he had no business getting me roses.

Shocker: Brady and I didn’t talk about what he said until a couple days later. He wasn’t going to bring it up again obviously and I needed some time to cool off before confronting him about it.

One night I was giving Winnie a bath — which is our girl time where we gossip and talk about fashion and beauty. And suddenly, even though she was deliberately splashing me, I got really sad thinking that I wouldn’t be able to do it all the time once I move into my own place. She looked so cute with her white blonde hair stuck to her scalp, big innocent (ha) eyes and mischievous smirk. It didn’t even make any sense to be sad because Brady bathes her and puts her to bed sometimes anyway.

So I got her dressed and put her in the bed so I could read her one of the three books she likes before she sleeps. And then I got sad again as I sat there because I’d put so much time decorating and putting her room together (I went for a glam boho style that she’ll be able to grow into) and I wouldn’t even be around to see her enjoy. I know it sounds petty, but that’s where my head was at. So I read Winnie her book (the entire book because at this point she has all three of them memorized and if I don’t read them word for word, she will call me out), said goodnight and then went downstairs to talk to Brady. He’s been getting on my fucking nerves lately to say the least and it was making me crazy and physically ill.

“Hi,” I said once I found him in the kitchen. He looked up at me. “Someone rented that apartment.”

“Okay,” Brady said. “What are you going to do now?”

“I have a few more bookmarked that I want to go look at and I’m sure one of those will work out. It’ll probably just take a few more weeks,” I explained.

Brady looked unaffected. “Okay. Cool.”

And maybe this is weird, but a part of me wanted him to tell me again that he didn’t want me to move out again. I wanted to hear him say it and I wanted to know why he would say that to me. But obviously he’s too much of a pussy wussy to bring it up again so I guess I was going to have to.

“But you don’t want me to move out?”

“I’m not asking you to move out,” he clarified. “But if that’s what you want to do then…”

I rolled my eyes.

“I think it would be easier for everyone if you didn’t,” Brady continued. “Winnie is happy here with both of us. She’s used to it and she has plenty of space…she’s not used to living in the city, not even part time.”

“Part time? Is that what you and your lawyer decided on?” I said snarkily.

“No. We aren’t going to decide on anything without you.”

When he said that I wanted to kill him slightly less.

“I think it’d be weird if I didn’t move out. Winnie is going to pick up on the fact that we don’t ever speak and it’ll just be harder for both of us to like, move on,” I said.

And that’s when Brady seemed to catch my drift and he stared at me for a moment without saying anything. He was super still, so still that I saw his chest rising and falling under his shirt.

“Yeah. I guess you’re right,” he finally said. “Once you figure it out, I’ll let you explain it to her.”

Really? I had to explain it even though Brady was the one who was staying back and forth in the city with no explanation. Whatever.

But honestly, it was the most progress we’d made in a while and I was rather satisfied with our conversation. It’s not like I came right out and told him that I was seeing someone else, but clearly he got the message. And we didn’t yell or argue — I’d move out and there would be no drama.

I was feeling so good in fact that I got my ass up early and went to the office for work on Monday. I even had time to stop and get myself a dirty chai on the way. I was sitting in my office, drinking my tea, bookmarking apartments on StreetEasy and reading through the comments on Brendan’s old Instagram posts (this is one of those things I do make myself miserable because Brendan’s ex-wife always commented on every one of his pictures and it was usual overly sappy or super sexually suggestive in nature) when Mike called.

“Come to my office,” he demanded.

I rolled my eyes. “K. See you in a minute.”

I’m still covering for Paige, I guess, even though I’m pretty sure she’s never coming back. All of her job duties have been absorbed by other people (I knew she wasn’t useful in the first place) and Mike keeps changing her return date, but I’m convinced she’s not returning at all. 

Mike wanted to go over the status of our current projects and talk about which ones were behind. He realized that there were construction hold ups on the majority of them and started ranting.

“Why are there so many construction delays? What the fuck is going on at [Brendan’s company]?” he shouted.

“I’m not sure. I know there are a ton of supply chain issues going so maybe that’s why,” I said. Since the pandemic started almost all of our projects have been off schedule so it was weird that Mike was just now getting upset by it.

“I don’t care what the issue is. That’s what they need to figure out. And fix. ASAP. I’m not going to risk my reputation because of their incompetence, I know that much.”

“Right,” I said.

Mike glared at me like this was my fault. “Make sure the message gets back to them and everything gets back on target. There are a lot of contractors in this city so I’m not going to accept this below standard bullshit.”

“Okay, Mike,” I said, suddenly annoyed that I was going to have to relay his message. If Mike is so tough, why can’t he do it himself? And it’s like, duh: he and Brendan are best friends so of course he wants me to do his dirty work.

I had no plans of actually saying anything and didn’t bring it up during any of my conversations with Brendan the next few times I spoke to him. A few days later though, Mike asked for an update.

“We’re working on it,” I told him and later in the day, Sam told me that Mike had her researching different firms to reach out to.

Seriously, Mike? I was so irritated. Mike was the one with the issue so why was I having to deal with this. Eventually, I talked to Thomas about it though (he’s in charge of sales anyway) because I didn’t want to have that awkward conversation with Brendan.

Thomas was like, “Fuck. Do you think Mike would really can us?”

And I said, “Yes.”

Meanwhile, I found another apartment that I liked: a corner unit in a doorman building not far from Central Park. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,300 square feet and only slightly above my budget. It was perfect for me and Winnie. I applied, went and looked at it on my lunch break and signed the lease without telling anyone.

So I officially had an apartment and started ordering things to have delivered there. I had some things I wanted to do before officially moving in and so I was taking my time. After our polite conversation about me moving out, Brady and I started being more cordial and actually speaking to each other in the evenings. I guess we were both just over being mad at each other.

And then on Valentine’s Day, when I brought Winnie downstairs for breakfast there were two bouquets of roses on the island, one a mini version of the other. I was confused at first, wondering where they’d come from (Brendan??) and how they’d gotten in the house. But then I realized they were from Brady. Why? We were barely on speaking terms so why would he get me anything for Valentine’s Day? Winnie was so happy and screamed, “Pretty!” when she saw the flowers though so I told them they were all for her.

I got another bouquet of roses delivered to the office, but these ones were from Brendan. We had plans later (he would be cooking dinner for me at his place), but the flowers were a sweet gesture. In the afternoon though, as I was getting ready to go home to get ready, Brendan sent me a message that said, “We’re still way behind on [major project Mike’s been on our asses about]. Would you be super disappointed if I cancelled tonight?”

And it’s just like, really? On Valentine’s Day? Didn’t he have an entire team that should’ve been taking care of the project while he enjoyed life like a normal CEO? Or maybe the project was fine and he wanted to spend V-Day with someone else (his ex-wife).

“I’m not sure if I’d ever speak to you again,” I said back. I was kind of joking, but mostly serious because I’d already gotten someone to watch Winnie and hello? He should have wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with me.

“Okay. It might be a little later though. I will text you in a bit,” he said. That’s what I fucking thought.

I went home, hung out with my child and then got ready for Brendan to tell me to come over. And then I headed over, let myself in and found Brendan slaving away in the kitchen. He’s so cute.

“It literally smells like Italy in here,” I greeted him (I’ve obviously never been to Italy).

Brendan stopped momentarily to kiss me and point to a glass of wine and then went back to stirring pans and draining pasta noodles. I made him tell me about the project while he finished up dinner and I was relieved that it at least sounded like they were making significant progress. Good. I’d tell Mike.

We took our plates and wine to the table where there was an envelope with my name on it waiting.

“Thanks for making dinner. I didn’t realize you were such a chef,” I said because the plates looked like they could have come out of any five-star restaurant.

Brendan shrugged modestly. “I can whip up a few things. I actually learned this in France. My family took a cooking class.”

The food (and wine) turned out to be really delicious and he told me how much I’d love France (and Italy) and of course the only thing I could think about was how he probably went there with his ex-wife too. Was there any place in the world we could go that they hadn’t already experienced together? Then we talked about his birthday and the birthday dinner his stepmom was having for him over the weekend. I’d finally get to meet his sister (who he is really close with) and some of his friends he grew up with.

And maybe the dinner was going a little bit too well because I decided to blow it up by saying, “Brady got me roses today.”

I think I was still feeling a little bit insecure about him trying to cancel our plans and wanted to throw it in his face.

Brendan stopped chewing. “He did? Why?”

“I don’t know. They were in the kitchen when I woke up. There were some for Winnie too,” I said.

“Oh,” he paused.

“Yeah. I just told her they were all for her, but there was like a mommy and baby version,” I said, making it worse.

“Are you still gonna get your own place?” Brendan asked.

“Yes, of course. I actually signed a lease the other week,” I said.

“You did? But you haven’t moved out?”

“Not yet. I’ve been ordering furniture and stuff though. I just need to go set everything up.”

Brendan was silent for several moments and I could tell that I’d already said too much so I was silent too.

“So am I just wasting my time here?” he finally asked.

“What do you mean? No,” I said.

“I mean, I can’t really compete with that. You guys have history and a baby and live together. And it just sucks because I really, really like you and I’m trying hard…”

“It’s not even like that,” I backtracked. “I think he was just being nice because he’s been so awful to me the past few months.”

“To me it sounds like both of you still have one foot in the door.”

I couldn’t help thinking about the time I got dumped by Chicago Nick because of Brady.

“We don’t. The door is closed and locked. In fact there’s not even a door anymore,” I said, trying to be funny.

Brendan didn’t laugh and rubbed his temple. I was stressing him out, I guess. We cleaned up in silence and then he said, “You can stay over if you want, but I’m gonna head to bed.”

Wait, he was kicking me out? He didn’t wanna hook up? It was Valentine’s Day. Whatever.

“Okay, I’m going home,” I said, hoping he would try to stop me.


I collected all my things and called an Uber and Brendan grabbed my shoulders and kissed me before I left. But on the ride home, I couldn’t help thinking: that was my fault. Why did I even mention the roses? Was I looking for drama? I should’ve just let him stay at work; at least he would’ve been doing something productive.

When I got home, I relieved the sitter (Brady was still not home) and went to bed. I obviously couldn’t sleep as I was crying about Brendan and listening for Brady. This was *actually* all his fault after all, because he had no business getting me roses anyway.

I woke up at five thirty after getting approximately two and a half hours of sleep, cranky and in a terrible mood. Brady hadn’t come home so I decided to take it out on him.

“I’m glad you got laid last night but you could’ve told me you weren’t coming home. I had plans too,” I said.

Brady opened my message, read it and didn’t reply. I don’t blame him because I was obviously being irrational; he stays in the city all the time. I was just mad.

I got Winnie up and ready for the day and then during breakfast Brendan called. I definitely expected to hear from him at some point, but I thought it’d be in the form of a meme like nothing ever happened.

“Oh, hey,” I answered.

“Hey,” he said back.

I said, “What are you doing?”

Brendan said, “About to head downtown to meet Thomas. You?”

“Just having breakfast with Winnie.”

Next to me, Winnie screamed, “Daddy?? Daddy!”

Really? I turned away from her.

“I’m sorry about last night,” Brendan said. “I don’t know why I acted like such a jealous asshole.”

“You don’t have to apologize, Brendan,” I said, feeling like I might cry. He was apologizing to me?

“I feel like I should. I wanted the night to go a lot differently.”

“Same. I’m sorry too then. I don’t know know why I decided to ruin the night.”

And that was it. Is this what a normal functioning relationship is like? You apologize and talk through your issue and move on? And it’s like, I didn’t even want to continue fighting with him even though I was the one who started it. I secretly love(d) fighting with Brady (he makes it so easy), but anytime there’s any kind of friction with Brendan, I’m super upset. Am I getting boring or just maturing?

So anyway, the following Saturday was Brendan’s birthday dinner. We hadn’t seen much of each other during the week and I really fucking missed him. I let Brady know that I’d be gone for the night (bye!) and got dressed in a pink satiny top with my favorite jeans by Agolde and booties then I headed into the city.

Brendan’s stepmom planned the birthday dinner in the basement of a restaurant near Times Square and there were already a dozen people when I got there including Thomas. Oh, this wouldn’t be weird at all. As far as I knew, Thomas didn’t know about us so he was probably wondering what the fuck I was doing there. Oops. I met Brendan’s childhood best friend, Kendall (gorgeous and gives off Michael B. Jordan vibes), and some other guys from their group. Brendan talks about his friends so much that I feel like I know them all so it seemed weird that I was just now meeting them all.

And then he introduced me to his sister, Danielle, who lives in Pennsylvania for school. She’s a tiny, cute, almost rodent-like sorority girl with long brown hair that is in desperate need of layers. For some reason, I had in my mind that me and Brendan’s sister would immediately hit it off and become besties. I don’t know why I assumed that, but when he introduced us, she gave me an icy, “Hello,” and then turned back to the friend she was speaking to. Oookay. Brendan didn’t mention it though and I figured that must just be how she is. Some people are just naturally bitchy and that’s fine.

We sat down for dinner and I was seated across from Kendall who I actually was hitting it off with. He’s super funny and quick-witted and basically said out loud everything I was thinking. Every time my wine glass was getting close to empty, he would yell down the table, “We’re gonna need a refill for Reese.” We were getting along great and Brendan smiled at me from down the table where he was. 

Without even meaning to, I noticed that Kendall and Danielle were also paying special attention to each other. It was super subtle, but they were sitting next to each other and across from me and every so often they’d hit each other playfully or make faces at each other. It seemed mostly innocent, almost like siblings, but there was something about the way she looked at him. Fascinating! Did Brendan know? I’d have keep an eye on that. And maybe that’s why I caught her giving me a weird look when I was telling Kendall my life story and then she turned to her friend next to her to whisper something in a really obvious way. And it’s like, you should be nice to me because I can be a good wingwoman.

After dinner, they moved the tables and the DJ started playing so we could dance. And we’d had so much wine and bourbon at dinner that Brendan grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. I was trying to keep it friendly knowing that his family and Thomas were all there. At one point, I headed to the bar and Kendall and Danielle were there waiting for drinks. He had his arm around her (playfully), but removed it when I joined them. 👀

Kendall said something like, “Here comes the dancing queen.”

“Ha. I’m gonna need a stronger drink if I’m gonna keep dancing,” I said and then ordered myself a vodka Red Bull.

Kendall lifted his glass to us before walking away and then Danielle said, “So how do you know Brendan?”

I was surprised that she asked this because I figured he would’ve given her the lowdown on who I was since they’re so close.

“We work together,” I said. “Well, our companies work together.”

Oh.” She took a sip of her drink and kept standing there. “How long have you worked together?”

Umm, why did that matter? “A few years at this point, I guess.”

“Oh, nice,” she said. “What do you do?”

Since she asked, I gave her a thorough description of my job and company. And then I made her tell me what she does. She mentioned school (I think medical school?) and an internship and her sorority. Since it’s me, I asked a ton of follow up questions and made her tell me literally everything.

And then Danielle said, “So are you and Brendan like, dating?”

Had Brendan told her nothing? Why was she asking me this and not her brother? But maybe there was a reason Brendan hadn’t told her anything.

“Um,” I wasn’t sure if I should tell her everything and blow up his spot or deny it and let him tell her if he wanted to. “What do you mean?”

“Just wondering.”

“I mean, we’re really good friends,” I said.

“Oh. Cool,” she said. “How long have you been ‘really good friends’?”

She was fishing for information obviously, asking about timelines and stuff and then it occurred to me that she’s probably friends with Brendan’s ex-wife. Obviously! He always talks about how close their families are so she and the ex are probably BFFs. They probably share their little tiny outfits with each other. Everything I just told her was clearly going to get back to Brendan’s ex-wife.

“We’ve always been really good friends. So…you and Kendall?” I raised my eyebrows suggestively.

“What? No. Bye,” she said and then finally walked away. They’re definitely gonna bone, if they haven’t already.

Later on, after several more drinks and dancing to remixed versions of every hit from 2008-2012, Brendan pulled me into a corner so we could make out. I pretended to push him away, but he just leaned into me harder.

“I’m obsessed with you,” he said and I giggled.

“Literally same.”

We were partially hidden by the bar, but I was still aware that everyone was still around us. I saw Thomas approaching the bar and tried to push Brendan away again with my elbows.

“Thomas is going to see us,” I said.

“That’s okay, he already knows,” he said.

“Oh.” I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. What exactly did Thomas know and how long had he known? Who else knew? We hadn’t really discussed it, but shouldn’t we keep our relationship away from people at work? It seems messy to be telling everyone our business. But at least Thomas hadn’t let on that he knew anything so maybe he’ll keep his mouth shut.

“Wanna stay over?” Brendan asked.


And so I did. The next day, I took him to see my new apartment (and get his help taking all my packages in). He’s the only person who even knew about my apartment at that point and promised to help me make it perfect for me and Winnie to move in.


i need a shower or fifty.

Obviously I couldn’t tell anyone where I was going or who I was going with so I made up a fake bachelorette party for one of my friends from college. My mom understood when I told her that the plans were made months ago and agreed to stay in case Brady had plans or something. I felt bad about lying, obviously, but what else was I supposed to do?

On the night before I left, Brady and I were in the kitchen together. I didn’t plan on saying anything to him (nothing to say), but then he said, “Excited for your trip?”

“Yup,” I said back automatically.

“Well, don’t do anything stupid.”

Excuse me? “Like what?”

Brady shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Like get black out drunk and do drugs and fight with people like you do with Hunter?”

He shook his head, laughing as he walked out of the kitchen. The audacity of him to tell me not to do anything stupid. I don’t do stupid stuff on vacation, that’s him!

Anyway, when Brendan and I met up at the airport, he was so, so sweet and excited to see me. And I really needed that because I’d been anxious all morning thinking about leaving my child and what Brady said (what the fuck did he mean by that?). Plus, Brendan and I have never really been able to be affectionate in public (we’re always at the office or near the office) so it was nice to have him grab me and kiss me in front of the entire airport.

Spoiler: Brendan booked us first class tickets to the Bahamas and after boarding our flight and getting champagne, he was all over me and couldn’t stop touching me. So maybe he felt the same way about the whole PDA thing. I made him tell me about New Year’s Eve (since he stopped texting me around 8:30pm and I spent the rest of the night spiraling, thinking he was with his ex-wife. He has always been absolutely crazy about her so now I’m just waiting for him to ditch me because she wants him back). He told me about the party his parents hosted and how they played drinking games and played on a VR machine (?) with his sister. So wholesome.

And then he asked all innocently, “Did you end up doing anything fun?”

Fun? “Literally no. I drank a bottle of champagne by myself and passed out at ten.”

“Aww, that’s cute,” Brendan said, squeezing me. Imagine thinking my antics are cute.

I complained to him about my mom and how annoying she was being (taking up for Brady and taking his side about absolutely everything, making inappropriate comments that made me and Brady glare at each other, in general just being extra as fuck) and he said, “It must be nice having her support though.”

So naturally I felt bad about being ungrateful (my mom was the reason I was even able to go on the trip) especially since I know he does not speak to his mother. So I pivoted and started complaining about Brady instead which I’m sure Brendan wanted to hear about even less.

He asked, “Are you still thinking of getting your own place in the city?”

“Yes. The moment I get back,” I said.

“Okay. Let me know if I can help at all.”

“Oh, yeah. Any help would be appreciated.” One of the things holding me back from moving is how intimidating real estate in NYC is. Brady has always handled that kind of thing.

“I don’t know what your budget is, but one of our family friends is renting his place out. He just took it off the market, but they’re living in Florida at the moment. It’s like three or so bedrooms, I think. Midtown East area. So as long as you don’t mind being my neighbor…”

And I knew by what he described the place would be completely out of my little budget, but the thought was cute and I appreciated him. And okay, being his neighbor would be great too.

So anyway, we landed and headed in a car to the resort. It wasn’t until I stepped into the 80 degree sunshine and saw the bright blue beach that I realized how much I needed this vacation. So I was ready to turn the fuck up. Brendan checked us in and we headed up to our suite which overlooked the pool area and the ocean. He explained that we could get changed and go to the pool where we could get food if I wanted it and drinks (I’d been talking about needing a cocktail the whole plane ride).

And it all just seemed really familiar to him so I finally just asked, “Have you been here before?”

“A few years ago—”

And I pounced like the psychopath that I am. “With your ex?”

Brendan, who was already opening his little carryon to change (I brought my entire wardrobe in a checked bag) turned and looked at me.

“If so, it’s not a big deal…it’s just a little weird that you would bring me here if you came here with her,” I said.

“Yeah. We came for my parents’ anniversary. My whole family was here…hers too,” he explained.

“How interesting,” I said sarcastically.

Brendan flopped back on the bed (body!😍) and held out his arms. “Come here. Why are you trying to fight with me already?”

“I’m not. I’ve just been thinking about it and I feel like there are so many places in the world we could have gone to that you haven’t been with your ex-wife,” I said. I knew I was being slightly irrational, but I feel like I can be pretty honest with Brendan no matter how ridiculous it might be.

He grabbed my wrist and made me lay back on the bed next to him. “I’m sorry. That didn’t even cross my mind. The only thing I thought about was how much I knew you’d love it here. I hope you do.”

And…okay. Can’t argue with that. I guess I could get over it. So we changed into bathing suits — I overhauled my entire collection because I feel weird about having my ass and titties on full display these days — and headed downstairs where a pool party was apparently in full swing. There was a DJ and lots of hot people in fabulous clothing who were drinking colorful drinks and twerking. It was like college spring break. And I don’t usually participate in such activities at my ripe old age, but this was vacation. We found loungers and ordered fruity frozen cocktails immediately.

“Okay maybe you were right,” I said as I laid back and took my first sip of alcohol. “Maybe I do love it here.”

So we downed our first few drinks as the party started getting bigger around us. All the girls were like 21 and hot with tiny Kylie Jenner bikinis and posing with their legs wide open for Instagram (I cannot understand this). I kept watching Brendan in hopes of catching him checking one of them out (I will always be authentically me) and he laughed because I was being obvious.

“Stop,” he said.

“You stop,” I said back. “If you want to watch these little girls post pictures of their uterus then just do it.”

Brendan rolled over and pulled me and my lounger toward him so he could put his hands on my knees. “I don’t. You know I only want to watch you.”

“Well, the only thing you’re going to see is me laying on my fat ass getting drunk.” I took a big gulp of my drink.

“I’m definitely cool with that,” he said.

We ordered shrimp tacos for lunch along with a margarita pitcher because that seemed more economical (plus it would be easier for the staff to keep up). At this point we were both loosened up and in vacation mode and flirty and Brendan, in the midst of complimenting me, said something like, “I always thought your boobs were fake.”

“Ughhh,” I scoffed, rolling my eyes. I wasn’t actually offended, obviously, and secretly loved that Brendan had thoughts about my boobs.

“But I know they’re not now. At least I don’t think so. They don’t feel fake,” he continued and I just wanted to punch him because he’s so effing cute.

“Shut up, Brendan,” I said.

“Shutting the fuck up,” he laughed.

“Ugh, I love you,” I sighed playfully and immediately wanted to die. Yes, I was a little bit drunk but not that drunk.

Brendan smiled and opened his mouth to reply to that, but I cut him off.

“Okay, me and my fake boobs are gonna find us more to drink,” I said, standing up and luckily we’d finished the majority of our pitcher so it was a valid excuse. I definitely needed more liquor after telling him I fucking love him. Who does that?

So maybe that’s why I drank so much. It was vacation so of course I was going to drink more than usual, but I drank a lot. I kept going back to the swim-up pool bar (despite having a pitcher in our little cabana area) and ordering fruity drinks and offering motherly advice to the little twenty somethings in their bikinis. Eventually they talked me into dancing (oh God) and I have vague memories of grinding on some other girl in front of where the DJ was playing. Then after hanging out with my new friends, I’d retreat to where Brendan was still sitting and waiting.

“I’m glad you’re having fun,” he said and I sat there and gushed about how appreciative I was that he invited me. Then I dragged him over and made him dance with us. And then I’d whisper to my new friends, “Isn’t he so cute?” and they’d be like, “Oh my gawddd, yes girl, sooo cute!” They probably thought he was some random Tinder date!

The day turned into a bit of a blur. I remember the place thinning out and the sun setting and Brendan mentioning dinner plans. And then I vaguely remember throwing up in some hedges/flowers on the way back to our room and Brendan holding me upright and trying to keep my hair out of my face at the same time.

So that’s how the first day of our vacation went. I guess it’s one thing to drink and act a fool, but who pukes everywhere? Even the twenty year olds didn’t puke. Clearly I’m getting too old for this. And I got all mad at Brady for telling me not to do anything stupid, but what’s the first thing I did? Something stupid. I hate myself.

When I woke up, the room was spinning and I could feel Brendan spooning me which normally I wouldn’t mind, but I was sticky and smelly and gross from the festivities the day before. So I peeled myself off and Brendan grabbed onto me tighter.

“I need a shower or fifty,” I croaked.

“Okay. How you feeling?” he asked as he let me go.

I got out of bed (completely naked, of course) and headed to the bathroom, stepping over my clothes and toiletries and other bullshit everywhere. It appeared that someone (spoiler: me) had ordered room service and there was a barely touched plate of fries and a burger sitting on the nightstand.

“I feel exactly how this room looks,” I said and Brendan laughed.

It took two glasses of water and a forty minute shower to bring me back to life. I poked my head out and let Brendan know that he could shower while I finished getting ready. And then I watched him as he got up and walked toward me to gauge how he felt. Did he still think I was cute?

“Uhh, sorry about yesterday. I didn’t mean to ruin the day,” I said.

“You’re good. The day wasn’t ruined…just dinner,” Brendan said, laughing.

And I was relieved that he could at least laugh about it. Brendan is super laidback, but I just never know when I’ll take it too far.

“And thanks for holding my hair back while I threw up. There was still a ton of puke in it,” I said, trying to make a joke out of it.

“Yeah, I tried my best, but I was kinda grossed out,” he said and started like really laughing, so hard he could barely get the rest out. “There were big chunks of shrimp coming up.”

I groaned and tried to storm out, but he pinned me against the sink.

“It’s fine though, I don’t mind. I mean, the flowers probably aren’t fine…” He started laughing hard again.

“Ugh, I literally hate you,” I said as I tried to push him away.

“That’s not what you said yesterday,” Brendan teased. Of course, he wasn’t going to let me live that down either.

“Okay, well get ready so we can get food. I’m starving,” I said to change the subject.

Back in the room, I saw that Brendan had cleaned up most of my disaster, bless him. I got dressed in a bodysuit, jorts by Agolde and rose gold Birkenstocks that I bought to walk the dog (🥺). So then we headed down to one of the restaurants at the resort and had brunch (sadly no mimosas for me). We didn’t bring up anymore stories about the day before, thank God, because I didn’t need to relive that again. And I was glad that we’d be spending the day in town and on the beach and not going back to that cursed ass pool party.

So yeah, day two was far less problematic. I was coherent enough to check in with my mom and Winnie (I even admitted to my mom how I trashed I was the day before because what else do you do at a “bachelorette party”?). I didn’t even have my first drink until wine at dinner.

And by then I was feeling so good and comfortable with Brendan that I was starting to think we were actually in a relationship and I could see our future. It could really work out. We spent the day doing barely anything after my shitshow performance and it was still one of the best weekends literally ever. We could do this whenever Winnie was spending a weekend with Brady (we’d have a custody agreement figured out) and she’d love her new, fun stepdaddy. There wouldn’t be enough room for me and Winnie at his current apartment, but what about that three bedroom he was telling me about? Or maybe we could buy something together? I’m expecting a bonus this year so I could contribute.

But I needed to calm the fuck down. Was his divorce even final? And I still had so much to figure out with Brady and Winnie. Plus, there’s the whole fact that we work together. Mike couldn’t ever know we’re seeing each other, went on vacation together and definitely couldn’t know if we moved in together. So we’d have to figure that out too.

We headed back to the room hand in hand and I was excited to seal the deal with my man (we hadn’t had sex the whole trip!), but we ran into a group of the 21 year olds from the pool. They were all dressed in psychedelic printed mini dresses (ugly) and let us know that they were going to the rooftop nightclub to dance and we must come. I didn’t particularly want to, but they all looked at me expectantly — including Brendan — and it was the last night of vacation so why not? We’d just go have a drink or two then go back and have sex.

To no one’s surprise, we didn’t just stay for a drink or two. We were up on the roof drinking and dancing until three AM. My feet were about to fall off since I don’t wear heels often anymore, let alone dance in them plus we were drenched in sweat and drunk. We said goodbye to the girls and then Brendan gave me a ride back to the room on his back (did I mention how much I love him?). And by the time we got back to the room we were too tired to do anything except sleep.

And so the next morning, we slept in and stayed in bed and had sex until we needed to leave for the airport. Weirdly, Mike called Brendan while we were in bed (he didn’t pick up), but how awkward and who does Mike think he is bothering him on a Sunday? He probably thinks Brendan has nothing better to do than talk to him.

I was ready to go home and see Winnie, but I was so not ready to leave vacation with Brendan. I had such a good time and I was dreading going back to my awkward house and having to avoid Brendan and sneak to see him every two weeks. I wanted to spend every second with him.

When I got home, everyone was there and my mom whipped up dinner. I made a big deal about them telling me everything they did while being vague about my weekend. Brady offered to put Winnie to sleep and me and my mom cleaned up the kitchen. Then I poured us wine and we took them to the dining room where I planned on clearing my work emails.

Before I could even open my laptop, my mom said, “So tell me about Brendan.”

I tried to hide the visceral reaction his name caused me. “What about him?”

“I’m not sure. Is there anything to tell?” she said. “You said you were messaging with him a lot. Did anything come of that?”

It was obvious she was fishing — Brady probably told her about reading through my notebook and sent her to get more information. They were probably working together. I should have never left them alone for the weekend.

“No,” I lied. “Why?”

“Oh, I was just wondering,” she lied as well. “Is everything okay with you and Brady then?”

“You know it’s not. Why? What did he say?”

My mom, who is an expert at manipulating situations, pretended to backtrack. “He didn’t say anything. I just got the feeling that things weren’t okay. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“He called his family’s attorney and asked them how he could get custody of Winnie so if you could help me with that, that’d be great,” I said, deadpan.

My mom seemed to be genuinely shocked. “That’s terrible! Why would he do that?”

“Because he’s too afraid to tell me he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore. In fact, I found that out because of the lawyer.”

“Oh, Reese,” my mom said sympathetically. “I’m going to talk to him about it.”

“I don’t want you to talk to him about it,” I told her. “I just want to get out of this situation and move on.”

“You don’t want me to talk to him?” she repeated like this was completely crazy.

“No. He does stuff like this and then it’s up to me to fix it. He made it clear how he feels so I just want to find my own place and move out of here.”

“Oh, Reese,” my mom said, looking skeptical. “I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do.”

“What do you think I should do then?” I asked.

“I think you need to see a counselor together,” she said, matter-of-factly. “These issues are capable of being fixed.”

“Yeah, well he refuses to talk to anyone and he has personal stuff he needs to work out on his own anyway,” I let her know. “And I can’t help him with that. So I’m gonna move out — probably to an apartment in the city — and we can each have Winnie every other week. It’s fine.”

My mom continued looking skeptical, but luckily dropped the subject. I should’ve known she was still going to talk to him despite my wishes and she brought it up as I was taking her to the airport the following evening. She told me how broken she thinks Brady is, how he doesn’t know how to express himself, but he has some feelings I should know about. She was being so cryptic.

“What are you trying to say, Mom?” I sighed. “He won’t open up to me and I’m not a professional like you. I tried to take him to therapy and it blew up in my face.”

“I’m saying be patient with him. He tries his best with his feelings, but it’s very hard for him. Very hard, Reese. I’m just starting to make some progress,” she said.

Be patient? How long has it been? Nearly eight fucking years of trying to get him to open up? I can’t possibly be more patient. My mom tried to give me some more words of encouragement and advice, but the moment I dropped her off, all I could think about was Brendan.

I was listening to the songs he played during our vacation (fun fact: I wouldn’t have had a clue who Rihanna was pregnant by, but Brendan listened to a lot of A$AP Rocky while we were getting ready) and trying to count my macros (Brendan is the kind of person who counts his macros and if I’m honest with myself, I have no idea what it even means). My mom kept checking in to see if there was any progress and I would send her apartment listings on Zillow.

I was sort of dragging my feet on the whole finding my own place thing, but when Brady came home everyday and completely ignored me (walk past me without even making eye contact) I knew I had to do something. There was a listing I loved; a gorgeous two bed/two bath high rise on the west side (not totally where I wanted to be, but would work). It was slightly out of my budget range (as was everything), but I’d already asked my dad for help so we filled out the rental application before I’d even seen it in person. I still had some places bookmarked and planned on seeing the place I applied for in person over the weekend.

Spoiler: I didn’t end up getting to see the place and was snowed in with Winnie and Brady all weekend. Brady mostly did work while I played with the baby, did laundry, and talked to Brendan. He ignored me literally all day until Saturday night after the baby was asleep.

“Hey,” he said.

Oh, so I wasn’t invisible? He could see me?

“Hi,” I said back.

He’d cornered me in the bedroom and there was nowhere to escape.

“Your dad said you found an apartment?” Brady said.

Really, Dad? I guess my meddling mother wasn’t enough. I made a mental note to yell at him about it later.

“Yeah, maybe,” I confirmed casually. “It’ll probably be a piece of shit though so I’m keeping my options open.”

Brady paused for a moment before saying, “I don’t want you to move out. I don’t think Winnie wants that either.”

What? That’s when I lost it and burst into tears, collapsing on the bed and full-on sobbing. Seriously? No, but honestly? Was he joking? He’s known for months and months that I’ve been looking to move out so why now, when I actually had somewhat of a plan in motion, did he think it was a good idea to tell me he didn’t want me to?

“Reese?” Brady said.

“You’re crazy,” I told him between sobs.


When I didn’t say anything and was sitting there practically hyperventilating, Brady grabbed my wrists to pull my hands off my face. “Reese.”

“Don’t touch me,” I said.

“Why are you upset? I said I don’t want you to move out,” he said because he is the most clueless person ever.

“Because you’re crazy and you’re making me crazy,” I told him and then I locked myself in the bathroom to cry some more, so much that I made myself throw up. I couldn’t fucking wait to talk to my mom about this. But she probably already knew because she probably put him up to it.