brady’s new girlfriend.

Paris was fabulous. I want to move there. We did all of the typical tourist sites the first two days (including the Notre Dame the day before the fire. I’m so glad Brady made sure we went inside). I ate my weight in pastries, macarons and fucking cheese, but we did so much walking that it doesn’t count.

My favorite things were everything; like I would literally move there in a heartbeat. It’s like urban but beautiful and everyone is well dressed and snooty and smokes cigarettes all day. I imagine pursuing a career as an artist there – painting all day at my gallery and drinking and socializing in the evenings. I’d wear midi length dresses with red lipstick, leather jackets or wool trench coats and Gucci sneakers. We took a day trip to Versailles which is where I’ll be living after my move to Paris.

We were only there for five days which is not nearly enough time. We didn’t even go clubbing. I can’t wait to go back, but also I need to travel more in general. There’s so much more of the world to see!

When we got back to New York, I was exhausted and felt icky. I’d felt the same way in Paris, but I figured it was from walking around so much and eating literally everything I laid my eyes on. Brady went back to work immediately, but I worked from home since clearly I had a stomach bug with my tiredness, constipation and puking. Getting the whole sick would be irresponsible!

After being sick all weekend, Brady was over me being a baby (first of all, I never get sick so I get a pass and secondly, Brady becomes the hugest baby when he is sick), so I went to urgent care to get some medicine.

This is kind of fucked up, but the nurse who helped me looked exactly like someone who Brady should be with. Small frame, dark brown hair pulled up into a ponytail, angular face, boring. She looked like she runs marathons on the weekends, but also lifts one day a week so she isn’t too skinny. Like Brady would look great with her and I’m sure his mom would love her. I could picture them all being a big, happy family.

“Are you sure aren’t pregnant?” she asked, after reviewing my symptoms and doing like, one test.

“I’m sure. I’ve been on birth control for years.” It didn’t even cross my mind because I was having all day sickness, not just morning sickness. I’ve also been on birth control for so long that I didn’t even think I was fertile anymore. I haven’t had a regular period in literal years.

“Okay,” Mallory, PA, said, smiling at me condescendingly. “Why don’t we take a quick test to make sure? I want to rule out all possibilities before sending you out of here with no answers.”

At first I was going to refuse because Mallory was being annoying, but then I decided to humor her. It would be nice to prove her wrong. She had me pee into a little cup and then left for twenty minutes.

Finally, Mallory came back empty handed and sat her ass down on the stool. “You are indeed pregnant, my friend.”

I just stared at her.

“I recommend seeing an OB as soon as possible. For your morning sickness, I’ve heard of women eating ginger candy or Preggie Pops…”

Brady’s new girlfriend was really trying to tell me I was pregnant.

“That’s impossible,” I let her know.

“Your OB will give you another test to confirm,” she said, smiling.

After I left, I made an appointment with some random gyno I found on ZocDoc because I hadn’t even been to the doctor since I moved to New York. Brady didn’t come home until 10 PM, thank goodness. I sat on the couch drinking wine and Googling pregnancy symptoms all evening even though I still had a ton of work to catch up on. I was also texting Brendan who was filling me in on a meeting that I’d missed where Mike had a temper tantrum. So sad I missed that.

The next morning, the gyno confirmed what Mallory said. I argued with this woman also letting her know that I was on birth control and telling her about my lack of periods. And this woman pulled out a chart and a calendar so we could talk about how it was possible for me to get pregnant.

“By not taking your birth control correctly, you created the opportunity to get pregnant. Birth control pills are only effective if you use them right.”

And then she had to do an ultrasound to see how far along I was since I couldn’t remember the last time I had a period. A fucking ultrasound. I was numb. She stuck the tube up and blocked the little tv screen with her body so I couldn’t see anything.

“It looks like you’re about six weeks,” she told me.

“You’re fucking kidding,” I said out loud. Six weeks. Do you know what I’ve been doing for the past six weeks? Not treating my body like there was a baby growing in it, that’s for sure. I thought about the many, many happy hours I’d attended with Kristina and Brendan and all the wine I’d consumed in Paris.

I sat there dumbfounded while she explained next steps, how to take care of myself, talked about a due date. It was odd, but I felt nothing. Not excited, not upset, just like….nothing. Numb.

When I left, I called the only person who I felt could relate. Carly.

“Hi, boo!” she answered the phone.

“I just left the doctor. I’m pregnant, I guess,” I said back.

“You’re what? Pregnant?” she squealed.

“Allegedly.” I hopped in a cab.

“That’s amazing – I’m so excited! Does Brady know? How far along are you? When did you find out?”

“Literally just now. Carly, I don’t want a baby and I don’t know what to do.”

I could hear Baby Sloane babbling in the background. “I felt the same way, but it’s really such a blessing. I can’t imagine life without Sloane. Brady is going to be ecstatic. How are you going to tell him?”

Brady was not going to be happy. “I don’t know. I’m still not convinced it’s true. How did you tell Chris?”

“I made him a card. He was so happy he cried.”

I couldn’t imagine Brady being so happy he cried. I imagined he’d have the same non-reaction as me.

“Do you hope it’s a boy or a girl?” Carly continued.

“I have to go,” I said and hung up.

When I got home, I sent Brady a text that said, “You need to come home as soon as you can.”

He read my message and then took fifteen minutes to say, “Probably won’t be home until late. Eat without me.”

“This is serious, Brady.”

When Brady didn’t immediately respond, I decided to go to work. I had a ton to still catch up on and I definitely needed a distraction. I stopped by on my way in to say hello to Mike, who told me that he wanted to meet in an hour.

“Hiiiii, how was it?” Kristina said, referring to my vacation when she stopped by my office a little bit later.

“It was absolutely amazing. I didn’t want to come home,” I said back.

“We should catch up over happy hour later. I feel like I have so much to tell you,” she said.

“Mmm, maybe,” I said, knowing I couldn’t. “I’ll let you know.”

And since I knew I wouldn’t be attending a happy hour I tried to get as much information from her as I could over chat.

Mike was waiting in his office for me. From Kristina, I found out that things had been somewhat chaotic while I was away so I was ready for Mike’s wrath. It didn’t help that I was five minutes late to our meeting due to being sick.

“Reese, hi. I hope you enjoyed your time off,” he greeted me, not bothering to look up from his iPad.

“Mmhm.”

“I need you to wrap up the high rise project. It’s taking too long, we all know that and we will be in breach of contract if it continues going on,” he continued.

I nodded.

“I will be out of office next Wednesday through Friday so I’ll need you to step in during my absence. There are some things you’ll need to be up to speed on so expect an influx of forwarded emails from me.” Mike still hadn’t looked up at me. “Set up some time to work with Kristina this week. I’m losing my patience with her.”

“Okay.”

He finally looked up. “Do you have anything for me?”

And to my absolute horror, that is when I decided that it was all too much and I burst into tears. Actual tears in Mike’s office. I heard him sigh loudly.

“I’m sorry,” I blubbered.

He held up a hand. “I know it’s a lot. Take the rest of the day off and please don’t come back until you’re ready to work.”

I nodded and hustled out of there. The last thing I needed was Mike witnessing me having a breakdown. I packed my shit and hightailed it out of there.

On my way home I picked up a chicken burrito from Chipotle and then because I didn’t think that was enough, I also grabbed several chocolate sprinkled donuts. Obviously all of it disagreed with my stomach and I spent an hour being sick in the bathroom. I bathed and got in bed and waited for Brady to come home.

Kendra called. Obviously Carly had told her what was going on.

“Is it true?” she said into the phone excitedly. It sounded like she getting into a car or something.

“Ugh, Kendra,” I moaned. “I don’t know what to do.”

“This is so exciting, Reese. Are you excited? I knew you were going to get pregnant! How do you feel?” she continued.

“Congratulations Reese!” I heard John call from the background.

“You told John? My mom doesn’t even know yet!”

“He overheard. How do you feel, Reese? Are you okay?”

“No! This is literally the worst time for this to happen. I want a baby, just not now. I’m not prepared at all,” I whined.

“No one’s ever quite prepared for a baby. It’s scary now, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your maternal instincts kick in. This is great for you two, I think. It’ll force you to grow up and y’all can form a real bond outside of getting drunk every weekend.”

Excuse me? Kendra had some fucking nerve. She always acts like she and John are the most perfect adults and I really did not need that. Plus, I needed to tell Brady before he heard from someone else since Carly was telling everyone and everyone’s husbands were “overhearing.”

Brady walked through the door at 8:00pm. I was laying on the couch with a can of ginger ale and a bag of Doritos. He glanced at me quickly before making a beeline for the bedroom. “Are you feeling better?”

I followed him. “No. In fact, I got an update on my condition.”

Brady glanced over his shoulder at me. “Yeah, and?”

I was oddly excited to drop this bomb on him – especially after how cold and annoyed he was acting with me. “I’m pregnant.”

I could see him clench, but he continued getting undressed and didn’t bother facing me for a second.

“You are? Seriously?” Brady turned back to me, with his shirt open.

“Seriously. Two doctors confirmed,” I said, matter-of-factly.

“I thought you were on birth control.”

“I was. I am. It failed, obviously. Which can happen.”

“It only fails when you don’t take it.” Redness was creeping up Brady’s neck.

“Actually no, the doctor today explained to me how it works and it actually happens more often than you think. If you don’t take it take it at the exact same time everyday it can screw with your hormones,” I explained, calmly.

“Don’t you think it would have been important to understand all of this a long time ago? You should know how birth control works by now.”

“Don’t you think you should have known before blowing your load inside me?” I exclaimed. “This isn’t just my fault!”

Brady gave me a weird look, tilting his head. “I just don’t believe you. I don’t think you’re really pregnant.” He walked in the bathroom and turned on the shower.

Okay. If that’s how he wanted to be, that was fine. I put 27 blankets on the couch to make a comfortable sleeping area and turned on Drag Race reruns. This was after I’d slipped the doctor’s note under the bathroom door that said, “Patient is pregnant.”

I expected Brady to come out and talk to me like an adult – we had so much to discuss. I was already 6 fucking weeks in, after all! But he shut the door to the bedroom and went to sleep with Tucker. And I was up all night texting everyone and eating whatever I could find.

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i want him to myself.

Brady and I are going to Paris later this month and I am thrilled. I have spent the few months leading up to it stocking up on berets and scarves and pinning restaurants I want to go to and places I want to see. Brendan sent me a list of his recommendations, but gave a disclaimer. “I haven’t been since 2009 so these places might not be cool anymore.”

If anyone has any recommendations at all, please share.

The other day, Mike called me into his office. He was sitting behind his desk shuffling papers.

“What do you think of Kristina?” he said as a greeting.

“Kristina?” I repeated. “I think she’s great. Super outgoing and business savvy. I really like her.”

“I think she’s an airhead,” he said, continuing to shuffle his papers.

“Mike!” I exclaimed.

He finally looked up at me. “She seems spacey and she doesn’t know any of her numbers. I know she’s your friend, but… you’re going to have to work with her if you want to keep her around.”

Ouch. I didn’t realize Mike was so unimpressed with Kristina, but I told him I’d work with her because I can’t have my girl getting fired.

I called a one-on-one meeting with Kristina the following morning and the only thing she wanted to talk about the whole time was Brendan.

“Can you believe he has been married for three years?” she asked.

“How do you know that?” I needed to know.

“Instagram,” she replied proudly. “His wife wore custom Oscar de la Renta. I wonder how much that wedding cost.”

I hadn’t scrolled that far back on his Instagram and I instructed Kristina show me. She pulled up the wife’s Instagram and showed me a photo of the happy couple sitting in front of a little waterfall or something in their designer duds. Brendan looked like a little boy in his white tux, black pants and bow tie. Neither of them was smiling though – they both wore supermodel pouts.

“What’s the deal with them? Brendan hangs out with us all the time and never brings her,” Kristina said.

“I don’t know. Probably because it’s always work things. I’m sure she has her own friends and stuff.” I found myself feeling strangely protective of him and like, annoyed that Kristina was so concerned with/invested in his life.

“She’s in Mexico right now without him.”

“Kristina. Let’s get back to work.”

I went over some things with her and helped her create an Excel spreadsheet to organize all of her numbers.

“What’s all this for? Do I have a quiz or something coming up?” Kristina smirked.

“No, but I want you to have all of these numbers on hand in case Mike asks you. Just trying to set you up for success.”

Do you see what a great manager, mentor and friend I am?

When I got home, I fed Tucker and walked him, threw a Pinterest casserole in the oven and then poured a glass of Cab. I was texting with Carly who might have a job lined up. She wants to plan a girls trip to Palm Springs or something.

“I need a vacation if I’m going to start work again,” she said.

Brady walked through the front door at 8:30pm.

“Hey hey,” he greeted Tucker and me.

“Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes. Do you want a glass of wine?” I said back.

“Please. I’m just going to get changed.” Brady took off his jacket and I saw that he was wearing normal nice slacks with a light colored button down, unbuttoned at the top and no tie.

“What are you wearing?” I demanded.

“What?”

“Why are you like half dressed?” Brady is normally dressed impeccably complete with a tie so I imagined that he’d taken it off at some point during the day.

“Half dressed? This is what I wore to work…” he explained.

“What?” I hadn’t seen Brady before he left for work since he leaves at the literal asscrack of dawn.

“No one really dresses up that much. I guess I wanted to conform.”

I eyed his revealing neckline again, actually offended. He looked so…exposed. I’m so used to seeing Brady so buttoned up that it was bizarre that he was so casual. Seeing the little sliver of his Adam’s apple and collarbone, I thought of all his little tattoos and how his coworkers probably have no idea he even has them. He keeps his professional life and personal life super separate which I love. I didn’t want his coworkers to even think he was cool outside of work – they aren’t worthy. I wanted that version to myself.

“I don’t like that,” I concluded.

He laughed and said okay.

And since then he has gone back to wearing ties to work. Is it bad if I don’t fully believe him? Like I still imagine he fucked some nurse in the janitor’s closet and never put his tie back on after. Or he went out after work and took his tie off to look less stuffy and had secret drinks with someone else.

A few nights later, Sydney stopped by to pick something up. Brady informed me five minutes prior to her arrival.

“Ew. What does she possibly need to pick up?” I asked.

He gave me a disapproving look and shook his head.

“Hi, you guys!” Sydney said when she walked in, waving.

Brady had a folder waiting for her and hugged it against her body gratefully. “What are you guys up to tonight?”

“Literally nothing,” I said. She was wearing a leather jacket with a big, plaid scarf and you guessed it: workout pants.

“I’ve been wanting to try that French restaurant on the corner. Have you been?”

“Ah, uh….no, we haven’t,” Brady said back.

Sydney’s beady eyes lit up. “We should go!”

So that’s how we got roped into having dinner with Sydney. She was so excited to be hanging out with us which made me feel slightly bad for being annoyed that she was there. I guess since she had shlepped all the way from Brooklyn, she needed to make the most of it.

Brady and Sydney talked about politics all night. Presidential candidates, various policies, healthcare. It was so boring. I prefer to keep my head in the sand and let adults make those decisions. I’m sure Brady hates that he can’t talk about that stuff with me.

And then Sydney had to come back to the apartment with us after dinner because she’d left the folder she came for in the first place. I was feeling kind so I offered her a glass of wine. But then she overstayed her welcome and didn’t leave until 11:30pm. You give them an inch and they take a mile.

Standard

do not disturb.

The other day Mike stopped by my office on his way out. Mike only works in the office about three days a week and strolls out at 3:30pm. On this day it seemed weird though because we had dinner plans with a potential new client.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to dinner tonight,” he said unapologetically, not offering an explanation. “You still have Thomas and Nancy going so you won’t be alone.”

I’m nosy so I wanted to ask why he couldn’t make it to the dinner. Maybe he had a date with a prostitute. But probably not my place so I said, “Thanks for letting me know,” and left it at that.

Since Mike was no longer coming, I invited Kristina to tag along. May as well have someone to talk to since Mike wouldn’t be there. I let her know that it would just be us and Nancy and Thomas and that really, it was a good excuse to drink on the company’s dime.

But when we showed up, Brendan was sitting at the bar with Thomas. He was not invited. Kristina elbowed me as we walked in, knowing that he had come uninvited.

Usually Mike does a lot of the talking at these sort of things, but Kristina and I pretty much led the show. After the clients left, the four of us went back over to the bar to continue drinking.

“The two of you are like the dream team,” Thomas told us. “You could sell ice to an Eskimo.”

Clearly he was just flattering us and Kristina ate it right up.

“Yeah, Reese, we should ask Mike to do this all the time,” she said, batting her eyelashes.

As we were walking out and to our respective cars/rides home, Brendan fell into step next to me.

“Some friends and I are headed up to the mountains this weekend. My family’s got a cabin up there,” he said. “It’s usually pretty chill – we just play drinking games and stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city…”

It reminded me of when Brady and I first started hanging out when he would tell me about events, restaurants and things before inviting me like he wanted me to invite myself.

“Do you have plans this weekend?” he asked.

“My boyfriend and I are going to San Francisco to see his brother,” I blurted out, happy to have real plans.

Brendan seemed to look a mixture of surprised and relieved. “Cool. Regan and I haven’t been to San Francisco in a long time. We need to go back.”

Regan is the wife.

Actually though, I was not looking forward to going to San Francisco. I wanted to stay home with Tucker, drink green smoothies all weekend and not deal with Hunter and Dom drama.

Brady did work on the five hour flight there while I slept on and off and read a book.

“Love you,” Brady said, halfway into the flight and leaned over and kissed me.

I pulled away slightly. “That’s what you have to say all the time when you don’t show it.”

He laughed and went back to work.

Brady received a text from Hunter when we landed letting him know that he couldn’t pick us up from the airport and to call an Uber instead.

“Wifey,” he explained.

Here we fucking go.

When we go to their house though, Hunter was home alone with no wife or kids in sight.

“What’s up?” he bellowed, greeting us at the door. It was eerily quiet and odd to me that he could get away with shouting at 10PM.

He and Brady hugged and I dodged him, dragging my suitcase through the hallway. I was exhausted, but heard the two of them talking about going out.

“Cool, I’ll make us drinks,” Hunter concluded and walked around me toward the kitchen. “Hey, Reese.”

“Where’s your wife and kids?” I asked innocently because my nosy ass just had to know.

Hunter didn’t reply and pretended to be busy getting a cocktail shaker and bottle of Don Julio out of the cabinet. I went to the guest bedroom and emerged wearing dark jeans, a white Free People top and heeled mules. Little did I know, we were going to the local sports bar and not anywhere nice so I could’ve just worn my dingy travel clothes.

“So how have y’all been?” Hunter asked as we sat around the sticky high top table. He emphasized the word y’all and looked at me when he said it.

There was a moment of silence before Brady started talking about work because that is all he ever talks about. I sucked down my vodka sodas faster than the server could bring them out and I began to get talkative.

When we got back to Hunter’s, I was completely drunk and in my own world. I sat in the kitchen playing on my phone and feeling disgusting because of all the vodka I’d had. I don’t like to drink as much anymore, if you can believe it. I’m old now.

I realized I hadn’t seen Brady and Hunter for a while and got up to find them. I poked my head into the living room and dining room and didn’t see them, but saw a light on at the end of the hallway. I padded down there considering shouting, “What the fuck are y’all doing?” but decided against it because Dom and the kids could’ve come home while I was gone.

Brady and Hunter were in what looked like a home office, standing with their backs to the door at a huge book shelf. I couldn’t see what they were holding, but they were quiet for a minute before Hunter said something like, “This is the good shit. $80 a pop.”

Again, they were quiet and I marched in.

“What’s up?”

They both jumped fifteen feet in the air and Brady turned to face me while Hunter tried to furiously hide whatever they were looking at.

“Hey,” Brady said lazily, giving me a half smile.

“What are we looking at?” I pretended to whisper.

Hunter walked out of the room, while giving me one of his knowing looks. Brady grabbed my hand and we followed.

The next morning, I was woken up by screaming children. I discovered that it was 7:00am. Brady was kind of sleeping and I nudged him to make sure he was awake too.

“Like you’re fucking kidding me, right?” I said.

He smiled and rolled over so he was on top of me and started kissing my neck.

“Listen,” I said, pushing him off. “I can’t get in the mood with these wailing children. I can’t even hear myself think.”

Brady looked disappointed, but got up to go shower in the attached bathroom. After we were both showered and dressed, we went downstairs to see what all the commotion was about.

Hunter, Dom and the two adorable children were hanging out in the kitchen/dining room. It looked like the kids had eaten donuts for breakfast and the remnants were all over the counter and floor and clearly all that sugar had made them bounce off the walls. Even I know not to feed small children something like that if I didn’t want them to turn into hyper lunatics. Hunter was freshly showered and clean, looking like a 90s heartthrob with his hair down and parted in the middle. Dom looked super cute in matching yoga pants and a tank, with a zippered hoodie over it. And for once, she didn’t scowl as we walked in.

“Good morning!” I greeted the group.

The kids stood there looking shy and timid – the complete opposite of the crazed monsters there were moments before.

“Morning,” Hunter finally said. “We got some donuts if you want one. I was gonna make an omelet for myself.”

Brady dug into the donut box and grabbed a fat chocolate iced donut with sprinkles, but my hungover tummy could not handle that. I told Hunter that I’d also like an omelet and Dom jerked her head toward me. Oh.

“Hi Dom,” I said, sweetly, trying to pretend we don’t hate each other.

“Hello,” she said back, pretending to be super into the zipper on her hoodie.

Brady and I played with the kids for a while (they are SO goddamn cute and smart. My ovaries were quaking) and then Hunter said we were going into the city. I quickly went and put on mascara and SPF and was ready, but then it took them 45 minutes to get the kids ready and packed into the family car – a big Mercedes GLS 450. Dom insisted on sitting in the back seat between the two kids and Brady sat up front with Hunter which left me in the third row alone. I played Angry Birds the whole way there.

We walked around the cold wharf area for a while looking at the water and marine life. Dom was really annoyed with being out with the kids, but was actually being kind of nice to me (she told me where to stand to get a good picture of the sea lions). We grabbed a quick (it’s never quick with kids) lunch where Brady, Hunter and I ordered cocktails/beer. This infuriated Dom.

“Seriously, Hunter. Can you go through one meal without having alcohol to drink? Your children are here and you are responsible for getting us home,” she said. She was obviously pissed, but kind of just sounded concerned too.

Hunter smiled. “Relax, baby. It’s one beer. I’m going to be fine.”

But then, he ordered another beer before we left the restaurant. Afterwards, when we got outside, Hunter and Dom walked ahead of a little bit and I could see that she was not going to let that slide.

“Dom doesn’t like Hunter to drink?” I asked Brady because I was trying to make sense of it.

He shrugged. “I never really know what’s going on with them.”

They came back over after a few minutes and Dom started wrangling the kids.

“She’s gonna take the kiddos home,” he explained as we all just watched.

“Should we walk her to the car or something?” I asked because it seemed weird to just send her off like that.

“Nah,” was all Hunter said.

Dom had a backpack on and the little boy in her arms and held on the little girl’s arm. “Okay, we’re gonna go.”

“Bye, honey,” Hunter said, pecking her on the lips.

We really should’ve helped her to the car because thinking back, she looked like a tiny single mother trekking back.

We took an Uber to a street of bars and went into a divey dark bar with a pool table and patio out back. Hunter and I secured a table while Brady went to get drinks for us.

“I feel like Dom never wants to hang out with us,” I said to Hunter.

“She doesn’t,” he confirmed and added nothing else.

Brady came back and Hunter began telling us about all the nerdy guys he works with and their lack of social skills with women. It was actually pretty funny, but then these two tipsy girls came over to play on the pool table and Hunter’s attention diverted that way. The girls were like kind of cute I guess, with their mousy brown hair, flowy Old Navy dresses and kitten heels (one of them had on flat white sneakers), but nothing special. But every so often Hunter would shout things to them like, “Ah, so close!” and “Lean into the shot.”

Eventually he got up and went over there to give his commentary face to face. I tried to stop him before he went.

“Hunter,” I called, obviously not loud enough for him hear. “Don’t be a predator.”

After Hunter left, Brady and I danced and made out and had a good time for a few hours on our own. When we realized it was after 5pm and we were hungry again, we decided to find him. The bar was filled with a completely different crowd than when we first got there and Hunter was no where to be found. I was so irritated.

“He needs to learn how to keep his dick in his pants,” I said to Brady as we stepped outside to call his Hunter. Brady gave me a weird look like I shouldn’t have mentioned his brother’s dick and I shut up after that.

We found Hunter at a bar across the street with one of the two girls from before. She was definitely cuter of the two with a clean fresh face, high cheekbones and had pulled her hair into a bun on top of her head. So Brady and I sat down at their table and ordered a bunch of bar food plus more drinks and just had dinner there.

We finally got home around midnight and successfully prevented Hunter from having sex with any random women. I think he would’ve tried it, but his girl from before left at 7:00pm and made it clear that Hunter was not allowed to come with.

Again, the house was silent when we got home and Hunter loudly made more drinks for us in the kitchen. We stayed up for another hour or so before retreating to bed. Brady and I were dying to hook up after being all over each other all day and we excitedly got undressed and in bed. I climbed on top of him and was riding him into the sunset (sunrise?) while he whispered dirty things to me (I love Drunk Brady), when we heard the faint sounds of people yelling. I was going to ignore it, but I’m nosy and stopped so I could hear better. It was definitely Dom and she was definitely mad.

“It’s fine, keep going,” Brady said. And then I heard stomping down the hall outside our door and one of the kids crying. I don’t know, it’s a bit hard to be turned on while hearing parents fighting and children crying.

The next morning, Brady and I stayed in bed until 9:45am then got ready before heading to the kitchen. Hunter was at the dining room table wearing big headphones and was working on his laptop and it was very quiet so I assumed Dom and the kids had left.

“Good morning!” Hunter bellowed, looking delighted. “Sleep well?”

Clearly he was being ironic because obviously we couldn’t sleep well with him and Dom sparring with each other all night.

We had Blood Marys for breakfast before heading to the airport for our 2pm flight. I feel like I need a break from Hunter and Dom until they get their shit together. The weekend exhausted me and not just because we drank for twelve hours straight on Saturday.

When I got to work on Monday, Mike called me to his office.

“I’m behind on some financial data that need to be reconciled by end of day tomorrow. I wanted to see if you have the bandwidth to be able to assist,” he said, not wasting anytime.

And even though I was already swamped, I want Mike to know/think he can count on me for everything. So I spent the next nine hours at the office working on this new assignment and then several hours into the evening at home.

“Work busy?” Brady asked, after even he’d finished his work and I was still working on my laptop.

“Yeah. Mike has me doing this financial reconciliation project that is taking forever. We really need to hire someone to do specifically this,” I said.

“You should tell him if it’s too much for you,” Brady said and it kind of annoyed me. Like you’re not the only one who can be busy and have a large workload.

That Thursday, a few of us from the office went out for happy hour. Kristina and Sam were both in attendance along with two other girls, who are a bit older. We went to a little bar and restaurant not far from the office and gossiped over margaritas and Moscow Mules. We sat for like two hours until I pulled out my phone and saw that Brendan had texted me.

“Thomas and I are at White Horse if you want to join,” he said.

I nudged Kristina and showed her. She got a devilish look in her eyes. “Let’s go.”

I let Brendan know that Kristina and I were going to finish up our drinks and then head over (even though it was on the opposite side of the island). Then we proceeded to order two more drinks and then stayed for an additional hour before hopping in a cab downtown.

By the time we got there, the place was packed with finance bros. Kristina and I elbowed our way in until we found Brendan and Thomas and their entire team crowded around a table.

“Heyyyy,” Thomas greeted us with drunk affection.

He called the server and ordered us beers. Thomas and Kristina immediately fell into conversation while Brendan introduced me to the rest of his team. They were all rugged looking with facial hair and big, rough looking hands and likely at least a few years older than Brendan. It looked kind of weird that he was hanging out with them and that he is their boss. He definitely fit in with the finance boys a little more with his peacoat and designer dress shirt. I can understand him struggling to be taken seriously.

“How’s your week been?” Brendan asked

I sighed dramatically. “Busy. I can’t believe it’s only Thursday.”

“Yeah, I totally feel the same. I’m actually staying in the city this weekend so it’ll be nice to relax,” he said.

“I’m excited for a weekend to do absolutely nothing,” I said and Brendan laughed.

A little later, some of the scruffs had gone home and just a few of us remained. Brendan ordered Jameson shots for us. We were all obviously drunk, but not in a rowdy way. We were actually very well behaved. I was mostly talking to Brendan and his employee, Aaron, as I was sitting between them.

The night was winding down and as Brendan was settling the check, Kristina leaned across to me. “What are we doing after this?”

“Literally going home,” I laughed back. “It’s 11PM.”

She pouted. “Okay, fine.”

As we were filing out of the booth, Brendan grabbed my hand and helped me out. Perhaps I was more drunk than I thought. As we were putting on our coats and walking out, he said, “If you aren’t doing anything this weekend, I’ll be around….”

My heart jumped into my throat and Kristina came and hooked her arm around my elbow.

“Okay,” I said back coyly, strangely delighted that he’d asked me to hang out with him.

I didn’t hang out with him. I deliberately kept my phone on Do Not Disturb all weekend which didn’t matter because I checked the thing every five minutes and he thankfully didn’t message me. Way too much Jameson.

Standard

i don’t need to know her favorite sex position.

I tried to turn my Miami work trip into a weekend getaway with Brady, but he wasn’t having it.

“I have way too much work to do, I can’t leave for the whole weekend,” he told me.

“Oh please. It’s not like the hospital will burn down if you aren’t there,” I said. It was condescending, but come on.

I got to Miami on Thursday with Kristina, who manages our account there. We had back to back meetings, but I was just happy to be in the sun. After meetings, we changed and I got dressed in a white jumpsuit for drinks. I really had no business doing that because I had a ton of work piling up, but when in Miami.

After three drinks, Kristina said, “But anyway. Where’s your boyfriend?”

“He claims he’s too busy at work to come. I’m gonna chop his head off,” I answered.

“No, I mean your work boyfriend. Brendan.” She gave me a delighted smile.

Brendan loves me. Not in a romantic way at all, but he thinks I’m brilliant (Mike’s words) and hilarious and comes to me for literally everything. He also happened to be in Miami at the same time as us.

“Oh, I don’t know where he is. Probably somewhere texting his wife,” I said back.

Brendan and I have gotten so close that he followed me on Instagram and his Instagram is filled with pictures of his sappy wife. Like him, she looks about 21 years old (but he’s actually six months older than me). She looks exactly how I pictured with big, far apart eyes with an equally huge smile. She kind of looks like Woah Vicky from Instagram (she actually looks exactly like her, but I don’t want to be rude).

“Tell him to meet us out,” she enthused.

“No.” I know when to draw the line. Nothing good would happen if Brendan came out drinking with us – I could imagine my lips loosening and blabbering about Mike and his prostitutes. Brendan and I may be friends, but I don’t know where his loyalty lies.

“You hang out with him all the time. Why keep him to yourself?” she pouted.

It’s true. Like I said, Brendan comes to me for everything and stops by the office like twice a week to check in on things which I get the impression he didn’t do before I started. But again, it’s not romantic at all. I think he’s genuinely like a nice person. He always talks to me about his family (he’s super close with his younger sister) and WASPy hobbies and super involved weekends. Usually our conversation goes like this:

Brendan: “This weekend my dad and I went to Maine with my uncle who is a pilot and owns a small plane. My family has a cabin there and we like to go ice fishing. We went snowboarding on Sunday and went to the sauna in my family’s house after. What did you do?”

Me: “I fell asleep on the couch on Friday night at 9, day drank with Lola all day on Saturday and passed out on the couch before dinner. I spent all of Sunday recovering.”

He doesn’t talk about his wife literally ever, but posts pictures with her with really sweet captions on Instagram. And because he doesn’t talk about his wife, I don’t talk about Brady.

Once we were tipsy and exhausted, Kristina and I finally called it a night. When I got back to my hotel, I checked my phone to see that Nick had replied to my Instagram story.

“Ever coming back?” he asked.

And really, I shouldn’t have responded cuz like, who is Nick? But still, I said, “Next weekend actually!”

“Can’t wait,” he said back. I don’t know why Nick thought my trip to Chicago had anything to do with him or that I would even see him while in Chicago. But I just didn’t respond.

Kristina and I stayed until Saturday evening just to have an extra day to explore. We day drank and shopped (I had to buy an extra bag to get all my shit home).

Brady had friends over when I got home. Excuse me? He didn’t have time to come to Miami with me, but he had time to mingle with friends? Not to mention, Sydney’s huge eyeballs were the first ones I saw.

“Hey, babe. I’m glad you’re home,” Brady greeted me brightly with a kiss as he took my bag from me.

“Hey. It would have been nice not to come home to a house full of people, but whatever,” I said low enough so that no one else heard me.

Brady continued standing there smiling and I walked around him and greeted everyone. Besides Sydney, Zeke was there with some of his friends and Brady’s doctor friends Owen and Connor. Sydney was the only girl.

“Heyyyy, Reese!” she squawked.

“Come drink with us,” Zeke said.

As if I had a choice.

I went to the bedroom to change and Brady followed.

“How was your trip?” he asked.

I shrugged as I changed into workout pants. “You should’ve come.”

I pulled my shirt off and with my giant boobs out on display, he took a big step toward me and pulled me into him.

“Mmm, I missed you so much,” he murmured into my ear.

And I pushed him off thinking, if you didn’t have 50 people over we could fool around and hook up, but now we have to entertain them. I’m getting old.

The evening consisted of playing drinking games and Sydney being very vocal about her sexual experiences/preferences. I really could have lived my life without knowing that Sydney’s favorite position is doggy style.

The following weekend, Brady and I went to Chicago for Kendra and Mia’s birthdays. I was so excited to get back and see everyone and had plans to catch up with Preston and Lexi and some others after dinner with Kendra and John.

I put on a black and white printed blouse, girlfriend jeans, and white booties and we met them at Tao. Kendra and I screamed and cried when we saw each other.

“Oh my God,” she said, wiping her tears. “You look fantastic, Reese! Your hair is so long and shiny. And you’re glowy!”

“Um, excuse me? You look so fucking thin and perfect. I miss us!” We hugged again.

We all sat down and ordered a whole lot of food. They are trying for another baby.

“Isn’t Mia enough for now?” I exclaimed.

Kendra smiled. “We miss when Mia was teeny tiny and we want all of our kids to be close in age… You’ll see once you start having kids.”

They all just looked at me, including Brady.

“Okay,” I said.

Kendra leaned over with her chin in her hands. “So is living in New York City everything you thought it’d be?”

“Yeah, I think so. I like it, but I miss Chicago way more than I thought I would. I’m a little bit like, homesick, I guess,” I replied.

She gave me a sympathetic look. “Of course you are. Chicago was your home for like six years. Do you think y’all will ever love back?”

“Maybe. He doesn’t want to be in New York long term, but we are both fine for now.”

We caught up and talked about work. Kendra is about to get a promotion so she’s been working a lot (but still not as much as Brady because she gasped when I told her his schedule). I pointed out that it didn’t seem like a good time to be trying to expand her family and she rolled her eyes.

After dinner, the four of us headed up Old Town to a bar to meet up with Preston and Lexi and Alex later on.

Preston brought his new boyfriend, Ethan. I hate Ethan. He was super condescending and had the nerve to dominate the conversation to talk about himself. Who do you think you are, Ethan?

At one point he went to the bathroom and Preston leaned close. “What do you think? I know you aren’t going to believe me, but I’ve never felt this kind of connection with someone before.”

Oh, for fucks sake. “Really, Preston?”

I’ll bet $500 they don’t make it to summer.

We stayed out until the wee hours of the morning, until Kendra and John realized they told their sitter they’d be home at 2:00 and it was several hours later than that. We climbed into an Uber with me squished in the backseat between Kendra and Brady.

I pulled out my phone and saw that I had some messages from Nick. I forgot about him, again.

One was a tongue out selfie. “Waiting for you at Bottled Blonde.”

Then he said, “You in town?”

I had my phone pulled up close to my face because I was drunk and blind.

Brady said, “Who’s Nick?”

I pulled my phone away. “Oh yeah, he’s this guy I know.”

And to my complete shock, Brady reached for my phone so he could read the messages himself. Luckily though, Nick and I don’t have a recent text history so there was nothing to see.

“Are you going to text him back?” he said, handing my phone back to me.

“No.”

The next morning, we woke our hungover asses up to get ready for Mia’s party. They rented out a restaurant and John’s and family came for the occasion. I thought everything was going well until Kendra grabbed my elbow and pulled me to a corner.

“What’s up? Why are you acting crazy?” I asked.

“John is getting on my nerves,” she whispered.

“Duh. He’s been on my nerves since the moment I met him. What’s he doing?” I said.

“He and his mom are criticizing everything I did. She asked why we had the party at this restaurant and not one we talked about previously because it is bigger and has better food and John stood there agreeing with her like, ‘Yeah, why, honey?’”

Oh, I’d kill him.

“Me and John talked about this on more than one occasion. He’s just being an ass trying to impress his mom.”

I was actually surprised to hear this. Kendra is really close with John’s family and she’s known them for years. She doesn’t normally complain about stuff like that. But welcome to my life, girl.

Speaking of which, Brady’s mom texted me the other day. I hadn’t heard from her in a while and Brady hasn’t mentioned her at all.

She sent a link to an article from CNN that talked about sleeping habits. Uh, okay? It’s like she was trying to find an excuse to text me.

So I said back, “Thank you, I’ll read this when I have a chance. How are you?”

And then she didn’t even respond so whatever.

Let’s see, what else?

Work has been very busy. So busy that I don’t have time to text Brady and annoy him all day which I feel like is making me miss him. I get so excited to get home to tell him all about my day and work and hear about his day. It’s a good feeling. He’s still working a lot also, but makes a point to come home before 8:00 each night so we can have dinner together. He works until 11pm or midnight at home though, but I guess that’s fine.

Brady and I are going to visit Hunter in San Francisco next weekend and I’m sure I’ll have come stories from that. Ciao!

Standard

i actually have work to do.

Carly came to visit as promised. She ditched Chris and Sloan and hopped on a train on Saturday morning. It was perfect timing because Brady decided to work that day. Brady has been working like his life depends on it. More about that later.

I invited Lola over also so we could all sit in my warm apartment (we have a fireplace) and gossip.

“Oh my God, I love your place!” Carly exclaimed several times. “Do you think Brady will mind if I move in?”

“He’s never home anyway,” Lola said.

Even though she was right I glared at her. Brady usually leaves the house in the morning at around 5:30 – this is after he’s gotten ready and taken Tucker for a walk. Then we can expect him home between 8 and 9:30pm. And he’s worked the past several weekends. So yeah, he’s never home, but I didn’t need Lola to point that out.

I made us a fabulous vegan brunch consisting of fresh fruit, a sweet potato and kale hash, chia pudding and ginger shots.

“I’m going crazy,” Carly announced. “I’m bored and I have cabin fever and I catch myself baby talking to other adults.”

“Why don’t you get a job?” I asked.

“I’m looking. Chris doesn’t want to put Sloan in daycare right now though.”

“Tell him to stay home with the baby while you get a job,” Lola chimed in.

Sixteen mimosas later, we were talking about Brady again after Carly and Lola complained about their respective men. Carly is annoyed that her life is so boring and Chris doesn’t seem to care because he wants her home with Sloan. Lola and I told her that she should get a part time nanny and then either get a part time job or a hobby. That’s what I would do. Carly is also mad because she told her job that she’d be back like 6 months ago and she hasn’t so they replaced her. She’d have to find an entirely new job.

Lola is always annoyed with Kellen, but on this particular day, she was mad at him because he told her he needed space, that he didn’t want to feel like he was dating his mom. So harsh.

“I’m just trying to help him better his life. He still lives like he’s in college, eating corn dogs and shit for dinner,” she explained.

Carly made a face. “I refuse to have anything like that in my house.”

I really had nothing to say because I’m usually eating a pound of chips and bacon ranch dip for dinner or nothing at all. And I am way too old for that.

“Brady has always been like that, Reesie,” Carly said after I’d complained to them about his schedule.

“I know, but he keeps promising that he will try harder and he doesn’t,” I said.

“You know…” Carly swirled her mimosa. “If Brady didn’t get this job, you guys wouldn’t even be here. So really, you should be grateful that he has it.”

“I’d much rather be back in Chicago than this!” I blew up at her. “Are you kidding me? Why should I be grateful that he dragged me across the country and has no regard for me or my feelings?”

Carly threw her hands up and Lola said, “Just do your own thing. If he can’t find a way to spend time with you then he doesn’t want to. He’s not the president of the United States.”

“Thankfully,” I muttered.

“Yeah, just try to find things to do on your own, babe,” Carly said, touching my hand. “I really think you should join a book club or a fitness class or something.”

A fucking book club. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore because they didn’t get my point.

That evening, Carly and I got dressed to go out for drinks and Brady walked in. I hadn’t heard from him all day because he’s so busy at work that he can’t text. I used to blow up his phone and make him at least acknowledge me, but I don’t even try anymore.

He greeted both of us with hugs and I let him know that we were going out.

“Yeah, do you want to come?” Carly said.

Brady looked at me before answering and he must have been gauging my reaction because he said, “No, that’s okay. I’m pretty tired-”

“Cool. Good,” I said. Stay your ass at home then.

Later on in the night, Carly said, “I sort of felt like you when Chris and I first moved.”

“Really?” I said back.

“Yeah,” she nodded. “Chris was working a lot and I didn’t like my job and I was homesick.”

“What did you do to get over it?”

“Well, I stopped thinking Philadelphia was going to be anything like Chicago and tried to be more open minded. I found a new job and started going to any fitness class I could find.”

“Mmhm,” I murmured back, taking a sip of my drink.

“And a word of advice. You have to think about your future – if you are going to start a family with Brady and expect him to be the breadwinner, he’s gonna have to work a little bit harder to get where he wants to be. It sucks now, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.”

I rolled my eyes at her. I don’t need anyone to be the breadwinner. I make plenty of money on my own. And when we do begin having children, if he thinks he’s going to be able to work 100 hours a week and not help me with the baby, he is in for a rude awakening. And the nerve of Carly to even try to give me that advice. She hates being a stay at home Mom and having to rely on Chris so why would she think I wanted to do it?

Anyway, on Sunday after Carly left, Brady and I went for a walk. We just wanted to get out of the house. And when he started telling me about work, about how stressed he is about his workload and how there isn’t enough time to do it all, I started feeling bad. I’ve pretty much gotten used to him not coming home until late or working at home on Monday nights and not even looking up when Tucker and I run screaming through the apartment chasing each other. I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t bother texting him to check in, keeping his dinner warm for him or even caring about it. I really should be more empathetic, but so should he. He’s the one who took this job.

But anyway, to actually have work to do feels nice. I’ve been super busy trying to catch up because there’s a lot and Mike is impatient. He’s a deadlines kinda guy and gives me a deadline for everything.

“Please print and read this SOP by end of day.”

“I need these expenses consolidated by end of week.”

“I’d like you to schedule lunches with these partners and please have this done within the next hour.”

And he loves changing deadlines so I have to reprioritize several times a day. It’s such a joy working for him.

Despite this, I am really liking my job. I love having a smaller office because first of all, less personalities but also it’s a lot easier to get ideas approved and implemented. And I have a lot of ideas. Whenever I think something can be done better or more efficiently, I tell Mike and he rolls his eyes and tells me that we can do it as long as I agree to take ownership of it.

I also love that we work with so many different vendors and partners. I get to talk to new people everyday and it makes up for not having a ton of people to talk to in the office.

I love this woman we work with named Nancy. She is basically what I’m going to be in twenty years. At our first meeting, she arrived wearing Manoko Blahnik flats and a furry cape.

“Hi, great outfit. Should we get to work?” she greeted me.

I appreciate people who don’t bullshit around. She’s also super business savvy and transparent which is great.

“Listen, if we installed all IKEA furniture, this client wouldn’t bat an eyelash. We are fine,” she told me once.

And she has the most chic dyed blonde bob that I can totally imagine myself sporting when I’m over fifty.

Another time, she said, “I am so glad Mike finally found someone else to do this job. I love Mike – we all love Mike – but he’s not the best at nurturing relationships, is he?”

I mean no, but he did find me after a year to ask me to come work for him so there’s that.

We had a budget meeting the other week that was supposed to be just me, Thomas and some others, but one of Mike’s meetings got rescheduled so he insisted on coming with me. Brendan was also there, uninvited.

So instead of the meeting going how I’d planned, Mike kept interjecting and asking questions that I’d planned to cover later on. Just let me do my job, dude.

At first when he would ask questions, I would coyly smile and say, “I was getting to that next.”

Brendan gave me a look like, “I can’t believe you just said that to your CEO,” but Mike can handle it. Eventually though, I just started answering his questions.

Afterwards, we all walked back to the office together and Brendan said to me, “He seems tough.”

“He is, but I am too,” I confirmed.

Everyone at the office is always really surprised that I say (mostly) what I want to Mike. I actually feel like I walk on eggshells around him, but I’m at least honest. Everyone else just shuts their mouths and nods.

Brendan laughed because apparently he thinks I’m so funny. He started telling me about his team and the growing pains he was going through with his company and how he and his dad had completely opposite views on running a business.

“My dad is a workhorse and expects everyone else to be. He ran a really strict and tight ship and I’m not really that way. I’m not a control freak and I think that makes people think I’m either lazy or don’t know what I’m doing,” he explained.

“Yeah, I think Mike is more like your dad. I can understand where you’re coming from though, I am a firm believer in only hiring people you can trust to do their job without having to babysit them,” I replied.

A little while later, Brendan nudged me through his coat pocket and said, “You never know, maybe one day you’ll take his job.”

We all got back to the office and grabbed coffee/tea in the kitchen. This turned into me, Brendan, Thomas, Sam and Kristina standing around for twenty minutes laughing and talking. After they left, Kristina cornered me in my office.

“Oh my gosh, Brendan is hot, isn’t he?” she exclaimed.

“Yeah, but he’s married so calm down,” I said to her.

“Ugh.” She pretended to pout and crossed her arms defiantly.

I’m supposed to be working primarily with Thomas and whenever he emails me, he always copies Brendan and Mike. And Brendan usually responds and ends up taking care of whatever it is that Thomas was trying to get done. So much for not being a control freak, right?

Since Brady has decided to live at work, I’ve been going through his messages. I mainly just want to see who he has time to text since he has no time to text me.

Apparently, no one. Not even his mother. She sends him messages once every few days with either links to articles or asking him questions and he never responds to her. But she is persistent and continues messaging him. The latest article she sent him was something like “things you should know before marriage.” Not sure what she thinks is going on, but obviously Brady and I are not getting married anytime soon.

Anyway, I should go. I/we have lots of travel coming up, but I’ll be sure to update y’all. Bye!

Standard

of course he hires prostitutes.

Brady’s mom sent him a long text message after our Thursday meeting. She basically said the same things she told me, but it was obvious that they’d spoken on the phone beforehand because she said things like, “You don’t seem to care how she spoke to me today and that’s disappointing.”

You know what else is disappointing? You are, you bitch. She also said things along the lines of, “I didn’t raise you to be this way,” and “I thought you’d be a little more considerate after how Hunter handled things with his wife.”

She’s such a victim. I rolled my eyes at her long message and was at least happy that Brady didn’t bother responding.

On Friday, Mike was back in the office. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. Sam, who had been busy, but chill the past several days, was clearly stressed about him being around. Like, relax.

Mike and I were meeting with the head of a construction company we partner with for a lot of our projects for lunch.

“How was your uh, New Years?” Mike asked on our walk over.

Sam wasn’t with us and I really needed her as a buffer. Mike has zero social skills.

“It was okay. My boyfriend and I went to a house party with some friends and spent all of New Year’s Day recovering,” I said. Why did I say that? Why? “Uh, how was yours?”

“It was all right. We need to turn here,” he replied.

We didn’t say anything else the rest of the walk. We were meeting with Thomas, the head of sales and Brendan, the CEO. Brendan was cute, I noticed, with his dirty blonde fuckboy haircut (faded on the sides and styled on top with a damn part cut into it), manly dimpled chin and super soft, gentle green eyes. Do you ever look at someone and feel like you can tell their entire story just by the way they look? With his long sleeved henley and swimmer shoulders and pea coat draped over the back of his chair, I could tell that he came from old money, was clearly filthy rich and liked to sail as a hobby. He was obviously the president of his fraternity in college (an Ivy League), was a self proclaimed beer snob and worked out like it was a religion. I was surprised that he wasn’t working on Wall Street. He looked younger than me in my opinion, but had a wedding band on. I could even picture what his wife was like.

Mike and the guys spoke mostly, but then Brendan said, “Do you have anything to add to that?” to me. And he said it kind of shyly, like he wasn’t sure if it was his place to ask me to talk.

“Yes, I have loads to add,” I said back. I always have things to add. I didn’t shut up the rest of the lunch and kept talking so much that Mike actually raised an eyebrow at me.

Eventually we stopped talking business and Brendan started telling us about the ski trip he was taking to Yellowstone. To my surprise, Mike actually showed a bit of interest and they carried on talking about the resort and stuff I could not relate to. Typical rich New Yorkers.

“Do you like to ski, Reese?” Brendan asked, realizing I hadn’t said anything for a while.

“I’ve only been a handful of times and as you can imagine, I’m not very good,” I replied.

Brendan tossed his head back and actually laughed a real, genuine laugh, revealing the most adorable smile with the cutest teeth even though he had noticeable fangs. His mouth was kind of wide too with dimples punctuating it. The rest of the conversation I spent staring at his mouth.

After lunch, we all got up and Mike told Thomas that I was the main point of contact and that we’d probably be working together a lot.

Thomas, a ginger (I love gingers), smiled big like this was the best news ever. “Looking forward to working with you more, Reese.”

Mmkay.

As we were walking out, Brendan fell into step next to me and the other two were a few feet ahead of us.

“Where are you from?” he asked me.

“Most recently Chicago. I went to school in Arizona and grew up just outside Houston, Texas,” I answered politely.

He laughed again. “What company did you work for? I see you’re new.”

Oh. So he didn’t want my whole life story?

I told him and he just said, “Ah, I see.”

“What about you? Where are you from?” I asked.

“Born here and went to school in Pennsylvania,” he said. “I was working on my own business for a while out of school until I sold it and took over this job.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem really young to have such a big job,” I said.

Brendan laughed, once again. “You’re not the first person to say that, don’t worry. It’s a family business. I was the only one fit to take over for my dad. Yeah, it might be a bit premature, but it is what it is.”

Typical. Taking over the business from Daddy. There seemed to be more to that story, but I didn’t think it was my business. We chatted a bit more about the city and when I told him the neighborhood I live in, he gave me some recommendations for places to eat and things to do. I added them to my mental NYC Bucket List.

Later on in the day, Mike forwarded me an email that was originally addressed to him asking for some reports to be summarized.

“Please complete this by end of day. Thx,” he said.

Not only did I have other shit to work on, but it was already 3pm. The day was practically over. Mike went offline immediately after sending that to me.

Kristina stopped by my office a little while later.

“Hey chica,” she greeted me. She’s 26 and high energy – she’s always running around, sending emails and talking on the phone and in a hurry. Love her, but her job is not as important as she tries to make it. I think she’s super cool though and she’s single so we talk about men and dating a lot. Unlike Gabby, she doesn’t feel like she needs a boyfriend, but just likes to have fun. “What time are you leaving? We should get a drink. Or several.”

“Ugh, I’m not sure. Mike just give me a ton of extra work to do and then just left. So…” I said back.

Kristina made a face and pranced out of my office, shouting to let her know when I was finished. I ended up finishing things up at 6 and Kristina was waiting for me at the office door. We walked to a nearby restaurant for their happy hour.

We immediately began gossiping about work. Kristina was filling me in on everyone’s stories: who is a suck up and who is lazy, etc. We seemed to have the exact same opinion of people and I loved that about her. I’m a good reader of people and it was nice to know that she is too. Kristina has a trendy blonde bob and always wear lipsticks and dresses like an Instagram fashion blogger with her layers and colors and prints. She’s super cute.

We moved onto Mike and she said, “It’s weird that he left so early today. He probably has a date with one of his ladies.”

“What ladies?” I needed to know.

“His escorts.”

What?” I gasped. “What are you talking about?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear. He hires hookers all the time. Sam found out when she saw a hotel room in the city for him on his statement. He told her that it was for personal use, but he needed to book it with his corporate card. After digging a little bit, Sam realized that he was meeting prostitutes. There are hotel charges on his card like twice a month.”

“Oh my God!” I screamed. Finally! Something juicy. For some reason, I just wasn’t surprised. Like, of course Mike would. He’s hot, but he has no social skills so he probably can’t pick up women on his own. I bet Scott hires them for himself too.

Brady came home late on Friday night even after I texted him saying we should go out for dinner. See how he makes me a priority? He doesn’t. I made myself a protein smoothie for dinner and made him fend for himself. I was still upset about the whole thing with his mom and I was annoyed that he hadn’t brought it up again.

Brady worked again on Saturday and I used that as an excuse not to leave the house. By the time he got home from work, I’d done nothing except go through every single one of his messages. I was disappointed to not find anything incriminating, not even in his messages with Sydney. In fact, he said some really sweet stuff about me to her before Christmas. Clearly he’s onto me and knows I’m reading his messages.

“I’m super tired. Let’s stay in and watch a movie tonight,” he said when he got home.

“Gladly,” I said back, thinking we’d be able to talk.

That is, until he said, “I think I’m gonna go in again tomorrow. I have a lot to do and I want to get it completed as soon as I can.”

Seriously? After we ate dinner, I locked myself in the bedroom and texted him, “This relationship won’t work if I’m the only one trying. You’re choosing to work instead of spending time with me and that’s not okay. You promised you wouldn’t work as much anymore and you’re not even making an effort. And don’t even get me started on your mother.” I was hiding in the bedroom so he wouldn’t try to kiss me or kiss my hand or distract me.

Brady opened my message and spent five whole minutes trying to formulate a response.

“I don’t want you to think I’m choosing work over you because I’m not. I’d like to finish my work this weekend because it will make it easier for me in the long run. I have a very large workload which I warned you about [he did, back when we were in Chicago]. I’m seriously trying my best and I’m sorry I’m not doing a better job.”

I felt like he was blowing smoke just like he did with his mother. And, to my horror, I caught myself thinking, “Brendan would never choose work over me and I bet his mom wouldn’t try to bully me into moving out.” Of course she would, bitch, because he’s married!

I stayed in the bedroom until morning and Brady had to bang on the door so he could get in the closet. I felt a teensy bit bad that I’d unintentionally forced him to sleep on the couch, but not really. We haven’t spoken much since, but he’s been trying to be really nice and sent me all these ideas for what to do next weekend.

Standard

he was the perfect height to slap.

Mike asked me to come in on New Year’s Eve. The office was closed, but he wanted to catch up on some things that supposedly couldn’t wait until Wednesday. I was so annoyed. Brady had to work also so we got up and got ready together.

When I got to the office, Mike was already there sitting in his big office alone. He wasn’t sitting in his rolling office chair though, instead in one of the side chairs with his legs wide open like he was waiting for a lap dance. He glanced up at me from his iPad briefly before motioning to the other chair.

“Hi Reese. Thanks for coming in today. Samantha has the day off,” Mike said.

As we all should.

“No problem,” I said back.

He listed off some “end of year” things that needed to get done before the day was over. I tried not to roll my eyes. Would it have killed him to give me this list before the last day of the year when I was supposed to be home making plans and day drinking?

An hour later, as I was digging into my list, Mike stopped by my office door with his laptop bag.

“I’m heading out. If you need anything today, please text me,” he said.

I looked down at the clock on my computer. It was 9:30am.

“Wow, this early?” I said as sweetly as I could. I really should have kept my mouth shut, but I couldn’t.

“Yes,” he sighed. “I’ll be back most likely Friday. Do you think you can handle things until then?”

I mean, not really.

“Sure.”

And I was absolutely furious because it wasn’t like I could just duck out after he left since he gave me actual work to do. What an asshole.

I turned on Ariana Grande and cranked out the work I needed to do and stayed until 4pm.

“Headed home. Pop the champagne,” I texted Brady on my way home.

He replied, “Not heading home and probably not getting off anytime soon.”

We actually didn’t have any plans, but that didn’t mean I wanted him at work all night.

“What the fuck ever, dude,” I replied to him.

When I got home, I opened a bottle of the expensive wine from Brady’s collection, took it to the bath with me, and stayed there for an hour. By the time Brady came home at 8pm, I was a bottle and a half deep, in velvet pajamas and raging mad.

“You’re so fucking inconsiderate,” I bombarded him at the door.

“Excuse me?” he said back.

“Why would you stay at work this late on New Year’s Eve?” I demanded.

“Because I have work to do. You know that, Reese,” Brady said and he walked past me.

“Well, we’re going out so get ready fast!” I shouted.

He came and found me in the bedroom where I was digging through the closet trying to find something to wear. “Where are we going?”

“Out. We’re meeting up with Lola.”

Brady put his hands on my waist, trying to kiss my neck. I pushed him off.

“None of that. If you would’ve come home at a decent time, we would’ve had time to do stuff. But you didn’t so we don’t!” I said. It sounded just like that infamous episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians when Kim went off on Kourtney.

I changed into a skort and tights with a body suit, booties and a fur jacket and packed my flask with tequila. We were meeting Lola, Kellen, Zeke and some others in Brooklyn for a house party because we didn’t buy tickets to a club. I couldn’t be bothered with a club anyway.

The party was in a large high-rise apartment with big windows everywhere. All of the lights were off and the place was being illuminated by the windows and neon purple lights. There was a pile of shoes at the door where all of the guests had ditched them. It seemed a bit unsanitary, but I was drunk enough from pregaming not to care.

Soon after arriving, it became apparent that everyone was on drugs and they were passing around baggies of crushed up molly and cocaine, I’m sure.

“Ew, why is everyone on fucking molly?” I asked Lola.

She was fighting with Kellen and he was with Brady doing their own thing. She was wearing leather pants, a hoodie and red socks and looked like a gothic Barbie with her long eyelashes and red lipstick.

“Grow up, Reese. It’s a party,” she said, rolling her eyes.

No one was really drinking though (too fucked up on everything else), but I found a guy who would take shots of Grey Goose with me. I’m too fucking old to be taking shots, I wish someone would stop me. Lola was tagging along with me nursing a can of Red Bull. Her pupils were the size of saucers all night.

At midnight, I was racing around trying to find Brady to make out with him, but I couldn’t find him until like 1:15am. Lola tsk-tsked the whole time because men cannot be trusted and she suggested he was up to no good. He walked back into the apartment from the hallway with Zeke and some other guys.

“Just where the hell have you been?” I demanded when I saw him.

“Getting some fresh air, Reese,” he smiled, using a tone like it was so obvious what he was doing.

Brady broke away from his friends and I was a bit quieter as I continued my tirade and followed him.

“Getting some fresh air?” I repeated. “You missed the countdown! I may as well have just come out alone!”

He turned and grabbed my shoulders like I am two years old. “Relax.”

“You fucking relax!” I exploded. “Don’t touch me.”

I stormed off and ignored Brady for the rest of the evening. Lola and I made our rounds and then settled into one of the couches with Zeke. They are both pro-anal and trying to talk me into it, but I just can’t. In fact, I won’t. I would never.

When it was time to go, Brady and I said our goodbyes and got in our Uber together then I cracked my knuckles to begin on him.

“It’s totally fine if you want to be irresponsible and pop pills and snort coke with your friends, but at least be considerate and don’t ditch me.”

He nodded. “Okay.”

“Asshole,” I mumbled.

The next morning, I woke up in bed alone. I felt like complete shit. Lola had texted me, “Kellen wants to know how Brady’s reaming went last night?”

I suddenly remembered leaving the party at the same time as Lola and Kellen and continuing to fight with him and telling them how I planned to kill him. Oops.

Brady was sleeping on the couch in all of his clothes with Tucker. Another New Years Eve spent fighting.

His mom texted me later in the morning. I was sitting on the living room floor with a homemade smoothie bowl (I wanted a bacon cheeseburger to cure my hangover, but new year, new me, bitch) and my phone vibrated.

“Hi Reese. Happy New Year to you. How are you?” she said.

It was like she knew I was sitting, unbathed, on the floor.

“Hi, I’m great. Thanks for asking. How are you doing?” I said back.

“Are you available for lunch on Thursday?”

She didn’t beat around the bush. I told her sure and she replied with a gushing message about having a great new year and something about the Bible.

That evening at dinner, I told Brady that he better deal with his mom.

“She’s going to try to get me to move out which is insane because I found this place!” I said.

“I’ll deal with it,” Brady assured me and I automatically didn’t believe him.

I was back at work on Wednesday. Most of what I’ve been doing was organizational stuff and tying up loose ends which was easy and satisfying. It’s funny – I am a total hot mess and disaster at home and my shit is so unorganized and it drives Brady crazy m. But at work, I am completely type A and everything has to have a place and be done correctly. I’m kind of psycho about it.

Samantha stopped by my office in the morning.

“Hi Samantha,” I greeted her.

“Hey, do you need anything from me today?” she asked.

“Uh, no?” I said.

“Okay. I’m supporting both you and Mike now so if you need anything, please let me know,” she smiled. “And call me Sam.”

I have a few theories. 1. Technically in my role, I’m supposed to have my own assistant, but Mike is being cheap and using Sam for both of us to save money. 2. Mike doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea about only him having an assistant so decided to extend her services to me. Plus he’s never in the office so might as well. 3. Sam just wanted to spend more time with me. I think it’s 3, obviously.

I was looking forward to lunch with Brady’s mom on Thursday. She let me know that she’d made reservations at The Smith for 11:30am. I took a yellow cab over and was shocked to discover that I beat her there. I never beat her anywhere! It was only by about two minutes, but still. She’s lucky she walked in when she did though because I was about to order two Bloody Mary’s and surprise her.

She hugged me and we sat and she asked me about work. I was happy to have something to talk about and rattled on about work for literally half an hour until the soup we ordered arrived. I kept thinking of things to add, telling her about our office, the companies we work with, what I find most interesting about work and even Mike. Because I am a talker. I talk way too much. Brady’s mom just nodded and occasionally smiled and asked questions. Bless her heart.

Eventually, she said, “Brady’s asked me to be patient with your living situation.”

“Mmhm,” I murmured.

“I think I’ve been very clear about why this doesn’t work. I’m sympathetic if there are financial hindrances preventing you from living alone. I wanted to let you know that our apartment is always open. We have a guest bedroom that we would be more than happy-”

Wait. What?

“There are no ‘financials hindrances.’ I could afford to live on my own if I wanted to. But I don’t, so…” I told her.

The mom tilted her head slightly, but didn’t say anything.

“I don’t know if you’re aware, but Brady invited me here with him – to live with him.”

“It’s disgusting,” she said sternly. “And it’s disappointing that you are choosing this path of disrespect.”

For some reason, I actually felt really bad that she thought I was deliberately disrespecting her.

“I assure you I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all and I don’t want you to get that impression. I’m sorry if Brady gave you false expectations, but I don’t plan on moving out,” I said.

“You need to. You really need to.” Brady’s mom had this crazy, psycho look on her face with flared nostrils and everything.

In that moment, I wanted to kill him for putting me in that situation. Why was it so hard for him to be honest with his parents? As you can imagine, the rest of the meal was awkward and we were both dying to get out of there. She was a bit abrupt when we said goodbye and did not hug me or say anything nice.

My mom texted me later, while I was at home waiting for Brady to get home so I could kill him.

“I guess you’ve really pissed Brady’s mother off if she feels like she needs to call me,” she said.

I called her immediately.

“What did she say?” I demanded.

“Hi doll!” my mom shouted into the phone. “Give me just a second, I just walked into Arhaus. Hi! Happy New Year to you! How is everything?”

My mom was having a full on conversation with a sales associate while I screamed at her to come back to the line. I was so mad about Brady’s mom that I was shaking.

“Hi babe, I’m sorry. They have such good stuff here. What’s going on?” Mom said.

“What did Brady’s mom say?”

“Oh, nothing, just that she doesn’t like y’all living together,” my mom said, downplaying the whole thing.

“And what did you say?”

“Well, she didn’t let me talk very much because she was very upset. Maybe you should think about finding your own place since y’all aren’t married.”

“Mom!” I screamed.

“The only reason I say that is because there are no laws to protect you if you’re just living together. That’s why people get married,” she explained.

“Mom, protect me from what?”

“You never know what could happen, honey. Cynthia [one of my mom’s hot mess friends] was dating a man and he just up and left one day, never to be heard from again. He left her with a car that wasn’t paid off, the house and all the bills and she couldn’t do anything because they weren’t married.”

Ugh. Just because Cynthia was an idiot doesn’t mean I am.

Brady got home at 9:30pm. He had a little white box from a bakery with him.

“I’m so annoyed,” I informed him.

“Yeah? Why?” I could tell he knew where the conversation was going and was over it.

“You know exactly why. You told your mom to be patient while I found somewhere to live. Why can’t you just tell her that I’m not moving? I fucking live here!”

In true Brady fashion, he sulked off, mumbling something about me needing to calm down. I chased him.

“This isn’t fair, honestly. I don’t owe your mother anything, you realize that right?”

“Yes, I realize that! And you made that very clear today when you met with her,” he snapped back.

“Of course I did!”

Brady started undoing his tie and getting undressed slowly.

“Should I just move out then?” I asked, calmly.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not,” he said as he rolled his eyes. “I have it under control.”

“Clearly you don’t because your mom called me disgusting today!”

Brady didn’t say anything and walked out of the bedroom in just his t-shirt and slacks. I sat there and cried. I feel like I want this way more than Brady does. I don’t know what to do. He literally doesn’t even try. Why did I even bother moving here with him when he doesn’t put in any effort?

Later on, after I worked in the bedroom for a few hours while Brady worked in the living area, he came and found me.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

I was sitting Indian style on the bed and he came and kneeled down in front of me. I could’ve slapped him right then because he was at the perfect height.

“I could’ve stayed in Chicago. I was perfectly happy there. My job was going fine and all my friends are there,” I said.

“Really?” he actually seemed surprised.

“Yes. You clearly don’t give a shit about our relationship.”

“That isn’t true.”

I felt like it was still his turn to talk so I didn’t say anything.

“I’m sorry. It really doesn’t matter about my mom. You know I don’t care about her or what she thinks, we just have to deal with her because she is close-by.”

“Oh, I don’t have to deal with anyone. She’s not my relative,” I scoffed.

Brady nodded. “I know.”

And then he had the goddamn nerve to gently push me back on the bed so he could kiss all over my thighs really sweetly before going down on me. Which I was obviously going to let him. It’s like he never stops wanting to fool around and eat me out. That doesn’t make up for his lack of communication and lack of common fucking sense. I feel like the only thing he cares about now is my vagina.

Standard

lying comes easy to me.

Mike didn’t show up at the office until Thursday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we corresponded through email a bit, but I mostly caught up with people in the office. It quickly became apparent that no one was prepared for my arrival and had any idea that I was coming.

One of the girls, an account manager named Kristina, said, “Mike hired you? Really? For what?”

I laughed. Haters gonna hate.

“No, I’m not trying to be rude!” she quickly recovered. “He was hiring for a project manager. Is that you?”

“That’s me,” I said back.

Kristina looked embarrassed. “Amazing. That’s really cool. Where did you work before?” She had a deep voice, especially for her small body.

We chatted for a bit and decided to grab coffee (juice). I sensed I could get some good info from her and she seemed to like to talk.

“So you worked with Mike before?” she asked while we waited in line at Joe & The Juice.

I nodded. “For a bit. He left to take this job and no one had heard from him since.”

“Cool. We actually don’t see him often, but he’s brilliant when he speaks. He always has really intelligent things to say,” she said.

I searched her face for any trace of sarcasm, but she was serious.

“Yeah. He’s a bit intense and unnecessarily unkind, but he’s okay,” I said back.

We headed back and chatted on Google the remainder of the day. My first friend!

When Mike finally showed up on Thursday, I was perfecting some busy work he had assigned me while adding to my growing to-do list I was making for myself. I was also texting inappropriate things to Brady because I feel that it’s my duty to entertain/bother him while he’s working.

“Hi Reese,” I heard Mike’s voice from the door, sounding like a serial killer. I jumped five feet in the air.

“Oh, hi!” Mike was standing in my doorway wearing a suit and dress shirt with no tie and Samantha was peeking in from his side. Mike is kind of cute I guess, with his linebacker build, shaved head and pointy ears. “It’s good to see you.”

“Let’s touch base in fifteen minutes. Samantha will add it to your calendar,” he said, not sounding amused with me at all.

The thing about Mike is that he can’t be won over by batting eyelashes and compliments. I’d kind of forgotten that.

“Sure, that sounds great!”

For the next fifteen minutes, I wrote down a list of the observations I’d made and questions I had for him. I wanted to have something prepared just in case.

Mike wanted to meet in the conference room and before I even sat down, he explained that he had a to-do list for me. He didn’t bother looking up from his iPad.

“There’s a project we are right in the middle of and it’s a disaster. The contractors have pulled out of the agreement and the project has been put on hold, but we still have deadlines to meet. That is your first priority,” he said.

I scrambled to pull out my notebook to write this down.

“Second priority, we are juggling another project in Miami and it needs some tending to. I don’t have time to go to Miami. Head down there and see what’s going on. Take someone with you,” he continued.

“Okay.”

“Third priority, now that you’re here, we need to push for more accounts. We need more business. We will fail if they don’t open more accounts.”

Mike finally looked up from his iPad.

“Sounds great. I think I can handle this,” I said back. Mike is super intimidating, has Big Dick Energy and I hate how childish I sound around him.

“I’d hope so,” he said, looking at me like I was two years old.

I really forgot how lovely Mike is.

“Anything else?” I asked.

Mike didn’t answer me and started rattling off something to Samantha, who was sitting next to him. I got up and left.

That evening, Brady worked late which was perfect because I needed to buy gifts for him. Brady is hard to shop for because he’s basic, borderline minimalistic and doesn’t like things. I love things. Plus he’s busy so it’s hard to plan stuff for us to do together because I don’t know his schedule.

I decided on unnecessary electronics and books. I don’t fucking know. I got a set of classic books from Barnes and Noble to fill our bookcase. Aesthetic.

By the weekend, the gifts (from me) under the tree had filled up and we’d finalized our plans for Christmas. My parents would be getting into town (Boston) on Sunday afternoon and we’d meet them for dinner and drinks. We were all staying at a 5-star chain hotel per Brady’s mom’s recommendation, but the festivities weren’t starting until Monday.

On Saturday night, we got dinner with Lola and Kellen in Brooklyn. Afterwards, Brady thought it was a cute idea to invite them and others over. Which was fine because I bought half of Pier 1’s Christmas decoration inventory and it would be nice for people to see it.

Lola and Kellen came back with us and we made vodka tonics and whiskey gingers and turned on Lola’s Dub/Trap Christmas playlist.

“So he said to take someone to Miami with me and he didn’t say who. Are you in?” I was saying to Lola.

“Totally. I’d love to lay on the beach topless for a few days,” she said.

I was completely shocked when Anna of all people walked though the door a few minutes later. A few others had already arrived, but I hadn’t been expecting to see Anna. I thought she was living in Asia somewhere. She was bundled up in a weird witchy hat, scarf and peacoat and carried a bottle of wine.

“Hi there! Long time no see,” I greeted her.

Anna looked relieved that I was talking to her. “Hey! I know, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Um, I brought wine,” she said.

She was being kind of awkward so I took the wine and let her go do her own thing. Anna has always been a little bit weird in general, but especially with me.

Later on, most of us migrated outside to the terrace because they wanted to smoke. I was mingling with the other guests (Zeke and those guys), talking to them about the fast food industry, meat, and Hawaii. Eventually the others walked away, leaving me and Zeke alone to talk about sex.

I noticed Brady and Anna standing in the corner of the deck, turned away from us. Brady glanced back a moment, a pensive and upset look on his face. Ooo, I was dying to know that they were talking about.

“Heyyy, you two,” I greeted them, putting my arms around each of their shoulders. “What are you talking about?”

Neither of them said anything and Anna just looked at me with her creepy eyes and pale skin.

“Okay, I didn’t care anyway. Have fun!” I said and walked away.

After everyone was gone, Brady pinned me down on the couch and was saying super sweet and cute things to me.

“Mmhm, so you like me more than Anna?” I said.

“Of course. I love you more than anyone,” he said back.

It’s so sweet when Brady says things like that, but I literally could vom. I pushed him off and climbed on top of him so he would stop talking.

We drove to Boston on Sunday with Tucker and all of our gifts. We checked into our room and Brady immediately pushed me onto the bed and wiggled my jeans down. Could I at least freshen up after that long ride before he wanted to be all up in my vagina? He doesn’t care.

I needed to get fully dressed after that and put on jeans, a denim shirt, a fabulous leopard coat and pointy toe booties. My parents came to our room to meet us and I heard my loud ass mother before even opening the door.

“Well, hello! I don’t think the neighbors heard you so maybe speak louder!” I greeted them at the door.

“Hi, babe!” my mom squealed back, hugging me.

We all said our hellos and took an Uber to dinner. My mom was dressed in trendy Vans, boyfriend jeans and hoop earrings. I can’t deal with her.

After dinner, we went to a lounge for a few drinks which turned into us ending up at a gay bar/club. I don’t think any of us realized it was a gay bar, but it was close by the lounge and we heard music coming from the place we went in. The guy at the door had on a lot of leather and long dangly earrings, but that was fine. As long as they had alcohol and music.

It was 80s night. My parents danced for two hours straight while Brady stood at the bar awkwardly and I talked to a Bear who called me adorable. We hugged and exchanged numbers at the end of the night. I kept shouting over the music and telling everyone that it was Brady’s birthday and they kept buying him shots. After several, Brady asked me to stop and didn’t want to drink anymore so I ended up having to take the shots for him. Because you can’t just waste them.

On Monday, Christmas Eve and Brady’s birthday, a few of us got up to have breakfast. Brady’s parents were hosting Christmas Eve dinner at 5:00pm in the city and we didn’t have plans before then. Brady had already opened my lame gifts so I just wanted to make sure he had a good day.

We met my parents at the hotel’s restaurant after a joint shower and Hunter was standing, waiting with them.

“Well, hey hey hey! I heard you had a good night,” he said.

“So good,” I deadpanned.

We all sat and my mom started in on Hunter, wanting to know every last detail of his life. My mom is like me and can have a conversation with anyone about anything, but sometimes she can pry and ask questions that are inappropriate. She asked him how much his house in San Francisco cost and how much he has to make in order to afford his house, wife and two kids. Mom, you can’t just ask people that. Hunter didn’t care though and opened himself up like a book.

Afterwards, the parents, Brady and I walked along the wharf taking pictures before we got too cold. Later on, we got dressed for the dinner. We hadn’t seen any of Brady’s family besides Hunter which was odd since we were all staying in the same hotel. My mom texted me saying that she’d met a snooty woman at the spa though and could she possibly be related to Brady?

I replied, “Probably.”

I put on a plaid dress, faux fur coat, tights and booties and shivered outside as we waited for the car to take us to dinner. Just as our car was pulling up, Hunter and Dom and all of their children came downstairs. Hunter and Brady had on basically the same white button down gray pants and black coat and I thought that was so cute. Dom wouldn’t even make eye contact with me.

“Ohh, the kids are so cute,” I couldn’t help saying because they were. The little boy was all dressed up in shiny shoes and had wild curly hair everywhere that he obviously doesn’t like to get brushed. The little girl who Dom was carrying and was about Dom’s size, had huge blue eyes and deep caramel skin. She had a big black bow in her hair – Dom’s attempt at Christmas spirit.

“They are gorgeous!” my mom cried.

“I do make cute kids, I’ll say that,” Hunter smiled at me.

Dom rolled her eyes and turned so the adorable little girl was out of our view. What a bitch. Brady, my parents and I waved and took off in our car. Dinner was at a beautiful restaurant in a suburb. Brady’s mom had done a good job picking it out. She booked a private room with a fireplace and huge floor to ceiling windows and a wooden table long enough to accommodate everyone.

I immediately saw Brady’s Aunt Kat with her tits out and her two gremlin children. She was talking to Brady’s grandmother who was wearing a fabulous red blazer and big statement clip on earrings. She’s gaudy just like both of my grandmothers and I think that’s so relatable. I think one of Brady’s aunts on his dad’s side was there also, one of those pretentious ladies from New York. Probably who my mom saw at the spa. You know people who walk around looking at everyone like you are supposed to perform a circus act for them? I try to avoid eye contact.

There were some introductions – Brady’s mom loved being a host. I noticed she didn’t bother acknowledging us as she was too busy elsewhere. So I ordered a cocktail.

By the time we all sat down for dinner, I’d talked to Brady, my mom and Aunt Kat about New York City, my dad and Hunter had hit it off (what the fuck did they have to talk about?) and Brady’s grandma had ordered several of the $200 bottles of wine for the table. I love her. I sat next to Brady on one side and my mom on their other, right across from Dom. Oh, what fun.

“I am thrilled that all of you are here,” Brady’s mom called from the end of the table. “Today is a special day and I thank each and every one of you for being here. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” everyone mumbled back.

Brady’s mom began to sit down, but she forgot the most important part of the day.

“It’s also Brady’s birthday,” I blurted out. And when I saw Brady glance over at me in horror, I pointed to him enthusiastically.

“Oh yes. And it is Brady’s birthday,” his mom said, continuing to sit down.

“Happy birthday!” people murmured to him and his neck started to go red. He looked like he wanted to kill me. I wanted to suggest we all sing happy birthday to him, but didn’t want to push it.

Some things happened at dinner.

1. My mom told anyone who would listen about her past career as a therapist. Can you imagine my mother being your therapist? She told scandalous stories about her past clients (who she ended up being friends with, of course), and I kept pinching her under the table because who knew what these women hid behind closed doors? They probably had the same scandals as my mom’s former clients.

2. Dom kept trying to talk to Hunter and he wasn’t paying any attention to her. It was kind of sad to see. Eventually I could tell she was getting irritated and was tugging at his shirt like a nagging gnat. His shirt was literally hanging off his shoulder from where she was pulling at it.

3. Hunter and my dad kept smirking at each other and giggling like they shared some secret. Why did my dad and Hunter have inside jokes?

4. I was talking with my hands as I do and knocked over my half full glass of red wine all over the white table cloth and some on Brady’s shirt. Hunter and my dad pointed at each other and smirked when this happened. You can imagine the face I made at them.

5. Brady’s grandmother called Brady’s mother melodramatic and a martyr because she wouldn’t stop talking about how she much she put into planning Christmas. Then Grandma cackled loudly just like my grandmother.

6. I noticed that Brady’s parents are a lot older than my parents. By at least 10-15 years. I noticed because my mom was talking to Kat and even she looked/acted older than my mom (my mom thinks she’s 25, but still) and I remembered Kat saying Brady’s mom is a lot older than her.

After we all ate, we had a little mingling session and continued sipping wine. During a brief moment when Brady was using the restroom and my parents were deep in conversation with Brady’s dad, I was standing alone and Brady’s mom made a beeline for me.

“Hiiiii!” I greeted her enthusiastically. I’ve seen her so much lately that it seems like we are friends.

“Hi, Reese,” she scowled. “I wanted to ask you, have you had any luck finding your own place in the city yet?”

“Excuse me?” What was this broad talking about now?

“Because the two of you are not married, it is completely inappropriate for you and Brady to be living together. I understand your living situation is temporary and I am happy to help if you need any guidance finding an apartment. New York City can be tough-”

I literally laughed at her. The bitch is crazy.

“We can connect in the next few weeks to discuss some options for you. I do have friends in my network who can assist. I’m not trying to rush you as I know it is hard, but living like this is not allowed,” she continued.

Before I could say anything back, Brady’s other aunt came over to talk to her. I couldn’t wait to talk to Brady about it. I watched him walk back into the room, softly closing the door behind him because he’s so sweet, he didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s conversation. He strode toward me and his face lit up when he saw me watching him. Ugh, Brady is so fucking cute. Ever since he started working out, his face looks more defined and like, older almost, but in the best way. Plus, he filled out his gray pants so nicely. The only imperfection on him was the small drop of wine on his shirt.

“Hey,” he greeted me.

I leaned over to whisper in his ear, deciding at the last minute to bite the lobe – so hard that he flinched.

“Your mom confronted me about why I haven’t found my own place yet. I didn’t even know I was looking for my own place,” I said.

Brady gave me his typical look of confusion and then alarm and then annoyance. “I told her it was temporary just to shut her up. It’s fine, don’t worry.”

“Brady, you are 31 years old. Are you fucking kidding me?” I said back, smiling despite myself.

“I know, I know.”

Suddenly, I was so over it. I am adult and it’s not like I owe her anything or she’s paying any fucking rent. No. I am not dealing with her. That’s something Brady will have to handle.

We headed back to the hotel later. We made plans to meet at the hotel bar with my parents and Hunter. I changed out of my dress and put on something more cozy, grabbed Tucker, then we headed out. Everything was fine – they were all talking about Trump, of course, until Dom waltzed in. Where was the little zoo of children?

“What are you doing?” she asked Hunter in a hushed voice, gritting her teeth.

We all sipped our drinks and watched the altercation go down. Because Hunter had been sitting right next to me, I had a front row view of the action.

Eventually, after some back and forth whispering, Hunter stood up.

“Good night, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.

I hope I’m not that much of a bitch when I’m a wife.

When we got back to our room it was late, but Brady deserved birthday sex. Afterwards, to ruin the mood, I brought up his mom again. Imagine discussing Brady’s dry ass mother while we were naked and covered in each other’s bodily fluids. It was so romantic.

The next morning, Brady wanted to give me my gift right away, but I made him wait until I showered and washed my hair first. I assumed it would be some sort of item I’d need to try on so I wanted to be clean for it. Especially if it was an engagement ring.

But it wasn’t. He handed me two envelopes and told me to open the larger one first. He booked a trip for us to Paris!

“Hopefully the riots are finished by then,” Brady said.

I literally cried because I’ve never been to Paris and I’ve always wanted to go. Brady laughed at me and told me to open the other envelope. He also booked a trip for me to go Arizona, but I was confused when I saw that it was booked for me and Kendra.

“John and I coordinated it so the two of you could take a weekend trip together. I know you miss her and she’s busy…” Brady explained.

Wait. That was so thoughtful. I felt guilty for getting him random bullshit. Brady gets the award for best gift giver.

We got dressed and headed downstairs to drive to Brady’s parents house for the rest of the Christmas festivities. We had breakfast that Brady’s mom catered and then we sat around talking over mimosas for most of the morning. There were a ton of gifts under the tree, but it was super unclear who they were for or if they were even real or if they were there for show.

A few hours later, drunk on mimosas, Brady came and found me sitting in a big armchair. I was engrossed in my phone and he sat on the arm of the chair next to me.

“Dom said something weird to me a few minutes ago,” he said, making sure to be quiet.

I dropped my phone.

“She said something sort of suggesting she doesn’t trust you with Hunter or Hunter with you. Do you have any idea why she would say that?” he said.

It’s so not like Brady to bring something like this up in such a public setting especially when the person in question was still around, but he seemed to be genuinely confused and weirded out by what she said.

“Why is she talking about me?” I wanted to know.

He shrugged. “I’m just as clueless as you are.”

I could’ve come clean and told him about the time Dom caught me and Lexi FaceTimeing Hunter. Like, I’m innocent. It was the easy and mature thing to do. But I panicked and I guess lying comes easy to me. I told him I had no idea what she was talking about.

I avoided Dom, Hunter and Brady’s mom and dad (just due to association) the rest of the evening.

I don’t think I have anything else to share. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, I love you all!

Standard

you have to trust your intuition.

On Friday night, Brady’s team at work had a holiday dinner/get together. He didn’t tell me until 2:00pm that he was going and that I was invited.

Andrea had planned it and Brady said he’d stop by at home quickly to change and then we’d go. Obviously I didn’t have much going on at work so I met him at home so I could change (black turtleneck, skirt, tights, booties and a wool cabby hat) also.

Brady got home and I danced around and bothered him while he got undressed to change.

“You look amazing,” he said, grabbing my ass under my skirt.

I let him grope me for a few minutes before I grabbed him hands to stop him.

“Enough of that. Let’s get going.”

Brady looked disappointed. “Are you sure?”

I nodded. “Later.”

He seemed satisfied with that answer and finished getting dressed. We took an Uber to a dimly lit dive bar and restaurant with wood paneling and shabby Christmas lights and wreaths everywhere. It reminded me of my friend from grade school’s basement at her house, the one we used to avoid going in because it was super creepy.

Andrea was already there, wearing reindeer ears, and her face lit up when she saw us (Brady).

“Hi, you guys!” she squealed and shoved her hand toward me. “You must be Reese! I’ve heard so much about you!”

I liked her teeth. They were straight, but kind of fanned out and weren’t all uniform in size.

“You too, Andrea. So nice to finally meet you,” I said politely.

We joined the rest of the team and their significant others – about a dozen people or so total.

I sat in a seat right next to Andrea and she said, “Brady says you are an interior decorator.”

I looked back and forth between them blankly. “Hmm, not at all. I work for an interior design firm, but hardly ever do any designing. I work on the business side. But close though.” I smiled at Brady.

“Yeah, I was telling her what an amazing job you’ve done with our apartment,” he clarified.

“Anyway,” I said, deflecting. “What’s your story, Andrea? Where are you from, where did you go to school, et cetera.”

She started telling me and I zoned out, but somehow asked relevant follow-up questions and asked her to elaborate. It’s so mean how I do that, but I literally can’t help it. She was sweet enough though and I guess I’m happy Brady has a friend at work. Somehow Andrea just isn’t as annoying as Sydney and I can’t exactly figure out why.

Brady wasn’t feeling well so we left after only two drinks and a small appetizer. I was actually pretty tired myself and while Brady’s coworkers were nice, they were incredibly boring. And we were the only group in the bar which is odd for a Friday night. It was time to go home.

Brady still didn’t feel well on Saturday. He becomes such a baby when he’s sick and he didn’t want to leave the house all day. I went to the grocery store in the morning, made us lunch and then we watched movies all day on the couch. By the time the evening rolled around, I had cabin fever and quite literally jumped in the shower when Lola texted me asking to hang out.

“Where are you going?” Brady asked, looking like a little boy wrapped up in blankets on the couch.

“Just out for a couple hours with Lola. I won’t be out long!” I said. I’d put on jeans, an oversized sweater and booties.

He looked disappointed, but said okay and went back to the Tom Cruise movie he was watching. We had probably watched three movies featuring Tom Cruise that day and that is beyond enough Tommy for one day.

I met Lola at a little tiki themed bar in a hotel. The place was packed and the guy at the door attempted to give me a hard time getting in. I rolled my eyes and said, “It’s fine. I’m gonna call my friend who is inside so we can go elsewhere.”

The guy smiled and said, “Listen, I’ll let you in even though I shouldn’t. Don’t get into any trouble.”

I can’t stand a place that has a pretentious bouncer and if the place hadn’t been completely packed with beautiful, well dressed people, I would have grabbed Lola and went somewhere else.

We ordered two viciously strong drinks in skull mugs and tucked ourselves into a corner to catch up. Within an hour, we had attracted two bros and despite our short answers and apathetic faces, they wouldn’t go away. Lola is even more of a bitch than me.

Eventually she said, “Okay well, we’re leaving.” And she marched over to the bar and ordered another drink.

I was telling her about Brady’s family and Christmas and what a mess it was all destined to be.

“Can you please Instagram live Christmas dinner?” she said.

“I know. Like I can’t imagine what we are all going to talk about,” I said back.

“I feel like Jimmy Kimmel needs to host dinner and be a buffer.”

And then I told her what my mom said about Brady proposing.

Her eyes got big. “Do you really think he is going to?”

“I mean no, but still. What if he does?”

Lola shuttered. “I don’t believe in marriage, but more power to you both.”

“You don’t?”

“No way. I would never! Can you imagine getting married to someone and giving him your whole life and then the asshole cheats on you or gets another woman pregnant? I’d have to kill him,” she said.

Lola has even more trust issues than I do and is convinced that all men cheat. But somehow she still has a boyfriend who she completely neglects. I thought about when Brady told me he doesn’t want to get married. Maybe he has the same mindset as Lola!

Anyway, by 3, we were at our third bar and completely trashed. Lola was shaking her ass on some guy to EDM music, occasionally dropping down low while hanging onto his jeans so she didn’t fall. There was a small crowd forming.

She leaned over to me. “Should we leave?”

I nodded. “Yeah.”

We left abruptly, not saying goodbye to any of our friends/fans. I suggested we stop for pizza at a 24 hour place next door. There was a tall guy with big shoulders in front of us in the pizza line and naturally I began chatting to him. He was from Wisconsin or Minnesota or something so I vaguely remember talking to him about Chicago and football and religion. The line was long so we talked for what felt like forever. After we all got our pizza, I made a beeline for the door and my new friend followed.

“Hey, can I get your Instagram?” he asked.

And to my surprise, I recited it to him. A girl can’t say no to Instagram followers, can she? I went back and checked his profile the next morning and discovered that he was 1. really hot and 2. engaged. He kind of looked like Nick from Chicago and had 12,000 followers. I followed him back.

When I got back home, I woke Brady up. He was sleeping soundly in bed and I came clamoring in, taking off my jeans and I face planted. I quickly recovered and climbed in bed with Brady.

“Are you feeling better?” I asked in what I thought was a soft and soothing voice, but Brady shushed me.

“I’m feeling okay. A bit more rest and I’ll probably be back to 100%,” he said. “How was your night?”

I was already on top of him and grinding on his penis. We started to have sex and then I thought of something.

“Hey, if you’re planning on proposing please let me know so I can get my nails done.”

“What?” Brady looked at me like I was crazy.

“Proposing at Christmas…” I said.

“I-I’m not ready to propose…” he said back.

“Oh.”

We continued and I feel asleep. When I woke up on Sunday morning, Brady was up making breakfast and watching some sort of sports game on tv.

“I feel like shit,” I said, crawling on the couch with Tucker. I drank way too many of those fruity drinks at the tiki bar.

“I figured you would so I’m making you breakfast,” Brady said. Trying to make up for not wanting to propose to me, I guess.

And I know I’m somewhat vegetarian, but the bacon Brady was making was the only thing that could break my hangover.

Despite corresponding with Samantha throughout the week, I was still unclear what was happening for my first day on Monday. I got ready and headed to the office and discovered neither Mike or Samantha was there.

“I’ll show you where I think you’ll be working though,” the girl at the front said.

She took me to a small conference room that only had a long table and chairs. Excuse me?

I texted Samantha to ask what was going on and she said, “I forgot you were starting today. Mike isn’t coming into the office, but I’ll be there later on. We can meet then.”

Uh, okay?

I left my things in the conference room and walked around, taking in my surroundings. There were about ten private offices and a little shared space with cubicles. If anyone thought I was going to take a cubicle, they were sadly mistaken. There was a cute reception area with a teal circle bench, mirrored sideboards stacked with books and orchids. I saw what looked like awards and certificates in gold frames on the walls.

Since I didn’t know what else to do, I grabbed my things and went to a coffee shop to work. Since I didn’t have anything to work in yet, I walked around some stores. What? Was I supposed to just stay in that office doing nothing?

Samantha finally texted me just before lunch asking where I was. The whole thing was just weird. I spent the remainder of the day setting up my email and laptop and (private) office. Samantha tried to sit me in a corner desk in the room with the cubicles and I asked her if she was sure if it was where I was supposed to be sitting. She wasn’t and had to text Mike. And just as I suspected, I was supposed to have my own office. You have to listen to your intuition. The whole office is really small, less than fifty people total, which is different for me. Mike never showed up.

When I checked my phone at the end of the day, Brady had texted me saying that his parents invited out for dinner and drinks.

“Drinks?” I said back, laughing to myself. Brady’s parents are not people to go out for “dinner and drinks.”

“I don’t know. We are meeting them at 7:30pm.”

Which at least meant Brady wasn’t going to stay at work until midnight.

I got home and changed into heels, put on powder and lipstick and poured a glass of wine since we were “getting drinks” anyway. Brady came home and needed to shower and put on different clothes. He rushed into the shower, but came out and talked to me while he was getting dressed.

“How was your first day?” he asked.

“Unproductive. Mike wasn’t even there and he didn’t give anyone instructions for what I was supposed to be doing. I spent the day decorating my office,” I said.

“Okay. Did you at least get a sense of what the office and people are like?” Brady asked.

I shrugged. “Yeah. Everyone is fine. I’m sure I’ll have more to report later.”

When we got to the restaurant for dinner, Brady’s parents were obviously already there waiting for us. They chose a restaurant in a hotel with an expensive prix fixe menu. I wondered what the occasion was.

I feel like now I can tell what kind of interaction it’s going to be based on Brady’s mom’s initial greeting. This time, we met them in the lobby and Brady’s mom hugged him and asked how he is doing and made small talk before even acknowledging me. So that’s the kind of evening it was going to be.

We sat down and started dinner and I figured I’d just sit there not talking since Brady’s mom had gone out of her way to exclude me. Brady and his dad started talking about Donald Trump, the looming government shutdown, investigations, Twitter, etc. Brady’s mom was chiming in every so often, but mostly just nodding in agreement. I realized that they all disapproved him.

“It’s really just a shame. No one predicted that this is the way this presidency would play out,” Brady’s mom said.

Brady and his dad nodded in agreement.

“Actually,” I butted in, even though I knew I shouldn’t have. “We all knew it was going to be exactly like this. That’s why we didn’t vote for him.”

They all looked at me.

“From a policy standpoint, a lot of them aligned with my views as well,” Brady’s dad said.

“What policy?” I had to know.

“Immigration,” Brady’s dad said, matter-of-factly.

“You are kidding,” I mumbled, just as Brady’s mom started talking, something about Hillary Clinton

“Just because we oppose Donald Trump does not mean we are pro Hillary Clinton,” I said. I couldn’t believe we were even still having this conversation.

Brady’s mom just glared at me and continued talking like I wasn’t even there. They changed the subject soon after that and I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Later on, as we were leaving the restaurant, Brady’s dad fell into step by me.

“You know, we Americans are loyal to our political party. And with any presidency, there are highs and lows. Rights and wrongs. There have been mistakes, but we can only go up from here,” he said.

We? I actually didn’t want to talk about this with him anymore. When we got home though, I sounded off.

“I think it’s so fucking insane how Americans are against immigration as if they are indigenous in the first place,” I said.

Brady nodded.

What really fucked my night up though is when we were in bed fooling around. I was just in my thong and a ratty old VS Pink tee and Brady was in between my legs making his way down my body. And to my absolute horror, he grabbed a handful of my love handles on each side and grinned at me.

Excuse me? It is probably the rudest thing he’s ever done. Brady is too much of a gentleman to ever comment on my appearance unless it’s gushing praise so I was shocked and completely mortified that he was essentially calling me fat or saying that I have gained weight. I haven’t eaten since.

*Merry Christmas, friends! I’ll see you next week!*

Standard

i wish i hadn’t taken this job.

Something weird happened.

On my first day of work, I realized that I didn’t want to work with jewelry. I wanted to work in interior design. It’s what I love and what I’m passionate about. As I was going through my onboarding, it dawned on me that I was not excited about jewelry and even though the office was beautiful and everyone was really nice, I was not excited about the new job.

I was thinking, “Great. I made the wrong decision again.”

During my lunch break, I checked my phone and saw that Scott had called and texted me and Mike had texted me. Y’all remember Mike? I was dying to know what he wanted so I opened his message first.

“Hi. I hear you’re in NYC. Let’s meet for lunch,” he said, staying true to his cold and demanding self.

I said back, “Hi Mike. You heard correctly – I live here now! Here’s my schedule…”

Scott had texted me, “Hey! How are you? I know you’re in the market for a new job and I think Mike is looking for someone so I told him to reach out to you. I’m not sure what the opportunity is, but it’s worth looking into. We are missing you here in Chicago…” He continued on telling me about the office and his dog.

How funny that the moment I realized I wanted to be back in interiors, I potentially had an opportunity back in interiors.

My first day was fine though. Quite boring and everyone was dying to meet me. And that’s fine and all, but I didn’t remember a single person’s name.

When I got home, Brady was home. He was on a video conference call and I debated lifting my shirt and flashing his colleagues. But I didn’t.

When he was finally off his call, he immediately wanted to know how my first day went.

“It was fine, but Mike and Scott texted me. Mike found out I’m here and has a job I might be interested in,” I said.

Brady’s jaw clenched. “Scott texted you?”

“Just to tell me about Mike.”

“Okay.”

“So I’m having lunch with Mike on Wednesday. People at work have already put lunches on my calendar for this week. They’re so annoying,” I said.

“Okay,” Brady said again. He went in the kitchen and started pulling things out to make dinner.

“I hope it’s something good,” I went on. “Like I was so bored today when I was learning about what I’d be doing.”

“You probably want to figure things out. I don’t recommend hopping from job to job until you find something you like. Maybe you shouldn’t have left your job if you weren’t sure,” Brady said.

“I mean, of course I shouldn’t have left if I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t know and I definitely didn’t expect Mike to reach out to me,” I said back defensively.

“Just figure out what you want to do, Reese. You don’t want all these random holes in your resume.”

He sounded like my dad.

“Oh my God, Brady, where are the holes? I had my job for two and a half years and before that I was with my last company for over two years also. Why are you lecturing me like I don’t know this? You just got a new job, why can’t I?” I said.

“I’m sorry, I’m not trying to lecture you. I am trying to help.” His voice softened. “I just want you to have a career you are proud of.”

I rolled my eyes and stormed off. Scott was still texting me and we texted for a little bit. I’m still mad he didn’t give me a reference even though he said he would.

Brady came and found me a little while later.

“Do you want to go out and find something for dinner?” he asked.

“Fine,” I said back, realizing I was a bit hungry.

We got sushi for dinner and then Brady suggested we stop somewhere else for drinks. We went to a nearby sports bar to drink tequila and watch football. Afterwards, I could tell Brady had a lot to drink because he followed me into the bedroom while I was taking my coat off and grabbed my jeans.

“Can I at least take my jacket off before you start molesting me?” I pretended to be annoyed, but obviously I didn’t mind.

“I can’t help it,” he said, kissing the back of my neck.

I turned around and we kissed for a bit before I decided that Brady deserved a blowjob because he’s just so cute. His penis gets so erect when we are fooling around – like more than I’ve ever seen on another guy and I like that.

Suddenly, he yanked me off my knees by my arm and pushed me over the side of the bed. In one swift motion, he pulled down my jeans and pushed right into me. I had to grab onto the bed to catch myself. He immediately came.

On Tuesday, Heidi took me to lunch. Tons of people were adding things to my calendar and coming over to my desk to chat and I was overwhelmed by all of it. One of the girls who works on my team came up to me and started talking about Chicago and my previous job. I didn’t remember telling her any of it or talking to her at all previously. I even said, “So sorry, what was your name again?” at the end of the conversation. She didn’t seem to like that, but what was I supposed to do?

I stopped at the grocery store after work so I could make pho for dinner. By the time Brady got home, dinner and dessert were both ready and the house was clean and the laundry was done. It was 10pm.

“Dinner looks amazing,” he said as he was putting his laptop and coat away. And then he came over to me. “But you look even better.”

I peeled him off since he was literally stuck to me like a leech. “None of that yet. You have to try my pho.”

“Okay,” Brady said reluctantly.

We ate and I told Brady about work. Well, complained.

“There are literally no men in the office. Which is totally fine, except not fine at all. Everyone wants to be my friend and it’s like a big sorority house. I hate it,” I said.

He laughed. “Shouldn’t everyone wanting to be your friend be a good thing?”

“It’s not! I haven’t had a chance to even fucking think because everyone has been hounding me,” I told him.

After dinner, we headed to the couch to do naughty things. Blow job, sex, and then sex again. And then we watched Love, Actually.

I didn’t prepare for my lunch with Mike on Wednesday mostly because I was thinking about having sex with Brady and his perfect penis.

We met at a little French café a few blocks from my office. It was small and Mike and his assistant were sitting at a tiny table in the corner. I could tell before even hearing them that he was barking orders at her. Aw, I kinda missed him.

I approached the table and the assistant waved at me as a greeting. Mike didn’t even look up or stop talking and just nodded at the empty seat across from. Always so charming, that Mike. A server came over and I ordered a frisée salad even though neither of them were eating.

A few minutes later, after I’d drank an entire glass of lemon water, Mike finally seemed to notice I was there.

“Reese, hi,” he said, glancing up at me. “Good to see you. How is everything?” It seemed so forced, like it pained him to ask how I’m doing.

“Everything is going fine. I love being in New York. Thanks for asking,” I said back.

“Okay. Yeah, glad to hear. Where are you working?” he said, pulling out his phone to multitask while making small talk with me.

I briefly explained my new job and let him know my feelings about all of it. When I mentioned that the job was not in décor and interiors and I wanted it to be, his head shot up.

“If that isn’t what you want to do, then what do you want to do?” Mike asked me.

I took a moment to think before giving an answer. I thought about how happy I was at my previous job with Diana. I loved what I was doing back then.

Before I could articulate that, Mike said, “I’m not sure if you heard but I’m heading an award winning commercial architectural design and firm. We – well I -need someone to take over a mid-level role. My first thought was Scott, but of course, he is not relocatable.”

“Right,” I said.

“Then he suggested you. I had a feeling you’d end up here at some point. The job is everything you’ve done before, I’m sure it pays more than what you’re making now and it’ll be reporting directly to me.”

I almost laughed at him saying “you’ll report to me” as if that was some sort of added benefit.

“I don’t know if you’re interested, but I think you should be,” Mike continued. He asked his assistant to send a job description to me and she nodded without looking up.

“Yeah, I’d love more information to consider this,” I said.

“Essentially, you’re in charge of all of our corporate projects. We work with corporate offices, restaurants, hotels, luxury apartments, car dealerships, that kind of thing. Your role is to see each project through completion,” Mike said. He instructed the assistant to send me a portfolio.

“That sounds nice,” I said. I liked the sound of the job, but I didn’t want to make any sudden movements.

“We have to get going. Please email me if you have any questions,” Mike said abruptly.

I hadn’t even gotten my salad yet. Like thanks for inviting me to lunch and then not even treating me to said lunch. Mike and his assistant left and I texted Brady letting him know what happened.

“Is it something you want to do?” he asked.

“Of course!” I replied.

“And you’d work with that guy again?”

“Mike?”

“Scott.”

“No, I’d be working with Mike. It’s a totally different company.”

“Okay. Go for it if you want.”

I sensed Brady was unamused with my continued job search so I continued my lunch in silence.

Mike’s assistant called me that afternoon.

“Hi Reese, it’s Samantha. Mike wanted me to reach out to see if you have any questions,” she asked.

I hadn’t even had a chance to read through the job description she’d sent yet.

“Hi, not at this time. I might later though. I can email him if I need anything,” I said.

“Okay. He also wanted to know when you’d be able to start?” Samantha asked. “It’s no rush, but he said he wants someone by Christmas and he’s talking to a few other candidates….?”

“Probably soon, Sam. I’ll let him know, okay?” I said.

“Okay, Reese. Thanks!”

Mike’s always been super aggressive so I wasn’t surprised that he was having his assistant put pressure on me.

I went back through and reviewed my contract that I’d just signed on Monday and tried to figure out if there was even a way out of it. The bonus hadn’t hit my account yet, but as far as I could tell, if I quit, I’d have to pay it back. Gladly!

Since Brady didn’t seem to want to talk about careers with me anymore, I texted Scott.

“Working with Mike is very, very tough. But I think you’d learn a lot,” he said.

“I’ve worked with him before,” I pointed out.

“Not very closely. You worked closely with me and I worked closely with him,” Scott countered. I rolled my eyes.

“The office I work in is full of women and they ramble and gossip all day long. It’s like being at a Sunday brunch with 5,000 girls everyday,” I said.

“I don’t know what that’s like but I can imagine.”

“Today one of the girls in my office had a meltdown because she’s turning 26 and has to get her own health insurance. Everyone crowded around her and consoled her for like two hours. I told her that her hangovers would also become more debilitating and it would be much harder to lose weight and everyone looked at me like I’d committed a crime.”

“I can’t lie, I wish you were coming back to work here you me. Your absence is noticed, that’s for sure,” he said.

That seemed like a good place to end the conversation and I didn’t text back. Brady worked late again so I spent the evening writing a resignation letter to Heidi. What? You have to be prepared.

The next morning, I woke up to three messages from Mike.

One said, “Have you thought about the job, tease?”

And then he said, “I mean Reese.”

And then he sent me a picture of the dark-ish sky from a window. In the reflection of the window, I could see Mike and his big shoulders taking the photo. He looked kind of hot in the reflection.

“View from the office,” he captioned.

I didn’t get a chance to respond because Brady came out of the bathroom in just his towel looking like he wanted to get some.

After a super quick hookup and a shower, I texted Mike back, “How much are you paying?”

Blunt, but what was the point of beating around the bush?

When Mike didn’t respond, I was afraid I scared him off, but then Samantha emailed me.

“Mike wanted me to send this to you. Please let me know if you have any questions.”

Attached was a job offer with a starting date of 12/17/18 and a benefits packet.

I didn’t reply and focused on work all day. I was still just doing training, but shockingly I’d gone to two meetings in the morning and had a lot to say during them. I always have a lot to say, but still.

With all that was going on, I forgot about the big Christmas extravaganza until my mom sent me a screenshot of their flight confirmation.

“We can’t wait to see y’all!”

So then I was super worried everything that was obviously going to go wrong. Plus I needed a fabulous dress to wear.

Brady worked on Saturday again. That was fine, Lola and I needed to catch up anyway. We met up for a boot camp class at 10am and then headed to brunch. I told her all about my work situation.

“Mike sounds like an arrogant prick. I’m obsessed with him,” she said.

“I assure you, he sounds more intriguing than he really is. The job sounds so fun though! I wish I hadn’t taken this job,” I said.

“Just tell them you’re not coming back. Like yeah, maybe you wasted a little bit of their time, but who cares? People have done worse,” Lola advised.

“What about my contract and signing bonus?” I asked.

“Send it to me. I’m sure it’s really easy to get out of as long as you pay back the bonus. Plus, I’m sure they aren’t going to want you around for a whole year if you don’t want to be there. You’re doing them a favor.”

She was right.

After brunch, we ran some errands (shopped and tried on clothes) until Brady texted me letting me know he was coming home from work. So I rushed home because I’d been thinking about fucking him all day.

I showered and put on yoga pants and a white cropped sweater and waited for Brady to get home. He finally walked through the door and I jumped on him before he could put his things down.

“It’s good to see you too,” he laughed, pushing me off slightly.

“I’ve been waiting for you all day,” I pouted.

“Have you?” Brady stepped around me and sat his bag and jacket down on our entry table.

“Yes, I missed you,” I said, throwing my arms around his neck.

Brady peeled me off and gave me a quick kiss. “I told some friends we’d meet them for dinner and I need to shower.”

Ugh.

I let him go shower while I procrastinated getting ready. I still had plans of hooking up and I didn’t want to ruin my dinner outfit. When I heard the shower turn off, I barged into the bathroom. Brady was stepping out of the shower, obviously naked, reaching for his towel. I threw off my sweater and unhooked my bra while he started to ask what I was doing. But then he realized and didn’t have any questions after that. We had sex facing the foggy mirror and it was amazing. Brady and his magical penis. I needed another shower after that then I got dressed in black jeans, a satin button down and a Helmut Lang bomber.

We met up with Zeke and some of their other friends at a bar in Brooklyn. The bar served food, but it wasn’t exactly “dinner” as Brady described. The group started off with the three of us plus two other guys, but slowly started growing until there were about ten of us. I ordered tater tots and a salad because I was starving and then I got annoyed because Brady wanted to share my food. If you’re hungry get your own food, bro.

We ended up staying out until 4am and I wasn’t prepared for that and was yawning all night. Brady was chugging beers and even taking shots and I could not roll my eyes hard enough. I chatted with Zeke mostly and he told me a graphic story about doing anal with some girl.

When we got home, we sat on the couch before going to bed. Drunk Brady started talking.

“I think you’re amazing and I want to be with you forever, but I’m afraid I can’t give you what you need,” he said.

“What?” I said back, not expecting this conversation.

“You need someone who is around all the time and I like to work. Work is my hobby and I enjoy being there.”

“You enjoy being at work more than you enjoy being with me?” I clarified.

“No, but I have to. In order to be where I want to be, I have to put in a lot of work.” He kind of fell into me and I pushed his drunk ass off.

“I don’t want to talk about this right now, you’re drunk,” I said. I got up and changed into pajamas and when I came back out to the living room, Brady was passed out on the couch with Tucker.

The next morning, Brady was up and ready for the gym.

“Do you want to talk about what you said last night?” I asked, glaring at him. I started changing into my gym clothes without bothering to shower.

“Sure. What do you want to talk about?” he said back and it became apparent to me that he didn’t even fucking remember.

“Do you remember the very first time you broke up with me? You said, ‘I can’t be what you need.’ You said that to me last night,” I said.

Brady nodded.

“You obviously don’t realize how badly that hurt me. Is that what you’re doing again? You dragged me all the way to fucking New York City with you only to decide work is your number one priority. You could have left me in Chicago where I was perfectly happy.”

“That’s not-” he began, but I interrupted him.

“I’m so sick of your goddamn games, Brady. I’m sick of wondering what you’re doing and thinking because you’re a closed off little mute who won’t tell me anything. Oh, except that I need to figure out what job I want so I can be taken seriously by your family.”

“I’m sorry.”

Of course he was. I went and brushed my teeth and combed my hair. We didn’t say anything as we walked to the gym. I thought that maybe I was overreacting, but the whole thing was so frustrating. It felt like he was blaming me, like I had these crazy, unattainable needs. Just don’t work 20 hours out of the day – I think anyone would ask for that.

I was so mad that I actually worked out at the gym.

When we got home I showered and when I got out it sounded like Brady was cooking. I found him in the kitchen making breakfast – a little avocado and egg sandwich because I’m somewhat vegetarian at the moment.

“Hungry?” he asked, watching me poke around the kitchen.

We sat and had breakfast, talking about everything except what we should’ve been talking about. I’d all but accepted Mike’s job offer and I was excited about it and didn’t care if Brady didn’t approve. I didn’t approve of his work life either. So we talked about the new job and how exactly I was going to leave the new job I’d just started.

“I want you to be happy and if taking this new job will make you happy, I think you should do it,” Brady said.

“I am. You know what else would make me happy? If my boyfriend actually wanted to spend time with me instead of working,” I said.

He nodded and looked down.

I took a deep breath to calm myself because I felt like going off again. He is so fucking frustrating. We didn’t say anything for the remainder of our meal.

I put on a movie and we sat on the couch watching with Tucker. Halfway through Coco, Brady grabbed my hand.

“I’m sorry if I haven’t been clear about how I feel about you,” he said. “I want to spend every second with you and if I could, I would.”

I just stared at him.

“I’m not trying to be selfish. Are we okay? I can’t imagine being here without you.”

“If you aren’t trying to be selfish then why are you?” I challenged. “I’m obsessed with you, Brady, my life literally revolves around you. It’s a slap in the face when you work so much and even volunteer to work more after I dropped everything and moved here to be with you.”

I felt kind of bad that I was bringing up the fact that I moved to New York because he asked me to, knowing that I’ve wanted to move here forever.

“I know. I will make time for you, I promise.” He kissed my hand.

Okay. If that’s what Brady was claiming, I’d wait to see if he kept his word. He was home when I got home on Monday and came home at 7:30pm on Tuesday! And immediately jumped my bones as soon as he saw me both times. And he came home with McDonald’s on Tuesday so maybe he really does care.

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