i’m my own person.

After sending my project in at 6:45 on Friday morning, I didn’t hear anything back immediately. I was proud of what I’d come up with and expected Frank to reply instantaneously singing my praises.

Brady and I planned to leave for Philadelphia after work that evening and I busted my ass finishing up all the work I needed to in order to leave by 5:00pm. We still needed to pack and drop Tucker off. When I got home, I checked my phone to see that Brady had texted me.

“I got called into a meeting this evening and I still have some auditing to do. Not sure what time I’ll be home, but it’s going to be late,” he said.

Ugh. I’d worked hard to ensure I left work at a good time in order to stick to our plans and I was annoyed that he wasn’t doing to the same.

“Okay? What does this mean then?” I said back.

“What if we leave tomorrow morning instead? That way we aren’t rushing. We wouldn’t get there until way late tonight anyway.”

Of course. I didn’t respond and instead texted Lola to see what she was up to.

“Drinking with Kellen’s cousin. Come through,” she replied, including an address in Park Slope. I changed into jeans and booties and called an Uber.

When I arrived at the row house, Lola answered the door.

“Hey! You made it,” she greeted me. “Give me one second to grab my things and then we’ll go.”

I followed her inside through a tiny, but charming apartment with exposed brick walls and minimalistic black and white furniture. There was a tall guy standing at the kitchen island, one who I could tell was covered in hair all over his body. He was cute though and looked really Italian.

“Michael, Reese. Reese, Michael. I’ll probably see you next week at the birthday party. Have a good night,” Lola said as she picked up her Stella McCartney Falabella crossbody and maroon suede trench from one of the barstools.

Lola was acting so weird. And where was Kellen? I thought we were all supposed to be drinking together.

Michael took a sip of the glass in front of him and gave Lola a little wave. Outside on the sidewalk, she pulled out a pack of cigs from her bag and offered one to me.

“Ugh. I should’ve known that was a bad idea when Michael invited me over without Kellen. But I thought he just wanted to drink. I didn’t think he would get the wrong idea,” she said.

“What happened?” I wanted to know.

“He just kept making inappropriate comments. Acting like something was supposed to happen between us because I was there alone. When I told him you were coming, he said ‘three’s company’ all suggestively.”

“Did you really think it was a good idea to go over there by yourself?”

“I didn’t think anything of it. He’s my boyfriend’s cousin! I was counting on him to do the right thing.” She took a drag. “I hate that a guy and a girl can’t hang out without the expectation of something happening. Like why would it? You’re my boyfriend’s cousin! Men are so gross.”

I realized that she was absolutely right. Why would she think hanging out with the cousin would be anything more than hanging out? Why would she even think or know that the guy was going to be inappropriate?

We stopped at a quaint wine bar and ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir and some almonds to snack on. I told her about how frustrated I was with Brady and his latest antics.

“Working late?” Lola repeated. “The classic excuse. Are you buying that?”

“He’s always worked a lot of crazy hours. In fact, the first night I met him, he was working and it was a Friday night,” I said, feeling kind of defensive of Brady.

“Mmhm, I bet,” she repeated, popping an almond in her mouth. “And let me guess, he’s screwing the blonde bimbo assistant too?”

I told her about Sydney – how she weaseled her way into everything including moving to New York at the same time as us. I told her how I felt the first time I heard Brady talking to her, how affectionate and delighted he sounded.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I have a guy friend at work who I talk to and text all the time. He has a girlfriend and I have a boyfriend and there’s nothing there. I mean, nothing. It’s nice to have someone to complain to, you know? I’d never move across the country with him,” she said.

“I get that. It’s just the way he talks to her. And she’s always invited to everything. She’s just annoying,” I said.

“But if Brady wants to spend time with her, it’s more of an issue with him than her, right? Like, why does he want to hang out with her so much? Knowing you hate her. He’s willing to risk his relationship with you to hang out with her. That’s the issue.”

After we polished off the bottle of wine, Lola suggested a jazz bar a few blocks away. We had a couple of drinks then decided to head home.

When I got home, Brady was sitting on the couch with a beer in silence.

“Oh, you’re home,” I said, looking at the time. 11:30pm.

“I am. Where have you been?” he said.

“Out with Lola. We found a cute wine bar in Brooklyn.” I stepped into the kitchen to find food and saw that there was a white takeout bag in the fridge.

On cue, Brady followed me into the kitchen and said that he’d brought home dinner. Then I felt bad. Obviously, he’d come expecting me to be there so we could have dinner together. I felt like such a bitch for assuming he wasn’t trying and he was.

The next morning, Brady crawled out of bed at 7:30am. He wanted to hit the gym before leaving for Philadelphia.

“Do you want to come with me?” Brady asked, standing at the end of the bed, fully dressed.

“Not really,” I said, but knew I needed to. “But I’ll come. Give me five minutes.”

We walked a few blocks to Equinox and went our separate ways when we got inside. Brady prefers to lift, but I really just need cardio. I want legs that look like Kendall Jenner’s.

We finally hit the road at 11am and arrived at around 1:00pm. Carly answered the door of their cute, new townhouse with Baby Sloane in her arms. Sloane was super cute with her wispy hair and polka dot pajamas and pink glittery binky. I literally screamed when I saw them.

“Oh my gosh, hi!” Carly exclaimed, pulling me into a hug with the baby. They smelled like laundry. “We are so glad you’re here. Hi Brady!”

We all filed inside where Chris was making lunch for us. We sat around the dining table with its Pottery Barn-esque table setting. I demanded to hold Sloane and help her eat.

“Gladly,” Carly said, passing the baby over to me.

Carly and Chris told us all about what’s new with them – Chris recently got a promotion hence why Carly is able to stay home with Sloane. She’s joined a Mommy Meet-Up group to meet people and does yoga-lates every morning at 5:30am before Chris goes to work.

“You should try it, Reese,” she said. “It has helped with my energy level and mood.”

Whatever. I’m not about to wake up at 5:30am to do anything. After lunch, we bundled the baby up and put her in a stroller and then took a walk around their cute new development neighborhood where a bunch of other new couples were also walking around. We ended up at a little restaurant for drinks. Sloane sat on the table kicking her little boots out.

Carly saw how much fun I was having with Sloane and said, “Do you want one?”

“Of course. Not like, right now though. I can take Sloane on the weekends if you want,” I replied.

Carly grinned. “I’d love that actually. As much as I love being with her 24/7, it would be nice to have a break.”

“Do you think you’ll go back to work?” I asked.

She wrinkled her nose. “Eventually, I’m sure. I am happy with the way things are going now. Chris just started his new position and I want to wait until he’s settled into that before doing anything. We are still figuring out our routine.”

There was a pause and then I asked something I was genuinely wondering. “Are you happy?”

If y’all remember, Carly was second guessing things hard before she got married. She even got on Tinder.

“You know, I am. I feel like I settled down and into things really fast, but I’m not mad about it. It’s really fun actually.”

“How?” I had to know. Staying home and talking to a baby all day did not seem fun to me. And she even said it herself; Chris can be really boring.

“Well, it’s nice to know I have a partner for life. I definitely don’t miss wondering if I’m ever going to meet my person and being super insecure.” She looked at me apologetically like she hoped she wasn’t offending me.

“Do you think Chris is your person?” I asked, curious.

“Obviously I do. I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t.” Carly paused. “Do you think this one is your person?”

I followed her head nod to Brady, who was sitting across the table taking a swig of beer.

“I don’t think I have a person,” I told her.

She looked surprised. “Really?”

“Yeah. Like, I’m my own person. I don’t feel like I need someone else to complete me.” I was actually surprising myself with what I was saying. Maybe it was my defense for what Carly had said previously. But I love myself.

“So you don’t want to get married?” Carly asked.

“I mean, I do of course. I want that. But I’m not like, insecure or anything. I love being with him, but I’m also okay with being alone. I don’t need another person to make me feel whole. I’m enough by myself. Is that bad?” I said.

“Kind of.”

We were silent and I wondered if I was being a hypocrite. But honestly, I haven’t thought about marriage in forever and I obviously haven’t brought it up to Brady either. I think I felt pressure before – everyone was getting married and I finally found someone who likes me as much as I like them – but now I think I just want to be happy.

That evening, Carly called the babysitter (Chris’s cousin) over to watch Sloane so we could have a night out. Carly and I got ready in her private powder room downstairs, the one Chris let her splurge to customize. It has a crystal chandelier, pastel floral wallpaper and apothecary jars everywhere. Very cute and very Carly.

I put on an olive green jumpsuit, a Sherpa coat and clear mules. Carly and I made festive drinks consisting of vodka, ginger ale and cranberry juice and had finished several of those before leaving for the bar.

When we got into the dark bar, Carly grabbed my hand. “This sounds bad, but it feels nice to get out of the house and I don’t have to worry about my crying baby.”

You know how some moms go out and check their phones constantly because they are worried about their child? Carly is not that mom. Mama was thirsty for a night out. Carly drank like a fish for an hour straight and I struggled to keep up. We’d lost the boys somewhere near the entrance and were loitering near a window. I was shooing guys away, but Carly seemed desperate for male attention. It was just like old times.

“I’m gonna come visit you in the city soon,” she promised. “This is soo fun.”

We talked about Kendra and Preston. Preston was engaged, set a wedding date, pushed the wedding back and is now seeing someone new I believe. I can’t keep up with him. Kendra never replies to my messages, but sends daily pictures of Mia which I love and appreciate.

The next morning, Carly and I woke up in the shabby chic guest bedroom together.

“I hate myself,” she declared.

We peeled ourselves out of bed and took turns showering before brunch. Brady had slept on the couch since Carly and I took over the guest bedroom.

“Why didn’t you just sleep in the bed with Chris?” I asked and they both gave me a look like that was not an option.

Brady still had work to do prior to work Monday so we left to come home right after brunch. I slept in the car the whole way home.

Frank emailed me first thing Monday morning.

“Hi Reese. We’d love to have you stop by the office and present what you came up with to our team. Are you available anytime on Wednesday?”

So I thought about my presentation all morning – what I’d say I was inspired by, how I would bring every element of my design back to the company’s core values. I created a note in my phone of all the bullet points I wanted to cover.

That afternoon, Heidi emailed me.

“Reese, we are thrilled to offer you the manager of product development position you applied for. Please review the attached job offer and let me know what questions you have. I can’t wait to hear from you!”

I felt a one thousand pound weight being lifted off me. Finally. A way out of this hell hole. I opened the attachment and saw the salary (which I was satisfied with) and sign on bonus (which wasn’t much, but was well, a bonus).

I replied letting her know that I was honored and I’d get back to her as soon as I could with a decision. I knew I wanted to probably take it, but I also still had the other interview and I was still very much interested in that job too. I wondered how long I could take “deciding.”

When I got home, Brady was not home as promised. I was so excited to tell him about my offer and the new potential job and I felt like he was the only person I wanted to talk about it with. Maybe he is my person.

When he got home an hour later, I bombarded him with all my news before he could even put his stuff down. He settled on the couch next to me with his laptop bag.

“If you had both job offers in front of you, do you know which one you would take?” he asked me.

“Well, no. I think I’d feel the same way. Both of the jobs excite me, but I feel like I don’t know enough about the second job or company. I definitely have more of a connection with the first company, but the second job is way more intriguing.”

Brady thought on it for a second. “Why don’t you ask them to give you until Friday to make your decision? That way you will have already gone through with the second interview and will have a better idea if you’re even going to like the other company and if they like you.”

Friday seemed like a long time to keep the job offer waiting. I told Brady this.

“If they don’t want to allow you that long to think, then if I were you, I’d accept.”

I waited for him to elaborate, but that was it. He got up and asked what I wanted for dinner.

So that’s where I’m at. I’m super excited for my interview tomorrow, but if I got both offers, I really have no idea what I’d do. The thing that is swaying me most is that I have a good connection with Heidi and working with people you get along with is so important.

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enjoy masturbating to my selfie.

I’d applied for another job that I was so excited about, but I hadn’t heard back in so long that I figured they weren’t interested. But then I got an email the other day inviting me to complete an online assessment. I think online assessments are complete bullshit, but I still did it. Literally five minutes later, they called me to schedule an interview.

Without giving away too much, it’s for a company that is not known for apparel launching an apparel and accessories line. The job is lead that launch in terms of creative direction, licensing, design, marketing, etc. It sounded like a really big job and I was honestly shooting for the moon by even submitting my resume. I was genuinely surprised when they even wanted to bring me in for an interview.

After speaking with the recruiter, we scheduled my interview for Monday after work.

Valerie emailed me on Monday morning.

“Hi Reese,

We’ve spoken to all of your references except Scott. We can’t seem to get ahold of him. Is there another reference you can provide?

Thanks!”

I’d already spoken to Scott and asked for permission to use him as a reference. He’d happily agreed and said that the job sounded like a perfect fit for me. But apparently he didn’t actually want to help me after all. So I gave them another reference while thanking Scott for literally nothing at all.

The office I interviewed at was at a big brick building in Chelsea. I had to be buzzed in by the receptionist and I waited in the lobby for the recruiter to come fetch me. The lobby was small and cute with fresh flowers everywhere and a small desk area that housed the receptionist. Over to the side was a fully stocked coffee shop/bar.

“Please help yourself to coffee or tea,” the receptionist told me.

I thought about it, but it looked like the bar offered ceramic mugs rather than an accident-free paper cups. I decided not to risk it.

The recruiter came downstairs and got me – a cute brunette with a leather jacket draped over her shoulders. She led me upstairs to a glass enclosed office. I noticed that the office appeared to have that open concept like my current office has with everyone’s desks lined up in rows. There were huge picture windows lining a side wall, letting in a ton of natural light. All of the walls were brick and I noticed several mobile white boards filled with ideas scattered everywhere.

“Can I get you anything to drink? Coffee, tea, water? Kombucha?” the recruiter asked.

Okay, fine. “I’ll have a water.”

She came back with a glass of water and let me know my interviewer would be with me shortly.

“Shortly” ended up being 20 minutes. Eventually a cute middle aged woman sauntered in. She had a black lob, chunky heeled mules, and again, a leather jacket draped over her shoulders.

“Hi Reese. Thank you so much for coming in to meet us today,” she said. “I’m Angie, the director of marketing here. Why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?”

There’s no such thing as a “little bit” about me and I launched into a full rundown of my education and work background. I always have a lot to say. Angie smiled and took notes in her Moleskin and didn’t interrupt my spiel.

“And what are your career aspirations?” she asked next.

Ah, the one thing I didn’t cover. I didn’t give her a specific role, but told her what I liked doing and what I want to be doing eventually.

Angie closed her notebook. “And what questions do you have for me?”

Uhh, all the questions! Since it seemed like there was a huge chunk of the interview missing (where was the introduction?) I spent the next hour and a half asking her questions (Can you tell me more about the role? Who would I be reporting to? What were their goals for this project? What team was bringing this to life?) I’ve never had an interview like that.

Once I’d asked every question I could think of, Angie asked, “Do you have time to meet with one more person today?”

Knowing that the walker had taken Tucker out just a few hours prior, I said I could. She left and a couple minutes later, a tall bald man joined me in the little conference room.

“I’m Frank! How are you?” he greeted me with a strong handshake. Before I could answer his apparent rhetorical question, he said, “Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?”

Again? I went back into my spiel, but a condensed version because Frank didn’t seem like he wanted to hear my fluff. And he was taking notes and watching me with a steely gaze the whole time.

Once I was finished, he said, “We’d really like the person in this role to be creative and innovative which it seems like you are. We are asking candidates to do a take home project. We want you to create a top, bottom and and an accessory that is all a part of a cohesive line. We ask that you to come up with a logo and a tag line that would be used throughout the marketing in conjunction with the ‘launch.’ Do you think you can handle that by Friday?”

Ooo, a project. I let him know that Friday was plenty of time and I was excited about the challenge.

“Good,” Frank said, getting up to leave. He slid a card across the table to me. “Email me when you are proud of what you come up with. And I’m available if you have any questions.”

I left the interview really excited for a chance to prove what I could do. I don’t have any experience designing apparel, but the project was really about what design/logo was on the clothing, not so much the actual silhouette. And I could fumble my way around InDesign and Illustrator enough to create something amazing.

Brady was already home when I got home. He was sitting at the dining room table on a video conference call on his laptop. A warning would have been nice because you could clearly see me walking in in the background of his screen. But maybe it’s a good thing. Let the gals know he’s off limits.

Brady came and found me folding laundry after his call.

“Hey. I might be able to work from home on Monday evenings,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied, not exactly sure where he was going with this.

“So we can spend more time together.”

Wait. That was cute.

“But if you’re working, we won’t be spending time together,” I pointed out.

“I’ll be able to get more work done with less distractions and it’ll eliminate my commute time. I’m hoping by the time you get home, I’ll be wrapping things up and we will have the whole evening to look forward to.”

I smiled like a maniac, touched that he’d put so much thought into it.

We got changed and went to an Italian restaurant nearby for dinner.

“Would you want to go Philadelphia this weekend?” Brady asked.

“Hmmm, I dunno. Why? Do you want to go?” I replied.

I haven’t spoken to Carly in a few weeks because she’s just so busy. She posts pictures and videos of the baby on Instagram everyday talking about how happy and lucky she is to have such a perfect daughter. She’s one of those “I can’t believe my little princess is 5 months old. She loves applesauce, morning snuggles and being the sweetest angel in the world,” kinda people. But then she’ll randomly message me and Kendra in our group chat complaining about how tired and overwhelmed and miserable she is. She isn’t even back at work.

“Chris mentioned it and I thought it might be a fun trip. It’s up to you though. If you’d rather stay in the city, we can,” Brady said.

“No, I think we should go.” I figured it’d be nice to see a friend and especially a friend like Carly because I really do miss her. I feel like we’ve grown apart the past few years and it’s sad, but since we are less than two hours away from each other now, maybe we can rekindle our friendship.

On Tuesday, Brady texted me letting me know that he was going to watch the election results at a bar and did I want to come? Nerdy, but I said I’d go. We had dinner at the bar with Brady’s friends and they literally just wanted to watch the voting coverage. I got bored and started bothering people in my phone. I actually didn’t even realize that I sent Nick a picture of my purse, vegan buffalo wings and beer until he responded.

“Looks like you’re having a good night! Can I see your face?”

I happily sent back a serious-face selfie with my red lipstick.

“Taking selfies again?” Brady asked me.

“It’s for my mom,” I fibbed.

Nick took a screenshot of the picture I sent him and then he didn’t even respond. Whatever, dude. Enjoy masturbating to my selfie.

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no one has to work that late on a friday night.

Heidi called me on Monday afternoon. I’d actually given up hope on the job and was focusing my search elsewhere.

“Hi Reese,” she said on the phone. “My apologies, I thought someone had reached out to you last week. We’d like to invite you back in to meet a few more people from the team. Do you have any availability this week?”

I didn’t, but I could make time. I told her I’d come in the following afternoon. I’d just have to cancel a few meetings.

When I walked into work on Tuesday, Brett was waiting by my desk.

“There you are!” he shouted.

I was walking in forty five minutes later than I normally do because I’d been talking to Gabby at reception. We’d decided that we were going to dress up for Halloween and hit the town after work. “Dressing up” would consist of all black with Ariana Grande style bunny ears because we are adults here.

“Sorry, I got caught up. What’s up?” I said, putting my stuff down.

“I wanted to talk to you and see if you’d be interested in a project,” Brett said.

“Okay. Tell me more.” I was sitting now, booting up my laptop. I was half listening, half overwhelmed by the amount of email I knew I had waiting since everyone relies on me for everything.

“We had a ton of installations recently and we need to analyze them for quality. Make sure they are up to standard, on brand, that kind of thing. We also need to document the best ones and get them photographed for the website and social media,” he explained. “I guess the role is kind of like a project manager. I thought of you when we talked about it because of your attention to detail.”

I’d pointed out a typo on the website and now I was known for my “attention to detail.” But I was bored and looking for something to do.

“Okay. That sounds good. When do you want me to start that?”

Brett seemed relieved that I’d said yes and brought his laptop over to show me the docs I’d be using to keep track of all of my work. I wouldn’t get a chance to start on my new project that as I had a list of things I wanted to get done. Plus I’d scheduled my interview for 2:00pm and I didn’t know what time I’d be back.

Just as I was heading out to the interview, Michelle walked past.

“Hi there. You are coming to the meeting at 2:15, aren’t you?” she asked.

There was an optional company update meeting where the execs were going to let us know what was going on and what we had in store. And since it was optional, I figured it was one I could skip in order to go to my interview.

“I have a prior engagement,” I told her.

“What is it? Is it something more important than hearing whatever your exec team has to say?” Michelle asked.

My priority was in a different place so for me, it was. I couldn’t tell her that though.

“If I could reschedule my meeting, I would. It’s with [the software company we use to track sales]. One of their agents is in town and since we are having so many glitches recently, I thought I’d better meet with them,” I lied.

“Well, thank you for doing that. Do let me know if anything important comes from the meeting,” she said.

“Of course. And I’ll have Brett fill me in on the company updates,” I said.

I was glad I’d gotten myself out of that, but felt slightly bad that Michelle thought I was doing something nice/helpful. I walked to the interview and met with Heidi and who I gathered is the second in command, Valerie. Valerie wanted to talk numbers and business, how I’d driven sales and examples of how I’d showed innovation. Heidi looked on like a proud show mom as I answered the questions with ease.

At the end, Valerie said, “If we wanted a professional reference, who would we call?”

I told her I’d email her the contact information once I got back to my office. Why do people even bother calling references anymore? Like, of course your references are going to say amazing things about you otherwise you wouldn’t be using them as a reference.

Anyway, by the time the interview was over, it was 4:30 and I figured I’d head back to the office to do some work for a few hours. It was the least I could do before jumping ship.

I decided to tell Brady about the interview since it seemed like I was in the final stages and I didn’t want to suddenly drop a bomb on him.

“I mean, it sounds like something you’d enjoy doing. I‘d say make sure it’s what you want though so you aren’t job hopping a lot,” Brady said after I told him (at 9:30pm because that’s what time he came home).

Obviously dude. As if I want to be job hopping.

“It’s more in line with what I want to do in the long run. I don’t want to be doing just sales. I think I’m better than that,” I said.

“Is there any opportunity at your current office? Maybe you could work toward a promotion rather than leaving the company all together,” he suggested.

I hadn’t thought about that, but I feel like I’ve given up on my job so much that it’s out of the question. I can’t imagine working hard for a promotion when I’m so not motivated.

No one at the office dressed up for Halloween which is so annoying. Obviously I wasn’t going to dress up for work, but at least a couple people in my old office would come in costume. These people are just so boring. Gabby and I left at 4:30 so we could each run home and put on our black attire and then meet at a bar in FiDi.

When I got home I was surprised to find Brady home. On any given day he doesn’t come home until 8:30-9:30pm. He was still in work clothes and pouring a glass of water in the kitchen.

“Heyyyyyy, what are you doing home?” I asked, half confused, half excited to see him.

“I got off a little earlier,” Brady said and took a drink from his water.

“But why? Is everything okay?” I couldn’t help asking.

“Everything is fine. I came home early,” he said, his voice softening. “I thought we could maybe do something tonight. Grab dinner or drinks. Or cook here and drink wine and wait for trick or treaters.”

My little heart was so excited that he’d come home to hang out with me. “Aw. That is so sweet! I have plans though. I’m meeting up with Gabby in like twenty minutes.”

“Oh.” Brady didn’t even try to hide his disappointment. “Okay.”

I apologized and kissed him and I walked past to go get changed. I came back out after changing and Brady was still in the kitchen, leaning against the counter.

“Hopefully I get home at a decent time and we can still see the trick or treaters,” I said.

Brady looked at me and my outfit (black bodysuit, black skirt and fishnets) and said, “Are you not even going to invite me?”

For a moment, I felt terrible that he felt left out. But then I got defensive.

“Well I didn’t know you’d be home, Brady, so I planned a girl’s night,” I said.

He didn’t say anything and pulled out his phone. His face told me that he couldn’t believe I wasn’t cancelling my plans to hang out with him.

“I’m so sorry that I made plans thinking you wouldn’t be home since you always stay at work until 9pm. I’m so sorry I didn’t drop everything because you decided to come home early,” I said sarcastically.

“I’m not asking you to drop everything. I’m asking to be invited,” he said.

“I’m sorry, but no. I need to make friends without you so I will have someone to hang out with when you’re working for 70 hours out of the week. And if you come I’ll be worried about you the whole time and I don’t want to do that,” I explained.

“Okay, then.” Brady walked out of the kitchen and I heard him asking Tucker if he wanted to go for a walk.

Whatever. I walked out and set out to the bar. Gabby was already there when I arrived and had attracted a guy to the table she was sitting at. She waved me over.

“Hey. Need a refill?” I greeted her, noting that her glass was half empty.

“Why not? This is Kevin, by the way,” she said, gesturing to her friend – a typical fuckboy in his button down and Patagonia. She gave me a discrete look that told me she was excited about him.

I headed to the bar and got two vodka sodas and rejoined them at the table. They were talking about Colorado (they both have ties to Colorado) and I watched with a critical eye to make sure Gabby was presenting herself correctly. I chimed in here and there, but I didn’t have a lot to say as this was not my conversation.

“I’m gonna go grab another beer and I’ll be back. Stay put,” he told Gabby, touching her hand lightly.

“Thoughts?” Gabby said excitedly as soon as he walked away.

“I’m into it. And y’all seem to have a lot to talk about so that’s great,” I said.

Kevin came back and he had a friend with him.

“This is David. Gabby and, what was your name again?” Kevin said.

Ugh, I was being so boring that he thought I needed company. I didn’t, but whatever. I couldn’t sit there watching Gabby and making them uncomfortable, so fine. I’d entertain this loser for a few hours to help a friend out.

An hour later, I was on my fourth vodka and had my phone out showing David pictures of Tucker. He’d told me that his family back home had a dog thirty minutes ago and I’d been telling him about Tucker since.

“I just found a recipe to make him a vegan Thanksgiving pâté. I can send it to you if you’d like,” I said.

David kind of looked like he wanted to take his own life.

“Reese, we are going down the street to a comedy show. Are you coming?” Gabby asked.

“Yeah, I guess. Sure,” I said. I was aware that I should think about getting home to Brady, but the night was still young.

We walked a few blocks to a dark, basement comedy club. Since there was a show going on, we couldn’t talk which I’m sure David was thankful for. After the show, we all headed outside. It was 11:00pm at this point.

“Did you want to grab another drink somewhere?” Kevin asked Gabby.

Gabby was thinking about saying yes, but I cut in.

“She does, but we have a busy day at work tomorrow. Another time perhaps?” I said.

Kevin looked like he was wondering why I was speaking for her and what our busy day possibly consisted of.

“Yeah, maybe another time,” Kevin said. He pulled out his phone to get Gabby’s number.

“Would you like to grab a drink another time?” David asked me.

“No, thank you,” I said, not looking up. I was calling an Uber.

Once the guys walked away, I explained my reasoning to Gabby.

“I know you were having a great time with him, but you have to leave the evening on a high. If you continue drinking you’re going to have sex with him and then everything will be ruined,” I said.

“No, I wouldn’t have,” Gabby said, not even convincing herself.

When I got home, Brady was sitting on the couch with his laptop and Tucker, drinking a beer.

“Hi, trick or treat!” I greeted him.

He raised his eyebrows, but didn’t say anything.

“Don’t you have a treat for me?” I asked, joining them on the couch.

“Sure. You can have the whole bowl of candy there since we didn’t get any trick or treaters,” he said and it sounded sarcastic.

“Aww! The kids could probably sense that you were grumpy and didn’t want to bother you,” I said.

“Yeah, probably.” Brady went back to work on his laptop.

I got up to change and came back out wearing my velour pajama set. I turned on the TV and Brady tried to ignore the fact that I was sitting next to him. A few minutes later, he shut his laptop and got up. Tucker got up with him and they walked out. Rude.

After I heard Brady brush his teeth and get settled, I decided to go confront him.

“I’m so sorry, was I bothering you?” I demanded in the dark. Brady and Tucker were in bed.

“Reese, please. Don’t start this right now,” Brady said.

“What? You obviously have an issue with me because I wanted to do something without you. Sorry I want to create my own life here. Unlike you, I don’t have friends who already live here!”

“I don’t care what you do. If you want to go out with your coworkers or whoever, please do so. But I’ve always included you in all of my plans and tried my best to make sure you don’t feel alone here.”

“I want my own friends! I don’t want to hang out with your friends all the time!” I exclaimed, shocked he didn’t get what I was saying.

“Okay. I’m really tired and I’m going to sleep now,” Brady said.

I climbed into bed and we fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up at the literal asscrack of dawn, happily not hungover. Brady was still sleeping next to me and I wrapped my legs around him. It took him a moment to wake up and realize what was going on and respond. He rubbed my leg for a minute before turning around to face me. He pulled me on top of him and tried to take my top off without unbuttoning it.

“Allow me,” I said since obviously he was having trouble with it.

We proceeded to have sex twice back to back and then Brady suddenly jumped out of bed because it was way past the time for him to start getting ready.

I was still in bed when he came back fully dressed.

“I don’t know what time I’ll be home tonight. And I don’t know if I told you, but I have to go to Connecticut on Saturday.” His cold demeanor was back.

“You know you didn’t tell me, but fine,” I said back.

Once I found out that Brady was working on Saturday, I reached out to Lola and we decided to hang out that day.

On Friday night, I’d made plans in my head for Brady and I to go out and have dinner and a few drinks – nothing crazy since he had to work the next day.

When Brady wasn’t home by 9:30, I poured a glass of wine. I was already dressed thinking he’d be home soon.

At 10:00pm, I was on my third glass of wine and FaceTiming Preston.

At 10:30pm, I was so anxious that Brady was still not home this late on a Friday night, that I needed something stronger and poured a tequila with Red Bull.

Brady finally waltzed in at 10:45pm. I was raging.

“Are you absolutely shitting me right now?” I screamed.

“Whoa. What are you talking about?” he said, confused and not coming close to me.

“Where have you been?” I demanded.

“I’ve been at work. What do you mean? Where else would have I been?”

“You expect me to believe you’ve been at work until almost 11 on a Friday night? Do I really look that stupid?”

Brady still hadn’t moved from the doorway. “You know I work late-”

“Not this late!” I was fuming.

“We can talk about it when you’ve calmed down,” he said, walking past me.

I was so upset that I didn’t even want to go out and do anything anymore. I glared at Brady as he came back from putting his things down and walked into the kitchen.

“Did you already have dinner?” he asked.

“Of course I have. It’s 11:00pm!”

Brady shook his head like I was ridiculous as he started pulling out stuff to make dinner. I felt a little bad and wanted to make food for him, but he could not think what he’d done was okay. There’s just no way your job needs you that late on a Friday night. The story in my head was that he’d gotten off early and hung out with someone else before coming home. And it didn’t help that he opened his laptop at the little bar area while he ate.

“How do you still have work to do if you’ve been at work for literally 16 hours today?” I asked, sipping my drink.

“Prep work for tomorrow,” he said, not looking up.

Whatever, dude. I took my drink and a bag of pretzel chips to the living room with me. A little while later, Brady came and joined me on the couch. I was going to sit there and ignore him as I was still mad at him.

“I’ll for sure be getting off earlier tomorrow,” he told me. “Maybe we could do something in the evening.”

“Yeah, maybe. I’m hanging out with Lola and I don’t know how late that’ll go. Please know that I’m not going to alter my plans to hang out with you when you can’t even call to let me know when you’re going to be home extra late,” I said.

“I know,” Brady said back.

We sat there in silence for a few minutes until Brady grabbed my hand and brought it to his lips. Oh, he wanted to get some. That was fine because I did too.

Lola and I had plans to go to yoga then brunch and then wherever else the day took us. We met outside the yoga studio in our cute Lulelemon and Outdoor Voices gear. I’d gotten a fun printed yoga mat for the occasion.

“Ugh. I’m so hungover. I hope this helps me recover,” she greeted me.

“What’d you do last night?” I asked.

“Me and the boy went to a show. We were out until like an hour ago,” she said.

After yoga, we walked a few blocks to a cute little French restaurant to eat. We ordered avo toast, sausage, fruit and bottomless mimosas.

“Did you quit your stupid job yet?” Lola asked.

“Not yet. Hopefully soon though. I’ve been interviewing with this company and I’m hoping they extend an offer soon,” I told her.

Lola works as a copywriter at an advertising agency. She loves it because she gets to be creative and she says her bosses always love all of her crazy ideas.

After our bottomless time limit was up, we Googled a place nearby for more drinks. While we were there making plans for later, I got a Insta-Snap from Nick. It was a selfie with his tongue out, wearing a Michigan football jersey and a U of M flag behind him. Lola and I were at a sports bar that was playing the game and I saw that Michigan was winning.

I took a video of the bar and said, “Seems like we have all Penn State fans here.”

He sent back another selfie and I showed it to Lola. “Thoughts?”

“He looks like a douchey bro,” she said back.

“He is. I liked him though.”

Nick and I continued talking the rest of the day. About nothing mostly and it was completely innocent. Then he said, “Wanna FaceTime really quick?” And I forgot to reply back to that.

That evening, Brady, Lola and her boyfriend, Kellen, made plans to go out to dinner then hang out at one of Brady’s friend’s apartments in Brooklyn. We had tacos and margaritas for dinner and then headed to the house party. The apartment was right on Water Street with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge (only from outside though because it was a garden unit). It was so fucking nice and I demanded to know why Brady hadn’t found something like it for us.

Lola and I were two of three girls at the apartment which was strange. The guys were sitting around smoking weed out of weird contraptions.

“Let’s see what Marie is up to,” Lola suggested.

She pulled out her phone and texted, “Plans this evening?”

Marie let us know that she had worked late at the brewery and was headed home for the night. And then a few minutes later, she said, “Let’s see a pic of you :-)”

“Okay, we need to get a picture of Brady right now,” Lola instructed.

“I don’t see how that’s going to happen. Brady doesn’t like pictures,” I said.

She rolled her eyes and marched over to him on the couch. “Take a pic with Reese for Instagram.”

Brady smiled at me and gestured for me to join him. I climbed on his lap and Lola snapped a picture of us. It actually turned out well and I did post it on Instagram (sorry, Nick). But we also sent it to Marie.

“You look especially cute,” she said back.

The girl couldn’t even take a hint.

How was everyone else’s weekend? Update me.

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i wore pajamas to a wedding.

Brady invited me to Boston for the weekend. He said it would be nice to get out of the city and that we might find plans, but nothing major.

“Maybe pack something nice for Sunday in case we do anything,” he’d instructed nonchalantly.

I waited until Saturday morning to pack even though we had plans of leaving at 8:30am. I threw a bunch of random shit into my weekender, including a black lacy number that I thought I could throw on as a costume for Saturday night if needed.

We dropped Tucker off with the sitter and then drove 4+ hours to get to our cute, industrial Airbnb near Boston Common. I didn’t know our plan until we got there and Brady informed me that we had a little bit of time to kill then we had a wedding to attend that evening.

“Wait, wedding? Who’s getting married?” I asked.

“My friend, Josh. I told you,” Brady said.

I know that I’m getting old and my memory is fading, but I know for sure that Brady did not tell me about a wedding.

“No you didn’t! I didn’t plan to come for a wedding! I don’t have anything to wear!” I exclaimed.

“It’s okay, it’s not black tie or anything. Just something casual,” Brady assured me.

Not only had I not packed anything suitable to wear to a wedding, I hadn’t washed my hair in five days and I didn’t bring any face makeup with me. I was in no shape to be going to a wedding.

“Aside from the fact that you decided not to tell me that and that is fucking rude, I do not want to go to a wedding today. I don’t have anything to wear, I look disgusting and I’m in not in the mood to socialize,” I said as calmly as I could.

Brady looked at me like I’d better lose the attitude. “I told you that it isn’t a formal wedding. Wear whatever you want. I’d like it if you’d come with me, but if this is how you are going to be then you don’t have to come.”

Do you ever get so frustrated that you want to scream? Brady just didn’t understand. A girl needs warning about this kind of thing. Obviously Brady thought I was being high maintenance and annoying, but he just didn’t get it.

And instead of allowing me to take the spare five hours we had to wash my hair and shop for something to wear, Brady insisted on going to see historical landmarks as if he hadn’t seen them a million times since he’s from the area. Then he wanted to go to this taco place that he loves. I spent the day with anxiety about what the fuck I was going to put on for the wedding.

When we finally got back to the apartment, it was 4:30.

“Let’s try to leave by 5:30. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get there,” Brady said.

“That won’t be enough time to wash my hair! I have to wash it, it smells like spoiled milk!” I said.

He looked at me like I was crazy. I guess it was my own fault for letting myself go a bit, but still. I stormed off. I ended up wearing a leather skirt and black tights. The top I’d packed to go with the skirt was a plunging leopard print bodysuit which didn’t seem appropriate for the wedding. So I decided to wear the top to a set of silk pajamas I’d brought. It was hot pink, but it was kind of cute I guess. It was that or wear a graphic tee since I am super casual these days. I doused my hair in dry shampoo leaving my roots a cute eggshell shade. I slicked it up into a bun.

Brady was right in that the wedding wasn’t your traditional formal situation. The bride was wearing a fascinator and strapless dress with tattoos covering her shoulders and arms. But still, I felt and looked unprepared.

At the after party, a random girl came up to me. Brady was talking to friends and I was hitting up the vegan snack bar.

“Who are you here with?” she asked.

She had dyed white blonde hair, pale skin, huge dark black eyes and hand tattoos a la Rihanna.

“My boyfriend. Why?” I said, immediately defensive.

“Just asking. I’ve never met you,” she said, unfazed. “I’m Lola.”

“Reese,” I said back.

“Who is your boyfriend?” she wanted to know.

“His name is Brady. Do you know him?” I was curious to see if she had any dirt on him.

“Oh, yeah yeah. I was just talking to him since he lives in New York now,” she said.

“With me,” I added, in case she missed that memo.

“Mmmhm. I do too.”

Lola and I continued talking for a bit. She asked about how I’m liking the city and because I hadn’t talked to anyone about it in a few days, I told her how much I’m hating work.

“Quit,” Lola said. “You don’t need that shit. New York has too many opportunities for you to be miserable.”

And I loved her carefree attitude. After chatting for a while, I really needed to go find Brady. Lola said she’d go with me. When we found him, he was with a group of people. Do y’all remember when Brady’s friend named Jenny confronted me and made me cry? I was in a really vulnerable state at the time. She was there and standing in the group. I was pleasantly surprised to see her.

“Hey, I met Lola who I love,” I greeted Brady. “Introduce me to your friends?”

He introduced me to the group, a couple guys and then Jenny. Once he finished, I circled back to Jenny.

“We’ve met, correct?” I said.

If y’all remember last time we saw Jenny, she was wearing a maxi dress and booties. She was wearing the exact same outfit at the wedding. This was like three years ago.

“Yeah, we have,” was all Jenny said back.

I pretended to rack my brain. “Didn’t you verbally assault me at a dinner table once?”

Before Jenny could even think about saying anything back, Brady yanked my shoulder back, catching me off guard.

“Are you fucking crazy?” I demanded.

Do not start,” he said sternly, through clinched teeth.

Sensing he wasn’t joking around, I walked off and Lola followed. Brady came and found me a few minutes later and didn’t mention what had just happened. We danced and drank a little bit, but I think everyone was just weirded out that it was a cash bar, not an open bar. A cash bar feels like it’s discouraging drinking and no one wanted to be the only one trashed.

Luckily, an hour later, someone decided we should go to a bar nearby. Brady chugged down his drink and I turned to Lola, making sure she was coming.

“I hate going out in Boston, but I guess I’ll come,” she said.

“You share my sentiments,” I told her.

A few hours later, Lola and I were tearing up the small dance floor. I was absolutely hammered, but trying to hide it because Lola and I’d had about the same amount to drink and she was two inches shorter and one hundred pounds lighter. She is tiny. It was embarrassing.

We’d talked at the previous bar and she told me about her on/off boyfriend.

“I love him, but I really don’t trust him. I don’t trust anything with a penis honestly. They can’t control them. That’s not a stereotype, that’s science,” she said.

“No, I completely agree with you! You’re absolutely right. I don’t even trust my male dog!” I said. Lola laughed.

At the end of the night when it was time to go home, Brady found me outside smoking a cig with Lola. We’d already exchanged numbers and followed each other on every social network and we hugged goodbye.

“I literally love Loz [pronounced Lowz]. I’m so glad I have another friend in New York now,” I told Brady as we walked back to the apartment.

“Yeah, me too. She’s cool,” he said back.

I grabbed his hand and leaned up to kiss him, but he rudely pulled away from me and said, “You smell like an ashtray.”

The next day, after a big breakfast to cure my hangover, Brady and I went to a brewery for a tasting and a tour. The girl serving us started talking to us and telling us about her life (including moving to Boston with her boyfriend for his job) and she reminded me a lot of myself actually. We use a lot of the same phrases and have some of the same mannerisms and it was kind of weird. When she walked away for a moment, I asked Brady if he noticed and he looked at me like I was crazy. I loved her at the time though. Her name was Marie.

We hung out there for about two hours and learned about all kinds of man issues Marie was having like how her boyfriend’s mother hates her and always sends her messages on Facebook telling her to take pictures and posts down. Can’t relate. Once it was time to go, Brady paid for our experience and left a hefty tip for her on his card.

“Here, I’m going to give you my business card. I’m a manager here and you guys are welcome back anytime. I’ll write down my cell too. Feel free to call me or you can even text me,” she said and handed the card to Brady.

At the time, it didn’t seem that weird because we’d had such a good time with her. But when we got back home and I saw the card on Brady’s nightstand while he was showering, I got absolutely furious.

I snapped a picture of the card and sent it to Lola, who I’d been texting all day, and told her what happened.

“I’ll handle it. Get rid of the card,” she said back. I didn’t know what that meant, but I was happy to know that I had a supporter on my team. I did as I was instructed and ripped the card into teeny, tiny pieces.

An hour later, Lola sent me a string of screenshots from a conversation she’d had with Marie. Lola had texted her pretending to be Brady and Marie eagerly texted back, “Hey! I was hoping I’d hear from you. :-)”

They had a long conversation in which Brady (Lola) hinted at meeting up and hanging out and Marie suggested places in both Boston and New York City for them to meet. I was never mentioned by either of them.

“Can’t trust bitches either,” Lola said.

“You’re so good at this,” I commented, realizing how much she sounded like a cheating man in the texts.

“Experience,” she said.

As of this evening, Brady (Lola) and Marie are still texting.

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