maybe i can finally save money.

I got a strange email the other day. Mike left kind of abruptly. He told us on a Monday that Thursday would be his last day. So there was no going away party or any goodbyes or exchanging information to stay in touch, he really just left.

And I was really surprised when Mike’s name popped up in my work inbox. The email said: “Reese, I just want to make sure we have each other’s contact information. I’d like to stay in touch. Here’s my number and email.”

We already had each other’s phone numbers and email so it was weird that he would say that. And also weird that he wanted to stay in contact. It’s not like we were super close when we worked together or anything (I didn’t even think he liked me).

I sent a picture of the email to Brady and said, “What do I say?”

“Just thank him for the information and move on. I’m sure it’s harmless,” Brady said back.

So I did exactly that.

Scott has really been prepping me for the new job – even doing mock interview questions with me. And surprisingly, all of his help has been making me want the job. I thought the opposite would happen. Apparently the New York people asked him a ton of questions about me before he even threw my name in the hat and wanted to know about my interest level. But I was under the impression that they still needed to interview me.

Lexi texted me telling me about this guy she met – a chef at a restaurant here in Chicago – and she wanted me to meet him. So the plan was to go with his restaurant and then he’d make an appearance at the bar and have a drink with us. We invited Alyssa to come with us and we met at Lexi’s apartment before Ubering to the restaurant. Alyssa had already met the chef, but wasn’t sure about him and was eager to hear my opinion. Honestly, anyone who wasn’t my boyfriend’s married brother I approved of.

After we finished our (phenomenal, superb, perfect, divine, etc) meal, a skinny little guy with a weird hipster mustache sauntered over to our table. He was probably 5’5” and 20 pounds lighter than me with a man bun and big round frame glasses.

“Victor!” Lexi moaned and jumped up to hug him.

I watched as they hugged and she pulled away and kissed him then turned to us.

“Reese, this is Chef Victor,” she said.

“Hi, Chef Victor,” I said. I stood up to greet him and he seemed bored with me already.

“Babe, I was telling Reese about your restaurant you want to open and she loves it. She’s so into that kind of stuff,” Lexi said.

Victor gave Lexi and me the most unamused smirk. “Cool.”

I wanted to smack him. Lexi had told me about his silly little restaurant idea where there wouldn’t be a menu just a series of questions about what mood you are in that the chef will use to decide what to serve you. It was basically a real life Buzzfeed quiz and he didn’t even appreciate my fake support.

He stayed and had a beer with us and then insisted he needed to go test recipes with another chef. They needed to come up with new and innovative ideas for the new restaurant he told us.

As we were walking out, Lexi asked, “So what did you think?”

Recently, I realized it doesn’t matter what I think of someone else’s boyfriend. I don’t have to date them. I remember I used to give so much unsolicited advice and opinions to my friends about their men and like, how annoying. Like Kendra’s husband John, after he cheated on her, I couldn’t stand him and would always talk shit about him and tell Kendra she deserved better. And now look at how happy she is. What do I know?

“If you’re happy then I’m happy for you,” I said.

“So you hate him too,” Alyssa said. “I knew you would.”

“Alyssa,” I said disapprovingly, sounding like a teacher.

“Lexi can do better!” she whined.

I really wanted to say, “Would you rather her be with a married man who actually has no real interest in her?” but I didn’t. That’s mean.

Scott and I had a meeting so I could go over the business strategy I created for the job. He asked me a ton of probing, hypothetical questions that I could possibly be asked – just to get me thinking. And it was stuff I’ve never even thought about so it was helpful. Afterward, Scott suggested we go grab lunch.

“So I just want to talk to you about something,” Scott said after we sat down with sandwiches and soup.

“Okay.”

“The job is yours if you want it. Everyone already knows you and the only approval we need is mine.”

I blinked.

“But before you say yes, I want to set some expectations.”

“I’d love to hear them,” I said, trying not to sound sarcastic.

“You’re probably one of the hardest working people in the Chicago office. I don’t want that to change. I want you to continue doing everything you’ve done to get where you are now.”

I nodded.

“And I want you to take this seriously. Everything you say, everything you do, every decision you make, it’ll have an impact on this business. I want you to understand that.”

Scott has a tendency to be a bit dramatic and I knew he probably didn’t have this same conversation with Monica when she was promoted. But I knew he was right.

“I know, Scott. But that’s what I want. I want to impact that business. That’s why I’m here!”

“This is a big job that I know you can do and be successful in. And I want that for you. If you want it.”

“Well, I’m going to have to think about it obviously,” I said.

Scott’s eyes lit up. “And here’s how much I’m offering you, if you take the job.” He pulled out his phone and typed something into his Notes then turned it around to show me. The amount was about $32,000 more than I’m currently making. It made me wonder if I’m even worth that much. I started having visions of all the things I could do with a new higher salary, like more vacations and actually saving enough money to buy a condo. “I’ll send you an offer letter today and I want you to take the night to think it over before you sign it.”

When I got back to the office, I texted Brady saying, “I was just offered a promotion I think.”

“Congratulations! Let’s celebrate this weekend,” Brady said.

Brady’s new thing is to only hang out with me on the weekends now. I won’t hear from him at all during the week (unless I reach out to him) and then come Friday night, he’s obsessed with me and is super sweet and attentive and makes plans for our future. It’s so weird and frustrating.

I called him after work though because I wanted advice. I explained to him everything Scott said.

“So I don’t know. This is what I want, I think, but what if I’m not ready? Like what if I’m not good?” I said.

“Why wouldn’t you be good? You’ve done this for years. You will be great,” Brady said back.

“You think so?” I loved that he thought I’d be good, even though I can be dumb and irresponsible.

“Of course. And Scott isn’t going to offer you a job he doesn’t think you’re capable of. I don’t know why you’re doubting yourself. You know you’re amazing at what you do.”

“You’re so right,” I realized.

“How much did they offer you?” Brady asked.

I told him and he said, “You should counter and ask for a little more. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.”

“Really?” I thought asking for more money seemed a little greedy.

“Yes. You’ll have a ton more responsibility and be doing so much more. If Scott really thinks you’re worth it, he will do it.”

So the next afternoon after lunch, I stopped by Scott’s office. I hadn’t heard from him or seen him since our lunch meeting and I was actually surprised that he hadn’t reached out at all.

“Heya, Reese! How’s your day?” he greeted me.

“Hey. Can we talk?” I said.

“Of course. Close the door.”

I closed the door and sat. “So I’ve been thinking. And I think I want to take the job.”

“That’s great news!” Scott exclaimed.

“But I think I’d like to negotiate the salary,” I continued.

Scott looked surprised. “Oh? How much do you want?”

I actually hadn’t even thought about an amount. I just followed Brady’s instructions to ask for more. I wished he was there to tell me how much was appropriate.

“Well, I’ll let you decide that. However much you think I’m worth. I’m coming upon my two year anniversary here and I’ve done a lot. I even helped out with Monica when she was chosen over me last time. Just keep that in mind,” I said.

“Let me sit down and look at some numbers and then I’ll get back to you this afternoon. You know I would give you a million dollars if I could, Reese. You’re worth so much more than I can ever offer you,” he said.

I rolled my eyes and got up to leave, but I’ll admit, I smiled a little too hard on my way out. Scott sent me a revised offer letter right before I left for the day, offering me $2,000 more than the first offer. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it was still more. And I took it without consulting with Brady first.

So I’ve officially been promoted. I had a week of training with Scott, but I haven’t officially started in my new role yet. He keeps emphasizing that he wants me to take my role seriously and he wants me to continue working hard. Now I’m in charge of global sales, product development and vendor relationships. I’ll have four teams under me and I’ve already asked Scott for an assistant. Like it’s a lot of work and I want to be good at it, unlike Monica. Sure, she left because she found a new job, but she was looking for a new job because she couldn’t handle the pressure.

On Sunday night, I asked Brady what he wanted to do for Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, when is it?” he asked, looking confused.

“Wednesday. I can’t believe you haven’t planned anything for me yet,” I said.

“Wednesday. I completely forgot honestly. I don’t know if I’ll get off work in time to do anything. We can celebrate next weekend though, if you want?”

After him avoiding me during the week for two weeks, I was furious.

“Seriously? It’s one day out of the week and you know how important Valentine’s Day is to me. It’s not like I’m asking for a lot, it’s literally just one night I want to spend with you,” I said.

“Okay, okay. I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try to get off early that day,” Brady said, sounding frustrated with me. And then I was mad at him for being frustrated.

I assumed Brady wasn’t going to be able to get the night off or wouldn’t even try, so I had to look around for other plans. Literally all of my other friends are coupled off so that didn’t leave me many options. But Brady texted me on Tuesday night asking if I would more in the mood for Italian or steak. Steak obviously.

He ended up taking me to one of my favorite steakhouses in Chicago – I’m actually super surprised that he was able to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day. It made me wonder if he actually made the reservation months ago and the whole “I don’t know if I can get off work” was an act. But he also got me a gift card as a gift which seemed last minute to me. Brady usually takes pride in picking out gifts for me.

I don’t know about Brady. Like, I love him and I love when are together, but the way our relationship is not what I want. I want to do everything together and I feel like these days I never know if we are going to hang out or if he has other plans or if he will be working late. I don’t like having so much doubt. It’s getting to the point that I don’t even want to ask to see him because I don’t want to get rejected. I don’t like not knowing if he actually likes me or just likes me when it’s convenient (like on the weekends). Sometimes he makes me feel so amazing and special and sometimes he makes me feel like he doesn’t even think about me. It’s so strange and I don’t like feeling like this.

Kendra and John are going out on a date this weekend and asked me to babysit. I am honestly so excited about it, especially since I talked Brady into helping me. I can’t wait to see him with the baby.

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why are you being so nice?

Brady and I wanted to take a vacation that wasn’t your typical lay on the beach and drink for five days straight vacation. We wanted to do something different. One of my coworkers just got back from a ski trip in Utah so I told Brady I wanted to go skiing.

We decided on Aspen – since we were gonna do it, we wanted to do it the bougie way. I remember going to Aspen once when I was in the fifth grade with my parents, but I got to the top of the ski hill and I was too afraid to go down and cried and had to be rescued. I thought now was a good time to redeem myself.

For the trip, I needed some new things so I went into Barney’s and let my favorite sales associate deck me out in the warmest, most stylish items she could find. I got a Moncler, a faux fur scarf, wool socks, ear muffs and the cutest booties I just couldn’t leave without. I’m glad Brady offered to pay for the trip himself because my total at Barney’s almost made me vomit.

The beginning of our journey to Colorado felt really weird – like we were two people traveling together who didn’t even know each other. Like it just felt really distant despite my efforts to be fun and get him to be fun with me. I blamed it on it being early. But after a couple of in flight naps, things seem to go back to normal. Brady just went skiing in Vermont recently and told me some stories about that. I was enjoying trying to imagine his mom skiing and falling.

We got a shuttle from the little airport to our bomb ass Airbnb. Like, I’d move to Aspen just to live in that house. It was situated in the middle of the woods with huge windows everywhere. Both of the bedrooms were lofted and the master led out to the balcony where there was a hot tub and a little wine cellar. The décor was really dark and modern and super woodsy. It made me want to put on a set of plaid flannel pajamas and warm socks with a glass of like scotch or something.

We put down our stuff and changed so we could go explore. I’d done my research and found out that there are tons of shopping options in Aspen so that’s what I wanted to do first. We ventured to one shopping area and went in and out of stores with our coffee and tea. I was obsessed with all the local shops and told Brady that I wanted to quit my job and move to Aspen to open a home store. He laughed, but I wasn’t really kidding.

We found a tiny little cabin restaurant to have dinner in and got salads, soup, wine and Moscow mules. Everyone was super, super nice and we met this good looking older couple, Lisa and Kevin. Loved them so much. They have a vacation house in Aspen, but live in San Diego full time. So they said they’d show us around the nightlife.

Our next stop was a cute little cocktail lounge. I was suddenly annoyed with myself for wearing just wearing jeans and riding boots because Lisa had on heeled booties with her fur bomber and she looked so cool. Kevin is a shot guy and encouraged three rounds of shots upon entering. I realized that I’m too old to be taking shots at the bar anymore. My poor tummy can’t take it.

Lisa told me all about their life in San Diego. Kevin works as a cardiologist and Lisa sells Lipsense. She describes herself as an entrepreneur which I think is a bit of a stretch, but that’s fine.

We went home around midnight because we were all tired. But we told Lisa and Kevin we’d meet up with them after breakfast the next day.

When we got back to the cabin, Brady made us drinks and we sat in the living room watching tv. It looked so cool with all the windows and trees and snow. He started being really sweet randomly like, “I always miss you when I’m not with you.” And I didn’t even know what to say so I just said, “Aww.” The both of us are so terrible at expressing any kind of emotion and since we never do, we don’t know even know how to. It’s kind of sad actually.

I even said, “Why are you being so nice?” and then he stopped.

The next morning, we walked and got breakfast and by then, Brady was itching to get out on the slopes. There was all this drama around getting all of our gear and then riding the lift to the top of the mountain. And then I told Brady that he and Kevin should warm up without us so Lisa and I could drink hot chocolate and Bailey’s.

I actually didn’t end up actually skiing until the second to last day of our trip. There was just so much else to do like get my nails done, drink my weight in all of the local and imported wine, eat twice my weight in cheese, ask Lisa for marriage advice, make Brady take pictures of me all over the cabin, etc. Brady was convinced I was afraid and wouldn’t go up there, but finally I put on all my gear and I skied. Well, I went down once, got embarrassed, dirty and scared and I didn’t try it again.

But I had a great time in Aspen and will go back. And it was nice to be with Brady for a week without any drama and when we got back to Chicago, we went back to his place to spend the weekend together. It still felt like the Jill thing was lingering even though we squashed it. The thought of Jill and Brady talking and flirting made me itch. Every time Brady’s phone vibrated it made me anxious. When we were in Aspen, I had a distraction, but back in Chicago, all those awful feelings suddenly came crashing back.

We got back to the city on Friday morning and of course, Brady wanted to rush to work to see what he’d missed. I was exhausted from all the skiing I didn’t do. So I took the longest shower of my life then got in bed with Tucker.

When I woke up, I had nine emails from Scott. Eight of them were about business, but the last one said:

“I wanted to be the first to talk to you about this. Monica just put in her notice. She accepted a position at another company that is more in line with her career path. Would you be interested in interviewing for her current job? Let me know.”

First of all, interview? Was I not a shoe in after training Monica and basically helping her do her job for months? And maybe I’m just a bitter, petty bitch with too much pride, but after all that I didn’t even want the job.

So I replied, “I’ll have to let you know about that.”

I went home and spent the day catching up on laundry and housework and then packed a weekend bag so I could go to Brady’s. In the Uber there, I found a new restaurant on Instagram that looked good so I texted Brady a screenshot and asked if he wanted to try it for dinner.

He said, “I already have dinner plans tonight. We could go tomorrow or Sunday.”

How could he already have dinner plans? What the fuck? With who? I went back and forth between demanding some answers and just not responding. It’s just so weird. I wasn’t upset that Brady had plans with someone other than me, but it was just strange that he didn’t mention them until I brought it up. But I’m so chill these days. A few years ago I would’ve blown up like a psychopath, but I kind of felt like if he had dinner plans then I needed my own plans too.

So I texted Lexi, “Where are we drinking tonight?”

She replied, “So glad you asked. Let’s do wine and dinner at the winery and then we go to the bar. Meet at my place at 7:30!”

By the time I called an Uber to go to Lexi’s, Brady still hadn’t come home from work. I texted him, “I’m going out with Lexi. See you later tonight.”

And he immediately read my message and didn’t say anything back. What the fuck ever, dude.

We started at the winery and immediately started with a bottle of rosé and a charc board. I’m vegetarian at the moment so I just nibbled on the crackers and cheese. Lexi was disappointed that there was no one good at the winery (aka no one came over to hit on her) so she texted some friends and found a bar we could go to.

In the Uber to the next place, I checked my phone to see if Brady texted me. He hadn’t so I got on Instagram. I was just mindlessly flipping though the stories when a video made me stop. It was Nick and he was spinning a girl around and then kissing her. The caption was, “The most beautiful girl in the world.” With all the spinning, I couldn’t tell if she actually was, but it was so cheesy, I could’ve puked. Who even took that video and what made him think we, his followers, wanted to see it? But cute. Good for him.

At the next place, Lexi introduced me to a bunch of guys she knew (obviously) and we sat down and had drinks with them. They were typical douchey business boys who used super generic lines and Lexi ate it all up. I kept rolling my eyes as I drank my Paloma. After a couple drinks with them, they said they were going to a different bar, but I told Lexi I wanted to stay. I was enjoying the vibe of the place and the drinks were good. Plus I was sick of those boys.

A little while later, a bald guy came over to us. He looked a few years older than us, but was pretty good looking and dressed well.

“My friend and I want to come over and have a drink with you, if that’s okay?” he said after our initial greeting. He gestured to the friend, who was still sitting at the bar.

Before I could say anything, Lexi said, “Sure. There’s room here.”

So we chatted with those guys for a bit. One of them owns a flooring company and the other works for him so I actually had a lot to talk about with them. We exchanged business cards.

Eventually one of them asked, “What are you girls doing after this?”

Lexi and I looked at each other and she shrugged.

The owner guy said, “I’m inviting some people back to my condo. It isn’t far from here.”

“We’ll come!” Lexi exclaimed.

They paid our tab and then we got in a cab to their place. I gave Lexi a look while we sat in the backseat.

“What?” she whispered.

“Why do you always do this?” I whispered back. She shrugged and smiled, obviously loving where the night was going.

When we got to the condo there were already a ton of people there. I got a weird feeling about the whole situation like it was a big orgy waiting to happen. But it actually ended up being weirdly super fun. There was a piano and someone played all night and we all danced and socialized. I met so many people. Someone placed a food order so we were all eating sliders, fries, and mac and cheese at 3 am.

Before I knew it, it was 5:40 am. My eyes were burning and I kept yawning and finally I said, “Lexi, it’s 6 am. Let’s go.”

I could tell she still wanted to stay and mingle more (the party was still raging), but she still obliged and went around saying goodbye to all her new friends.

At this point, I didn’t know if I should stumble into Brady’s house at 6 am or just go home and pretend I wasn’t out that late. Not that he would even be able to judge me for staying out late, but he already thinks Lexi is a bad influence. And I didn’t want him to have any reason to second guess what I was doing when the night was honestly so innocent.

But I really wanted to sleep with Brady and wake up next to him so I could ask who he had dinner with. So I had the cab drop me off at Brady’s house. Tucker blew my cover by barking at the top of his lungs when I let myself in. When he realized it was me, he calmed down and rolled over so I could pet him. I took of my heels and padded to Brady’s room barefoot with Tucker in my arms. I was surprised to see Brady’s phone illuminating the room. He was awake.

“Hey,” I whispered.

Brady glanced at me and then back at his phone. “Hey.”

“I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“Not directly, but don’t worry about it.”

I got undressed and climbed into bed, snuggling next to Brady. He was rigid for a moment and then he put his phone down and put his arm around me.

“So how was dinner?” I asked.

“It was good,” he told me and I cut him off before he could elaborate.

“Who did you go with?”

“Just Alex and some people from work. It was someone’s birthday.”

“Was Sydney there?” I knew I shouldn’t have asked that, but I couldn’t help it. I really wanted to know.

“She was.”

“No wonder you didn’t invite me as your plus one!”

Brady didn’t say anything and we fell asleep. The rest of the weekend was uneventful. I bought some new furniture and rearranged/decorated my apartment. On Saturday night, Brady and I went to dinner and went back to his place to binge watch some tv. Lexi sent me videos on Snapchat from a bar, but I was not up for her shenanigans.

I’d forgotten about Scott’s email until I got to work on Monday and he stopped by my office.

“Hey there! Good morning!” he greeted me.

“Hi,” I replied back.

“Did you have a good weekend?” Scott asked, making himself comfortable.

“I did. Thanks for asking.”

“Glad to hear it.”

I gave him a look like, “Get to the point already.”

“I wanted to follow up on my email. About Monica’s position.”

“Okay…”

“I know you’ve interviewed before and I don’t want that to stop you from interviewing again. I think now is the right time for you to take on this role. I think you are the best and only candidate and I don’t want you to miss out on this opportunity because of what happened last time.”

It’s like he had read my mind and knew exactly how I was feeling.

“Why is now a better time than before?” I had to ask.

“Because I’ve been in my position longer. The two of us have always worked well together and now I can really mentor you into what you need to be to succeed. I think we can really make a huge impact, me and you.”

“I really just don’t want to do all this prepping and get my hopes up just to get told no again,” I said honestly.

“That won’t happen. Because I’m going to help you. Now is your time.”

So we spent the rest of the week coming up with a business strategy that I would present to the New York office once interviews started. I’m still not sure if I even want to interview, but I would kind of feel silly saying no and then just staying in my current job doing nothing. Monica officially put in her notice so interviews will start next week and Scott keeps emailing me to keep me in the loop even though I never actually said I wanted to do. So we will see what happens.

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