shady brady.

Since Kendra cancelled happy hour on Wednesday I made her get drinks with me on Thursday night. I hadn’t had a chance to tell her about my birthday or meeting Brady’s parents. She showed up late to the bar and I immediately demanded she take a shot. Then I rambled on and on about my birthday dinner and the rooftop afterwards. How I had fought with Derrick once again, how Jessica had showed up and rubbed Brady’s thigh, how Brady said he was falling for me.

“Why are you always fighting with Derrick? He’s like the most harmless person on the planet,” she said as if that was highlight of the story.

“Because he’s annoying,” I said, dismissively. “Anyways, what about Jessica? I went to see Brady at work yesterday and they were going to lunch together.”

“So? It’s lunch, not some scandalous rendezvous.”

“How do we know that?”

“Did you ask Brady about it?”

I looked at her like she suggested a threesome between the three of us. “I’m not asking him anything. I would sound like some jealous, mega-attached psycho.”

“He said he’s falling for you, Reese. He isn’t hooking up with Jessica. I’m sure she just has a huge crush on him and he probably likes the attention.”

What she said made sense, but then I realized that I give Brady enough attention so he shouldn’t have to seek any from Jessica. I took a sip of my martini then told Kendra about Brady’s parents. Her only conclusion was that I should’ve never mentioned Obama and that it was obvious (even just from hearing my story) that they were Republicans. She’s right. I definitely should’ve seen the clues.

Finally, I asked her to tell me about her vacation with John.

“It was a ton of fun. We love any chance we can get away from the city,” she said.

“Let me see your ring.”

Kendra rolled her eyes. “He didn’t propose, Reese.” 

Thankfully. As much as I like to tease Kendra about getting engaged, the day it happens I’m going to be devastated. Because once she becomes a married woman, she won’t want to go out for drinks and happy hour and get belligerent on weekends. She will become this serious housewife and only want to spend time with her husband. And then she will start having children and we will no longer have anything in common. I would basically be losing my best friend.

After drinks, I texted Brady to see if he was off work yet and he said that he was exhausted and working late. This struck me as weird and all of my insecurities about Jessica came rushing back to the surface. First of all, he was always exhausted – we both were – so why was that an excuse not to hang out? We hang out every single night no matter what time he got off. I didn’t text him back and instead took a relaxing two hour shower and got ready for bed. 

I checked my phone and Brady had texted me again saying that he was off work and could come over if I was still up. Oh sure, now that he was done fucking Jessica he wanted to hang out with me.

I put my phone down with no intention of responding and got in bed. I started thinking about how hurt Brady looked when I admitted I didn’t open his gift. How he had bought me a plane ticket to Houston because he sensed that I missed my family. I never expressed to him how much I really did, but he picked up on those clues. Finally, I thought about how he said he was falling for me. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m falling for him too. 

I quickly picked up my phone and told him that I was sorry, but already in bed. I couldn’t possibly pretend to be mad at him even if I have some suspicions about Jessica.

On Friday, we had our weekly staff meeting and I was going to present some mockups for the watercolor artist collaboration to see if anyone thought it would be worth it. 

After I presented, Whitney insisted she share some ideas she’s working on. It really annoyed me because she is supposed to be assisting me with my ideas, not coming up with her own. We are a team, not in competition. She started with the “discount furniture bazaar” idea and talked about how we could be exposed to a ton of clients who had never heard of us. Duh. Because people who can afford our stuff don’t shop at flea markets.

I raised my hands and expressed my concerns about the message it would send if we were being associated “discount.”

Before Whitney could respond, Dave said, “You know, it might actually be good for us. We don’t want to come off as a snobby company. If we make our products available to people who are price conscious, it will show humility.”

I didn’t say anything. Did I mention that I’m a control freak? I am in charge of all marketing and promotion and I know what’s best for the company. I can’t let this flea market shit go down.

Brady called around 7:30 and invited me over. I stuffed some clothes and toiletries in my bag and headed over there.

“Welcome,” Brady said, letting me in. He was still in his clothes from work and I realized that I missed him on the one day we didn’t get to hang out.

“Hello,” I chirped, hugging him. He nuzzled his face in my neck and I felt a tingle rush down between my legs. I pulled away and kissed him. “How was your day?”

“It’s Friday so I can’t complain. Do you want a beer?”

I followed him into the kitchen and he grabbed two beers while I poured a glass of wine. We took our libations to his room and sat there talking about our days. I steered clear of complaining about Whitney because clearly he would take her side. Eventually he said he was going to take a quick shower and I changed into sleeping clothes and got in bed.

I noticed his phone sitting on the night table next to me and I casually picked it up. His background picture was of a German Shepherd dog which I couldn’t decide if I thought was cute or weird. It honestly should have been a picture of me. I was surprised that when I slid to unlock his phone that he didn’t have a passcode so I had full access to everything. I honestly didn’t expect to find anything though. 

I looked through the apps he had downloaded, all normal things like his bank, Google Maps, GroupMe, etc. I opened his messages: Me, Mom, Chris… Then I saw the thread with Jessica. I couldn’t even stop myself from opening it.

All the messages were very innocent – at first. Things like “Have a good weekend.” and “The fourth floor is crazy right now.” Mostly Jessica sending messages and Brady responding. Very one sided. I scrolled up more and saw conversations about sports that I didn’t even bother reading because they were so long and I don’t even care about sports. I kept scrolling up until I saw a picture. Jessica sent it – it was of her in a tight black dress taken in a full length mirror.

“Going out tonight. Do you like my outfit?” she’d captioned.

Brady responded, “Looks great.”

I kept scrolling up and then I came upon another picture from Jessica. In this one she was in the same mirror, but she was completely naked. I could see everything – her huge tits (I thought my boobs were pretty big, but hers take the cake), faint bikini tan line, landing strip, and tiny hip tattoo. There was no caption and Brady responded, “Very nice.” I checked the date – May 24. Before Brady and I even met.

I continued refreshing older messages and finding more nude pictures. All from Jessica. She would change her pose up – one where she was touching her vagina, another showed a close up of her boobs and face with her finger in her mouth. Brady always responded with something like “Nice” or “Looks good.” I felt like I was suffocating. I know it all happened before we had even met, but obviously he and Jessica have sexual history and he didn’t bother telling me.

I heard the shower turn off and I quickly sent two of the naked pictures to myself then hopped out of bed. I was embarrassed and hurt, but mostly really fucking pissed off.

I was waiting outside the door when Brady emerged from the shower. He was just wearing a towel around his waist and had water dripping down his chest. I held up his phone with a shaky hand.

“What the fuck?” I said slowly because I couldn’t even think of anything else to say.

Brady looked confused. “What?”

I opened one of the naked pictures and showed it to him. He looked at it blankly.

“I can’t fucking believe this.”

He walked passed me and sat on the bed.

“How could you introduce me to Jessica and fail to mention that you guys have had some sort of sexual relationship in the past?”

Brady didn’t say anything.

“No wonder she’s been giving me condescending looks. Y’all are probably still hooking up,” I said.

“No,” Brady said calmly.

“Did you fucking have sex with her?” I demanded.

“No!” he exclaimed as if that was the most ridiculous conclusion I could’ve come to after seeing the pictures.

“Then what happened?”

When he didn’t answer, I said, “And don’t say ‘nothing’ because that’s a fucking lie.”

“Once,” he said, quietly. “We went in an empty patient room. And she…” He trailed off.

“She what?”

He started making gestures with his hands that told me he didn’t know what to say.

“She sucked your dick?” 

Brady sighed. “Yeah.”

“You’re fucking gross,” I glared at him.

I suddenly remembered back to the night of the charity event when I tried to have sex with him in the bathroom and he told me no. He couldn’t hook up with me at a work event, but he could hook up with Jessica at work? I don’t know if I overestimated him or underestimated him. I thought he was too mature and conservative to do such a thing in a public place, but clearly he was very capable of it.

“I owe you a huge apology. I withheld that information because I am not proud of it. I understand why you’re upset and you deserved to know.”

I crossed my arms across my chest.

“I’m terribly sorry. I’m really embarrassed,” Brady said.

“You’re embarrassed?” I seethed. “Imagine how I feel. You’re flaunting Jessica in my face knowing what happened between y’all. Do you understand how stupid it makes me look? Now the b-day comment and the thigh touching all makes perfect sense.”

Brady’s brow furrowed.

“Is there anything I can do to remedy this situation?” he asked very calmly.

“No!” I screeched. And then I became aware of the delicate iPhone in my hand. No protector case or passcode? Silly Brady. “Have a nice life!”

I threw the phone with all of my strength on the tile bathroom floor and heard a painful sounding crack. I grabbed my bag and stormed out of there while Brady watched me, but didn’t try to stop me.  

I got in my car and took a few deep breaths. It wasn’t until I started driving that I realized that yes, I was mad as fuck, but I was actually way more hurt. I like Brady. Way more than I ever planned to.

Even though my eyes felt hot with tears and I had a dry lump in my throat, I wasn’t going to let myself cry. Fuck that. 

I already know what y’all are going to say. Bring it on.

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what an impression.

I spent the night with Brady on Sunday night and brought over my things I needed to get ready to meet his parents. I decided to go for a Blair Waldorf inspired look so I wore a structured black baby doll dress, Michael Kors Mary Jane pumps and a delicate gold watch.

We were supposed to meet his parents at 2:30 north of the city and I started getting really nervous while I waited for Brady to get ready. I went to the kitchen and broke into the wine cellar to help ease my nerves. I really hoped they didn’t want to talk too much.

I was three glasses in when Brady was finally ready to go. I grabbed a bottle of water and we were off.

“So what are your parents like?” I finally asked on the car ride there.

“Well, they are both very much invested in what they do. They are really into politics and current global events. It’s funny, they make time to watch the news together everyday, usually as soon as it comes on at 5:00 AM.”

Okay, I obviously know nothing about any global events so I hoped that wouldn’t come up.

We pulled up to a small restaurant right off the lake and I hoped that the bottle of water and almost hour drive had made most of the wine wear off. I wanted to take the edge off, but not be a hot mess. I felt fine when we got out of the car and gave myself a pep talk as we crossed the parking lot. This wasn’t a job interview. This was Brady’s parents who were probably just as cool and chill as he is.

We were almost to the door when a couple walked out of the restaurant. I recognized them from Google as Brady’s lovely parents.

His dad looked like he was straight out of a St. John’s Bay ad with an olive green polo, plaid shorts and boat shoes. He had a head full of salt and pepper hair, the same baby blue eyes as Brady and a pair of sunglasses hanging from a string around his neck. Brady’s mom was significantly shorter and had a powerful looking strawberry blonde bob. She wore a pair of knee length khaki shorts, a wrappy blouse and leather flip flops. Overall they looked pretty modest, but I know they have to have money. 

“Hi son!” his mom exclaimed and I watched their affectionate reunion awkwardly.

When they were finished they all turned to me.

“This is Reese,” Brady said.

His mom smiled and stuck her hand out for me to shake. Suddenly I got really intimidated and I rarely get intimidated. Could she tell that I was sitting on her son’s face just hours before? “Nice to meet you, Reese!”

“Nice to meet you as well,” I said, shaking her hand back. 

“How are ya?” his father asked shaking my hand. We made eye contact and he winked at me and suddenly I really liked him. He wasn’t intimidating at all.

“Our table should be ready now. Shall we go sit?” Brady’s mom asked.

We got inside and sat down and Brady’s dad ordered a bottle of expensive white wine. His parents ordered lobster tail (clearly not modest) and Brady and I got grilled tiger prawns and vegetables.

“So Reese, where are you from?” Brady’s dad asked while we waited for our food to arrive.

I had already taken a big gulp of my wine so I hurried to swallow. “I’m originally from suburban Texas.”

“Where did you go to college?” his mom asked.

“I graduated from ASU.”

“Is that…Arizona State?” she clarified, looking confused.

I nodded. So what if it isn’t Yale or Harvard? She didn’t have to judge.

“Brady tells us you work in marketing,” dad said.

“Yes. I’m the director of branding for a home decor company here in the city. I oversee all of the advertising efforts and any brand collaborations,” I explained.

“Is it a company we would know?” mom asked.

“We are found in a lot of retailers around the nation, but we only have our one showroom. We’re in select Nordstrom stores, if you shop there.”

“So are you a startup?” she asked, looking confused.

I shook my head. “No. We’ve been around for several years.”

“Hmmm,” she murmured as if she still wasn’t quite sure what I meant.

“So, being from Texas and living in Arizona for a number of years, how do you feel about what’s going on at the border?” dad asked me.

So it was starting. What border? The US/Mexico border? I took a drink of wine so I could stall and come up with a politically correct answer.

“I just really hope the conflict at the border ends soon and everyone is happy,” I said.

“Well, who did you vote for in the last presidential election?” he asked.

Maybe we weren’t friends after all. I didn’t even fucking vote because I thought both candidates sucked. I wished I would’ve paid attention when Googling his parents to whether his dad was a Democrat or Republican. I thought because they’re obviously rich and seemed conservative that they might be Republicans, but I remembered learning in my political science class in college that most or all of New England are Democratic states. But I failed that class and had to retake it so I don’t know. I looked at Brady for a clue, but he was looking back at me expectantly like he was wondering too.

“I voted for Obama,” I said finally.

Brady’s mom scrunched her face up, bewildered. “Why?”

Wrong answer.

“I really appreciated the passion he had for this country and wanted to give him the opportunity to tie up any loose ends during his second term,” I said, impressing even myself with the bullshit.

“Do you think he did a good job his first term?” Brady’s dad asked.

“I don’t think he did any worse than either of the Bushes,” I said and downed the rest of my wine.

Brady’s parents looked at each other.

“What do your parents do?” Brady’s mom asked.

“My father works in finance for an energy company and my mother owns a business,” I answered proudly.

“Your mother owns a business and you voted for Obama?” the mom gasped. The look on her face was almost comical.

I looked at Brady and gave him an SOS signal with my eyes. It took him a moment to figure out what it meant, but when he did figure it out, he acted quickly.

“Mom, would you like another glass of wine?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied, sounding relieved. 

Our food came so luckily that conversation ended. They asked how we met and Brady and told them the story. Brady spent the rest of the meal talking about his job and the hospital and I was glad the attention was off me.

After Brady’s dad paid for everything, we walked outside to go to the party. His parents were walking a few feet ahead of us and Brady and I fell into step together.

“Hey, you okay?” he asked.

“Besides being grilled by your parents, I’m fine,” I said.

“Yeah, they’re pretty big Republicans. I probably should’ve metioned that.”

“That would have helped.”

“It’s okay though. Even if you don’t share the same view as them, they like that you have your own opinion and that you actually voted.”

I laughed and realized I was tipsy. “I actually didn’t really vote.”

Brady laughed too. “Dammit Reese.”

We boarded the yacht and immediately got complementary glasses of champagne. Since I was already feeling tipsy, I decided that I would have one glass and no more. I don’t know who was hosting the party, but there were a lot of older people on the yacht, dancing and talking and mingling. We grabbed a spot to sit on a striped couch.

“So, I hear you just had a birthday. What did you guys end up doing to celebrate?” Brady’s mom asked.

I suddenly remembered all the nasty hickeys I left on Brady’s neck and body and noticed that he’d worn a shirt buttoned all the way up to the collar to hide it. I smirked. 

“We had dinner with Reese’s friends,” he answered.

They continued asking random questions as the yacht took off into the lake. I was enjoying being on the water and even took a few pictures for Instagram (no drunk selfies though). About thirty minutes into the ride I started to feel weird. I figured it was from all the wine and champagne so I pushed my glass away and took a few deep breaths.

That didn’t help. I could feel every move the boat made and it was making me nauseas and dizzy. I tugged at Brady’s sleeve.

“I don’t feel well,” I whispered.

He was busy talking to his dad and ignored me. My entire body felt hot and my mouth was salivating like I was going to vomit. I swallowed a few times but the feeling didn’t go away.

“Brady,” I said, whacking his arm. He quickly spun around toward me. “I need to go to the bathroom, I’m sick.”

I stood up as Brady asked if I was okay. I held my hand up to signal that I was fine then scurried down to the cabin of the boat. Luckily, I found a bathroom just in time and slammed the door just before puking in the toilet. I started sweating as I kneeled in front of the porcelain throne. I started dry heaving and I heard a knock on the door.

“Reese?” Brady’s mom called. “Are you okay?”

Jeez, couldn’t I barf my brains out in private? I began throwing up again so I couldn’t answer.

“Reese?” she called again.

“I’m fine!” I gasped finally, hoping she would go away.

I vomited twice more and hugged the toilet for a few more minutes. I started to feel better so I heaved myself up and checked the mirror. I still felt a little bit icky, but it seemed like I was done throwing up. I quickly fixed my hair and dabbed my makeup in the mirror. Even though Brady’s mom had intruded on my barf sesh, I didn’t need everyone to know that I was seasick.

I opened the door to the bathroom and Brady’s mom was standing there waiting with a concerned look on her face. I was caught off guard that she was still waiting.

“I’m fine, thanks,” I said quickly.

“Reese, you aren’t…pregnant, are you?” she asked, sounding disgusted at the word.

I smiled. Pregnant? Yeah right. Brady and I have only been having sex for two weeks. “Of course not. I think I just have motion sickness.”

She looked at me skeptically. “Are you positive?”

“Yes. I probably had too much wine. There is no way I could be pregnant.”

“Okay.”

Suddenly, I was really irritated with her. Like it was my fault that the yacht was doing whatever the fuck it wanted to and made me sick.

“How long until this thing turns around and goes back to dry land?” I asked, walking past her.

“Probably another hour or so. I’m sure we can find someone with Dramamine, although if you’re hungover then that won’t help matters.”

Shade. 

“I’m not hungover.”

I walked back up the stairs in front of her and found Brady and his dad on the couch where we left them. Brady stood up.

“Reese, are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” I said, waving him away. I sat back down and started digging through my bag to find gum.

“Brady, go find her something to calm her stomach,” mom said.

“I don’t need anything,” I insisted but Brady was already on his way. So I was alone with the crazy Republicans.

“No one else has motion sickness,” Brady’s mom said, looking around the boat. “And the lake is fairly calm. So I think it is odd that you got sick.”

“You’re feeling better now, Reese?” Brady’s dad asked and he actually sounded genuinely concerned.

Brady appeared just as I said yes.

“Hey. I found a generic dimenhydrinate. Low dosage since you seem to be feeling better,” he explained and handed me a pill. 

“What did you say this was? I don’t want to be taking random drugs.”

Brady and I made eye contact and he smirked at me, like we were sharing an inside joke. I took the pill dry and we all sat back down and everything settled down.

“Why did you move to Illinois, Reese?” Brady’s dad asked.

“I love Chicago,” I said as if that was explanation enough.

“Texas is such a great place to live. The government is great, the taxes and cost of living are well below average… Illinois is just so corrupt,” dad said.

Brady’s mom nodded in agreement. “And it isn’t getting any better. That’s why we want Brady to come on home. Massachusetts is a wonderful state.”

I looked at Brady for a reaction. I remember he mentioned that he was considering moving home, but only once and he never spoke about it again. He kind of shrugged and took a drink from his bottle of water.

By the time the yacht finally got back to the dock, I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I hadn’t said anything for the last forty five minutes which has to be some sort of record.

“Well, it was very nice meeting you,” Brady’s mom said as we were preparing to say our goodbyes in the parking lot. And then to my surprise, she actually hugged me. It felt very strained and cold, but I at least appreciated her attempt to be more welcoming to me. I mean, since I’m going to be the mother of her grandchild apparently.

On the ride back, Brady apologized about his parents interrogating me but despite how they may have came off, he believes they like me.

I already know, I should have never mentioned Obama.

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