hadn’t responded to any of my texts or phone calls. Brady was sitting outside with some guy friends and I waltzed out there.

“I’m leaving,” I announced.

Brady jumped up. “Right now? But…”

He couldn’t think of an excuse and I just stared at him.

“Do you want to do something later?” he asked.

It was kind of hilarious because we’d literally been bickering all day and now he wanted to hang out. But I did too.

“Maybe. I’m meeting up with a friend now and I don’t know how late that’ll go,” I said which was 100% true and the friend was Preston. We had made plans to go to Boystown for drinks behind his boyfriend’s back.

So I didn’t end up hanging out with Brady that night, but at 10:00 PM, I finally heard back from Lexi.

“Where the fuck have you been?” I answered the phone.

“Dude, sorry,” she said. “I was hanging out with Brady’s brother. Hunter.”

“Yeah, and? I called you forty times.”

“We lost track of time…”

“What did y’all do?”

Lexi sighed happily. “Everything. I love him!”

“What do you mean everything?” I demanded.

“Everything. We ended up getting bored at the party and he came over to my place. We smoked… and had sex like four times. My vagina hurts!”

I screamed.

“Lexi!”

“What?”

“You know he’s married and has two small babies right?”

“Yeah, he told me about that. His wife knows he has needs,” she said.

I made her tell me every dirty detail including the fact that she and Hunter had unprotected sex even though he obviously has swimmers and she’s not even on birth control. I was so disgusted.

After I hung up with Lexi, Brady texted me saying, “I finally found Hunter.”

I replied, “Yeah, Lexi called me. Did he tell you what happened?”

“I didn’t ask,” Brady said and to me that meant he already knew what happened. Hunter does it all the time.

On Tuesday when I got to work, Monica was already there and was working on some sort of board to track the sales of individuals on my team. It was primary colors and she’d made a border on it with metallic stickers.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Scott asked me to track your sales since no one has been doing it,” she explained.

“I have been doing it,” I said back. Like, was that a joke? My sole job is to track my team’s sales so I could hold them accountable and help them bonus. Scott knows that.

“No, I mean, he wants it visible to everyone. It’s kind of dumb.” Monica rolled her eyes.

“Yes, it is,” I said and walked away.

Later in the day, Scott stopped by my office. I don’t see him as much because he’s traveling all the time, but sometimes he emails me, asking how everything is going.

“Hey! How was your weekend?” he asked.

“Fine, thanks,” I replied. I wasn’t about to ask about his.

“Good!” He paused. “I have some things I’d like to go over with you and have you take on to make Monica’s transition a bit smoother.”

My eyes shot up in a “You have to be kidding me” look. He wanted me to help the girl they chose over me do her job better?

Scott pulled out a folder and explained some of the reporting he does and what he does with the information.

“You’re great with analyzing reports and breaking down numbers so I’d love for you to take over this part of the business,” he said, flattering me (even though it’s true).

And it’s not like I could refuse to do what he asked me, but I was going to share my opinion.

“I really think if Monica can’t handle a few numbers and reports then she shouldn’t have been put in that role, but this is fine. I’ll help out,” I said.

Scott looked guilty, but thanked me. And then a few weeks later, after I’d been doing the reports for a while, he had the nerve to ask me to teach Monica how to do it.

It was through text message and I responded, “She doesn’t retain information at all, and I don’t want to waste my time teaching her something that she won’t even remember how to do. But fine. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Scott replied, “Thank you, Reese! For everything.”

So I sent a calendar invite to Monica and spent an hour with her showing her everything and being patient while she took notes on a Post-It. And then the next day, I heard her complaining that she lost her Post-It and had forgotten everything I taught her. It was actually laughable.

Other than that, everything has been fine. The weekend after Labor Day, Brady invited me to a Cubs game. He was going with a group and had an extra ticket. I was just excited to have plans and happily said yes. The group consisted of Brady and some of his more established friends and their wives/girlfriends and I think he just wanted to have a (fun) date. I had one of those sparkly Victoria’s Secret PINK tanks that I got when I first moved to Chicago and dug in the bottom of my closet to find it.

The game was a lot of fun, mostly due to all the booze and shitty food they had available. I think at this point, the world knows baseball is boring and have to find ways to still get people to go to games.

Brady had to explain all the basics of the game to me like why the guys got so many chances to hit the ball.

“He’s just wasting time at the point. He’s had plenty of chances to hit the ball,” I said.

“Those were bad throws,” Brady explained.

“No wonder these games are so long and boring,” I said.

After the game, Brady’s friends went home, but he and I went to a bar in Wrigley. We drank and danced and after about an hour, Brady invited me to come over.

I made a face. “I probably shouldn’t, but I want to see Tucker.”

When we got to Brady’s, he ordered a pizza and we sat on the couch for literally five hours talking. I had even started to sober up. I realized that I’d been dying to talk to him. Like I just love talking to him. I can talk a lot and he’s actually a really great listener and asks a lot of questions and encourages me to talk about myself. I love that. And I love that he will eat shit food with me.

I unintentionally stayed over (swear!) after a long night of making out in bed. It was a bit juvenile, but I kind of liked it. When I woke up, Brady was sitting up in bed on his phone.

“Hey,” I muttered.

“Morning. Are you hungry? I was thinking we could get breakfast and then we could take Tucker to the dog park and I’ll show you where he goes for daycare,” Brady said. He was acting like all of this was normal and we hadn’t been fighting and seeing other people for months.

“Okay,” I agreed.

We spent the entire day together and to me, it kind of felt temporary. Like this was fun and cute, but we would never do it again. It’d been close to a year since Brady and I had been together (can you believe it?) and I didn’t think either of us had any intentions of going down that road again. I was thinking, “Aw, I kinda missed this,” but was fully prepared to go back to responding to any text or Snap from any guy because I’m lonely.

But we’ve been kind of inseparable. It’s like we fell back into how we used to be and I really don’t know why. It’s mostly weird because neither of us have mentioned how weird it is. We even planned a trip next month. When we booked it, Brady said, “Are you sure you want to go with me?” And that’s the closest we’ve gotten to discussing anything.

So I don’t know. You know that feeling you get when you know you’re doing something you shouldn’t be and it feels like going down a steep San Francisco hill on rollerblades? Yeah.

I know that Brady is a good guy and I am super happy when we are together, but I still wonder if I’m so eager to hang out with him because I don’t want to be alone. This is me overthinking what the blog comments will be. I know y’all hate Brady, but I kind of don’t. He’s had some questionable behavior in the past, but I definitely have too.

I don’t think I quite trust him though. We were supposed to hang out promptly at 7:30 one night and I texted him at 7:00 to check in and he didn’t reply until 10:05pm.

“I’m so sorry. I got pulled into something at work. You still want to hang out?” he replied.

The fuck? I understand shit comes up at work, but if you knew you had plans (especially with the girl you’re seeing) then wouldn’t you find some time to send a quick text? So I didn’t reply and we didn’t see each other that night.

And if that were the only time then it would probably be fine, but another night I was waiting at his place for him to come home from work so we could have dinner and then go out for drinks. I didn’t want to be a Nagging Ass Nancy so I just watched some shows On Demand and waited for him to him come home. This motherfucker didn’t come home until 4:30 in the morning. I was still up because I was waiting and coming up with different scenarios in my head.

“Hello,” I said in a cutesy voice so he wouldn’t know how pissed I was.

Brady waved and then went to the bathroom and stayed until I finally fell asleep. When I woke up he was sleeping downstairs. We never talked about that night like who he was with or what he did. He didn’t even apologize for ditching me again.

I can’t tell if I have true trust issues or if every guy I get involved with is a fuckboy.

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