During my last interview for the job I was recruited for, the interviewer asked me what my salary requirements were and I told her.
“Oh my,” she said. “That’s significantly more than we wanted to pay for this position.”
To me, that was a dealbreaker – I wasn’t about to take a pay cut for a job I didn’t even ask for.
“But let me chat with my boss. We may be able to figure something out,” she said.
I assumed that meant they wouldn’t be able to pay me what I needed so I figured I wouldn’t hear from her again. A few days later, Scott called me in my office. Usually if Scott wants to see me or has something to say he will text or email me, so it was weird that he was calling.
“Hi Reese. Will you stop by my office when you get a chance?” he said.
“I’ll come after lunch,” I told him.
“Great! Looking forward to it!” he said back.
I rolled my eyes.
After lunch I waltzed into Scott’s office and the first thing I saw was the new picture he had framed of his baby. She was sleeping in the picture and looked like a typical pink newborn. Cute.
“What’s up?” I said, sitting down.
“Reese! Thank you for taking the time to see me today!” he said warmly.
“Cute baby,” I said.
There was an awkward silence and then he said, “HR called me this morning and let me know that a competitor called inquiring about your salary history. Obviously we won’t disclose anything without your permission, but… are you looking for a new job?”
I was so pissed. Like why would you think it’s okay to call my current employer before even offering me a job? Bitch.
I said, “Of course I am, Scott. I’ve been teased about a promotion twice now so I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to do.”
Scott looked taken aback like he wasn’t expecting a real answer. “Wow. It hasn’t been my intention to tease you. We just haven’t quite found the right fit for you yet.”
“And you expect me not to be looking for the right fit on my own?”
He kind of shrugged. “I guess I thought you’d be patient and trust me.”
“Trust you,” I repeated.
“I think you deserve to be promoted just as much as you do. I don’t want you to think I’m not looking out for you.”
I just stared at him.
“I’m asking that you trust me. I will put you at the top of my list of priorities.”
And maybe I’m just being a complete bitch, but how could he possibly even offer to make me his top priority? With all the other stuff going on at work, his wife and baby? There was no way I could be his top priority and I didn’t need to be.
I said, “Okay, Scott. I totally trust you.” I was being sarcastic, but I also just wanted to appease him so I could get out of there.
Work has been so boring lately. I literally sit on my phone all day and text people and read blogs. Nothing at all is going on. Which gives me more time to worry about Brady.
He’s different this time. When he’s mad at me, he’s distant and we won’t talk for at least a day. Obviously we still don’t communicate well, but now he waits at least an entire day before pretending that nothing is wrong.
Brady’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and I really wanted to do something for his Dirty Thirty. The weeks leading up to it, I kept pestering him to see what he wanted to do and he just couldn’t tell me. I suggested a fancy Michelin star dinner, a trip to New York City, a trip to South America, a wild bar hopping night, literally everything I could think of. But nothing seemed to excite him.
About a week before his birthday, Brady and I were standing in the kitchen eating Thai takeout and I asked, “So what do you want to do for your birthday? We need to decide like tonight.”
Brady dropped his plastic fork like he’d had enough. “I don’t fucking care, Reese! I literally do not give a shit. We can do whatever you want!”
I was taken aback. What the fuck? I dropped my fork too. “Uh, okay? We don’t have to do anything then. I just wanted to make your birthday special. I don’t give a shit now either.”
Like how ungrateful can you be? It’s not like I was begging for a gift or anything like that.
Brady said, “Good,” and we finished eating in silence.
I wanted to stay and hang out longer, but not if he was going to be a moody psycho. And I didn’t want him to think it was okay. So after we cleaned up, I said, “I guess I’m gonna go.”
Brady didn’t make eye contact as he said, “All right.”
This was on a Friday evening and I didn’t hear from Brady until Monday. I had a productive weekend drinking, doing laundry, stalking his and Tia’s Instagrams and deliberately not texting or calling him. Fuck that. He was the one who needed to reach out to me and apologize.
“Want to get dinner tonight?” he texted me on Monday afternoon.
Hi, how are you? My weekend was fine, thanks for asking.
“Fine,” I said back.
Brady sent me a screenshot from OpenTable – he’d gotten us reservations at Momotaro. I rolled my eyes, but I was excited because I love that place.
Since Brady would be getting off work late, we decided to meet there. I deliberately got there later than our planned meeting time and found Brady standing at the bar talking to a woman.
“Hey!” Brady greeted me excitedly as I approached. He hugged me with his free arm. “This is Jill.”
Jill looked like a typical Lincoln Park housewife with her ashy blonde hair and obviously designer jeans and sweater. She was probably in her early 40’s and I wondered how Brady knew her.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Reese,” I said, shaking her hand. She gave me one of those limp, princess handshakes (which I loathe) and it became obvious to me that she doesn’t work.
“Staying warm?” she asked, slipping her hand in her front pocket. She had a flute of champagne and she put it to her lips while still looking at me.
“Trying to. It’s supposed to get colder so I won’t complain yet,” I said.
“Mmhm,” she murmured as she finished her sip. And then she pointed to me. “Prada?”
I realized she was talking about my Prada down puffer and I was impressed because it isn’t even from this season.
“Actually yes,” I replied.
Jill smiled at me and then turned to Brady. “Listen, it was good seeing you. I’m going to go back to my table.” She touched his forearm while saying this and we both watched as she twitched her little yoga sculpted ass away.
“How do you even know her?” I asked Brady at the same time he said, “Let’s go see if our table is still ready.”
We sat down and talked about our days and then Brady said something I wasn’t expecting. He said, “Hunter is coming for my birthday and Christmas. So we can just have dinner with him and go to the bars and stuff.”
I wanted to explode. Like all of a sudden he gave a shit about his birthday? Because Hunter was coming? And how was Hunter going to get away from his wife and kids for Christmas? I answered my own question when I realized Dom probably doesn’t believe in Christmas.
“Oh,” I said. Brady smiled and I added, “That sounds fun.”
“Yeah. We don’t have to do anything too crazy, you know,” he said.
When the server brought our plates I squealed with excitement. I looked at Brady to see if he was just as excited as I was and he was adjusting his napkin in his lap and looking off to his right. I followed his gaze to Jill, who was sitting in a booth with a group of other Lincoln Park moms. She was looking in our direction and flipped her hair over her shoulder before looking down shyly.
I couldn’t even help myself.
“So now that you’re turning 30, you’re into older women?” I asked.
“What are you talking about?” Brady asked, with his eyes practically bulging out of his face.
“You and Jill are having eye sex and it’s gross,” I said dryly.
“No,” Brady said and kind of laughed. “No way.”
Dinner went on like normal and then we headed back to Brady’s in an Uber. I snuggled up close to him with one of my legs draped over him. I was thinking about how I hoped Hunter planned on leaving his drama in California because I didn’t want to deal. I felt Brady’s phone vibrate a couple times in his coat pocket. It was close to 11 PM – I was thinking it better be Hunter making some last minute arrangements.
We got inside and decided we wanted to watch tv on the couch with Tucker for a little while before going to bed. Brady got up to use the restroom and stupidly left his phone sitting on the coffee table. I willed myself not to touch it, but after about two minutes, it vibrated. A text message. I moved Tucker out of my lap so I could see who it was.
“Good,” she said.
As soon as the screen went black again, Brady walked back in.
“Jill is texting you,” I said, with this weird, manic smile on my face. It was either that or fly off the handle.
Brady’s brow furrowed as he walked back to the couch.
“Jill’s texting you,” I repeated. “Why?”
Brady sat down and picked up his phone, reading the message. “Oh my God, why does it matter? It doesn’t mean anything.”
“It matters because you spent all dinner staring at each other and now she’s texting you and I’d like to know why.” I was being so calm and cool, honestly.
“I wasn’t staring at her!” Brady yelled.
I actually wanted to strangle him.
“Don’t fucking yell at me because I caught you texting that milf,” I said.
Brady picked up his phone and stormed out. I waited about ten minutes before deciding to go find him. He was taking a shower. And I decided to leave him alone for the night so he could talk to Jill. I called an Uber to go home and I was quite surprised at what I did on the way home. I cried.
I didn’t hear from Brady again until Wednesday morning. He sent me a picture of Tucker sleeping under the comforter. It was obviously super fucking adorable and I texted back, “Aww, my baby ❤️”
But after that, he didn’t call me until Thursday evening. I’d gone back and forth between texting him again, but after the way he’d acted and Jill, there was no way.
“Hey,” I answered the phone on Thursday.
“Hey you,” Brady said back.
I rolled my eyes because I was seriously annoyed with him for pretending nothing was wrong.
He told me a coworker was having people over for drinks and snacks and asked if I wanted to come.
“Umm…” I wanted to see Brady, but I was still a little bit upset about everything. “Okay.”
He told me that he was going to shower and get ready, but I could meet him at his place whenever I was ready. I changed into a House of Harlow dress, tights and my Alexander Wang booties. When I got to Brady’s, he answered the door wearing jeans and a button down with a hoodie over it. He looked like a Harvard dropout.
Brady pulled me into a big hug, burying his face in my hair. Then he pulled away and kissed me. “I missed you.”
“I can tell,” I said sarcastically and then I walked past him inside.
I was a bit standoffish for a few more minutes until I was over it and just wanted to have fun with Brady. Especially because he suggested we take shots of tequila before we go and that’s the Brady I know and love. By the time we were walking out to the Uber, we were excitedly discussing the places we could go for his birthday, the bars we needed to show Hunter and who we was still in town to invite over for Christmas. And he slapped my ass as I climbed into the back of our Prius. I just knew it was going to be a great night.
We arrived at Brady’s coworkers house in West Loop where everyone was gathered in the open concept living room/kitchen. I saw some people I’ve already met and met some new people. I always love seeing Brady talk to people in his field because he’s so passionate about it and it’s so hot and like, nerdy. Alex was there too. I was chatting with him about some of his recent Bumble dates (I know I’m fucking crazy ((but kind of not even that crazy anymore)) but some of these broads are really crazy) when a flash of black caught the corner of my eye. I glanced over and saw a thin girl with the longest, shiniest black hair talking to Brady. Sydney!! I almost squealed with excitement.
Brady was talking to her, explaining something, and smiling and Sydney was smiling back. She glanced at me and gave me a cordial nod, then turned her attention back to Brady.
“So I told her I’d call an Uber for her to get home and she refused because she didn’t want me to know where she lives! It’s not like I’m a stalker or anything! I’m just trying to be a gentleman!” Alex was saying.
I was busy watching Brady and Sydney’s encounter. It was not at all flirty or sexual, but it seemed like Brady had so much to tell her. He never talks to me that much. I’ve never even seen him talk to Chris or Alex or Anna or even Hunter like that. When he finally stopped to catch his breath, I interjected.
“Hi, I’m Reese,” I said to Sydney, sticking out my hand to shake hers.
“Oh, hi! I’m Sydney!” She shook my hand like an adult and continued smiling at me.
“So good to finally see the person Brady’s always on the phone with,” I said as innocently as I could.
Sydney’s eyes cut to Brady, but her smile didn’t falter. Brady looked like he was holding his breath.
“We aren’t on the phone that much, are we?” she said to Brady with her little nose all scrunched up.
Did she think this was some sort of joke?
“I’d say so,” I said. “Usually on Saturday nights or after 8:00 PM – the most inappropriate times for a work conversation.” I scrunched my nose to mimic her.
“The medical field can be demanding, Reese,” I heard Alex say. I’d forgotten all about him. “It’s not like Sydney is deliberately calling him on date night.”
Sydney made this really weird almost like gaping fish face then she said, “Sorry, I didn’t even know about you.” And she walked off.
“God, here we go again,” Brady said, rolling his eyes.
“What?” I said, feigning innocence.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked off – in the opposite direction Sydney had just gone.
“I’m gonna go grab a drink,” Alex said and then he was gone too.
I stood there alone thinking about how Sydney had said she didn’t even know about me. Meaning Brady didn’t mention me or talk about me. Was he letting people at work think he was still single? I couldn’t wait to confront him.
I walked around the party, stopping to chat with people I know and introducing myself to others. I finally found Brady with Alex and a group of people. He looked up at me, but didn’t say anything. So I just waited until they were finished talking and Brady walked over to me.
“So strange how Sydney has never heard of me,” I greeted him. “You must not talk about me.”
“I don’t. I don’t talk about my personal life at work. You should try it,” he snapped.
“I’m sure you love letting all the girls think you’re single. That way they can all flirt with you all day with no guilt,” I continued.
“Whatever. I’m ready to leave when you are,” Brady said.
“I’ve been ready since the moment I got here.”
The ride back to Brady’s was completely silent. I couldn’t believe Brady wouldn’t at least mention me to his work friends. It’s not like he has to talk about all the ins and outs of our relationship, but how could I have not come up in conversation once?
When we got inside, Brady went to his room while I plopped on the couch to get on Instagram. He emerged a few minutes later wearing just the white button down he had on before and the All Saints jacket I got him.
“I’m going out,” he announced.
“Okay? Where? I’ll come,” I said.
And Brady said, “No.”
I was so shocked I was speechless. No?
“You can stay here if you want though. I have chips and salsa and ice cream in the kitchen.”
“Why can’t I come?” I wanted to know.
Brady threw his hands up. “Because I just want to go out and have a few beers. I don’t want drama or to have to babysit. That’s why.”
Well, excuse me. I didn’t say anything and I heard Brady grabbing his keys to go. Obviously I wasn’t even in the mood to go out after that. After he’d left, I sat on the couch for about an hour thinking up all the evil things I could do like run his laptop through the dishwasher or cover the shower floor with body oil. Then I realized I didn’t have the energy to do any of that. I just called an Uber to go home.
The next afternoon, Brady texted me saying he was going to pick up Hunter from the airport and did I want to come?
I said, “No thanks,” and he didn’t respond.
I figured Brady would want to hang out with his brother without me on Friday night so I’d already made plans to hang out with Kendra and the baby. I ended up falling asleep on their couch and woke up on Saturday morning with a start. Kendra and I had polished off three bottles of wine and I remembered complaining to Kendra about what an asshole Brady had been and her telling me to text him. I grabbed my phone and saw 4 missed calls from Brady starting at midnight. I opened my messages to see what I’d said to him.
I poured my heart out. I told him how hurt I was about the way he had been speaking to me and the way he handled the Jill situation, was Hunter rubbing off on him? I mentioned how I was also hurt that he didn’t think I was important enough to talk about me to his coworkers. What did he tell them he did in his spare time if he didn’t talk about me? He said, “Call me,” and when I didn’t he started calling me.
I called him back and he picked up almost immediately.
“Hey,” I croaked into the phone. I guess I didn’t realize just how much I drank.
“Hey. I was just going to text you. Do you to grab brunch?” Brady said.
“Ugh, fine. I just need an hour,” I said.
We hung up and I laid on the couch for a little while checking my socials. One of the first things I saw was a picture of Lexi on her Snapchat story. And she was in bed with a shirtless guy with a ponytail who was conveniently covering his face.
“Lexi!” I texted her. “You’re with Hunter?”
She sent back a smiling emoji followed by, “I’m sorry. He is addictive.”
I rolled my eyes and got up. I met Brady an hour later at a restaurant near his place. I’d changed into Lululemon leggings, a hoodie, no bra, my puffer jacket, a beanie and sneakers. I put on my largest pair of sunglasses I own so I wouldn’t have to bother with makeup.
“What did you do last night?” Brady asked, sensing my hangover.
And this is wrong, but I kind of wanted to make Brady feel how he’d been making me feel. So I said, “I met up with some people from work and stayed out way too late. Lots of tequila.”
Brady raised his eyebrows, but continued eating without saying anything.
After brunch, we met up with Hunter at the grocery store.
“Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” he greeted me.
I sensed he was being sarcastic so I said, “Glad to see you crawled out of Lexi’s bed in time to meet us.”
I saw him flinch, but I rolled my eyes and walked off down the aisle.
Brady was super sweet and attentive all weekend. Saturday night was a drama free shitshow where I got so drunk I literally barfed in my mouth on the way to the bathroom. Great time though.
We ended up going to an Indian restaurant for Brady’s birthday which was fun and different. After dinner, we went home, invited a couple people over and poured drinks. Hunter and I had a bit of a heart to heart. It started because I brought up Lexi. I should probably mind my own business, but sometimes I can’t.
“Your friend is cool, but I’m not looking for anything. At the end of the day, my kids are what’s most important to me,” Hunter explained.
“Of course they are and they should be. You know if your wife finds out what you’re doing then she will do everything she can to make sure you can’t see them. You know that, right?” I said.
Hunter shrugged it off.
“How can you be so selfish?” I continued, getting irritated. “You literally told Lexi you love her and you send her dick pics weekly and now you’re saying you don’t want anything? What a fucked up thing to do.”
“It’s complicated. My relationship with my wife isn’t like it used to be even though I wish it was. We are at a crossroads, Reese.”
“Then figure it out!” I urged. “Don’t fucking get all these other people involved!”
“I know!” he shouted back. And then he settled down. “I know.”
“I just feel like even though Dom is awful, she doesn’t deserve what you’re doing to her.”
“How do you admit you made a mistake?”
I took a second before I answered. At first I thought he meant he made a mistake by cheating on his wife and then I realized he meant marrying Dom.
“You admit it and then you fix it and learn from it. No one will judge you for that, but they will judge you for cheating.”
He told me that Dom has changed so much that he feels like he doesn’t even know her.
“I know women want a lot of attention, but men need it too,” Hunter said.
It got me thinking that maybe I’m not giving Brady attention and that’s why he had been 1. seeking attention from other girls. And 2. lashing out at me. It made perfect sense. So the following morning, Christmas morning, I made a huge breakfast, which I planned on doing anyway, and asked Brady to tell me all about work while we ate.
“I’m just really curious and feel like I should know more about what’s going on in your life,” I explained.
And Brady just laughed at me. I realized he probably thought I was just fishing for information about the girls at work, but that’s not even what I was trying to do. So then he didn’t share anything.
Hunter left early in the morning the day after Christmas and I talked Brady into going shopping with me after we dropped him off at the airport. We did collective damage at Nordstrom and then sat down for lunch at Shake Shack. I was a needy mood so I sat right next to Brady at our table.
We went back to his place after lunch and had a nap on the couch with Tucker. I woke up before Brady did and laid on the couch watching tv while waiting for him to wake up. Brady’s phone was sitting on the coffee table face up and I saw it light up a few times. I was going to ignore it, but this is me and I couldn’t. I leaned over as far as I could without disturbing anyone and pushed the home key to wake his phone up. Jill was texting him.
She said, “???” and then, “Just call me later handsome.”
I gave Sleeping Brady the most disgusted look I could muster and then I did the only thing that I could think of: I stalked the hell out of this woman.
I found out that she’s 36, divorced and has a 4 year old daughter. And she works in real estate (you should see the head shot she uses on her business cards). By the time Brady woke up, I was balls deep in her wide open Facebook page, looking at a vacation she took in 2012.
“Hey,” Brady said, sleepily. “How long have you been up?”
“A while,” I said.
He got up and tried to snuggle me so I had to hurry and hide my phone because I did not want to be caught stalking Jill.
I spent the next week stalking Jill daily (checking her Instagram and Facebook multiple times a day to see if she made any mention of my boyfriend), but I didn’t bring it up again to Brady until New Year’s Eve.
“Where’s Jill celebrating New Year’s Eve, handsome?” I asked.
Brady and I went to a big house party in River North.
He gave me a weird look. “At home? I don’t know.”
“Have you met her daughter?” I asked.
“What?” Brady was looking at me like I’d just asked him to buy me a pet llama.
“She has a child, you know. And an ex husband.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Just warning you before you get involved in that situation. She’s obviously fertile and you’re afraid to even get married so…be careful with that one.”
“Oh my God,” Brady groaned, throwing his hands up.
“Just sayinggggg,” I sang.
“I’m literally not doing this tonight. If you want to argue, then you can argue with yourself.”
“Of course! That’s how I can tell you’re guilty!” I went on.
“Guilty of what, Reese?” Brady was raising his voice now. “I’m not fucking interested in Jill or anyone else. Why can’t you understand that?”
“Because actions speak louder than words.”
He shook his head. “I’m done. I’m so sick of this shit. I can’t do this everyday. You’re allowed to do whatever the fuck you want, but if I so much as know a girl then you declare war.”
“Oh, whatever,” I said, rolling my eyes.
We went back and forth for a while, just kind of belligerently accusing each other of stuff. Looking back, it’s embarrassing and so stupid, but at the time I really felt like we were accomplishing something.
The next morning, I woke up in Brady’s bed in just my tights from the night before. We were snuggling because it was freezing. I started to stir and Brady grabbed my hips to pull me closer to him. He started kissing my shoulders and back and it’s was weird because like, didn’t we decide to break up? How did I even up back there? But I let him fondle me and we hooked up and it was amazing even though we were both hungover and dehydrated. We both rolled over and fell back asleep.
We woke up a little while later and Brady grabbed me to snuggle me again. We got up and had breakfast and watched football and it was like a totally normal day like nothing happened. I went along with it until the evening when I just had to address the elephant in the room.
“Do you want to talk about our fight last night?” I finally asked.
Brady glanced away from the tv at me. “Sure.”
And then there was just silence.
And he said, “What do you want to talk about?”
“Well, we both said a lot of things and I just want to know which of them you really meant,” I said.
“I just don’t want to fight with you. We have essentially the same fight over and over and I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t understand why we can’t just go out and have a good time.”
“We can, but I’m not going to tolerate you texting and calling and flirting with dumb random girls,” I said.
Brady looked confused. “I’m not doing that.”
“I’ll call you later, handsome,” I recited.
“She’s just lonely. It doesn’t mean anything,” he told me.
“I’d prefer she go and be lonely elsewhere.”
So I’ve been thinking lately that maybe Brady and I just aren’t compatible. I don’t know how to make him happy (obviously, if he’s seeking attention elsewhere) and if that’s what he’s doing then I’m not happy. Like it shouldn’t be this hard. We shouldn’t have to force it. And now I’m starting to have dreams about Brady and all these other girls and him ditching me or not coming home until 6 AM. I hate it. And I always wake up from those dreams feeling like complete shit. It’s almost like I’m starting to see some of Hunter’s traits in Brady and I don’t like that at all.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y’all! How’s everyone been?