Honestly, I was so surprised at how well Brady and I were getting along and handling our custody arrangement. Drop-offs were becoming seamless and we even went from cordially saying hello and goodbye to actually chatting and joking around with each other. Brady stopped getting out of the car and just waited for me to come get Winnie out which I obviously gave him shit for and then Eddie, one of the doormen, started waiting outside so he could open the doors for us and Brady said with a smirk, “Somehow you always find a man to do things for you.”
“Oh, shut up,” I said because what was that supposed to mean?
But then the next week, he and Winnie stopped for breakfast and he actually brought me something as well so he was feeding (no pun intended) right into what he was accusing me of. Whatever!
Meanwhile, Brendan was busy hanging out with his family and traveling with his friends so we didn’t see each other for a few weeks. He was going to Maine with his dad and uncle and to see his sister in Pennsylvania and going fishing with some other friends etc etc etc. It was completely fine though because Lola wanted to drink and get brunch and I invited Kristina (who I had been unintentionally ignoring for the past
twelve several months) to tag along with us.
We met up in Lola’s hood (East Village, where she and Kellen are living together) and went to this tiny little garden spot.
“Ohmigosh, Garrett would love this place! It’s so cute!” Kristina squealed.
We were like, “Who’s Garrett?”
And she told us about her investment banker boyfriend, Garrett, who she met on Hinge. They’ve only been together for a few months — which is a long time for K — and are “getting serious.” Meaning, he’s actually taking her out on dates before midnight. He’s super busy, as investment bankers are, she explained. Me and Lola exchanged a look because that didn’t sound right.
“So guess what?” I said, mostly to Kristina.
“What?” they asked.
“Me and Brendan…I think we’re like, dating,” I said.
Kristina gasped and squealed and gushed about how long she had been waiting for this to happen.
“It was only a matter of time,” she said. “What happened with his wife?”
So I got into all the details about Brendan and Brady while Lola watched me with raised eyebrows. Kristina would interject every so often: “I mean, he never talked about her, I’m not surprised they were on the rocks,” “I feel like he was always obsessed with you,” and “Lola, you should’ve seen them. They used to sit in the corner and act like no one else existed.”
Eventually, Lola said, “Okay, let me see this dude.”
So I pulled up a picture of Brendan (screenshotted from Instagram because his still seems to be out of service) and showed the girls.
“Cute,” Lola said, “but he looks like he’s going to try to sell me cryptocurrency.”
Kristina laughed and I put my phone away with a huff because Brendan actually is kind of into cryptocurrency.
“But anyway, yeah. Things are good,” I said.
“I’m happy for you. We have to do a double date!” Kristina said and then added, “A triple date!”
“I don’t do that shit,” Lola said.
We all laughed and clinked our glasses. After we ate and had mimosas, we walked to Aritzia and it was packed to the brim with girls who looked like they’re probably famous on TikTok. I went around pointing out things for K and Lola to try on, but then when we saw that the line for the fitting rooms was out the door we took our stuff to the register and got the fuck outta there.
I got back to my apartment with my big bag of clothes and the hot guy I met in the elevator was at the front desk talking. He turned around to leave as I was walking in and said, “Hey Reese.”
“Hey, how are you?” I said back automatically. We passed each other and I turned around and said, “What’s your name, by the way?”
He turned around and smiled at me. “I’m Theo.”
Theo! What an adorable name!
“Cute,” I said.
He smirked. “Thanks.” I turned to leave and Theo added, “Hey, we’re having a little party on the roof later. Like 8. Feel free to stop by.”
“K,” I said. My building has a not fully fleshed-out rooftop deck (there’s a few strands of string lights with blown out bulbs and some rickety picnic tables). I was absolutely not planning on going to Theo’s little shindig, but Lola texted me asking what we were doing that night. So rooftop party it was, I guess. I changed into one of my new tops from Aritzia with my favorite Agolde jeans and packed a sparkly bag by Cult Gaia. Lola came over and we made drinks before heading upstairs.
A couple hours later, we were up on the roof doing shotskis with Theo and his 25 year old friends. I guess I didn’t realize it was that kind of party. The 25 year olds were all from Long Island, fast-talking bankers, and super intrigued by Lola and me. Well, mainly Lola because she looks like Goth Barbie and was unimpressed with all of their talk of recreational drugs. They were all coked out, she informed me.
“Yeah and I was at Coachella, tripping on acid and…”
Lola rolled her eyes and dug around in her purse looking for a cig.
We were sitting on a splintery bench between Theo and his friend, Patrick, who was equally as tall and hot as Theo, and across from some of the other dudes.
Patrick was firing off questions at me.
“Do you prefer cats or dogs?” he asked.
“Dogs,” I replied.
“Summer or winter?”
“Do you sleep with socks on or off?”
“Naked or in pajamas?”
“Do you masturbate in bed or in the shower?”
“At my desk at work.”
I was barely paying attention to him as I watched everyone else at the party.
“Spit or swallow?”
My phone started ringing in my lap and I saw that it was Brendan calling. What timing! It’s like he knew exactly what I was doing. I sent him to voicemail and then turned to Lola.
“Should we get the fuck out of here?”
“Yeah, let’s go to the bar downstairs,” she said.
The following Tuesday, Brady dropped Winnie off in the morning. He looked cute in glasses and smirked as Eddie and I got to the car to get the baby.
“Nice shoes,” Brady said.
I kicked up my foot. “Oh my gawd, you like?” I was shocked that Brady even noticed my new $900 shoes, let alone complimented them.
“No,” he laughed as he shook his head.
He’s such an asshole.
“Well, that’s too bad because you bought them!” I said snarkily. It wasn’t entirely true, but according to my dad, he was supposed to be sending money monthly for Winnie’s “expenses” and I was happy to pretend I was spending it frivolously.
I spun around to storm off, but then Brady called me back because I’d forgotten Winnie’s overnight bag.
“Thanks!” I said sarcastically as I snatched it from him through the window.
“You’re welcome,” he said back just as sarcastically.
“Daddy! Bye, Daddy!!” the baby waved.
Upstairs, I got Winnie settled with a juice and the iPad and then started working. I had a couple calls and then Paige forwarded me an email.
“Reese, please see below. Can you please go to these two sites? Mike wants pictures and feedback by end of day. Can you also mount the floorplans the team worked on and leave them on my desk? I need them for a meeting in the morning. Thanks. P.”
Wait. Was this bitch serious? She knew I was working from home because of the baby so how did she expect me to run all these errands like an intern? While I was rereading her email, I got another one from Mike.
“Paige told me you’d be visiting these two sites today. Can you also stop by [a third site that is an active construction zone] and give me an ETA on the floors and tile? Haven’t been able to get a clear answer.”
I was typing back a message to Mike letting him know that none of this would be possible but then Paige forwarded me another message about how a vendor was trying, unsuccessfully, to deliver to another site.
Okay, what the fuck? Why was everything falling apart today and why couldn’t anyone else figure anything out?
I sent Paige a text politely reminding her that I had the baby — who wasn’t starting her daycare for another few weeks — so I wouldn’t be able to run around to all these sites at the moment.
She said, “I’m not sure what to tell you. This is your job and if you want a job, you should probably prioritize it.”
“Ughhhhhh!” I screamed.
Winnie didn’t even look over as she sat on the couch dancing. Paige was being such a bitch, unnecessarily. I’d already explained my situation to Mike and he agreed that I’d be home Tuesday through Friday for the time being. And now even he was acting like he forgot.
So I had to disrupt Winnie’s dance party, pack her up in the car and drive her all the way to Connecticut to the sitter. Then I rushed around the city, taking pictures and arguing with delivery men and coaxing construction crews to work faster and etc etc etc. I got back to the office just before 4 and it was dead. I knew Mike had probably gone home for the day, but where the fuck was Paige? Surely she hadn’t dipped out that early after sending me to hell and back all day.
Unable to help myself, I sent her a message saying, “Headed to the office. Are you still there?”
“No, I’m WFH today,” she said.
Seriously? She’s so fucking lazy.
Brendan called while I was driving back from Connecticut and I was so frustrated by the day that I just started crying. Plus, he was in Miami for the week and it had been a couple weeks since we’d seen each other. Even though we talked on the phone almost every night, it wasn’t the same and I just wanted him to be there to comfort me.
“Mom?” Winnie called from the backseat. She exclusively calls me, “Mommy,” so I really needed to get my shit together.
Speaking of which, it didn’t occur to me that Sunday was Mother’s Day until Friday evening. I sent Brady a polite text asking to please keep Winnie through Sunday so we could spend the day together. We could have a bougie spa day or go shopping in New Jersey or something. I don’t know. I just thought it’d be nice to spend the day with my baby. I figured it would be a no-brainer. It’s not like the schedule was set in stone.
Brady replied, “No, we already have plans.”
Uh, really? What fucking plans did they have? And now that he knew it was Mother’s Day and I wanted to spend it with my child, couldn’t he cancel or reschedule? I mean, that would be the human thing to do. I absolutely wasn’t above guilt tripping him so I sat there trying to draft up something good.
Then he added, “Sorry.”
He sure fucking seemed sorry! I cracked my knuckles to tell him exactly this, but Brendan called. He was back in the city and offered to come by and see us. I felt oddly relieved that he was coming and suddenly relaxed and calm. He always just makes me feel better. Winnie and I ran around lighting candles to set the mood and then sat on the couch to wait for our man.
The three of us played in the living room for a bit until I put Winnie to bed (with zero issue because I’d let her stay up past her bedtime and she could barely keep her eyes open anyway). Then I poured two glasses of wine and demanded Brendan tell me how much fun he didn’t have without me over the week. He was telling me about meetings with Thomas and Yesenia and how he and Thomas have been kind of butting heads lately because Thomas has started slacking and in general just being defiant. It always makes me sad when Brendan is having issues with Thomas because I know they are good friends and I think it would be really hard if Thomas left the company. I wish he would pull himself together though. I feel like he’s putting Brendan through it every few months.
He told me that he had to get up really early in the morning because he was doing something with Kendall and I tried not to scream because I thought he was going to leave already. Why didn’t he want to hang out with me? But then we finished our wine and he made no movement to leave. So we went to my room.
Okay, I know I’m not supposed to do this, but I’m going to anyway. Sex with Brendan is so different than with mainly Brady, but also everyone. With Brady, it sometimes seemed like sex was the only thing we connected on. It was like our relationships in bed and out of bed were so different and had nothing to do with each other. Whereas with Brendan, it’s like an extension of our relationship. The way he makes me feel in our relationship — comfortable and safe and loved — is exactly how he is in bed. I don’t really know how to explain it. He takes his time and is intentional, not just racing to get off, you know? It’s just the way he — no matter what position we’re in — puts his arm under me to support me and finds my hand so he can hold it and kisses me everywhere he can. It just feels really intimate.
Brendan’s alarm went off right as the sun was coming up.
“Ew, turn it off,” I groaned. But actually, I did need to get up because Winnie knew she was going to her dad’s so she’d be up and ready to go soon. And I needed to get Brendan out before she saw him.
“Are you doing anything later? I might be around. We could get dinner or something,” Brendan said.
“Hmm.” Besides dropping Winnie off and getting my crusty nails done, I didn’t have a single plan. But I needed to at least pretend I had a life outside of him. “Yeah, maybe.”
A bit later, we pulled up to Brady’s. Usually I stay for a bit (I don’t just drop the baby off and flee like Brady does).
“So what plans do you have tomorrow?” I asked bitchily.
“Very important plans,” he said back.
“Oh, I’m so sure. You’re probably just going to see your mom,” I said.
Brady smiled all smugly. “Nope. We’re going to a baseball game.”
“Oh.” See? Always doing fun stuff without me. Not that I’m into sports or anything, but Winnie was going to love it and I wanted to be there. “What a convenient day to decide to go to a baseball game.”
“What? I always have her on Sundays. I didn’t know you’d want her on Mother’s Day,” Brady said.
“Really? Why wouldn’t I? You could’ve asked me, you know.”
“Ugh, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think about it.” I could tell her was getting defensive which obviously made me want to egg him some more.
“Well if you’d think about someone other than yourself you would’ve thought about it!” I said.
Brady smirked, not taking me seriously. “I think about you as much as you think about me.”
“So literally never?” I said back.
“Exactly,” he said and then he put his hand on my shoulder and kind of pushed me playfully.
The fuck? Naturally, out of pure reflex, I pushed him away from me with both hands. “Don’t fucking touch me!”
“Okay.” Brady put his hand in his pocket.
“Okay, I’m leaving,” I said.
“All right,” he said. “I was going to suggest you stay and hang out with her today instead. Since we have plans tomorrow…”
Oh my God. So I screamed at him for not giving me that option before I drove all the way to Connecticut. He let me berate him for a little while before putting up his hands and saying, “Nevermind. Forget about it then.”
“No, I’m going to take her for manicures,” I said and walked off.
And so I went to round up Winnie and when I came back to tell Brady we were leaving, he was still standing there with his hand in his pocket looking all sad.
I rolled my eyes. “Did you want to come with us?”
“Sure,” he said back with no hesitation.
And I should’ve known better than to invite him to our mom/baby outing because with Brady around, Winnie wanted nothing to do with me and treated me like I was the guest. She refused to leave his side or walk on her own. She made him sit in the manicure chair while she got her nails done so she could sit on his lap. We stopped for coffee/tea/Frappuccino and she didn’t even want it unless Brady gave it to her. I glared at him because clearly this was his fault; whatever he was doing during the weekends was making her a brat. So I regretted inviting him.
I didn’t hear from Brendan until later that evening and he let me know that he was too tired to hang out, but would be available tomorrow after plans with his family. I’m just not used to dating someone who is so much busier than me. It was completely fine though because I was three years into Nick from Chicago’s wife’s Instagram and I was very entertained by that.