BIG UPDATE — PART THREE.

It took me several seconds to realize what Brady said. His father just died.

“So I’m going to stay here tonight,” he continued.

“Oh my God, Brady. I’m so sorry. Are you okay? What happened?” I said back.

“I’m fine.”

“Do you want me and Winnie to come be with you there? Where are you? I can drive—”

He cut me off. “No, that’s completely unnecessary. I’m in Massachusetts and I don’t want to drive in the dark. I’ll be home tomorrow.”

God. Even in a situation like this he was so cold and logical and emotionless. We hung up and I sat there trying to process what he just told me. Brady’s father, who I had spent a good chunk of time with, had passed away. How? I knew he was sick, but I didn’t know it was that bad. But once I thought about it, how would I know? I hadn’t seen him in some time and it’s not like Brady would tell me.

How was Brady handling it? And his mom? She must be devastated. As much as I don’t like her, I felt awful at the thought of her being widowed. I hoped she and Brady were at least helping each other through it. And what about Winnie? She loved Brady’s dad. Just thinking about that made me burst into tears. I could not imagine how Brady must be feeling.

He came home the next evening and I immediately started peppering him with questions. He was vague with details — dad collapsed and had to go to the hospital — but was sure to let me know that Hunter would be coming and may stay with us for a couple of days. And then I demanded to know how he felt. Brady was acting almost robotic — not outwardly sad or upset; just stated the facts. Did he care? Had he already cried? Had it not sunk in?

“You know I wasn’t very close with him,” he said.

And that caught me off guard. Brady has never hidden the fact that he isn’t that fond of his parents, but his dad was dead! No matter what, it’s still his dad. And it’s not like they were estranged; we spent a lot of time with his parents. And if he supposedly wasn’t that close with his dad, why did he drop everything to drive to Massachusetts? It didn’t make any sense.

Over the weekend, I kept asking more questions. When was the funeral? How was his mother doing? Was she alone? Should we go be with her? Should we send her flowers? What should we tell Winnie?

“Not sure.”

“She’s okay.”

“No.”

“She doesn’t like flowers.”

“The truth.”

Eventually, I was sick of the short answers and ready to punch him in the face. I understand that everyone handles grief differently, but this was ridiculous.

“Do you like, not care about this or are you in shock? Or do you not want to talk about it with me?” I said.

“I’m not in shock. His health has been declining for several years and he was stubborn about treatments. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react,” he said coldly.

“You kind of sound like an asshole,” I couldn’t help saying.

Brady was silent for a moment and then he said, “Thanks Reese,” and walked away.

So of course, I felt bad after that. After I made dinner and we all ate together, I apologized.

“Don’t apologize if that’s how you feel,” Brady said, which was honestly one of the smartest things he’d said in weeks.

“I just feel bad about your dad and I wish you’d let me be there for you,” I said.

“I feel bad too but there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.

Seriously? I was so frustrated all I could do was cry. And then on Monday morning, he went to work like everything was normal. I assumed he’d take at least a few days off so I was surprised when I woke up and saw that he was gone.

“You didn’t take the day off?” I texted him.

“No. Why would I?” he said a few hours later. I just wanted to fucking shake him. Because your fucking father just died, that’s why you’d take the day off! It’s called bereavement. What the fuck?

The week went by in a bit of a blur. I felt like a zombie. I called Brady’s mom to offer my condolences and she didn’t answer, of course, and never called me back. My mom insisted on sending flowers (even though apparently she doesn’t like them) and I had her add my name to the card since Brady’s mom had no interest in talking to me. I’m probably the last person she wanted to speak to with everything going on and I don’t really blame her.

The funeral was scheduled for Friday of the following week. Brady took that Wednesday off, mainly because Hunter was arriving from California and he wanted to meet him. Of course. He let me know that they’d probably stay in Massachusetts, but he’d be back the next day. And this is completely awful, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was going to be a repeat of Florida. I really needed to get over myself.

But out of sight, out of mind I guess. Once Brady left I finally texted Brendan back. He’d reached out a few times the past few days, but I was so preoccupied with everything else that I hadn’t responded. So I made up some excuse about being busy with the baby because I didn’t want to share Brady’s business. Plus I needed an escape. I’d already cried six times thinking about Brady’s dad. Brendan was both the last person and only person I wanted to talk to and somehow, without even knowing what was going on, he made me feel like everything would be okay.

My parents came for the funeral and I was so excited to see them and especially that they were staying with us through the weekend. With everything going on, I needed my parents.

The services took place at a beautiful church in Massachusetts. I was surprised to see Brady’s mom stoically greeting everyone – politely laughing and smiling. Meanwhile, I could barely keep it together and sobbed throughout the service. I mean, how could not? It was so sad and I seemed to be the only one sad. Brady just sat there like a robot, although eventually he did put his arm around me and rubbed my shoulder to try to console me. It was the first time he’d touched me in weeks — months even.

And my demon child, who was sitting in my lap, continuously rolled her eyes and told me to stop crying. I wanted to say, “If you had any idea what was going on, you’d cry too! But you don’t! And you’re the one who cries when you’re sleepy instead of just going to sleep so I don’t want to hear it!” The nerve of that girl.

Brady didn’t shed a tear.

We all went to Brady’s parents’ afterwards. It was all a little awkward mostly because Brady’s family is awkward and my mom couldn’t read the room and was over the top in the delivery of her condolences. It’s like, I think they get it. Winnie got to see her uncle Hunter, which was pretty cute even if I hate him. Oddly his wife and kids didn’t make the trip, which he said was due to covid. Doubtful. She probably finally left him and he was too embarrassed to admit it.

It started to get better though because someone (Brady’s grandmother, I’m pretty sure) opened wine and champagne. Thank God. I chugged that shit like it was going to disappear.

Later that night, we came back to our house with my parents in tow. I put the baby to sleep and then the grown ups stayed up a little longer having wine and catching up. And Brady and I sat there talking and joking around with my parents like nothing was going on between us. As if we hadn’t given each other the cold shoulder for months. And seeing him actually smiling made my chest tighten. Maybe we really did like each other! Or maybe he was just so miserable being around me, he needed a buffer. That made sense too.

My mom and I made plans to go the grocery store in the morning and whip up a big southern breakfast for everyone. Then we all went to bed. And me and Brady did our normal bedtime routine — changing into pajamas and brushing our teeth in silence — and then we got in bed. I wanted to say something, not just go to sleep like I normally would. But I didn’t know what to say.

But then Brady rolled over in the dark and said, “Are you up?”

“Mmhm,” I said.

“Just wanted to say thanks for your support. I know it’s been hard,” he said.

And it’s like, what support? I’ve been a blubbering mess for a week and not exactly a stable person to lean on. So I felt guilty about calling him an asshole and assuming he was doing something bad with Hunter and about Brendan. Still unsure what to say, I pushed myself over so I could hug him. And it’s like he was waiting for me to because he put his arms around me and pulled me even closer. It was cute. He made it hard to be there for him, but at least he appreciated my efforts. And Brady definitely has trouble expressing himself with words so even just a hug seemed to say a lot.

We stayed like that for a while, not saying anything, and I thought he’d fallen asleep. But then I felt that he was getting a boner. Really? At a time like this? But I guess he couldn’t help it and at least that confirmed he was still somewhat attracted to me. What? Getting ignored for weeks on end can really take its toll on the self esteem.

And so he pulled me even closer and nuzzled my neck and then…I guess we had sex. Which I didn’t mean or plan to happen. We didn’t even kiss or say anything else — we just had a quickie and went to sleep. And afterwards, I for some reason felt guilty because I felt like I was cheating on Brendan. How would he feel about me sleeping with my boyfriend? My little fling with Brendan was only okay as long as Brady and I weren’t speaking.

The next morning I got up and met my mom and Winnie in the kitchen. I must have looked like shit because my mom said, “Oh, babe. Are you okay?”

I shook my head and told her I’d tell her all about it later. She knew something had been going on between me and Brady (the house hunting trip to Houston was a good clue) but we hadn’t fully discussed it. My dad and Brady joined us and as he walked past me, Brady swatted me on the butt like everything was normal. And then when I looked at him like he was insane, he grinned at me with little hearts in his eyes.

What. The. Fuck.

So my mom and I hopped in the car to go to the grocery store and as we walked through the aisles, I told her what was going on with Brendan. She already knew about him, of course, but I’d downplayed everything previously. She didn’t know the full details of the separation or about the divorce or the kiss. I explained how our relationship seemed to ramp up on its own especially after Brady pushed me away. And I told her how I actually might have real feelings for Brendan.

“Do you see Brendan outside of the office often?” she asked.

“Only for lunch. We just text a lot. Like, all day and all night.”

And then finally, she said, “Oh, Reese. I’m so disappointed.”

Which is not the response I was expecting. Usually when I tell her about my stupid decisions, she just offers up advice with no judgement. “Disappointed? Why?”

“Because Brady loves you,” my mother said.

“Does he? Why do you think that?”

“Because he tells me. All the time. He loves you and Winnie so much.”

Naturally, I burst into tears. My mom stopped pushing the cart and just stared at me.

“Maybe he said that,” I managed to choke out. “But he definitely doesn’t act like it.”

“Have you told him what you need from him?” my mom asked as if this wasn’t the most obvious thing in the world.

“Only a million times. He knows. He doesn’t like to communicate and he has no feelings and our relationship is toxic—”

My mother cut me off. “And you think a relationship with this Brendan would be better? As soon as he thought he had a chance with you, he kicked his wife to the curb. And you don’t think he’d do the same to you if the opportunity came up?”

It seemed unnecessary to correct her — the wife had actually kicked him to the curb — so I just stood there sniffling.

“Think about Winnie. Do you want her growing up in a broken home?” my mom said.

“Yeah because growing up with parents who hate each other is better,” I mumbled. And no offense, but growing up with parents who didn’t exactly like each other is probably how Brady turned out like he did. I wasn’t about to say that out loud.

“Well, I’m going to talk to Brady about this,” she said after a few seconds of silence.

“What are you going to say?” I exclaimed. Really? It’s like she was just dying to share my business.

“I’ll tell him what we discussed and see what he wants to do. If the relationship is as toxic as you claim and you went and got involved with someone else then we need to fix it. Or at least get the baby out of there. She’s more than welcome to stay with us in Houston.”

My mother and her big fucking mouth.

**Thanks for all of your messages and comments! The past few months have been a lot. I think I’ll have one more update post to get you up to date on my current situation. Love you all!**

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BIG UPDATE — PART TWO.

Despite looking like he hadn’t gotten much sleep, Brendan still looked fantastic. He was in a preppy cream colored sweater and jeans.

“Hi!” I said.

He smiled warmly. “Hey. Can I come in?”

“Of course!” It was like we had reverted back and now he was asking for permission just to come into my office. He stepped in and shut the door behind him.

“Are you busy?” he asked as he sat in one of my chairs.

“Extremely, but definitely not too busy for you. One sec.” I finished sending my email then closed out to give him my undivided attention. “What’s up? How are you?”

Brendan shrugged. “I’m sure you heard.”

I nodded, confirming, but not giving Thomas away. “You okay?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t exactly a surprise. Things haven’t been good for a while, but I thought she was willing to work through it. That’s what she said a few months ago. I think someone got in her head,” he said.

I nodded again, afraid to ask what exactly happened. Brendan and I were nowhere near as close as we used to be, but I would absolutely die if our friendship had anything to do with their divorce.

“It’s just weird,” he went on. “She’s the only person I’ve ever really been with. We were together forever. So it’ll be an adjustment, for sure.”

As in, his wife is the only person he’s ever slept with? How weird, but kind of cute I guess? But all the more reason to see what else is out there.

“So there’s no chance for reconciliation?” I asked.

Brendan shook his head. “No. Things were said and done that can’t be taken back, you know?”

Oh, I knew. “Yeah. So what now?”

“Business as usual, I guess. There’s still some stuff that has to be figured out, but I just got a place in Murray Hill so I’m happy.”

“A bachelor pad?” I teased.

“Hardly,” Brendan grinned. “Wanna come check it out? It needs some work, but I’m settling in.”

“Definitely.” There was no way I would go to see his new place. What a bad idea.

“Anyway. What’s going on with you?”

“The same shit. Everyone is pissing me off. You have to see what Paige just emailed me,” I replied.

Despite being terrible at her job, Paige had been on my ass about the stupidest bullshit. That day, she’d sent a message that said, “I don’t care how you do it, but this needs to be figured out today.” And it’s like, instead of demanding shit get done, why don’t you actually help? She’s a bitch and she’s annoying and it doesn’t help that she works from home every single day and answered a Zoom call from her bed one day. Really?

“Man,” Brendan said, laughing. “The two of you just can’t get along, can you?”

“No because she’s a cu—”

And then my door flew open and Sam rushed in. Brendan jumped up like he was caught doing something inappropriate. Sam, of course, stopped and looked back and forth between us.

“Sorry to interrupt…” she started to say.

“You’re fine. Do you have the samples?” I said back.

Meanwhile, Brendan waved and snuck off behind her out of my office. Not suspicious at all, dude. I didn’t see him again the rest of the day, but that evening he texted me saying, “Sorry I had to run. Wanna grab lunch this week to catch up?”

I knew I shouldn’t so I waited an entire day to say, “Sure! How’s Friday?”

So at least that gave me something to look forward to. On Friday, I got dressed in a brand new cute outfit; not so much to impress Brendan or anything like that, but because I’d spent the entire pandemic shopping online and I was excited to wear my new clothes.

And okay, so maybe I was a little too excited to be having lunch with a newly single guy when I was having so many issues in my own relationship. But we’d already decided that the only thing we’d ever be is friends so it was fine.

As soon as we sat down and ordered at the cute bistro near the office, I blabbed about what was going on with Brady. The only person I’d really talked to about it was Kendra and she, of course, sided with Brady.

“I mean, why were you spying on him? If John overheard some of our conversations, I know he wouldn’t be happy. And I’m sure Brady wouldn’t be either,” she said.

She’s so annoying. Sometimes I wonder how and why I’m still friends with her.

“Don’t you think you should talk to him?” Brendan said after my spiel.

“And say what? I’ve already told him exactly how I feel and he’s said nothing. The ball is in his court now.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “It just seems weird that you haven’t talked about it at all.”

“Welcome to my life!” I burst out. “This is what I’ve dealt with for years.”

“I’m sorry, Reese,” Brendan said, sounding sincere. “I guess we’re both having some issues in the relationship department.”

That was an understatement. I considered what he said though, and thought maybe I should bring it up again. It made zero sense that we were walking around the house ignoring each other when we could just talk about our problems. When I got home that afternoon, Brady was already home and in the kitchen with Winnie.

“Hey,” he said, barely looking up at me.

“Hello. You’re home early,” I said.

I put my stuff down and saw that he’d picked up the mail and it was all sitting on the counter. And right on top was a postcard from one of the places I’d looked at in the city with a note saying something like, “Greetings from your new home.”

“Yup,” Brady said. And then he started talking to Winnie and pretending I wasn’t there. So that got me even more mad. Clearly he’d seen the postcard and knew I was looking to move out and he wasn’t even going to say anything? He didn’t care? Typical.

Anyway, that was the new routine. Brady and me ignoring each other, looking for places to live around the country and meeting Brendan for lunch once a week. But that quickly turned into lunch 2-3 times a week. And then when we weren’t hanging out, we were in constant communication; binging shows on Netflix together, signing up for the same Peloton rides, exchanging pictures of our respective dinners, etc. And it was bad, like back to before I got pregnant, but even worse now that he was single and I was basically on my way to being single. It wasn’t like super subtle flirting that could be passed as friendly banter. The pics he sent after our Peloton rides were not exactly platonic. And neither were some of the conversations we had while we were texting in bed.

The last thing I needed was to get involved with Brendan — a very recently divorced (had the papers even been signed?) coworker. Not when Brady and I had so many unresolved issues and a needy toddler in the mix, but I didn’t care. I knew it would all blow up in my face eventually, but I’d cross that bridge when I got to it. For now, I’d enjoy the fruits of my bad decisions.

One day, we decided to go to lunch and then we would visit a site with Thomas and Mike afterwards. We opted for just green smoothies and as we sat there sipping, Brendan asked about Brady. We hadn’t really broached the subject since my first venting session, mainly because the situation hadn’t changed at all.

“He’s fine,” I said. “He’s been working from five am until like nine or ten so I usually don’t even see him. I’m sure he prefers it that way.”

“Do you think he’s really working all that time?” Brendan asked.

I just stared at him and so he continued.

“I mean, you’re the one who alluded to him doing something in Florida. I don’t know.”

Honestly, I hadn’t even considered that Brady was being sketchy in that way at all — he’s always been a workaholic. But perhaps he was getting into something/someone else. Maybe he was meeting up with Sydney in Brooklyn after work everyday and spending the evening with her. Or even someone else I didn’t know about.

“I’m sorry,” Brendan said when he saw the wheels turning in my head. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sure he’s not.”

“I have no idea,” I admitted. “But that’s my point. I don’t trust him.”

As if I had any room to talk.

Thomas called as we were leaving the shop to tell Brendan he’d lost his keys.

“Thomas is good at a lot of things, but he would lose his head if it wasn’t attached to his body,” Brendan said once he hung up. “I need to grab the spare set from my place. Do you mind?”

And I was mostly just eager to see his apartment because I’m nosy so I let him know I didn’t mind. We hopped in a cab and headed over there. To no one’s surprise, Brendan’s new bachelor pad is a hip, beautifully decorated brownstone just off Park Ave.

“I thought you said you were still settling in,” I said as we entered the fully furnished living space.

“My stepmom has been helping me. Just give a sec while I find the keys. You can look around if you want,” he said.

Which I was going to do anyway. I gave myself a tour around the living area and kitchen, noting the very expensive furniture and original art pieces. I wondered if he inherited some of it from the divorce since the ex-wife is supposedly “loaded.” I went through the hallway to look at a spacious bathroom and a guest bedroom that actually did need a little bit of work. I stopped just before I got to the open door of what I assumed was the master suite. Brendan was coming out and we stood there staring at each other.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

“It’s okay,” I lied. His place was stunning and clearly a lot nicer than he originally let on. “When you’re ready, I can help you revamp some things.”

Brendan smiled. “Thank you.”

And then, something about being in such close quarters when all I could think about was his sweaty shoulders and body after a Peloton ride made my body clammy.

“Did you find the keys?” I said to change the subject.

“Yep. We can get going,” he said.

And then I didn’t immediately turn to leave because some wicked part of me still wanted to see his bedroom. It wasn’t until Brendan began to walk toward me that I turned and hustled out of there.

He must have read my mind, because later that night he sent me a picture of his modern white and grey bedroom.

“You didn’t get to see, but still working on my room. I need art for above my bed,” he captioned. 

The picture was of the entire room and I couldn’t even fully see the bed. Which was completely fine. I didn’t need to be thinking about his bed anyway.

So that’s how things were for the next few weeks — lots of texting and lunches and flirting. But…it wasn’t just that. I realized that I actually really fucking liked the guy. I loved how open he was about his feelings about his ex and his divorce and how he was working through them. I didn’t exactly want to hear about her, but I enjoyed the fact that he’s not afraid to be vulnerable and he’s well adjusted, not emotionally unavailable like someone else in my life. And I love that when I complain about the most random and stupid shit, he always asks, “Is there anything I can do to help?” And it’s like no, I just want to complain. But at least he tries and he listens.

It sort of felt like we were in a long distance relationship. Like we were a couple, but lived on opposite coasts and that’s why we weren’t intimate. So when he invited me to his dad’s birthday dinner in Manhattan, I immediately said yes. It was on a Thursday night and I knew Brady would be working late so I arranged with the sitter to watch Winnie. I put on high rise light wash jeans by Agolde and a skimpy tank top and then threw a blazer over it in case my future in-laws his parents were conservative (but from everything Brendan told me, I didn’t think they would be). And that’s when it hit me that I was meeting his parents and maybe this was all really weird? Was I ready to meet his family? What had he told them about me? Did they think I was his date? But I’d already agreed and I didn’t want to back out at the last minute. It’d be fine.

The birthday dinner was at a bustling restaurant in Hudson Yards and Brendan’s family took up the back half of the space. I got really nervous going in, thinking about Brendan’s ex and his family and what they would think of him bringing another girl to his dad’s birthday dinner. But then I was introduced to the cute dad who was clearly a few drinks in and I suddenly felt fine. The stepmom rushed over and pulled me into a hug.

“I’m so glad to finally meet you! Brendan has told me such amazing things,” she said. And then pulled away, still holding onto me. “And he was right — you do have great style. Who’s the blazer by?”

So obviously we were pretty much inseparable after that. Brendan is really close with her and she’s super cute and active on Instagram; posting her outfits and tablescapes and makeup looks (we follow each other now obvi). I think she’s a bit younger than his dad, who is also fun. He ordered bourbon for the table to go with dinner and told inappropriate jokes all night. His brother — Brendan’s uncle — and his wife were also there along with two other couples. It was a boisterous group, but it was so fun and so normal. Obviously the booze helped, but I loved them all.

Dinner wrapped up, but a few people wanted to stay and drink at the bar. I debated staying since I was having fun and it wasn’t that late yet, but I felt bad about leaving Winnie at home so I decided that I should to get going. I went to the restroom and came back out, looking for Brendan to tell him I was leaving. He found me as I was walking out.

“Heyyy, I was looking for you. Wanna have another drink?” he said.

“I wish, but I need to get home to my brat,” I said back, rolling my eyes.

“Aww,” Brendan said, still coming toward me. We were in a tiny pocket of space next to the stairs partially hidden by a wall. “Well, thanks for coming. I hope you had fun.”

“Definitely. I’m expecting an invite to every birthday dinner going forward,” I said.

Brendan kept coming closer until I was backed into the wall. “You know I can make that happen. Everyone loves you.”

“Duh.”

He tossed his head back and laughed. “Do you need any help getting home? Can I call you a car?”

I let him know that I’d called an Uber. 

“Okay. Will you be around for lunch tomorrow?”

“Brendan.” I gave him a look because we’d already had lunch together three times that week. “Don’t you have work to do?”

“Yeah, but I can always find time to eat with you.”

At this point his face was like an inch from mine and clearly we’d both had too much bourbon. But something about him saying, “I can always find time to eat with you,” made me want to fucking melt. So naturally, I put my hand on his chest and shoved him away.

“Please. You’ll be too hungover to even get out of bed tomorrow,” I said.

Brendan grabbed my arm and laughed and just stared at me for a moment. And then he said, “Can I kiss you?”

I should’ve said absolutely not, WTF did he think this was? But I just stood there like a goddamn tit. And so he leaned down and kissed me and without me telling it to, my hand reached up and entwined itself into the back of his hair like this was at all normal. Brendan wrapped his arms around my waist and leaned into me, and there we were: in the corner of the restaurant making out. It felt like years and years in the making. We both reeked of bourbon and I knew would immediately regret it, but fucking finally. The moment he began to pull away, I pushed past him.

“I feel like my Uber is here,” I said and then I rushed out of there.

By the time I got home, I was overwhelmed with guilt and ready to jump off a bridge. Brady was home, working on his laptop, and didn’t even say hi to me or ask where I’d been. That made me feel a little bit less like an asshole, but I still felt like shit — not just from all the bourbon, but because I wanted to kiss him again. Maybe I didn’t feel all that guilty. I dry-heaved and cried all night.

I didn’t hear from Brendan until late the next morning. I decided against going into the office, mainly so I would have an excuse not to have to face him at lunch. As much as we’d been flirting, we’d never been physical. And I wasn’t sure how things would be after that.

“Hey. I’m sorry about last night. Needless to say, I had way too much to drink. And you were right, I’m too hungover to meet for lunch,” Brendan texted me.

He was such a gentleman about it that it made me melt a little bit more. So I didn’t reply. We avoided each other for a few days, but found time to get lunch the following week. We skirted around the dinner/kiss, but still fell back into our usual conversation and any awkwardness we felt went away.

The following weekend, Brady didn’t go to work and the three of us had breakfast together. We’d exchanged a few one word sentences, and I planned on going to get mani pedis with Mel in the afternoon. Brady got a phone call — which I didn’t eavesdrop on — but I heard him say, “Wow. I’m on my way.”

And then he grabbed his car keys and beelined for the door. We made eye contact briefly, but he didn’t bother telling me where he was going. I thought nothing of it and that he’d be back soon. But several hours went by and since I was home with the baby, I couldn’t leave to get mani pedis with Mel. I was thinking, what the actual fuck, Brady? Where the fuck was he and why did he leave knowing that I had plans? I wasn’t even going to bother texting him, I’d save my rage for later. I assumed he was doing something nefarious with Sydney or one of the girls he loves at work. And that was fine, I guess, now I’d definitely leave him for Brendan.

But then he finally called. It was eight PM and I was absolutely seething. Where the absolute hell had he been all day?

“Hi,” I answered boredly, ready to hear whatever he had to say.

“Hey,” Brady said. “My dad just died.”

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