Mike didn’t show up at the office until Thursday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we corresponded through email a bit, but I mostly caught up with people in the office. It quickly became apparent that no one was prepared for my arrival and had any idea that I was coming.
One of the girls, an account manager named Kristina, said, “Mike hired you? Really? For what?”
I laughed. Haters gonna hate.
“No, I’m not trying to be rude!” she quickly recovered. “He was hiring for a project manager. Is that you?”
“That’s me,” I said back.
Kristina looked embarrassed. “Amazing. That’s really cool. Where did you work before?” She had a deep voice, especially for her small body.
We chatted for a bit and decided to grab coffee (juice). I sensed I could get some good info from her and she seemed to like to talk.
“So you worked with Mike before?” she asked while we waited in line at Joe & The Juice.
I nodded. “For a bit. He left to take this job and no one had heard from him since.”
“Cool. We actually don’t see him often, but he’s brilliant when he speaks. He always has really intelligent things to say,” she said.
I searched her face for any trace of sarcasm, but she was serious.
“Yeah. He’s a bit intense and unnecessarily unkind, but he’s okay,” I said back.
We headed back and chatted on Google the remainder of the day. My first friend!
When Mike finally showed up on Thursday, I was perfecting some busy work he had assigned me while adding to my growing to-do list I was making for myself. I was also texting inappropriate things to Brady because I feel that it’s my duty to entertain/bother him while he’s working.
“Hi Reese,” I heard Mike’s voice from the door, sounding like a serial killer. I jumped five feet in the air.
“Oh, hi!” Mike was standing in my doorway wearing a suit and dress shirt with no tie and Samantha was peeking in from his side. Mike is kind of cute I guess, with his linebacker build, shaved head and pointy ears. “It’s good to see you.”
“Let’s touch base in fifteen minutes. Samantha will add it to your calendar,” he said, not sounding amused with me at all.
The thing about Mike is that he can’t be won over by batting eyelashes and compliments. I’d kind of forgotten that.
“Sure, that sounds great!”
For the next fifteen minutes, I wrote down a list of the observations I’d made and questions I had for him. I wanted to have something prepared just in case.
Mike wanted to meet in the conference room and before I even sat down, he explained that he had a to-do list for me. He didn’t bother looking up from his iPad.
“There’s a project we are right in the middle of and it’s a disaster. The contractors have pulled out of the agreement and the project has been put on hold, but we still have deadlines to meet. That is your first priority,” he said.
I scrambled to pull out my notebook to write this down.
“Second priority, we are juggling another project in Miami and it needs some tending to. I don’t have time to go to Miami. Head down there and see what’s going on. Take someone with you,” he continued.
“Third priority, now that you’re here, we need to push for more accounts. We need more business. We will fail if they don’t open more accounts.”
Mike finally looked up from his iPad.
“Sounds great. I think I can handle this,” I said back. Mike is super intimidating, has Big Dick Energy and I hate how childish I sound around him.
“I’d hope so,” he said, looking at me like I was two years old.
I really forgot how lovely Mike is.
“Anything else?” I asked.
Mike didn’t answer me and started rattling off something to Samantha, who was sitting next to him. I got up and left.
That evening, Brady worked late which was perfect because I needed to buy gifts for him. Brady is hard to shop for because he’s basic, borderline minimalistic and doesn’t like things. I love things. Plus he’s busy so it’s hard to plan stuff for us to do together because I don’t know his schedule.
I decided on unnecessary electronics and books. I don’t fucking know. I got a set of classic books from Barnes and Noble to fill our bookcase. Aesthetic.
By the weekend, the gifts (from me) under the tree had filled up and we’d finalized our plans for Christmas. My parents would be getting into town (Boston) on Sunday afternoon and we’d meet them for dinner and drinks. We were all staying at a 5-star chain hotel per Brady’s mom’s recommendation, but the festivities weren’t starting until Monday.
On Saturday night, we got dinner with Lola and Kellen in Brooklyn. Afterwards, Brady thought it was a cute idea to invite them and others over. Which was fine because I bought half of Pier 1’s Christmas decoration inventory and it would be nice for people to see it.
Lola and Kellen came back with us and we made vodka tonics and whiskey gingers and turned on Lola’s Dub/Trap Christmas playlist.
“So he said to take someone to Miami with me and he didn’t say who. Are you in?” I was saying to Lola.
“Totally. I’d love to lay on the beach topless for a few days,” she said.
I was completely shocked when Anna of all people walked though the door a few minutes later. A few others had already arrived, but I hadn’t been expecting to see Anna. I thought she was living in Asia somewhere. She was bundled up in a weird witchy hat, scarf and peacoat and carried a bottle of wine.
“Hi there! Long time no see,” I greeted her.
Anna looked relieved that I was talking to her. “Hey! I know, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Um, I brought wine,” she said.
She was being kind of awkward so I took the wine and let her go do her own thing. Anna has always been a little bit weird in general, but especially with me.
Later on, most of us migrated outside to the terrace because they wanted to smoke. I was mingling with the other guests (Zeke and those guys), talking to them about the fast food industry, meat, and Hawaii. Eventually the others walked away, leaving me and Zeke alone to talk about sex.
I noticed Brady and Anna standing in the corner of the deck, turned away from us. Brady glanced back a moment, a pensive and upset look on his face. Ooo, I was dying to know that they were talking about.
“Heyyy, you two,” I greeted them, putting my arms around each of their shoulders. “What are you talking about?”
Neither of them said anything and Anna just looked at me with her creepy eyes and pale skin.
“Okay, I didn’t care anyway. Have fun!” I said and walked away.
After everyone was gone, Brady pinned me down on the couch and was saying super sweet and cute things to me.
“Mmhm, so you like me more than Anna?” I said.
“Of course. I love you more than anyone,” he said back.
It’s so sweet when Brady says things like that, but I literally could vom. I pushed him off and climbed on top of him so he would stop talking.
We drove to Boston on Sunday with Tucker and all of our gifts. We checked into our room and Brady immediately pushed me onto the bed and wiggled my jeans down. Could I at least freshen up after that long ride before he wanted to be all up in my vagina? He doesn’t care.
I needed to get fully dressed after that and put on jeans, a denim shirt, a fabulous leopard coat and pointy toe booties. My parents came to our room to meet us and I heard my loud ass mother before even opening the door.
“Well, hello! I don’t think the neighbors heard you so maybe speak louder!” I greeted them at the door.
“Hi, babe!” my mom squealed back, hugging me.
We all said our hellos and took an Uber to dinner. My mom was dressed in trendy Vans, boyfriend jeans and hoop earrings. I can’t deal with her.
After dinner, we went to a lounge for a few drinks which turned into us ending up at a gay bar/club. I don’t think any of us realized it was a gay bar, but it was close by the lounge and we heard music coming from the place we went in. The guy at the door had on a lot of leather and long dangly earrings, but that was fine. As long as they had alcohol and music.
It was 80s night. My parents danced for two hours straight while Brady stood at the bar awkwardly and I talked to a Bear who called me adorable. We hugged and exchanged numbers at the end of the night. I kept shouting over the music and telling everyone that it was Brady’s birthday and they kept buying him shots. After several, Brady asked me to stop and didn’t want to drink anymore so I ended up having to take the shots for him. Because you can’t just waste them.
On Monday, Christmas Eve and Brady’s birthday, a few of us got up to have breakfast. Brady’s parents were hosting Christmas Eve dinner at 5:00pm in the city and we didn’t have plans before then. Brady had already opened my lame gifts at home so I just wanted to make sure he had a good day.
We met my parents at the hotel’s restaurant after a joint shower and Hunter was standing, waiting with them.
“Well, hey hey hey! I heard you had a good night,” he said.
“So good,” I deadpanned.
We all sat and my mom started in on Hunter, wanting to know every last detail of his life. My mom is like me and can have a conversation with anyone about anything, but sometimes she can pry and ask questions that are inappropriate. She asked him how much his house in San Francisco cost and how much he has to make in order to afford his house, wife and two kids. Mom, you can’t just ask people that. Hunter didn’t care though and opened himself up like a book.
Afterwards, the parents, Brady and I walked along the wharf taking pictures before we got too cold. Later on, we got dressed for the dinner. We hadn’t seen any of Brady’s family besides Hunter which was odd since we were all staying in the same hotel. My mom texted me saying that she’d met a snooty woman at the spa though and could she possibly be related to Brady?
I replied, “Probably.”
I put on a plaid dress, faux fur coat, tights and booties and shivered outside as we waited for the car to take us to dinner. Just as our car was pulling up, Hunter and Dom and all of their children came downstairs. Hunter and Brady had on basically the same white button down gray pants and black coat and I thought that was so cute. Dom wouldn’t even make eye contact with me.
“Ohh, the kids are so cute,” I couldn’t help saying because they were. The little boy was all dressed up in shiny shoes and had wild curly hair everywhere that he obviously doesn’t like to get brushed. The little girl who Dom was carrying and was about Dom’s size, had huge blue eyes and deep caramel skin. She had a big black bow in her hair – Dom’s attempt at Christmas spirit.
“They are gorgeous!” my mom cried.
“I do make cute kids, I’ll say that,” Hunter smiled at me.
Dom rolled her eyes and turned so the adorable little girl was out of our view. What a bitch. Brady, my parents and I waved and took off in our car. Dinner was at a beautiful restaurant in a suburb. Brady’s mom had done a good job picking it out. She booked a private room with a fireplace and huge floor to ceiling windows and a wooden table long enough to accommodate everyone.
I immediately saw Brady’s Aunt Kat with her tits out and her two gremlin children. She was talking to Brady’s grandmother who was wearing a fabulous red blazer and big statement clip on earrings. She’s gaudy just like both of my grandmothers and I think that’s so relatable. I think one of Brady’s aunts on his dad’s side was there also, one of those pretentious ladies from New York. Probably who my mom saw at the spa. You know people who walk around looking at everyone like you are supposed to perform a circus act for them? I try to avoid eye contact.
There were some introductions – Brady’s mom loved being a host. I noticed she didn’t bother acknowledging us as she was too busy elsewhere. So I ordered a cocktail.
By the time we all sat down for dinner, I’d talked to Brady, my mom and Aunt Kat about New York City, my dad and Hunter had hit it off (what the fuck did they have to talk about?) and Brady’s grandma had ordered several of the $200 bottles of wine for the table. I love her. I sat next to Brady on one side and my mom on their other, right across from Dom. Oh, what fun.
“I am thrilled that all of you are here,” Brady’s mom called from the end of the table. “Today is a special day and I thank each and every one of you for being here. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” everyone mumbled back.
Brady’s mom began to sit down, but she forgot the most important part of the day.
“It’s also Brady’s birthday,” I blurted out. And when I saw Brady glance over at me in horror, I pointed to him enthusiastically.
“Oh yes. And it is Brady’s birthday,” his mom said, continuing to sit down.
“Happy birthday!” people murmured to him and his neck started to go red. He looked like he wanted to kill me. I wanted to suggest we all sing happy birthday to him, but didn’t want to push it.
Some things happened at dinner.
1. My mom told anyone who would listen about her past career as a therapist. Can you imagine my mother being your therapist? She told scandalous stories about her past clients (who she ended up being friends with, of course), and I kept pinching her under the table because who knew what these women hid behind closed doors? They probably had the same scandals as my mom’s former clients.
2. Dom kept trying to talk to Hunter and he wasn’t paying any attention to her. It was kind of sad to see. Eventually I could tell she was getting irritated and was tugging at his shirt like a nagging gnat. His shirt was literally hanging off his shoulder from where she was pulling at it.
3. Hunter and my dad kept smirking at each other and giggling like they shared some secret. Why did my dad and Hunter have inside jokes?
4. I was talking with my hands as I do and knocked over my half full glass of red wine all over the white table cloth and some on Brady’s shirt. Hunter and my dad pointed at each other and smirked when this happened. You can imagine the face I made at them.
5. Brady’s grandmother called Brady’s mother melodramatic and a martyr because she wouldn’t stop talking about how she much she put into planning Christmas. Then Grandma cackled loudly just like my grandmother.
6. I noticed that Brady’s parents are a lot older than my parents. By at least 10-15 years. I noticed because my mom was talking to Kat and even she looked/acted older than my mom (my mom thinks she’s 25, but still) and I remembered Kat saying Brady’s mom is a lot older than her.
After we all ate, we had a little mingling session and continued sipping wine. During a brief moment when Brady was using the restroom and my parents were deep in conversation with Brady’s dad, I was standing alone and Brady’s mom made a beeline for me.
“Hiiiii!” I greeted her enthusiastically. I’ve seen her so much lately that it seems like we are friends.
“Hi, Reese,” she scowled. “I wanted to ask you, have you had any luck finding your own place in the city yet?”
“Excuse me?” What was this broad talking about now?
“Because the two of you are not married, it is completely inappropriate for you and Brady to be living together. I understand your living situation is temporary and I am happy to help if you need any guidance finding an apartment. New York City can be tough-”
I literally laughed at her. The bitch is crazy.
“We can connect in the next few weeks to discuss some options for you. I do have friends in my network who can assist. I’m not trying to rush you as I know it is hard, but living like this is not allowed,” she continued.
Before I could say anything back, Brady’s other aunt came over to talk to her. I couldn’t wait to talk to Brady about it. I watched him walk back into the room, softly closing the door behind him because he’s so sweet, he didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s conversation. He strode toward me and his face lit up when he saw me watching him. Ugh, Brady is so fucking cute. Ever since he started working out, his face looks more defined and like, older almost, but in the best way. Plus, he filled out his gray pants so nicely. The only imperfection on him was the small drop of wine on his shirt.
“Hey,” he greeted me.
I leaned over to whisper in his ear, deciding at the last minute to bite the lobe – so hard that he flinched.
“Your mom confronted me about why I haven’t found my own place yet. I didn’t even know I was looking for my own place,” I said.
Brady gave me his typical look of confusion and then alarm and then annoyance. “I told her it was temporary just to shut her up. It’s fine, don’t worry.”
“Brady, you are 31 years old. Are you fucking kidding me?” I said back, smiling despite myself.
“I know, I know.”
Suddenly, I was so over it. I am adult and it’s not like I owe her anything or she’s paying any fucking rent. No. I am not dealing with her. That’s something Brady will have to handle.
We headed back to the hotel later. We made plans to meet at the hotel bar with my parents and Hunter. I changed out of my dress and put on something more cozy, grabbed Tucker, then we headed out. Everything was fine – they were all talking about Trump, of course, until Dom waltzed in. Where was the little zoo of children?
“What are you doing?” she asked Hunter in a hushed voice, gritting her teeth.
We all sipped our drinks and watched the altercation go down. Because Hunter had been sitting right next to me, I had a front row view of the action.
Eventually, after some back and forth whispering, Hunter stood up.
“Good night, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.
I hope I’m not that much of a bitch when I’m a wife.
When we got back to our room it was late, but Brady deserved birthday sex. Afterwards, to ruin the mood, I brought up his mom again. Imagine discussing Brady’s dry ass mother while we were naked and covered in each other’s bodily fluids. It was so romantic.
The next morning, Brady wanted to give me my gift right away, but I made him wait until I showered and washed my hair first. I assumed it would be some sort of item I’d need to try on so I wanted to be clean for it. Especially if it was an engagement ring.
But it wasn’t. He handed me two envelopes and told me to open the larger one first. He booked a trip for us to Paris!
“Hopefully the riots are finished by then,” Brady said.
I literally cried because I’ve never been to Paris and I’ve always wanted to go. Brady laughed at me and told me to open the other envelope. He also booked a trip for me to go Arizona, but I was confused when I saw that it was booked for me and Kendra.
“John and I coordinated it so the two of you could take a weekend trip together. I know you miss her and she’s busy…” Brady explained.
Wait. That was so thoughtful. I felt guilty for getting him random bullshit. Brady gets the award for best gift giver.
We got dressed and headed downstairs to drive to Brady’s parents house for the rest of the Christmas festivities. We had breakfast that Brady’s mom catered and then we sat around talking over mimosas for most of the morning. There were a ton of gifts under the tree, but it was super unclear who they were for or if they were even real or if they were there for show.
A few hours later, drunk on mimosas, Brady came and found me sitting in a big armchair. I was engrossed in my phone and he sat on the arm of the chair next to me.
“Dom said something weird to me a few minutes ago,” he said, making sure to be quiet.
I dropped my phone.
“She said something sort of suggesting she doesn’t trust you with Hunter or Hunter with you. Do you have any idea why she would say that?” he said.
It’s so not like Brady to bring something like this up in such a public setting especially when the person in question was still around, but he seemed to be genuinely confused and weirded out by what she said.
“Why is she talking about me?” I wanted to know.
He shrugged. “I’m just as clueless as you are.”
I could’ve come clean and told him about the time Dom caught me and Lexi FaceTimeing Hunter. Like, I’m innocent. It was the easy and mature thing to do. But I panicked and I guess lying comes easy to me. I told him I had no idea what she was talking about.
I avoided Dom, Hunter and Brady’s mom and dad (just due to association) the rest of the evening.
I don’t think I have anything else to share. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, I love you all!