Late Friday night Brady texted me, “Hey! What are you up to?”
I replied, “Nothing.” I’d been mindlessly scrolling Instagram for an hour.
“You should come over.”
That’s what I’d been waiting for honestly, but it sounded like a booty call. It’s not like he had been talking to me all week and keeping up with me that much, but suddenly at midnight he wanted me to come over. But I still said, “Okay. I just need to get dressed.”
“Great. I can’t wait to see you.” I figured he meant “I can’t wait to see your ass and titties,” but whatever.
I got up and put on chic athleisure then took an Uber to Brady’s. I let myself in, but was not greeted at the door by Tucker as usual. I continued walking into the house and it was creepily quiet. So then I started panicking that it was all a set up – Brady invited me over so he could finally off me once and for all. I didn’t even blame him. I continued through the hallway and then almost jumped out of my pants when Brady, holding Tucker, jumped out from behind the wall.
“What the fuck!” I screamed at him.
“Did I scare you?” he grinned.
“Yes! I thought you set me up to have me killed, you crazy psycho,” I said, feeling my heart slow down.
Brady let out a little laugh and then leaned in to give me a peck on the lips. He was wearing his typical going out outfit which consisted of jeans and a white button up.
“Where have you been?” I asked, gesturing to his outfit.
He started walking into the kitchen and I followed. “I had some drinks with coworkers.” There were two rocks glasses sitting on the counter filled with clear liquid and ice. He handed one to me. “For you, princess.”
I wanted to ask about drinks with coworkers – was Sydney there? – but decided not to go there. Not yet anyway.
“How’s your week been?” I asked instead.
“Fine. Exhausting. We should think about taking a vacation soon,” Brady answered.
So now he was back to planning things for us again. Cool.
“I completely agree. You pick the time and place and I’m there,” I said.
We stood in the kitchen drinking our drinks and talking before deciding to put on a movie and order something unhealthy on UberEATS. Brady wasn’t on his phone at all the whole night. The past few months Brady’s phone usually blows up in the evening and I didn’t even see it once. It actually felt really nice to just hang out with him and relax and be ourselves – not worrying about who he was texting or thinking about.
The next morning, I woke up and reached for Brady so we could hook up. We hadn’t the night before because we were busy talking and pigging out. He wasn’t in the bed when I reached for him and I quickly looked around the room and didn’t see him anywhere. I assumed he was out getting us breakfast so I pulled Tucker under the blanket with me and scrolled Instagram. Brady finally walked back in the room, shirtless and wearing his glasses.
“I thought you were bringing breakfast,” I greeted him.
“My mom just called. Um, my grandpa passed away,” Brady said.
My dumb ass was thinking, “Didn’t your grandpa already die and that’s why you got that tattoo?” and then I realized he meant his other grandpa, the one on his mom’s side.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. That must be devastating. How’s your family?” I said. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say. If one of my grandparents died, I don’t know what I’d want someone to say to me. I don’t even know how I would feel because I’ve never experienced it before.
“They’re okay. He died in his sleep so this is very unexpected.”
Suddenly I got really sad picturing the sweet man sleeping and not waking up and then his wife waking up next him and trying to wake him. She must have been crushed. I felt my eyes filling up with tears.
“My mom is going to get back to me with more details about the services and everything.” Brady climbed into bed with me. “Are you okay?”
I felt like such a brat for crying about Brady’s grandfather who I had never even met. It was his time to cry and be sad, not mine.
I nodded. “I’m just sad. For you and your family. This must be really hard for everyone.”
“It is. But these things happen. It’s okay.” Brady nuzzled my neck and fell back asleep. But I stayed up a little longer, texting both of my parents and my one grandma who can text and let them know that I loved them. My grandma responded, “Who is this?” so that’s nice.
When we got out of bed later, we were starving so we made lunch. Brady made a very large cheese steak sandwich for himself while I had an avocado and kale salad with lemon. That was really the only thing Brady had that was in line with my no meat and no dairy diet which he felt bad about. I told him he needs to go grocery shopping soon.
That evening, we made plans to meet up with Alex and some other friends at the bar. I put an off the shoulder sweater, a suede skirt and white booties. I finished getting ready before Brady did so I went to kitchen and whipped up some pregame drinks. I was taste testing the jalapeño cilantro Moscow Mules when Brady walked in buttoning his shirt.
“I just spoke to my mom. They’re doing everything next weekend. Do you think you’ll be available?”
I was thinking, “Available for what? To babysit Tucker?”
Brady must have seen the puzzled look on my face and said, “I’d really like you there with me. Unless you don’t want to come.”
And then I felt bad for what I was thinking. The fact that he wanted me there with him was kind of flattering. I thought it was a bit too personal for him. “Of course I’ll go with you. Just give me the deets.”
“Thank you,” Brady said, pecking me on the lips. “I’ll be ready in five minutes.”
Alex was already at the bar when we got there. He was with two of his doctor friends and his female friend Emily with her best friend, Erin.
“So good to see you, Reese!” Alex greeted me with a hug. “What are you drinking? Let me guess, patron with lime!”
“You got it,” I said back.
I introduced myself to Alex and Brady’s two guy friends, who wouldn’t stop nerding out about work. I thought about how Brady used to be a lot like that and mentally racked my brain trying to think of which female friend I could match them with so they could enjoy life outside of work.
Alex slipped a drink in my hand and I winked at him before scanning the bar. It was quite packed, but I noticed that everyone was dressed super down, like they’d gone out earlier in the day but went home and napped before coming out again without changing out of napping clothes. Even Emily and Erin had on leggings and sweatshirts and Converse.
I noticed a familiar tall head near the door, walking to the other bar on the other side of the room. The head turned to talk to someone behind them and confirmed my suspicions. It was Nick. What the fuck was he doing on this side of town? He’s a strictly River North kinda guy – I never thought I’d see him in Lincoln Park. I stepped up on my tip toes so I could see who he was with and at the exact moment, Brady came up behind me and slipped his arms around my waist.
“Who are you looking for?” he asked into my hair.
“I thought I saw someone I know,” I said back.
I turned around and continued talking to the group, wondering if it would be a good idea to say hello to Nick. I genuinely just wanted to just say hi and see how he’s doing. Like I literally haven’t spoken to him since he dumped me and that’s kind of weird because I thought we were so close.
A little while later, I was happy and tipsy and making the group laugh like hyenas. Brady kept looking at me proudly like, “See what a great time you are when you’re not being psychotic?”
Alex glanced over my shoulder and his face lit up. “Hey! About time you made it!”
I spun around and saw Sydney approaching the group. She was dressed in workout clothes (we get it, you have a nice body, but enough with the compression pants) and had a friend trailing her wearing a similar outfit.
“Hey, you guys!” Sydney greeted us.
She went up and hugged Alex first and he kissed her on the cheek. She hugged everyone else, but no one else kissed her. I thought, “Wait, has she been into Alex and not Brady this whole time?” I turned to Brady with a manic smile, excited about my possible realization.
“Alex invited her, I didn’t,” he whispered to me.
I kissed him.
Sydney introduced us to her friend, Erica, who just moved to Chicago from LA.
“Oh, why’d you come here?” I had to know. I actually really hate LA, but I thought I was the only one.
“I hate LA,” she said and I reached out and grabbed her hand. My girl.
We all continued talking and drinking. I didn’t even say anything when I noticed Brady and Sydney standing next to each other and whispering. I figured she was asking him how to take Alex home that night and he was being a good wingman.
With Brady occupied and six drinks in me, I decided it was a good time to go see if I could find Nick. I guess I just wanted to stir up a little bit of trouble. I knew the bathroom was on the other side where I’d seen Nick going earlier so I announced to the group that I was going to the ladies room.
“I’ll come with you,” Erica said. I guess with Sydney occupied, she had no one to talk to.
I led the way to the other bar, trying to scope out Nick on the way to the bathroom. I spotted him standing at the end of the bar with who I assumed was his girlfriend and another girl who was third wheeling. The bathroom was on the opposite end of the bar so my game plan was to go to the bathroom then on our way back out to our friends, I’d pretend I suddenly spotted Nick and then I’d go over and say hi.
“So what is there to do here in Chicago?” Erica asked as we washed our hands.
I looked at her in the mirror like, “Uh, you’re doing it.”
But I wanted to seem more cultured than that so I said, “Brady and I are big foodies so we go out to eat a lot.”
“Oh, I’m vegan so I eat at home usually,” Erica said.
I had to refrain from rolling my eyes at her.
“Just wait for the summer. There will be so much to do that you won’t even have time to sleep,” I told her and we walked out.
I crossed the bar and glanced at Nick when we got closer to him. Just my luck, he looked over at me at the exact same time and we made eye contact. His eyebrows shot up and he waved. I did my best surprised/happy face and waved at him with two hands. I should’ve been an actress.
“Heyyyy!” I said as I approached their little group. “Long time no see!”
“I know!” he said back, matching my enthusiasm.
I feel like he didn’t plan on hugging me, but it felt awkward not to after the big scene I’d caused on my way over. So I hugged him and he stiffly hugged me back.
“This is Liz, my girlfriend,” he said, gesturing to the petite brunette next to him.
“I’m Reese,” I introduced myself. She was very cute with her long brown hair and middle part, big eye lashes and eyebrows and long sleeved Nike workout top. Very cute.
At the sound of my name her eyes cut to Nick briefly, but she stuck out her hand and shook mine. Oh, so they had discussed me! I was dying to know what Nick said to her about me.
“So how have you been?” I asked, my attention back on Nick.
“I’ve been good. I really can’t complain. Liz and I just booked a trip to Costa Rica,” he said back.
And because I couldn’t think of anything to say to that, I said, “Cool! Don’t get Zika!”
Nick smirked. “Neither of us is pregnant so I don’t think we need to worry about that.”
Liz giggled and it got really awkward. I needed to get out of there.
“Well, it was nice running into you. So good to meet you, Liz,” I said and then practically ran away.
“Who was that? He’s really cute,” Erica said, running after me.
“I used to date him for like a day. But as you can see, he’s taken,” I replied.
Back in our group, Sydney and Brady were still talking to just each other.
“Hey!” I said, rudely interrupting them. “Should we go to the next bar?”
Sydney scrunched her nose up like she didn’t like that idea.
“We can do whatever you’d like to do,” Brady said. I turned to the bar to close out.
Our group ended up getting split up – Brady, Alex, and me headed to another bar while everyone else stayed back where their workout clothes were acceptable.
On Sunday morning, I woke up in Brady’s bed alone again. I checked my phone and saw that it was almost 10am and hoped he really was out getting breakfast this time. I felt like shit. I can’t drink like I used to anymore. I opened my messages and was horrified to see that the most recent thread was with Nick.
I’d written, “Very cute, Nick,” at 2:00am. And he hadn’t responded. With no explanation, he had to have been totally confused about what I was talking about and most likely assumed I was hitting on him or calling him cute or something. I was just vocalizing what I thought about his girlfriend. Frantically, I went in and blocked his number – so I don’t have to see a response if there ever is one and so I don’t make that mistake again.
Brady came back a little while later wearing his workout clothes with two green smoothies. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that Brady is a total gym rat these days. And that’s why I stalked Sydney outside of her workout class because she’s a gym rat (but mostly just a rat) too. He used to just run a lot, but now he’s full on lifting. He doesn’t overdo it though and looks great, honestly. Just very toned.
“I brought you a smoothie from the gym,” he said. I couldn’t help looking around behind him to see if the smoothie was a joke and he actually had pancakes and an omelet hiding. But he didn’t.
The following week, Scott was traveling so I felt like I could actually breathe and do my job. I was excited to finally get to run meetings on my own. and not have to worry about what Scott would think. Even Julie came up to me after our first meeting of the week and said, “You’re so good at your job. I don’t understand why Scott is always nagging you.” And she is right.
Brady was busy with work during the week and had no time to hang out with me. That was fine though because it gave me time to hang out with my other love and I didn’t have to choose between the two of them.
A few months ago, Kendra and John started looking to adopt a dog. Now that Mia is older and can walk and stuff they thought it was a good time. They went to like fifteen different shelters and looked at hundreds of dogs. Kendra would always call me on the drive home like, “Why is it so hard to find the perfect dog? I thought we’d have trouble choosing just one and I don’t like any of them.” I thought she and John were just being picky.
But finally, they found who they were looking for: an eight year old Lab mix named Ryder. Kendra posted this ridiculously sappy status on Facebook with a picture of Ryder and Mia. I rolled my eyes thinking, “Oh, how dramatic.”
But when I met Ryder, I could totally see why they fell in love. He is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met and that’s including Tucker. When I first came over to meet him, he greeted me at the door and was so excited to meet me, he jumped up on me to say hi.
“Ryder, get down!” Kendra said.
And the pup immediately got down and sulked over to Kendra with his tail between his legs.
“Don’t yell at him!” I exclaimed, feeling bad.
Later on, I sat on the couch playing with Mia in my lap and Ryder came over carrying Mia’s doll in his mouth. And then he dropped it in Mia’s lap and it was literally the cutest thing I have ever seen. He’s so gentle and good with the baby and always tries to snuggle with her while she’s on the floor playing. But when Mia’s not around, he’s obsessed with me and is constantly walking between my legs and sitting as close to me as physically possible. I’ve never even heard him bark. I love him so much and I totally feel like I’m cheating on Tucker when I’m with him.
The funeral and memorial service for Brady’s grandfather were in New York so we planned on flying in on Saturday morning and coming back to Chicago on Sunday evening. Brady texted me letting me know he’d handled all of our arrangements and I felt so bad about the whole thing that I went over on Friday night to make him dinner. When I walked in, Tucker sniffed my boots thoroughly, letting me know that he smelled Ryder on me.
I whipped up a kale and chickpea salad and a steak for Brady. We polished off a bottle of wine with dinner and then decided to sleep after that so we’d be ready to go in the morning.
When we arrived in New York, the first thing we did was get breakfast. We didn’t even bother dropping off our luggage. Afterwards, we trekked to the Lower East Side where we were staying. We put all of our stuff down and unpacked and hung our funeral clothes so they didn’t get wrinkled. Brady was sitting on the bed as I continued unpacking my toiletries, but then he grabbed my hand and pulled me on his lap.
“We have plenty of time to do all that. Relax with me,” he said. Brady started kissing my neck and unbuttoning my jeans.
After two much, much needed sessions of relaxation (it had been so long), we set an alarm and napped then got up to get ready for dinner with Brady’s parents. I put on a black off the shoulder dress, tights, booties and a cape with red lipstick. We got in a cab to meet his parents at the restaurant not far from our hotel. They were already there waiting for us in a little booth.
Their whole vibe was obviously pretty somber, but Brady’s mom actually smiled really big when she saw him and they hugged for a long time. I felt out of place being there. When they pulled away, Brady’s mom hugged me and then held on to my arm for an extra few seconds. “So good to see you, dear. Thank you for coming.”
And then I realized that this poor woman does have feelings, she just lost her father and needed love and support. And that thought made me start tearing up. I reached into my bag and pulled out the silly little card I’d gotten for her just to have something to do. We all sat down and they busied themselves talking about the grandfather and what legacy he’d leave behind. I was sitting there nodding – moved by the stories about this man I’d never met. He was a cancer doctor and spent his life working diligently to keep cancer patients alive to have more time with their families.
And then abruptly, Brady’s mom started talking about money. To me it felt so inappropriate and awkward.
“Katherine wants more money for her boys. She thinks you and Hunter don’t need anything because you’re older now. But we all know Papa loves all of his grandchildren,” his mom was saying.
I just looked on with wide eyes like, “Don’t you maybe want to save this conversation for another time, lady?”
Brady’s dad must have been thinking what I was thinking because he changed the subject. After dinner, Brady’s parents needed to go home and get some rest (“It has been a hectic past week as you can probably imagine”) and Brady and I stayed at the restaurant’s bar for a few drinks.
“I’m really sorry about your grandpa,” I said, realizing I probably hadn’t said it since we first found out.
“Me too,” Brady agreed and then he ordered us two tequila shots with salt and lime.
“Is Hunter coming?” I asked.
“No. He didn’t want to fly all the way here for just one day,” Brady answered and that seemed really weird to me. I get that it’s all the way across the country, but it’s your grandfather.
We got back to our room, slightly drunk from bar hopping, changed into pajamas and then got in bed.
“Mmm, I love you,” I said happily, snuggling up to Brady.
“I love you,” he said back. “I miss us.”
“Hm?” I looked up at him, not quite understanding what he meant.
“I miss how we were before. The past few months have not been fun for either of us, has it?” Before I could even agree, he kept going. “I liked when you lived with me and we came home excited to see each other and we spent so much amazing time together.”
So much amazing time together. Those words stuck with me. Maybe my memory is just a little clouded because I remember Brady hating me living with him. He even told Chris how annoying I was to live with.
“And now we don’t see each other as much and when we do we are mad at each other,” I said.
“Yeah,” Brady agreed.
“I hate being mad at you,” I said and he nodded like he agreed.
We were quiet for a few minutes and I said, “So what do you want?”
Brady’s brow furrowed. “You?”
“You made it clear that you don’t even want to talk about marriage and now you spend all of your time at work. And then there’s all these other girls…”
“There are no other girls. There is work and work will always be there. For both of us.”
I couldn’t argue with that.
“It’d be easier if you were there every night. And if you were there when I woke up,” Brady said. It was weird because he was kind of making it seem like it was my fault that we don’t see each other as much. And then I thought about the circumstances around me moving out at the end of 2016, how Brady seemed upset when I first suggested the idea. Maybe he didn’t actually want me to move out, but was too stubborn to say it.
We woke up early for breakfast with the fam before the funeral. Everyone was super chipper and happy and laughing and just happy to be together. I hope people are like that at my funeral. I was mostly excited about 1. The amazing food. So many croissants and danishes and little egg muffins and green tea. I was super disappointed when I got full and my clutch was too small to smuggle any leftovers out. And 2. Hearing all the haughty UES first world drama. I find it so amusing how they all talk about each other and the ridiculous things they complain about. It’s almost like watching an episode of Vanderpump Rules.
I was a little bit nervous that the funeral was going to have a coffin and a dead body out in the open, but I was relieved when we filed into the church and I saw nothing but flowers everywhere and a huge framed picture of the adorable grandpa in his younger days. Thank God, they must have cremated him. I actually can’t remember any other time I’ve been to a funeral and I didn’t know if I could handle it.
I was quite surprised at how unemotional everyone was during the whole thing. Even I was moved to tears after all of the emotional speeches and reading through the obituary. Brady’s mom even went up and spoke about her memories with her father, but was so cold and stoic about it. I felt silly for crying and Brady grabbed my hand to let me know it was fine. Why was I the only one crying? I’d never even met him.
After the ceremony, I got to meet Brady’s grandmother. She was not at all what I was expecting. She was wearing a white pantsuit with neon pink heels and neon pink lipstick. She had layers and layers of gold Chanel necklaces and big gold Chanel logo studs in her ears. She looked more like she should be my grandmother more than Brady’s. She was definitely more like Aunt Kat than Brady’s mom.
“You’re Reese!” she said pointing at me, but looking at Brady and his mom like she needed confirmation. “I’ve been dying to meet you.”
I thought it was a little soon for that punny little phrase, but just smiled and said, “Me too!” She had a slight southern accent that made me love her. And I also wanted to raid her closet. We are probably around the same size.
Outside the church everyone was happy and hugging and leaving in their chauffeured black cars. It all seemed so abrupt and weird. I thought they’d want to linger and spend a little more time together, but it seemed like they said their final goodbyes to Grandpa and were ready to move on with their lives.
Brady’s mom came over to hug us and I was surprised when she held onto me after we’d pulled away.
“I really want to thank you for being here for my family. I know Brady appreciates having you.”
I was really taken aback that she thought my presence meant anything. I was just tagging along to show my support, I didn’t think it actually mattered to anyone.
“Of course. I’m happy to be here,” I said.
She gave me a grateful looking smile and the parents left in a black SUV. Brady and I walked a few blocks to have drinks. The proper way to end a funeral.
Scott’s not due back until Wednesday so I have about sixteen hours left of freedom. Let’s drink to that!