They wanted to send Monica off with goodbye drinks at a bar near the office on Friday. Initially I wasn’t going to go, but after everyone asked me five thousand times if I was going, I finally said yes. Fine. I’d grace them all with my presence. I even invited Brady.
He texted me on Friday morning asking what my plan for the evening was and I told him and then let him know that he could tag along with me. I haven’t showed Brady off to my current coworkers and I figured maybe it was time. However, as I stood at the bar with Scott and Monica drinking my dirty martini , I suddenly realized why Brady likes to keep his work life and personal life separate. I didn’t want anyone talking to him or asking him anything. I could just imagine Julie accidentally spilling the beans about me and Scott. Remember when Stacey met Brady and she told him that I don’t do any work and tried to make me look bad? I could see that happening again.
I was so busy worrying about Brady meeting everyone, but then I heard Scott start complaining about his wife. And that was something my nosy ass wanted to hear about.
“Ever since the princess arrived, we’ve been fighting about everything. Whether it be who uses the car or how well the steak is done, everything ends up in an argument,” Scott said.
Scott calling his baby “princess” kind of touched my heart.
“Do you think it’s just stress from the baby or do you think it’s something else?” Monica asked.
He saw me tuning in so he said, “Things haven’t been good between us in quite some time. A child obviously hasn’t helped things.”
I could not even help myself. “If things weren’t good then why did you have a baby?”
“If I had an answer for you, Reese, I’d tell you along with everyone else asking,” Scott said.
I rolled my eyes at him.
“Marriage is harder than I could ever explain to you. It’s such a weird thing,” he continued.
“You see, I don’t get that. Like of course it’s hard. Did someone tell you it was going to be easy? Don’t get married and don’t lead a woman on and have a baby if you aren’t ready,” I said. I was thinking mostly about myself at this point.
“No one told me it would be easy. I’m sorry if I offended you,” Scott said.
“I’m not offended, I’m just calling you on your bullshit,” I said.
Scott nodded shamefully.
“I don’t understand why it’s hard,” Monica said. “If you’re both willing to compromise then it shouldn’t be that hard. I had a hard time with that when I first got with my boyfriend, but now we are good. We hardly ever fight.”
I could remember at least three times where Monica came in bitching about her boyfriend and them fighting because she’s too emotional and threatening to leave him if he doesn’t propose. He still hasn’t though.
When Brady arrived, I was getting my fourth martini after talking with Scott for an hour. We were mostly talking about work and my new position, but he would occasionally throw in comments about how he thinks we should hang out outside of the office. Brady strolled in wearing his coat and laptop bag and I literally squealed with excitement. It was actually kind of strange seeing him there with his work bag and stuff. He looked like a little businessman.
“You must be the infamous Brady!” Scott greeted him when he walked over.
I glared at him for making such a scene.
“And you’re the infamous Scott,” Brady deadpanned.
“Infamous, am I?” Scott said, wiggling his eyebrows at me.
“Relax. He was being sarcastic,” I said, rolling my eyes. Then I grabbed Brady so he could grab a drink at the bar.
“Is that how you always speak to your boss?” Brady asked.
“Yeah. He likes it,” I replied.
We got Brady a beer and then headed back to the group. I was pleasantly surprised when he and Scott started talking about baseball and went into a full in-depth conversation about different teams and players. So I felt like I didn’t need to mediate or anything.
Julie came over to me and said, “Isn’t it awkward having your boyfriend and Scott here?”
“No. Why would it be?” I shot back.
She gave me a knowing little smirk. “Don’t play stupid, Reese. Everyone knows everything! Why are you embarrassed?”
“I’m not, I just really wish you’d stop bringing that up.” I was practically pleading with her at this point – Brady was just a few feet away and I didn’t need him overhearing the girl teasing me about hooking up with Scott. Obviously he could probably make some assumptions on his own, but I didn’t need Julie confirming anything.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it bothered you,” she said innocently.
“It’s just inappropriate. You know that.”
“Right. I’m sorry, Reese.”
When I rejoined Brady and Scott, I discovered they were talking about me.
“Reese really wanted a dog for a long time, but I was hesitant due to our busy work schedules,” Brady was saying.
“That’s my main concern. I know I’d be the one primarily taking care of it and I do work long hours too. Reese will tell you,” Scott said.
“You aren’t thinking of getting a dog, are you?” I asked.
“Actually I am. I was researching French bulldogs,” Scott replied.
“Do you really think it’s a good time in your life to get a dog?” I had to ask. Then I turned to Brady. “Scott just had a baby with his estranged wife.”
Brady gave me a look that told me he was neither impressed nor amused by the info.
“But anywayyyy, who’s ready for another round?”
Scott pointed to his empty pint glass. I skipped over to the bar and ordered two beers and a martini on Scott’s tab. I got back to our area and Brady and Scott were still engrossed in conversation. I wondered why no one was paying attention to me. Like they were so into each other and talking about nothing like I wasn’t even there. Normally I would’ve said something off the wall just to refocus their attention, but now that I’ve been promoted, I have to be more professional and mature, right?
So I just stood there sipping my drink and watched them continue talking. And watched when Monica and her boyfriend came over to chat and ordered wings for the group. Scott finished his drink before the rest of us and left to go to the bar and Brady walked over to me.
“Hey, are you having a good time? You’re so quiet,” he said.
“I’m fine. I’m just bored. We can leave whenever you’re ready,” I said.
“Oh,” Brady looked surprised. “Okay. I’ll just close out my tab.”
Scott and Brady came back to the group together and I said something silly and snarky to Scott. I can’t even remember what I said, but on our way out, Brady said, “Scott is actually a very good guy. Do you think you should be a little nicer to him?”
Excuse me? They talked about sports for two hours and that was enough to determine that he was a “very good guy?” Brady had no idea what had happened there and if he wasn’t careful, I was going to enlighten him.
“Yeah, okay. He really deserves for me to be nicer,” I said, rolling my eyes.
We got an Uber back to Brady’s and he let me know that Alex was coming over. The three of us sat in the basement drinking and talking. At one point, Alex said something like, “Emily is having something for her birthday, probably gonna have people over.” And then he just kind of stopped abruptly. I realized that Brady was shaking his head slightly like he wanted Alex to stop talking.
“But yeah, anyway, we will see. Today was so exhausting,” Alex continued.
What the hell? Why would Brady want to hide that Emily (Alex’s friend) was having people over or whatever? Did he want to go and not invite me? Because that’s what it sounded like. I glared at him for a few minutes before getting up to make food in the kitchen. I checked my phone and saw that Scott had texted me.
He said, “Brady is a good guy for you. I’m glad you’re happy with him.”
The two of them must have had some crazy compelling conversation that made them both so obsessed with each other and up each other’s butts. I replied, “Thanks. I think so too,” even though I was ready to strangle Brady.
He came and found me in the dining room a little while later after Alex had left.
“Are you okay?” Brady asked as I chomped on my carrots and hummus.
“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. “What’s with you lately? You’re so weird and secretive and I can’t stand it.”
“What do you mean?” Brady said, sitting down.
“I mean, you shook your head at Alex so he would stop talking about that get together. And you’re always going to dinners and having plans without me and I just think that’s weird because I literally include you in everything,” I explained.
“I’m sorry. I’ll invite you to more things if you want,” he said.
“No! I want you to want to invite me. I want you to like me as much as I like you.”
“I guess I just thought because you do things with Preston and Lexi that I’m not invited to, you wanted me to do things on my own also.”
“Uh, no! I only hang out with them when you ditch me. I know you have no interest in hanging out with those two. I don’t even know the last time I saw Preston!” I said back.
“Okay. I didn’t realize I was doing anything different than what you’re doing. I’m sorry,” Brady said.
“Yeah, well. If this is how you’re going to be then I have no interest. I’d rather be alone.”
He blinked a bit like he was surprised. I kind of was too. I hadn’t meant to be so harsh, but his little headshaking thing to Alex really pissed me off.
“I understand. I’ll be more considerate of you,” Brady said.
“Great. I will be too,” I replied.
The next morning, I felt like I needed a new wardrobe for my new job so I got online and ordered a boat load of stuff from Nordstrom, Barneys, Revolve, and Anthropologie. I got blazers, shells, pants, skirts, a couple pairs of heels and a big bag to carry all of my important work stuff in.
Brady woke up early and went to the gym with Lindsey and I got this crazy urge to snoop through his things. I haven’t snooped in so long and I just wanted to. Maybe I’d find something that would tell me why he’s so weird lately.
He has this huge cabinet in the dining room that has shelves of knick knacks on top, but locked drawers on bottom. I know he keeps important documents in the locked part, but I guess I didn’t realize that he doesn’t actually lock them.
So I sat my ass in front of the cabinet and started with the bottom drawer. I found paperwork about all of his bills, his mortgage statements (wow), work he’s had done on the house, various receipts, etc. It was all organized and labeled in file folders and it was so cute. I need to do that to all my paperwork at home too. The next drawer had stuff from work, health insurance and doctor visit stuff and all of his previous years’ tax documents. Now this was what I was excited to see. I pulled out all the folders and spread them out in front of me. Every folder was labeled with the year and I started with the most recent one first. I flipped through all of them to see how Brady’s income has changed over the years. I reached back in and grabbed the folder labeled “Doctor Visits 2010-2016.”
There was nothing exciting in that folder so I kept pulling out folders from the drawer. One of the folders way in the back had no label, but looked super full. I pulled it out and a card fell out of the side. The red envelope said, “My love.” My ears started getting hot because I was so excited.
I opened the card and the front had glittery white snowflakes on it and the inside had this long handwritten message. It was like, “I can’t believe fate brought us together. Our souls are meant for each other. I can’t imagine life without you,” blah blah blah. It was really sappy and poetic and even though it was signed, “Your one and only,” I knew exactly who it was from. It was gross.
There was also a small picture of Anna, black and white, wearing a silky slip with her hair up. It looked like one of those professional pictures that was supposed to look amateur. She had on glasses and I couldn’t really tell how old the picture was. She always looks exactly the same to me. There was another small notecard that said, “Good luck today. You are a hero. -Your biggest fan.” Same handwriting. There were a ton of handwritten cards like that signed silly things like that or with Anna’s initials. I’m super surprised that Brady kept them all.
I was so deeply engrossed in my findings that I didn’t notice when Tucker got up to greet Brady at the door from the garage and only heard when the two of them started up the stairs to the living area. I heard Brady say, “Did you miss me, buddy?” and it was closer than I needed it to be. I didn’t have time to neatly put the folders back in the drawer like I found them and had to shove them all under the cabinet before Brady caught me snooping. I shut the now empty drawer and rushed to the living room to greet him.
“Hey. How was your workout?” I asked as Brady jogged up the stairs.
“Fine. Lindsey always likes to go hard so she kind of kicked my ass. Felt good though,” he said. “What have you been up to? Have you eaten?”
I suddenly felt terrible about invading his privacy and reading all of his personal, disgusting love letters from Anna.
“I haven’t eaten. I was waiting for you because I knew you’d be hungry,” I said.
We made a quick lunch and ate in the dining room. I could barely even talk because I had so much anxiety about Brady noticing the folders under the cabinet or thinking something was out of place. After we finished eating, I told Brady that I’d clean up and he should go shower.
“Wow, do I smell that bad?” he asked jokingly.
I laughed, but shooed him off and then I put all of the folders back where I found them and closed that chapter of my life.
That evening, John wanted to take Kendra out for her birthday and I agreed to babysit their little angel, Mia, so they could have an adult night out. And Brady agreed to come with me. Their daughter is about a year old and she
was is the sweetest ever. Whenever I come over, she’s excited to play with me and pull on my jewelry and giggle at everything I do. So I was excited for an evening with her.
The moment Kendra and John walked out the door and shut it, she started screaming at the top of her lungs. Like not crying, screaming.
“Mia,” I said calmly. “They’ll be back.”
She ran to the door in her little Zara sneakers and threw herself against it. I followed her and picked her up and she tried to wiggle out of my arms to get back to the door.
“Oh my God,” I mumbled. The little tyke was probably less than twenty pounds, but she was strong and kicking and loud.
Brady was standing nearby and reached out to grab her from me. “Here, let me see. You’re okay, aren’t you, Mia? You’re just not used to us.”
And when she realized that Brady was holding her, the little brat started straightening up and quieting down. She looked at Brady and back and me and stuck a finger in her mouth.
“You don’t even have any tears! You put on that whole show for nothing!” I exclaimed.
“I’m sure she learned that from her godmother,” Brady said.
I glared at him. He stood there and held her until she calmed down and started trying to climb down. Once she got down she started running around gathering toys.
“She’s fine,” Brady announced. She brought a doll to him and made a grunting noise that meant she wanted him to take it. I quickly snapped a picture of Brady, Mia and the doll because it was adorable.
The two of them sat on the floor and started playing and I felt left out so I joined the group and grabbed a toy. Mia watched me sit down and looked back and forth at me and the toy a few times. She gave me a look that said, “Fine. You can play with that one,” and went back over to play with her new boyfriend, Brady.
Kendra told me that Mia should be in bed by 8:00pm so that gave her about half an hour to play. She was in love with Brady and kept giving him toys and giggling and running to him and away from him. And he was sweet and patient and was playing with her back. I just watched and documented everything.
At 8:00, I announced that it was bed time. Mia ignored me and continued playing and running. I went to pick her up and she screamed and kicked Brady in retaliation. She squealed and kicked like a little pig for a minute before breaking into a full on cry. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that every night.
“Mia, you’re gonna hurt yourself,” I told her.
“Maybe she can stay up a little longer tonight. It’s a special circumstance, right?” Brady suggested.
“I don’t know. Kendra made it seem like if she didn’t go to bed at 8, it would throw her off a routine,” I said.
Brady grabbed the little devil child from my arms and told her we could watch a movie. We all sat on the couch watching Zootopia and to my surprise, she fell asleep in Brady’s arms. The little runt knew exactly what she was doing. We carried her upstairs to her crib and she slept peacefully the whole way there.
“Do you want one of these little creatures?” I asked Brady as we watched her sleeping like a peaceful angel in her crib. After the emotional roller coaster she put me through all evening, I was second guessing everything.
“Yeah,” Brady said and then looked at me. “Don’t you?”
We went back to the living room and cleaned up all the toys she threw around and watched tv until Kendra and John came back. We had actually fallen asleep because they didn’t get home until 3:00am. But they deserved a night out so I didn’t mind. And I kind of miss Mia now. Maybe next time I won’t invite Brady so he can’t steal my shine.
This week, Scott was traveling for work and it was my first week on my own in my new role. On Wednesday, one of the VPs from New York just randomly popped in the office unannounced. I was sitting in the office replying to emails when Madeline from reception sent me a text that this bigwig had arrived. And I didn’t want this lady walking around seeing anything or talking to anyone so I hoped up to greet her and distract her.
Scott called me later when he got wind that the lady had stopped by. And he was not happy.
“Why didn’t I hear this from you, Reese? Everyone else has texted and called me telling me that Leslie came and I haven’t heard anything from you,” he said.
“I’ve been busy, like super busy. I meant to text you,” I said.
“You aren’t allowed to be too busy to keep in contact with me. It’s unacceptable. I told you that I want you to take this role seriously and I meant it,” he went on.
I’ve seen Scott get really stern and serious, but not with me. So I was a little taken aback, but determined to redeem myself. As much as Scott gets on my nerves, I don’t want to let him down or let him think that he made a mistake promoting me.
Brady made plans to volunteer tomorrow and actually invited me to come. I was so shocked to be invited that I said yes.