i want to be a trophy wife.

Oh Friday afternoon, we had our staff meeting and I participated as usual – presenting my ideas and shutting down Whitney’s. After the meeting, I caught Diana on her way into her office.

“Hey,” I said, following her in. “Can we talk?”

She looked at me and said, “Oh shit,” like she knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. “Yes. Shut the door and sit down.”

I shut the door and sat with my hands in my lap. I still had no idea what I wanted to do or say, but I was leaning toward taking the new job. I just needed to talk to Diana.

“What’s going on, Reese?” she asked after she was settled in her desk chair. She was giving me her full attention, not distracted by her phone or computer like she normally is.

“I got offered another job,” I said, not wasting any time.

Diana nodded.

“They offered me more money and better benefits, but I don’t know if I want to take it.”

“Your mom warned me this may happen. What’s the position?” she asked.

I rolled my eyes. My mom can’t hold fucking water. Remind me never to tell her anything ever. I gave Diana a not-so-brief rundown of the position, my trip to New York and my reasons for being apprehensive about taking the job.

“I don’t want to just jump ship, but I feel like this is a good opportunity,” I said.

“It sounds like it,” Diana admitted. “And it sounds like you would really excel at it.”

“Do you want me to leave?”

“Of course not,” Diana smiled. “But I would never want to hold you back. When I graduated college I landed my first job in New York City. I was doing public relations for a magazine and I really, really enjoyed it. But then I randomly got an opportunity to work for a pretty well known interior designer. It seemed risky because I was going from a large corporate establishment to a small design firm, but after talking to all my friends and family and praying about it, I decided to go for it. Not only did I love my new position, it molded me into what I am today. I without a doubt would not be here if I hadn’t taken that job. And not two months after they hired someone to replace me at my old job, they eliminated the position entirely. So I know I made the right decision.”

“Are you guys eliminating my position?” I asked.

Diana kind of laughed. “No, Reese. What I’m saying is, you need to do what you think is right. Don’t worry about I have to say or what anyone else has to say. Only you know what’s best for you.”

I nodded.

“I don’t want you to leave, Reese. In fact, if you do, I’ll be quite upset. But that’s me being selfish.”

I felt tears stinging my eyes.

“It sounds like the opportunity for growth is there. Take it. You just got this wonderful promotion in May, but what can you do next? Take my job?” Diana smirked.

I started crying as I realized she was right and that meant I was leaving.

Diana called my name in a voice that told me I was being ridiculous so I tried to pull myself together.

“You sound to me like you want to take this job. So take it. Take it or I’ll fire you.”

I couldn’t help laughing.

Diana told me to go accept the position and then booted up her computer dismissing me.

I stood up to leave. “I have a question.”

“Mmhm?” she said, not looking up from her computer.

“Is Whitney going to be my replacement?”

Diana stopped typing and looked at me for a moment. “I mean, that would be the obvious choice. I will need to talk to Tracey about our options. Do you have someone else in mind?”

I shook my head and turned to leave. I wanted to tell Diana all the reasons Whitney does not deserve my position, but decided not to. Diana will make a good choice without me having to bash anyone.

Back in my office, I emailed Kate back letting her know that I accepted the sales director position and we discussed a start date for me. We decided that even though they need me as soon as possible, I wouldn’t start until after the holidays so I can wrap up everything with my old job. Kate agreed that that was fair.

Then I sent out a mass text message letting everyone know that I had just quit my job. Brady responded that we should go out and celebrate so I let everyone know the plans. 

The rest of the day was weird. Diana wanted to officially announce my departure at the next staff meeting so I had to keep mum about it. Not that I had anyone to tell. 

After work, I went shopping and got a dress and new pair of shoes. Then I grabbed dinner and headed to Brady’s. To my fucking dismay, when Brady let me in, John was in the living room holding a freaking beer. I hadn’t seen that asshole since the news broke that he cheated and needless to say, I was not happy.

“Hey Reese,” John said, smiling nervously.

I glared at him as I slowly dropped my stuff. I made a face at his stupid little sweater and loafers and his grotesque hairline. I can’t believe Kendra wasted six years with him. And I can’t believe that at least two women have had sex with him.

I didn’t stop glaring at John as he turned to Brady and said, “I guess I’d better go.”

I nodded, agreeing. John gave me a little smile as he walked past and I had to refrain from jabbing him with my keys. Brady walked John out then returned to the living room.

“What the fuck was he doing here?” I demanded.

“We were just having a beer…” Brady said slowly.

“You’re still hanging out with that clown after what he did?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were still mad.” Brady bit his lip.

“Why wouldn’t I still be mad?” I seethed. “He cheated! Is that not a big deal?”

“It is. I apologize. I won’t hang out with him again.”

I grabbed the food and went to set up our feast without another word. After we ate, we made drinks and talked. I asked about Hunter and Dom since I haven’t really heard about them since the party. Brady admitted that he hasn’t talked to Hunter since the party, despite calling and texting him several times. I wasn’t going to say it to Brady, but that seems fishy. Why would Hunter just fall off the face of the Earth? I guess I can understand him wanting to distance himself from his awful parents, but Brady? They’re pretty close. I hope Dom hasn’t done anything crazy.

We got ready to go to the bar with Chris and Kendra. Preston was wallowing after being played and Carly was working. We got to the bar and immediately started with shots and stood there hanging out. It was a little bit weird being out without Carly, but Kendra and I hung out and talked while Brady and Chris stood next to us.

I thought about telling Kendra that I saw John, but even in my tipsy state I realized that it probably wasn’t the time or place. Maybe I shouldn’t tell her at all ever? We’ve done a really good job avoiding him completely the past few weeks.

While we were talking, two semi attractive guys approached us.

“My friend and I are having a bet,” one of them said. “Are you two sisters?”

I rolled my eyes as Kendra giggled. “Do we look like it?”

“Yeah. Are you the older one?” the guy said.

Kendra and I look nothing alike (we aren’t even the same race) so clearly these two were just using a generic line. But Kendra seemed to be enjoying them and she hasn’t shown any interest in any guy since John so I stood there smiling like a good wing woman. Kendra was hitting it off more with the taller of the two, which was fitting, so I was stuck talking to the shorter one.

I was half listening to him talk about being in business school when I felt a hand slide across my back. It was Brady. I kind of squealed and threw my arms around him. There’s just nothing like seeing bae when a lame guy is talking your face off.

“How’s it going?” Brady asked, turning toward my new friend. He kept his hand on my back protectively, kind of like he wanted the guy to know I’m off limits. 

The guy answered and the three of us talked for a moment before the guy said he was going to get another drink. Kendra was still talking to the friend so we motioned to her that we were going to go sit at the table with Chris.

After we sat down, I asked Brady what he seriously wants to do for his birthday. It’s good to ask people important questions when they’re drunk because then you get real answers out of them. Brady said he wants to spend his birthday with me which was exactly the answer I was looking for. We brainstormed ideas and I threw out my idea for him to come to Houston with me and he said okay!

I was like, “Really? You don’t want to go home to see your parents?”

Brady shrugged. “We usually don’t do much for Christmas. I would rather be with you.”

I smiled and kissed him because that’s just so cute. Naturally, we started talking about getting married and our future. We decided we will get engaged next summer then get married in the winter. Then we will live in Chicago for a few more years while we’re still young before settling down in Massachusetts. Brady asked if I would still be able to work my job in Mass.

“I’ll quit. I want to be a trophy wife anyway,” I told him.

Brady laughed, but I was actually serious. I let him know that he definitely needs to get permission from my parents before proposing, I hate sappy shit but I want a romantic proposal (I wouldn’t mind getting in engaged in Paris), and I want a vintage inspired halo ring with a diamond that’s at least two carats. Brady said okay.

“Are you writing this down?! Do you even want to know my ring size??” I demanded.

Brady picked up my left hand and studied it. He didn’t drop my hand as he said, “I’ve got it under control.”

After a couple more glasses of beer, we met back up with Kendra and decided to call it a night. She told me she exchanged numbers with that guy and wanted to see him again. Good for her.

When we got back to Brady and Chris’s, we all hung out in the kitchen eating tortilla chips. Brady and I were clearly super drunk and Chris just watched us, amused. Once the chips were gone, Brady and I retreated to his room to look at plane tickets. We didn’t book anything, but just wanted to get some ideas about what days we would need off from work. 

We for some reason got a random craving for ice cream, but of course, Brady didn’t have any in the freezer. I really need to teach him how to go grocery shopping before we can get married.

“Maybe Chris will take us to get ice cream. He isn’t drunk,” I suggested.

“Okay. Go ask him,” Brady said.

“No, you ask him. He’s your roommate,” I replied. Although I’m around Chris frequently, I feel like I really don’t know him very well. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with him alone.

“But it was your idea. Plus, he can’t say no to you.” Brady grabbed my shoulders and guided me toward Chris’s room down the hallway.

Fine. I walked down to Chris’s room and knocked lightly. He opened the door and as sweetly as I could, I said, “Brady and I were wondering if you could take us to get ice cream? We will buy you whatever you want.”

“Umm.” Chris looked like he was ready for bed and I kind of felt bad, but not really.

“Please?” I gave him my doe eyed look that has helped me get everything I want.

“Okay. Let me get dressed,” Chris finally said. 
 
Chris took us to one of those Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’ hybrid shops and we all got cones. And then I figured since we were already there, I would get a dozen donuts for the morning. I hate Dunkin’ donuts so I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. Kendra hung out with the guy from the bar, whose name happens to be Eric, on Saturday night. She texted me throughout the date, telling me that she didn’t know how to behave on a first date with someone because she was in a relationship for so long. My first piece of advice was to stop texting while on a date.

On Monday morning, I got an email from Andrew that said, “Reese, I am happy to hear from Kate that you accepted my job offer. I’m excited for you to come on board. Did the two of you discuss a start date?”

I immediately replied, “I am very excited as well! Kate and I determined that I will start the first week in January after the holidays. I look forward to working with you.”

A few minutes later, I got a call from Andrew on my cell phone. I wasn’t sure what he would want, but knew it had to be important so I answered.

“Good morning, Reese. How are you?” he greeted me.

“I’m doing great. I’m just at work right now,” I said, hoping he would get the hint and cut to the chase.

“So you and Kate decided you will start in January?” Andrew asked.

“Yes.”

“I thought you understood that this position needed to be filled right away. I was under the impression that you would be starting immediately. The new store in your region is opening in January and no one has been hired for it yet.”

“Okay.”

“You probably want to be the one who determines who works in your store because it’s a reflection of you.”

“Okay.”

“I mean, I need you screening applicants and doing interviews. Can you start doing that immediately? We need to have a team in place by Christmas.”

I didn’t say anything, but I was really annoyed. I never told anyone that I would be starting immediately. That was never a part of the plan.

“Okay,” I finally said, trying to hide my frustration.

“Great!” Andrew exclaimed. “I’ll send you the login and password for your new work email and forward you all the resumes I’ve received thus far. Try to set up some interviews for later this week and next week.”

I said okay and we hung up. Since I wasn’t really working on anything, I set up my new work email and was bombarded with emails from Andrew right away. They were all resumes and cover letters for people applying to different positions. I opened a few resumes and saw people with experience in fashion design, cashiering, food service, etc. It was kind of overwhelming.

I replied to Andrew on one of them and said, “I don’t really know what I’m looking for.” How was I supposed to know if someone who had five plus years working in a pet store would be good in my store?

Andrew quickly emailed me back, “You don’t know what kind of person you want working in your store, Reese? Do you know how to read a resume?”

I didn’t appreciate his sarcastic response. Kate assured me that I would have a thorough training and I wouldn’t be thrown into anything, but I definitely felt like I was being thrown into it. And besides that, wasn’t there other preliminary things I needed before I started working? What about my tax forms? Do they not do background checks? Don’t I need to sign a contract? I wasn’t about to ask Andrew all this, but planned on asking Kate later.

Ten minutes later, Andrew emailed me again and said, “Please have at least eight interviews set up by Wednesday morning.”

Seriously? Does he think I have all this free time? I responded, “K.” And he said, “Thanks Reese!”

I didn’t hear from Andrew again on Monday and didn’t have time to look at resumes for the rest of the workday. After work I went home and started looking at the resumes on my laptop. I created three folders for screening them: yes, maybe and no.

Brady called when he got off and I told him to come over. When he got to my apartment, I told him what happened with Andrew and that I didn’t know what I was doing. Instead of agreeing with me that Andrew was being ridiculous and unfair, Brady said Andrew was right in that I should want to hire my own people if I would be held accoutable for them and that looking through the resumes shouldn’t be too hard or take much time.

“What?” I exclaimed, turning my laptop toward him. “Look at all these resumes he sent me!” I opened one of the email attachments. “This woman has no relevant experience. She teaches opera singers. How will I know if she would be good at selling stuff?”

Brady leaned forward and scanned the resume. “It says here that she majored in communications and interned with Michael Kors. Isn’t that a fashion brand? To me, this says she probably has no problem speaking to people and she is also on top of current fashion. I think she could be a good candidate for an entry level position in the store.”

Oh yeah. That made sense and I should’ve thought of that. That’s probably what Andrew meant by “Do you know how to read a resume?” Brady helped me filter through the rest of the resumes and decide who was worth interviewing or not. The new store is apparently opening in Tennessee so I wasn’t sure how Andrew expected me to interview them. Obviously questions are off limits with him so I wasn’t exactly sure what to do since he wants eight interviews set up by Wednesday morning. I’m not traveling anywhere this week or next.

After Brady helped me with my work, I made us drinks and we watched tv on my couch for a little while. I must have made the drinks really strong because I was borderline tipsy when I finished my first one. But I also think I drank it too fast because I told Brady I was going to my room to change then I fell asleep. Oops.

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we’re going to get engaged soon.

On Saturday, Brady and I stayed in bed literally all morning. We were talking and fooling around and I decided to ask about the George situation.

“So why were you so mad on Wednesday night?” I asked him.

“Are you kidding?” he asked, almost laughing.

I narrowed my eyes at him, preparing to explain to him that no, I was not kidding and his whole tantrum was unwarranted. But then his phone rang and he said, “Sorry. I’m going to take this.”

Brady got out of bed and answered his phone with, “Hola.”

And then he proceeded to have an entire five minute long conversation in Spanish. Even though I took two years of Spanish in high school not a single thing stuck with me so I sat there on the bed looking dumbstruck.

When Brady hung up the phone I said, “What the fuck?”

His eyebrows furrowed together. “Hmm?”

“You speak Spanish?” I asked. 

. I thought I was going to live in South America for a while. Didn’t we talk about this?”

“Uh, no.” If he can keep the fact that he is fluent in another language, what other secrets does he have? “So who were you talking to?”

“Just one of my buddies,” he answered.

“One of your ‘buddies?’ Are you a part of a drug cartel?” I was kind of joking, but mostly serious. It would explain quite a few things.

Brady laughed way too hard at my “joke.” It wasn’t that damn funny. When he saw that I wasn’t laughing with him, Brady said, “Of course not, Reese. That’s ridiculous. I was talking to my friend, Raul. He’s flying in today for the marathon. I’m picking him up from the airport later.”

Is it just me or does “Raul” sound like the name of a Mexican drug lord? I told him I wanted to meet Raul then changed the subject back to Wednesday night.

“So why were you embarrassed? Honestly, I think George is the one who should’ve been embarrassed,” I said.

“Reese, you were all over him. It’s one thing to be friendly, but you were practically sitting in his lap the entire night,” Brady explained, sounding really frustrated with me.

“Okay, well next time I will just be a rude bitch to your coworkers,” I said.

“I’m not telling you to do that. You just took it too far. You should’ve seen the disgusted look Deb had on her face.”

“Then why didn’t you say something?”

“I shouldn’t have to tell you how to be an adult,” Brady said. 

I blinked.

“And then you and your friends were acting like complete idiots. I thought you would have more [he used a word I’ve never heard before here]. I have a professional image to uphold.”

I really wanted to point out that he wasn’t concerned about his “professional image” when he was getting his dick sucked in a room in the hospital, but I knew that would just start a fight.

“Okay. Next time I’ll try to act less like myself and more like a professional adult,” I said, hoping he caught on to my sarcasm.

“That would be great. I apologize for kind of blowing up on you. I was extremely frustrated.”

“It’s fine. I almost got kidnapped by a homeless man on my way to the bus stop because I was crying and couldn’t see where I was going. But it’s fine!”

We got dressed and got Portillo’s then went to pick up Raul from the airport. I definitely thought Raul was going to be huge and bald with a teardrop tattoo on his face. He was the exact opposite. 

Brady introduced us in Spanish and I said, “Does he like, not know any English?” 

Brady turned and gave me a discreet “shut the fuck up” look so I said, “Mucho gusto,” in an American white girl accent.

I let Raul have the front seat when we rode back to Brady’s. They spoke Spanish the entire way so I guess Raul really doesn’t speak English. I wanted to test my theory by saying, “Brady, I want you to cum on my tits later,” but decided against it. Like I said, I’m trying to be more mature.

I hung out with them for approximately ten minutes at Brady’s house, but it was hard because of the language barrier. Since they were running the marathon in the morning, Brady didn’t want to go out or anything so Carly and I decided to go to a party in the suburbs.

She came over to get ready then I drove us to the party. Carly is really bad with directions and after we got lost about four times, we finally made it. It was at some hockey player named Nico’s house and apparently he has parties all the time. Carly introduced us and we hung out and drank with Nico and one of his friends.

I was tipsy and talking to Nico about hockey and life. Carly pulled me aside and said, “Reese, you’re flirting with him.”

“I am not!” I exclaimed. I would totally admit if I was flirting and out of line, but I legitimately was not. Nico was hot, but I wasn’t even attracted to him like that.

“How would you feel if Brady was acting like that with a girl? Did you even tell Nico that you have a boyfriend?” Carly asked.

Good point. I actually hadn’t told Nico about Brady, but then again it hadn’t come up. Is that something you’re supposed to tell someone of the opposite sex right away?

I turned back to Nico and he offered me a shot. After we took it, I told him that I have a boyfriend and we’re probably going to get engaged soon. Nico didn’t seem very interested in me after that, but it was okay because I had fun anyway.

We left at around one and I honestly should not have been driving. Carly insisted she knew her way back, but we ended up in some dark ass neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. I finally got out my phone to put my address into GPS since obviously Carly had no idea where we were.

While we were pulled over and I was pulling up directions, a fucking Buick or some ugly ass car came barreling down the street and side swiped the shit out of us. They physically moved my car and the impact knocked my phone out of my hand.

It took Carly and I a few moments to realize what happened, but by the time we did, the other car was long gone. Those assholes didn’t even stop.

“Reese, are you okay? Should we call 911?” Carly screamed.

I tried to jump out to assess the damage, but my drivers side door would barely open. After I used my body to push the door open, I saw that the entire drivers side of my car was dented and white from their paint.

“What the fuck!” I yelled. “My car is all fucked up. And I can’t even call the police because I’m fucking drunk!”

Carly got out and we mulled over our options then finally decided we should just get home.

This morning was the Chicago Marathon and Brady, Chris, and John were running in it so Carly, Kendra and I woke up super early, bundled up and got lattes to go watch them. This got really boring because there were so many people and we couldn’t even see anything so we got wine and walked back to my apartment.

Later in the day I went to Brady’s and showed him my car.

“Holy shit,” he said. “What happened?”

I explained the story, blaming Carly for the whole thing since it’s her fault we got lost and ended up in that sketch neighborhood.

Brady told me that I could file a police report and then file a claim with my insurance to fix the damages. Ugh. I don’t want to have to file a claim – my insurance is already high enough. Why do I have such bad luck with cars? Maybe I just shouldn’t have one.

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bad news and good news.

On Wednesday morning I had an appointment with my gynecologist for my yearly checkup. I was actually anxious to know if 1. I was pregnant and 2. If I had contracted any stids. I wasn’t worried about any of that until I talked to Kendra. She has a way of making you think the worst about your situation.

“Have you gotten your period?” she asked me on Tuesday night.

“Kendra, I haven’t gotten my period in a year,” I rolled my eyes. She knows that.

“First of all, I don’t think that’s normal. Ask your doctor about that tomorrow,” she said. 

I rolled my eyes again.

“Second of all, if you don’t get a period, how do you know if you’re pregnant or not? Isn’t that scary?”

I actually haven’t had a pregnancy scare since going on birth control so I didn’t really have an answer to that. I guess I rely on the 99.9% effectiveness.

My gyno, Dr. Stringer, is a lanky flamboyant man who I would think is gay if he didn’t have photos of his wife and all his kids all over his office. After the nurse drew blood, I got naked and put on a hospital gown and waited for him in the examining room.

“Reese, darling,” he said, knocking on the door. He walked in with the nurse following him. “I was wondering when I would see you again. How have you been?”

See? What straight man says “darling?”

“I’ve been great. Thanks for seeing me on such short notice,” I said. Usually Dr. Stringer books appointments weeks and weeks out. Luckily since I’m a VIP patient (lol), I was able to get an appointment within a week. 

“Anything for you! Are we just doing your routine yearly checkup today?” he asked.

“Yes. And a pregnancy test,” I replied.

“Of course. Do you have concerns that you may be pregnant?” Dr. Stringer looked at me over the top of his glasses.

“No, I just figure we may as well make sure while I’m here.”

“Very well then.” He put his clipboard down then popped on a pair of latex gloves. “Lay back and spread them!”

The actual examine didn’t take long, but Dr. Stringer talked to me the whole time and made candid comments about my vagina which was really odd. He finally said he was all done and that he and the nurse would be back with some results in a few minutes.

While I was getting dressed, I started to seriously think about what I would do if I was pregnant. I feel like I know Brady pretty well, but not enough to have a baby with him. We would probably have to get married or at least engaged. I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment. But on the bright side, at least he already owns an amazing condo and clearly has money to support his family. We would just have to evict Chris and turn his bedroom into a chic Pinterest-worthy nursery and hire a full time nanny/servant. 

By the time Dr. Stringer returned I was convinced that I was pregnant and trying to figure out how I was going to break the news to my parents. They only just found out about Brady.

“All right, Miss Reese,” Dr. Stringer said sitting on the stool in front of me. “I have bad news and I have good news.”

My heart began racing. Bad news and good news? Bad: I was pregnant, good: I didn’t have the clap? Or the other way around?

“The bad news is… You’re not pregnant. The good news is… You’re not pregnant!” Dr. Stringer exclaimed. It took me a moment to process what he said.

“Dr. Stringer!” I groaned. “Don’t freak me out like that!”

He chuckled. “All of your tests came back negative with the exception of a couple that will take a few days to process. If you don’t hear from us within a week then everything is good.”

So there went my dreams of a fabulous nursery with a chandelier imported from Spain. Oh well. I’ve been drinking and smoking so it’s probably for the best. 

After I left the doctor, I celebrated by getting froyo (with gummy bears and sprinkles #yolo) then going to the office. To be honest, I haven’t done much work at all the past week or so, so I figured I should probably get at least something done.

Except I spent the day avoiding Whitney’s emails and pinning pumpkin recipes. After work, I stopped by the boutique Preston works in to pick up a few items. Preston basically had me try on everything in the store until we decided on a dress, a sheer top, and a pair of leather leggings. 

After that I met Kendra for sushi. I was so excited to tell her that I’m not pregnant AND I don’t have STDs.

“So hopefully this is a lesson learned,” she said smugly after I shared the news.

“Well now that we are both STD free, I think we can continue what we were doing,” I said.

“Why would you do that? He could be doing the same thing with ten other women,” Kendra said, looking appalled.

“No he couldn’t. He’s not some player, Kendra. He’s my boyfriend.”

“Okay well do what you want. I’ve given up trying to give you advice. You always do whatever the fuck you want anyway.”

So that was the end of that. I love Kendra to death, but she’s just so judgmental. She always has to object to every single thing I do. She doesn’t understand that everyone’s life isn’t exactly like hers. It’s her way or you’re wrong/stupid. It’s draining. Additionally, how can she lecture me on something she and John do and have done for years? And by the way, I can’t believe we’re arguing about condoms. Ugh.

I went to Brady’s after sushi and immediately ran into Chris. I haven’t seen him since he walked in on me and Brady having sex and I was actually really not embarrassed. Oh well if he might’ve gotten a peek at my goodies. At least he got a nice show. 

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the most thoughtful gift.

When I got to work on Tuesday, Diana called me into her office.

“How was your weekend? You had a ton of fun, I imagine,” she said when I sat down.

“I did,” I said, smiling. “It was also my birthday so I celebrated.”

“Well, you’re here in one piece so that’s a great sign.”

I’m glad that even after everything, Diana and I still have a great relationship.

“So, I know you have a lot on your plate right now. You’re taking on so much extra work lately and Dave and I really appreciate you.”

“Yeah. My plate is very full,” I admitted.

“To help take some weight off your shoulders, we have promoted Whitney into a brand new position that was created just for her.”

I was silent so Diana continued explaining.

“Brand strategy manager. She will continue overseeing social media, but in addition, she will work alongside you with branding.”

I blinked.

“I just wanted to run this by you since I know you and Whitney have not always seen eye to eye.”

How did Whitney weasel her way into a promotion? And yes, I was swamped with work, but that’s the way I liked it. I didn’t want help, especially from Whitney.

“Okay,” I said, sweetly.

“You’re okay with this?” Diana looked kind of surprised. 

What was the alternative? Refusing to work with Whitney and looking like an uncooperative brat?

“Don’t worry, Diana. We will make it work,” I enthused.

Immediately after the meeting, Whitney stopped by my office.

“I already have a ton of ideas for marketing pitches. We’ve been lacking in a few areas so I created a file outlining everything. I just emailed it to you,” she said.

I gave her the fakest, syrupiest smile I could muster. “Thanks. I’ll look at it.”

Keyword: look. Right before I moved it to the trash.

Later that evening, Brady and I met for dinner and drinks. I told him about Whitney’s promotion and how annoyed about it I was.

“Don’t be annoyed. At least you’ll be getting some relief from all the work you have to do,” he said.

“I don’t want relief,” I glared.

“It will allow you more time to invest elsewhere. Perhaps spend more time on each project instead of juggling multiple things at once…”

“I don’t want that,” I said sharply. “Everything is perfect as is. I don’t need help.”

Brady saw how irritated I was getting and took a bite of his food. I considered what he said and started thinking of all the upsides. I could treat Whitney like my own little personal assistant. I mean, I have been wanting one. I could keep her so busy with running my errands that she wouldn’t have any time to work on branding. Perfect.

Brady interrupted my thoughts.

“So did you free your schedule for the 19th through 21st?” he asked. 

I wrinkled my nose in confusion. “No. Why?”

He looked at me blankly. “Did you not open the gift I got you?”

I had spent so much time at work and Brady’s that I completely forgot about the little white box he gave me the night of my birthday. It was still tangled up in my sheets.

“No. I completely forgot about that,” I admitted.

A look of disappointment flashed over his face briefly. 

“What is it?”

“Why don’t you look at it when you get home?” he suggested, taking a drink from his beer.

I feel awful about completely disregarding his gift. I should’ve opened it that night.

Brady came home with me and I hurried to find my gift. It was exactly where I left it, tossed carelessly on the bed. I tore open the box and single piece of paper fell to the bed. When I picked it up, I saw that it was the flight information for a trip to Houston, TX. For me. I didn’t say anything for a moment and Brady spoke up.

“I know you don’t get to see your family often so I’m forcing you to go.”

My heart felt too big for my chest and I actually thought I was going to cry. It is probably the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever gotten from a guy. He didn’t book a romantic trip for the two of us, he booked a trip for me.

“That’s…very thoughtful,” I said, sitting down on the edge of my bed.

Brady sat next to me. “I know your family misses you. Go surprise your parents. They will be ecstatic.”

“They will be.” I threw my arms around him and hugged him, hoping he took it as a thank you. 

I know his gift isn’t extravagant or anything I’ve been asking for, but I would never go home if he hadn’t bought me that plane ticket. And I’m actually really excited. 

We hooked up and fell asleep after that. I was woken up in the morning by Brady who quickly got out of bed. I pulled the comforter over my head while I heard him getting ready. He shouted goodbye and I mumbled something back before he shut my door. 

I fell back asleep for little while longer, but my ringing phone woke me up. It was from an unknown Chicago number and even though I usually don’t pick up unknown numbers, I answered it.

“Hey, it’s me,” I recognized Brady’s voice on the other end.

“Hi,” I said sleepily.

“I was in such a hurry that I left my phone on your nightstand,” he said.

I glanced to my right and saw his black iPhone sitting there.

“Do you think if you have time today, you could bring it to me at work? It’s kind of important.”

“Sure,” I said, smiling. I loved the fact that he was asking me for a favor. And if his phone was with me, how did he get my number to call me? He must have it memorized. We’re practically engaged. 

I told him that I would most likely take a break at around 12:30 and he told me to use the south entrance and let the receptionist know to page him.

His phone was dead so his alarm didn’t go off which explained why he woke up late. I put it in my bag to take to him later. 

When I got to work, Whitney was already working away at her desk.

“Reese!” she exclaimed. “I have a meeting set up for us today.”

“Okay. Who with?”

“I found this discount furniture bazaar that I think would be really good for us. It would be something a little different.”

“Discount furniture bazaar,” I repeated. While our stuff isn’t luxury by any means, I wouldn’t put it in the discount category. What kind of message would it send to our customers if we had stuff at some sort of flea market?

“Yes. I want to get some more information before presenting it to Dave and Diana. We’re meeting them at 2:00.”

“I’m busy at that time,” I lied. I actually wanted nothing to do with this foolishness she was trying.

“Oh darn,” Whitney said, not looking at all disappointed. “Well, I’ll let you know how it goes.”

Later that morning she came in my office.

“I was thinking since the last warehouse sale went so well we could do it twice a year. The next one could be around the holidays and we could turn it into sort of an event with other vendors and stuff,” Whitney said.

“I think the way we do the warehouse sale now is fine,” I replied.

“It is, but I thought it would be cool to spice it up a bit. I’m going to start planning it and send you what I come up with.” 

An hour later, she CC’d Diana and me in an email with a sample flyer for the holiday warehouse sale. Diana immediately emailed her back: “Interesting idea Whitney. Please send more info.”

I was so fucking irritated that Diana was even entertaining this. I grabbed my bag and headed off to meet Brady.

I got to the hospital and asked the receptionist to call him then I stood there talking to her because her eyebrows were awesome and I had to know who did them. She tried to tell me that they were natural which was an obvious lie. When I told her I didn’t believe her she pulled up a #TBT picture on Instagram. Same brows at thirteen. Whatever.

I sat down and waited for a few minutes until I spotted Brady walking down the hall toward me. And he was with Jessica. I can’t believe that after Saturday night he had the nerve to show up with her. I watched as they slowly walked down the wide white hallway, chatting and laughing. Brady was in dress clothes, a white coat and glasses, while Jessica wore bubblegum pink scrubs and a high ponytail. Bitch. 

“Hey. Thanks so much for coming,” Brady greeted me with a one armed hug.

“No problem,” I said sweetly and handed him his phone.

“You caught us just as we were heading to lunch,” Jessica said with that condescending ass smile on her face.

“Oh?” I looked at Brady.

“Yeah, we will probably just grab something quick from the cafeteria,” he said.

“Are you on lunch break too then?” Jessica asked.

“I don’t really have a set lunch break. I just come and go as I please,” I said.

“Nice,” Jessica smiled.

“Do you want to go down to the cafeteria with us?” Brady asked.

“No,” I said immediately and gave him a chilly look. “I actually have a lot to do and I put it all on hold to come here.”

“I do appreciate it,” Brady said.

“It’s not a problem. You can just repay me later.”

“How about I treat you to lunch?”

I glanced at Jessica who was watching the encounter with the smile still on her face. Ugh, she’s so weird.

“Okay. I could probably spare half an hour,” I said nonchalantly.

Brady smiled. “Great. You choose the place.”

He started toward the door without acknowledging Jessica so I waved at her before we walked out. We went across the street to a little Mexican place and got tacos because they were quick and we both really did need to get back to work. I asked him if he and Jessica frequently got lunch together. 

“No, it was a coincidence that we were both going to the cafeteria at the same time today,” he said. 

“Coincidence?” I repeated, hoping he would elaborate some more.

“Usually I work through lunch.”

“So do I,” I said.

Sometimes Brady is so oblivious that I think there is no way he could have anything going on with Jessica. It makes me feel like I’m crazy for even thinking it when Brady is so calm and cool about it. He is so casually unconcerned about her so I feel like their relationship is one sided. Not only that, but it took him forever to even have sex with me and we were dating. Even though Jessica seems like a thirsty skank, I just can’t see how anything could happen. Now I sound so naive. I don’t know what to think.

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