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.