the queen of growth.

I was agitated. Brendan and I were in a fight which I always hate (and I was mad at him because why would he just storm out like that?) plus I never wanted to go back to work again because I was afraid everyone was gossiping about us.

Luckily, Brady was on his way to drop my baby off and since I’d be working from home, I would be able to spend the day with her.

Winnie squealed and immediately began talking a mile a minute about everything she got into over the weekend. Believe it or not, I think she kind of enjoys splitting her time because then she gets to come back with stories. Brady filled me in on a few things including reminding me that he would be working on Saturday so I’d get to keep Winnie. That was perfect because we were going to have an epic girls day. With our current arrangement it’s rare that I get to spend a full uninterrupted day with Winnie like that so Brady could work on the weekend all he wanted.

“Winnie, I’ll see you later this week,” Brady called out the window. “Love you guys.”

Did you hear that? Love you guys. He had definitely been being nicer the past few weeks, but this was a bit over the top.

“Bye!” I said and we headed inside.

Upstairs, I saw that I had a missed call from Brendan. Oh, now he wanted to fucking talk? Like I said, I was mad at him so I was absolutely not going to call him back. And anyway, Mike had sent a few of his signature scathing emails so I really needed to address those.

About an hour later, Brendan called again.

“Hi Brendan,” I answered.

“Hey,” he said back in a voice that sounded defeated. “I hate fighting with you.”

Oh fucking really? “Then why are you fighting with me? If you hadn’t stormed out like a child yesterday, this would’ve been over.”

“I know. I’m sorry about that.”

“And can you please explain to me how you’re upset when you were the one in the wrong in the first place?”

“I didn’t know it was supposed to be a secret! You never asked me not to tell Mike,” he said, beginning to sound like a baby again.

“Common sense, Brendan!”

He waited a moment and then said, “I’m sorry about yesterday. Are you at your office? Do you mind if I stop by?”

“No, I have so much work to do and quite frankly so do you,” I said.

“Yeah, you’re right. I should probably go.”

I knew I was being hard on him, but you know what happens when you let stuff like that go unchecked! It’s called tough love. I was very surprised though when I hadn’t heard from him by the next afternoon. Yes, I’d yelled at him a little bit (twice) but I thought he was supposedly in love with me. Whatever!

I was sitting in my office (I could no longer hide at home) when an email came in. It was from Thomas.

“Today is my last day at [Brendan’s company]. The last few years have taught me a lot, but I would be lying if I said they weren’t tumultuous…” He’d sent it BCC so I couldn’t see the entire recipient list.

Wait, what was going on? It didn’t make any sense that it was Thomas’ last day. Had he even put in a 2-week notice? Surely I would’ve heard if he did.

A message popped up from Paige. “Omg! Did you know about Thomas?”

“No! Did you?” I typed back.

“No…I wonder what happened.”

So if Thomas was leaving, what was Brendan going to do? Yes, Thomas had been a little menace the past few months, but he was still essentially Brendan’s right hand man. What an inopportune time to be in a fight with Brendan!

Well, no matter. I picked up my phone and gave him a call.

“Hey!” he answered, sounding rather happy to hear from me.

“Oh my gawddd, Thomas?” I said.

Brendan didn’t say anything immediately and from the cars in the background it sounded like he was out and about. “Yeah.”

“What happened?” I had to know.

He explained that it was unexpected, but mutual and that he had a friend from business school who was going to be starting in a few weeks.

“Oh em geee, Brendan, did you fire him?” I gasped.

He laughed but didn’t confirm or deny. “So are you still mad at me?”

“Kind of.” I’d almost forgotten about our fight because I was so focused on the Thomas drama.

“Do you wanna talk about it or do you need more time?” Brendan asked.

Hm, what a straightforward question that I was not prepared to answer!

“I guess we could talk about it later.”

So we made plans to see each other later that day and honestly, I was relieved because I don’t actually enjoy being in a fight with Brendan. And hello? I still wanted more details about Thomas’ departure! I was nosy curious!

“Oh, hi Brendan,” Winnie said nonchalantly when we let him into the apartment a few hours later.

Me and Brendan smirked at each other because clearly she got that from me.

“Hey!” he said back. “I brought dinner. You hungry?”

“Yes, I am so hungry,” Winnie replied dramatically.

I’ve noticed that Brendan and I both speak to Winnie like she’s an adult (she sure acts like she’s a little adult) which leads me to believe we will be great co-parents. Everyone else baby-talks her. What? Just thinking about the future.

We sat at the table and had dinner while Winnie talked our ears off and then watched a movie on the couch. After putting the baby to (reluctant) sleep, it was time to talk. Obviously I was ready to gossip about his company, but then Brendan grabbed me and said, “I’m sorry about the way I left the other night.”

I opened my mouth to say something like, “It’s fine this time, but don’t let it happen again,” but then he added, “But can you understand why I was upset?”

“Ummm,” I said. “Because I yelled at you.”

“Well, yeah. That too,” he said. “But it sort of seems like you’re ashamed of me.”

“What? How?

He looked down and around and honestly, kind of insecure. “I don’t know. Just the way you kept saying it would make you look bad and that you were embarrassed.”

I felt horrible that he thought that’s what I meant. I had to explain to him (again) that it wasn’t about me or him necessarily and it was the situation that looked bad and maybe it was my fault for not being the one to tell Mike. I can’t believe Brendan thought my blow up was because I was ashamed of him — he really is naive sometimes. And what was it that Kendall said? “Our boy is sensitive.” I really need to keep that in mind.

“Okay, thanks for explaining, I get it now,” Brendan said. “I just want you to feel the same way about me as I feel about you.”

The guy sure does need a lot of reassurance. So I did the unthinkable and told Brendan that I love him. Can you imagine me telling a man I love him first? I mean, of course he’s alluded to it before, but he had never said it outright like I had. It’s called growth and I’m clearly the queen of it. And then when he looked elated and relieved and said it back, I demanded to know if he considered me his girlfriend. Guess I needed a bit of reassurance too!

So that was our tiny little fight. Stupid, but not totally pointless I guess. At least now all of our feelings are known. And even if I knew they were secretly still judging, no one seemed to care about Brendan and me and Paige is the only one who brought it up (to ask what we had planned for the weekend, like she cared).

A few weeks later, Brendan brought his new employee in to meet our team. Miguel. Oh my God. He looks like a supermodel or something — Andrea from Summer House vibes. He was tall and gorgeous with broad shoulders, light eyes and a shirt unbuttoned so you could see a hint of chest hair. Excuse me? I think I gasped when he walked in. Brendan never mentioned that his friend from business school looked like that. And then when he shook my hand, he didn’t let it go while he asked me questions about myself and pinned me to the wall with his eyes. I hoped this wasn’t going to be a problem.

We went into the meeting and he sat there like a boss and sweet-talked the pants off ole Mike. And Mike seemed happy (as happy as Mike can seem) so maybe Miguel would be good for all of us.

After the meeting, Brendan followed me to my office and Miguel came with us. They were talking to me about all the projects and what the priorities were and did I want to walk with them later in the week? Brendan sat in one of my chairs, but Miguel leaned against my desk so I had a clear view of his butt and it was all a bit much. And ever since our fight, Brendan had been being overly professional with me at work. So Miguel kept turning around and joking with me and smiling and it occurred to me that Brendan hadn’t told him about us since I blew up at him last time I found out he told someone. Was this, and I stress, going to be a problem?

One Saturday, Winnie and I hopped in the car to go to Brady’s. Brady and I had been getting along splendidly and surprisingly staying in touch a lot throughout the week. Usually our routine on Saturdays was: arrive in Connecticut between 8 and 9 AM, get Brady up to speed on what had been up the past few days then I’d leave before lunch. This particular Saturday though, Brendan was busy and I didn’t have any plans so I got comfortable and hung out for a bit. The three of us had bagels and OJ and then played in the backyard until Winnie was exhausted. Brady went upstairs to do some work in his little office while I got Winnie comfortable on the couch with the iPad. After a while she fell asleep and I should’ve said goodbye to Brady and gone home, but I didn’t. Winnie was using Brady’s iPad since hers stays at our place in the city. And do you know what’s on Brady’s iPad? All of his messages, of course!

I really shouldn’t have, but I picked up the iPad and started scrolling through his message threads like old times. I was just curious to see who he had been talking to. None of them really jumped out at me except Anna, who I haven’t thought about in years. Anna is Brady’s ex before me and she’s weird.

I started reading through the messages and started to see texts from her that said things like, “I can’t wait to see you later,” and “Do you want to come over tonight?” Oh? All of their texts were like that — making plans for him to go see her and then talking about how they are looking forward to hanging out. So they were hooking up? A bit of ex-sex? One message exchange went like this:

Anna: “Can’t wait to see you later tonight!”

Brady: “Me too.”

Brady (a few hours later): “I’m on my way.”

Anna: “Cool. And Madeline is here :-)”

Brady: “Even better.”

Wait. Who was Madeline? Why would she be there? Was this a threesome? Those two are complete freaks. I kept scrolling and reading until the iPad was snatched from my grubby little hands. Brady was standing behind the couch over my shoulder.

“You have no right to do that,” he said calmly as he locked the iPad up.

“Okay.” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly embarrassed that I’d been caught snooping, but it was just Brady and now I knew what he was getting up to. And I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit icky. I don’t know why. It has literally nothing to do with me. I left after that.

Needless to say, Brady and I didn’t keep in touch the next week like we had been and he was short with me again at drop off on Tuesday. So the following Saturday, after a week of reflection, Winnie and I headed to Connecticut to Brady’s house. Brady was clearly still annoyed with me and didn’t say much, so I followed him into the kitchen and said, in my sweetest voice, “Are you hanging out with Anna this weekend?”

At first I thought he wasn’t going to answer me because he was quiet for a while, but then he said, “You know, Winnie had been telling me about her friend for a few months and I thought she had made it up; an imaginary friend. But then I finally figured out the name she was saying.”

I already knew where this was going.


“Yeah, they’re close,” I said, not missing a beat. “Definitely not imaginary.”

“Cool,” Brady said coldly and walked past me out of the kitchen.

So…at least it was all out there. What was unsettling though is that the following week, I had a missed call from Brady’s mother out of the blue. I haven’t spoken to that woman in like a year so who the the hell knows what she wants to talk about. I haven’t heard from her since and it’s not like Brady and I were on good terms for me to ask him about it.


10 thoughts on “the queen of growth.

  1. i think it’s great that you and brendan talk to winnie like she’s an adult! she sounds super smart and that’s a great way to develop her vocabulary.

    i really hope brady’s mom just has something to say about winnie, and nothing to say about you. i’ll be super mad at brady if he told his mother about brendan!!

  2. Danielle says:

    So happy to see you and Brendan resolving fights so much more healthily than you and Brady ever did. It seems like a much healthier relationship and makes me so happy for you!

    I feel like Brady should’ve heard about Brendan from you, not Winnie, but I guess it is what it is at this point. I hope you two are able to have a sit down conversation about it so you’re both on the same page and things can stay civil.

    So curious what Brady’s mom could possibly have to say.

  3. Britney says:

    Why are still reading Brady’s messages? What’s wrong with you? How would you feel if Brady went through you’re personal messages. You’re too old to act like this.

    Just like you’ve been carrying on with Brendan for months, Brady has the freedom to what he wants without answering to you. What a sense of entitlement you have…

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