has he never had an affair?

Slutty single mom? Like she knows anything about me? I don’t understand where she got the audacity. How would she know if I’m slutty or not? What had Danielle told her to make her think I’m slutty? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In fact, I was obsessing over it. So much so that I kept messaging Kendall to ask for more information and context and he would say, “It really was not that deep.” But it was totally that deep! Clearly she hit a nerve with her comment.

So while I was excited to spend the weekend with Brendan and his mostly sweet family, I was not excited about Danielle, who had found her way onto my shit list.

I dropped Winnie off with Brady early on Saturday and made sure he knew I had big important plans for the weekend.

“And what are you and Winnie going to do?” I demanded.

Brady shrugged and said, “No plans yet. Probably the pool, weather permitting.”

“Ew.” I hated the thought of my child at a shared, public pool where Brady would probably use her to hit on the MILFs in the neighborhood. I guess I couldn’t exactly be mad at that, but it was still gross.

Lucky for me, Danielle was only staying at the cabin for one night and she was with a friend (she always has a friend in tow) so it’s not like I would have to interact with her at all. But y’all know me.

“Heyyyy, Danielle!” I said super sweetly when Brendan and I arrived at the cabin.

She looked at me with disdain over her shoulder (I realized that she reminds me of Olivia Rodrigo, but obviously nowhere near as cute or cool) and said, “Hi,” boredly.

Really? And that would be my only attempt to be nice to her that weekend.

Brendan’s dad had been nerding out about his outdoor oven all day so we made pizza that night and sat around the back patio drinking wine. Super chill. Danielle said something about being “funemployed” which might be the most interesting thing she’s ever said. I mostly just sat there talking to Margot and Danielle’s friend (I forgot her name, but she was really nice) while Brendan and his dad coddled jobless Danielle.

We all went to bed fairly early and Brendan and I just made out all night. He didn’t try anything, probably because his parents were down the hall and it would be weird. I was somehow convinced to go on the little boat/lake trip the next morning so we got up and ready and I helped Margot pack a cooler with booze and snacks. We had to drive a bit to get to the lake and in the car on the way there, Brady called. I immediately freaked out because why would he be calling me unless it was an emergency? Brady never calls me — only texts *sometimes* — and I’d told him that I had plans this weekend. So naturally, I assumed Winnie was hurt and I’d need to get home immediately.

“Hi, is everything okay?” I answered, while trying to make eye contact with Brendan’s dad in the rearview mirror because he was gonna have to turn this car around.

“Yeah, everything is fine,” Brady said casually. “We can’t find Winnie’s white pants and she wanted to wear them today.”

Really? “We probably didn’t pack them. She has a skirt she can wear instead,” I told him.

“Okay, I’ll look for it. My mom is on her way. She wanted to have lunch with us…” And he just kept going on. He just wanted to chat. Telling me what Winnie requested for lunch and how his mom asked about me. And he was being so nice, like extra nice in a way that made me slightly suspicious. And I was trying not to engage too much in conversation considering I was in the car with Brendan and all of his family.

Eventually, I was like, “Okay, well I have to go.”

“Oh.” Brady sounded disappointed.

We hung up and of course Brendan said, “Is everything okay?”

And it’s like, yes, everything is absolutely fine, Brady is just bored and lonely and thirsty.

Anyway, I don’t really have anything else to share from the rest of the weekend. Margot and I cried together after a lot of wine (this was after yet *another* school shooting), Brendan and his dad competed about absolutely everything and Danielle sent her friend to get information (I assume that’s why the friend was suddenly interested in Winnie’s whereabouts). I don’t think I need to mention that I absolutely love Brendan’s parents though. They’re just like, so cool. They’ve always been so nice and welcoming to me with no hesitation even though it was probably a little weird. I’ll even forgive his dad for sending me into a panic by telling me there were snakes in the lake (I found out that he was he was “kind of” joking).

The next week, it was back to reality. Brady dropped Winnie off bright and early on Tuesday morning and was it just me or was he being super short and distant? I was trying to ask him about the weekend and the normal stuff we talk about and he acted like it was such a bother. Because I rushed him off the phone when I told him I was going to be busy?? Whatever!

He was back to texting me the following evening though so I guess he got over it.

On Thursday, Paige organized this brainstorming meeting with herself and Mike, plus me, a couple of our designers and Brendan and Thomas and their team. Paige loves to throw a meeting on the cal to try to pretend she’s doing something. This time I didn’t mind though because it would be one of the only times I got to see Brendan before he went on a fishing trip for the weekend.

The entire meeting was pretty useless (of course) and uneventful except for when Thomas followed up something Brendan said with, “That’s a really stupid idea.”

Excuse you? Who says that to their boss, in a meeting, in front of a ton of people? I would’ve been offended even if he didn’t say it to someone I care about. Thomas is absolutely out of control.

Brendan said, “Okay, it was just an idea.”

“Yeah, not a very good one.”

And I couldn’t not say anything. It’s not like Brendan was going to stand up for himself.

“Do you have any ideas, Thomas?” I asked in my sweetest voice.

“I’m still thinking,” he replied.

“Okay, well I don’t think it’s productive to shoot down ideas when we don’t have any of our own,” I pointed out.

“I agree,” Mike said.

Imagine Mike agreeing with me! When has that ever happened? He turned to me and nodded, like I’d done something good.

Paige immediately messaged me saying, “Lol, awkward.”

You’re telling me!

It didn’t help that all of our projects were off schedule and delayed (mostly due to construction, but for multiple different reasons) and Mike was always in a rage. The following Monday morning, he sent a nasty email to some of us asking about the delays. I got up and marched right into Paige’s office to discuss.

“Someone woke up in a bad mood,” she said.

“He’s literally going to hurt himself getting this riled up so early,” I said.

Paige laughed. “I know. I have to agree with him about this one though, the construction either has to get on schedule or we need to think about finding additional partners to work with.”

“We would run into this issue no matter who we work with though. The issue is getting fixtures and supplies,” I pointed out.

“Well, I talked to Thomas last week and he said that Brendan has been making him get approval for literally everything he does so it takes longer.”

Oh, really? Is that why Thomas was suddenly acting like a spoiled child? But judging by all the chaos he causes with his mistakes, I can’t really blame Brendan for micromanaging him.

“I mean, it is his company so…”

Paige shrugged and put up her palms like she didn’t want to get involved. “I don’t know, but if they can’t figure it out, I’m going to recommend alternatives.” And then to my shock and horror, she added, “I know you and Brendan have your thing going on…sleeping together or whatever.”

Sleeping together? What? Who would say that? I mean, it wasn’t exactly inaccurate, but it sounded so…sleazy. I was too surprised to say anything at first, but then duh, she’d been talking to that slimeball so of course.

“Did Thomas tell you that?” I asked.

“No, Mike told me.”

Mike? Mike was gossiping? And how did he know about Brendan and me? From my vague drunken speech at dinner in Chicago? And he was confident enough about that to go telling people?

“I don’t know why Mike would tell you that,” I said. And then because I felt really exposed and awkward, I got the fuck out of there.

As much as I wanted to confront Mike about gossiping about me, with all of his recent rants, I didn’t think it was a good idea. And anyway, Brendan texted me in the afternoon wanting to hang out later so I’d just ask him. Maybe he would know why his bestie Mike was running his mouth. I wasn’t mad (at least I didn’t think I was mad), I just felt weirded out that Mike knew about me and Brendan and hadn’t talked to me about it.

Brendan bounded over to my apartment a few hours later and by then I’d worked myself into a bit of a state. I couldn’t stop thinking about Paige saying, “sleeping together.” It hit me the same way the “slutty single mom” thing did — it was just so degrading.

“Aww, I missed you,” Brendan said, scooping me up into one of his big bear hugs.

“Literally same,” I said back. He looked cute in his head to toe athleisure and baseball hat and even with the hat on I could see that he’d gotten some sun on his face during his fishing trip. I was ready to climb him and love all over him, but I needed to get to the bottom of something first. “Did you tell Mike about us?”

We’d barely even pulled away and Brendan kept my hands in his. “Yes, I did.”

“What?” I hadn’t expected that answer — especially with a big smile still on his face. “Why would you tell him?”

“Huh? I just wanted him to hear it from me. Is that not okay?” Brendan said.

No!” I exclaimed. I tried to stay calm. “Why would that be okay? He’s my boss, Brendan!”

Poor Brendan looked genuinely confused. “I figured he’d find out anyway. I told him months ago. I didn’t think it was a big deal, he doesn’t care.”

“It’s a huge deal! Because now he’s telling people and it’s weird and embarrassing!” I explained.

“Embarrassing?”

“And what did you tell him anyway?” I went on. “That we’re ‘sleeping together’? It’s not like we’ve ever really talked about what we are so I can’t even imagine what you would’ve told him months ago.”

“I didn’t tell him that!” Brendan said, becoming visibly upset with the conversation and finally letting go of my hands.

“You shouldn’t have told him anything! I don’t get why you’re telling everyone — it’s unprofessional and it looks bad!”

“Why does it look bad?”

Had this dude never had an affair with someone at work??

“Because it looks bad! I don’t want everyone knowing our business, especially because I know they’ll be really judgemental about this,” I said.

“Why do you think anyone would judge or even care?” he asked.

“I don’t know, Brendan, maybe because you were married not that long ago and everyone knows and probably thinks I’m a homewrecker now. And Mike cared enough to tell Paige and I’m sure she’s told everyone in the office!”

“Wow. I didn’t know you felt like that.”

I could tell then that he was very, very upset with everything I’d said so I needed to backtrack. It probably would’ve been fine if I hadn’t brought up his marriage since that’s such a sensitive subject for him. He turned away from me like he was going to leave.

“Brendan.” Really? I’ve always praised him for being so mature and able to talk about his feelings, but here he was acting like a baby.

“No!” he said with finality and stormed out.

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