Mike and I had to go to LA for a day to check on a project and I was thrilled. I love visiting LA. At first I was going to go alone, but then at the last minute, Sam told me she booked him a ticket too.
“You’re coming too, right?” I clarified, thinking about how awkward it would be if it were just me and Mike.
“Nope,” she said.
Luckily, we were not flying together though so I didn’t have to spend an additional six hours alone with him.
“Don’t invite anyone over,” I warned Brady on Sunday evening before I left. I had visions of him inviting Sydney over for dinner and a glass of wine. I hate Sydney.
The next morning I met Mike in the lobby of the Loews Hotel. He made it clear that we had a tight schedule and that our day had to begin at 7am to keep up with East Coast time. I wore my best Cool Girl outfit: animal print skirt, Golden Goose high tops and a baggy sweater. Mike was wearing his standard suit sans tie, but this was West Coast so no need for such formality.
“Good morning,” he greeted me, not looking up from his phone. He was sitting on a bench with his legs spread open, leaning forward. “I like your outfit.”
“Thanks! I thought I’d dress down, but still fashion forward since we’re in California,” I said back.
Mike glanced up at me, dragging his eyes from my feet up to my face. “Let’s go.”
We had meeting after meeting which was annoying because I had the day perfectly planned out before Mike decided to come and add additional meetings to the calendar. And then he had the nerve to treat me like an assistant at the first meeting – a meeting I’d put together.
“Good point. Reese, add that to our notes.”
“Reese can pull together the numbers and email it to the group.”
And at one point, he shoved a packet to me that someone handed him, not wanting to deal with it. Like, I’m not your little bitch, dude. Then I realized that these were my meetings and I had to get him under control. After that, I was sure to be more vocal and took charge. I’m sure Mike was rolling his eyes at me behind my back.
By 2:00pm, we’d had four back to back meetings and mama was starving and cranky. I’d only had a banana in the hotel that morning. We had some downtime so I thought we’d stop and get food, but Mike said, “Let’s go through the deck for the next meeting.”
“Should we grab something to eat?” I asked.
“I’m fine with my coffee,” Mike replied, holding up the free coffee he’d snagged at the previous place.
Obviously I don’t drink even drink coffee so it’s not like that I had to hold me over.
“Okay. I didn’t have a very big breakfast so I’ll need to eat soon. Otherwise I’ll get hangry,” I said, trying not to snap. I can’t believe I said “hangry” to Mike.
“We will have some time after the next meeting. You can eat then,” he said dismissively.
But after the next meeting, he had our driver take us to visit a showroom he was interested in.
“I thought we were going to eat now,” I said.
“We probably won’t have time to eat until we get to the airport. Is that okay with you?” Mike said. Before I could even let him know that it was not fucking okay and I was about to keel over, he walked into the showroom.
Mike was right. We didn’t eat until 7:00pm when we got to the airport. We had a little bit of time to kill so we stopped in one of the sit downs. I ordered a burger and fries before even seeing the menu. I was ravenous.
Mike opened the dinner conversation by asking, “So do you like working for us?”
Oh boy. This was going to be fun.
But I was actually pretty honest about what I liked about work (the small office setting, freedom to be creative, our clients and vendors) and some of the pain points (everything else). Later on in the conversation, after the food came and I was stuffing my face, Mike said something like, “When Brendan gets back from vacation we will need to sort of the logistics of that.”
“Oh, Brendan is on vacation?” I said back with a mouth full of food.
Mike nodded. “I’m not exactly sure when he’s back. Will you reach out to Thomas to get him to send over some estimates?”
Naturally, immediately after he told me that, I pulled my phone right out and went to Brendan’s Instagram to see where he was, but he wasn’t even posting pictures or stories and that’s unheard of while on vacation. Maybe he blocked his story from me? Then I checked his tagged pictures to see if the wife had posted anything and she hadn’t – at least not that she tagged Brendan in. Then I checked he wife’s page. She was posting pictures in NYC.
“So how are your kiddos?” I asked after I put my phone away.
Mike glanced up at me. “They’re fine.”
I don’t think Mike has ever told me about his kids – the only reason I know he has them is because of the pictures in his office.
“That’s good. I can’t imagine being a kid and growing up in New York. I feel like I’d get into so much trouble,” I said.
“We live in New Jersey.”
After a little bit more small talk, Mike announced that he had to go to the restroom. Perfect. More time to stalk Brendan. I pulled out my phone and began looking through Brendan and his wife’s Instagram pages again. When I looked up again, I saw Mike standing across the restaurant at the bar with his wallet out. The bartender was sliding a shot glass with dark liquor in it. And then, I watched as Mike took the shot. No way! I suddenly liked him more.
Mike didn’t put his phone away the rest of the evening which was great because we’d run out of things to talk about. I was more interested in finding out where Brendan was anyway.
The rest of the week was quite uneventful. Mike invited me to lunch and by invite I mean, we ran into each other in the hallway and he mentioned he was going to grab a salad and did I want to join?
Did I? No. I wanted Chipotle. But you can’t say no to Mike. We didn’t speak at all on our way to get salads, but at the restaurant he did the nicest thing he’s probably ever done. When we got the register and they asked, “Is that all?” Mike said, “And whatever she is having.”
“Thanks for lunch, Mike,” I said as we walked back to the office.
“You can thank the company. It will be expensed,” he said, not looking up from his phone.
That weekend, one of Brady’s friends invited us to dinner at a restaurant in the East Village. I was mostly excited to get out of the house and to eat. We arrived at the restaurant and met up with Connor and Owen, Owen’s girlfriend, Jess, Sydney and Sydney’s friend (I forgot the girl’s name but Sydney finally has a friend! Thank God).
The restaurant had big family style tables and Sydney made a point to plop down right next to Brady. I rolled my eyes. On the other side of me sat a friendly bald man who belonged to the group sitting next to us. Brady and Sydney were completely engrossed in conversation about politics so I started talking to Connor, Owen and Jess. Connor and Owen are both nerdy, but sweet doctors who work with Brady. They’re like nice guys I would never date because they probably only like missionary sex and are annoyingly particular about their beer. That’s exactly what they wanted to talk about. Beer.
“It’s lacking hoppiness. You’d expect an IPA to be more hoppy,” Connor said, sounding like a Chopped judge.
I rolled my eyes. The bald man next to me nudged me, grinning at my reaction to Connor’s commentary. We started talking. He lives out in Long Island City, but it was someone in his group’s birthday and he hoped he made it to the evening festivities.
“Tell me about it,” I said, also feeling exhausted (huge).
I talk a lot. He told me he has a pilot’s license and then started quizzing me on US geography. I failed that and instead impressed him with my knowledge of regional United States cuisine. I could tell him the most famous restaurants and dishes in the largest US cities – I even surprised myself. How/Why do I know any of this?
“Oh no, no, no,” I heard someone say. A tall blonde woman was approaching the back of the bench we were sitting on. She looked like she was from the Midwest and likes to eat beer cheese soup. “I see what you’re trying to do here. This is my husband.”
“Excuse me?” I said back.
“You’ve been talking to my husband for an hour. I know he isn’t wearing a ring, but we are married! And this needs to end,” she said.
I looked at the bald man, who said nothing and back at her. “You’re joking, right?”
“No, you’re joking right? He’s married and what you’re doing is inappropriate!” she said.
“Okay, you have one minute to get away from me before I am requesting the police to escort you out for harassing me,” I said very calmly.
“Harassing you?!” she erupted and then she started screaming belligerently, talking about me hitting on her husband. He sat there and did nothing.
At this point, Brady noticed the commotion and jumped up, but only because Connor or Owen or someone alerted him. He was too busy talking to Sydney.
“What’s going on?” he asked. He hadn’t put in his contacts that day and was wearing his glasses and looked completely adorable. At the same time, an employee came over and asked the same thing.
“I think she needs to leave,” the lady said as if she wasn’t the one who had just been screaming.
“I actually think she needs to leave. I’m pregnant and she is being violent,” I said.
“If the two of you cannot keep it down, you will both need to leave,” the employee said.
“You’re pregnant?” asked Connor or Owen.
Sydney gasped (Brady tells her literally everything, but apparently hadn’t told her that yet).
Needless to say, I did not leave until I was good and ready and the lady dragged her stupid husband to the other end of the table. Good fucking riddance.
For the long July 4th weekend, Brady and I wanted to get out of the city so we flew to his grandmother’s house in Florida. It was risky, but he was sure that no one else would be there. No one in Brady’s family knows I’m pregnant except Hunter. And it’s a bit hard to hide a belly when you’re in a bathing suit.
Luckily though, we didn’t have any run ins, not even with Daniela, the hot housekeeper I catch Brady texting sometimes. I asked him where she was.
“Ah, uh, I don’t know. I thought she’d be here,” he stammered.
We spent three days sitting by the pool eating fresh fruit and tacos and the last day, we walked around the town, going in and out of the shops.
“So when are you going to tell your parents? This feels wrong,” I told Brady at lunch.
“What does?” he said back.
“Having to hide that I’m pregnant. You went out of your way to make sure no one would be here to see me and I just think it would be easier if you just told them. The longer you wait, the more disappointed they’ll be that you have been hiding it,” I explained.
Brady nodded like he had it under control. “I was thinking we should tell them soon. I want to do it in person though so I thought we could have them over for dinner or something.”
“We? They already hate me so you should probably do that on your own…”
Brady didn’t say anything, but sighed like I was being ridiculous. I should probably be more supportive, but that’s a problem I just don’t feel like I should have to deal with. I’m sure I’ll end up being there when he tells them anyway.
Brendan was back at work the next week. We still hadn’t talked at all and I never figured out where he was vacationing, but shockingly on Tuesday, he stopped by the office and we were so happy to see each other that we hugged.
“I’m meeting with Mike now, but let’s catch up later in the week!” he said and ran off.
I was feeling so hopeful – friends again! But he was so busy with work that I didn’t see or hear from him again. So much for catching up. It’s probably good though. A few people in the office know I’m pregnant now (thanks Kristina) so I shouldn’t be spending so much time with Brendan. I don’t want anyone getting any ideas.
Anyway, Hunter is here and it’s a lot and I will fill y’all in later!