july 4.

I needed an outfit that said conservative pharmacist’s wife, but also fun-loving twenty four year old so I decided on a pair of white J. Crew shorts, an Alice + Olivia tank and a statement necklace. Carly came to pick me up at 4:30 on Friday and Preston was already in the car. She told me that I looked adorable and that today was the perfect day to redeem myself with Brady. I informed her that I didn’t care about Brady and I was just going for the food and booze. 

She smirked at me through the rearview mirror. “Oh please. If that was the case you would’ve just worn jeans and a topknot. I know you, Reesie.” 

She was totally right and I couldn’t even deny it. 

When we got to their place, Chris greeted us with hugs and cans of beer. He was obviously already completely drunk. 

“So glad you guys made it! Everyone’s out back,” he told us. We followed him into the dining room and out to the attached back patio. I immediately noticed Brady standing at the grill with his back to us. He was wearing shorts and I could see that he has amazing calves. How can one person be so perfect? 

Chris took us around and introduced us as his “friend” Carly and “her friends” Reese and Preston. I met a girl who works for a company that designs high end knobs, hinges, and drawer pulls so we talked for a while. I didn’t know in what way, but I thought she might come in handy one day so we exchanged business cards.

Afterwards, I found Carly, Chris and Preston huddled in a corner. We stood there talking for a while until Carly and I finished our beers. I offered to go get us more, but really I just wanted to “accidentally” run into Brady who I hadn’t seen since we first got there. I grabbed two beers and headed back and was happy to see that Brady had joined our group while I was gone.

“Hey,” I said, appearing next to him. I handed Carly her beer.

“Hey. I didn’t even know you were here,” he said.

I smiled. “Yep. I’m here.” 

“Enjoying yourself?”

“I am. You guys are great hosts,” I said. 

“Well, thank you. You’re welcome here anytime.” 

I didn’t know if that was an actual invitation or if he was just being nice, but either way my tummy did a flip. His tattoo was peeking out of his shirt again and I pointed at it, deliberately touching him when it wasn’t necessary.

“What’s this?”

He pushed his sleeve back revealing a huge intricate eagle with it’s wings spread and what looked like a date under it. But it wasn’t a regular eagle – it was kind of cartoonish and colorful. It was quirky. To me it showed that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and I liked that. I could only see half it and the rest snaked onto his shoulder. “In honor of my grandfather. He served twenty three years in the United States Navy. He passed away recently.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” I said genuinely. 

“No need to be sorry. He lived a fulfilling life. He left a legacy. He wouldn’t want anyone to be sorry.”

I nodded. 

“What about you? Are your grandparents around?” he asked.

I am fortunate because all four of my grandparents are still alive. I’ve definitely taken this for granted and I feel awful that I haven’t seen them in almost a year especially after hearing about Brady’s grandfather.

“They are actually all still around.” 

“Do they live in the city?”

I shook my head. “All of my family lives in Texas. That’s where I grew up.” 

“What brought you to Chicago?”

“I love this city. This is where I want to be.” 

“I love it here as well. I’m toying with the idea of moving back east though. That’s where home is for me.”

My heart sank. How are we going to get married if he moves hundreds of miles away? 

A girl across the patio shouted to Chris that all the beer was gone. This was a problem considering it was not even 6:00 PM.

“I’ll go get more booze,” Chris announced, pulled his keys out of his pocket and dropped them on the ground.

“You’re not in any position to drive anywhere. I will go,” Brady said.

Chris shrugged and shoved his keys back in his pocket. 

Brady turned to me. “Do you want to come with me?” 

“Yeah, go with him, Reese. Get some stuff we will like!” Carly enthused.

“Okay,” I said.

Carly winked at me before we walked off. Brady led us around the complex and into a garage. He unlocked a dark Audi sedan for us to get into. It looked nice and new, but not too flashy. It was sexy and kind of edgy, but conservative and understated like him. 

He drove us to a small liquor store on a corner and grabbed a shopping cart. 

“I’m going to grab the beer if you want to go pick out what you guys want,” he said.

I didn’t know what Carly wanted and I knew tequila was probably not a good idea so I finally just grabbed a bottle of moscato and met him at the cash register. I pulled out my credit card to pay for our wine, but Brady insisted on paying.

“A good host wouldn’t let you pay for your own wine,” he smiled.

I melted. 

Everyone cheered when we arrived back with the booze. I immediately poured Carly, Preston and me wine into red party cups and joined them at the patio table.

“The pharmacist is gorgeous, Reese,” Preston said. “And I think he likes you.” 

“Do you really think so?” I squealed.

“Well, he didn’t invite any of us on his beer run, did he?” Preston asked, matter-of-factly. 
 
We spent the next two hours sipping wine and people watching. Finally it got dark and a fireworks show began off in the distance. People began trickling out including Preston, whose billionaire boyfriend came to pick him up. Eventually it dwindled down to just Carly, Chris, Brady and me and two of their friends who helped Brady clean up. 

Carly and Chris started making out at the table and then got up. 

“Reesie Cup, we will be right back,” Carly said.

“Um okay. I’ll guess I’ll just stay out here by myself,” I said. 

“We won’t be long. Hang out with Brady!” she exclaimed. 

“Yeah, I’m sure he won’t mind,” Chris said. 

I rolled my eyes. I was getting tired and the alcohol was wearing off so I was just ready to go home. I sat out there for a moment then decided to go inside to find a phone charger. Brady was coming out as I was going in and we nearly collided into each other.

“Hi,” I said. “Do you have an iPhone 5 charger?” 

“I do.” He gestured for me to follow him and he led me down the hall to his plain, but very clean bedroom. My apartment may be a disaster most of the time but it’s important for my guy to be clean (gotta balance us out) so he won points with me here. 

“It’s right here.” Brady showed me the white cord dangling out of an outlet under the window.

“Thank you!” I said and walked past him to the window. I plugged my phone in while Brady stood in front of his dresser. It occurred to me that he brought me all the way to his bedroom when could have just grabbed the charger and brought it out to me.

We started talking about Carly and Chris and how she had been hanging out at their place the past few days. I told him that I was very excited that they were hitting it off since I was the one who kind of introduced them. He said that Chris recently got out of a serious relationship so he’s glad Chris is dating again.

“I’m guessing you’re single,” I said. I knew this not only from Facebook, but a guy in a relationship wasn’t going to accept a lapdance from a drunk girl like he did last weekend. 

“I am. You are as well?”

I nodded. 

“You’re beautiful and smart. I’m sure any guy would be lucky to have you,” Brady said.

I was so excited/flattered/turned on that I thought I would vomit. The fact that he called me beautiful and not hot or sexy cemented my adoration for him. I wanted to shout that he could be that lucky guy, but I just smiled instead. 

“What do you have planned for the rest of the weekend?” he asked me. 

I knew this was his chance to ask me out so I had to be available, but not too available. “I have a few things I may do, but nothing set in stone. What about you?”

“I’m actually running a 5k Sunday morning. I try to complete one every month or so.”

“That sounds fun. I want to run a 5k one day,” I lied. 

“There’s still time to enroll. Do you want to come?” 

Anyone who knows me that I’m not an athletic person. Working out for me includes doing 100-500 squats, as many crunches as I can (usually 25) and girl-on-top sex. I hate sweating in general. But the fact that Brady thought I could complete a 5k was pretty flattering.

“Okay, sure,” I said before I could stop myself. It couldn’t be that hard right? How far is a 5k anyway?

Brady told me where the race was then suggested we exchange numbers so we could stay in contact beforehand. We talked for a while longer until Carly came and found me and told me she was ready to go.

I turned to say goodbye to Brady and he patted my shoulder platonically. “See you Sunday.” 

Carly wanted to know what that was all about on the way to my apartment.

“We’re running a 5k together on Sunday,” I explained. 

Carly burst into laughter. “Reese, you’re running a 5k?” 

“What’s funny about that?” I asked, offended.

“Well, you don’t run is all. Do you even know how far a 5k is?” 

I shook my head. “No.”

“Like three miles! When’s the last time you even ran a mile? Or even half a mile?”

I considered this. It probably isn’t a good sign that I couldn’t even remember. Probably in college sometime? I don’t think I’ve ever run three miles straight. But I’m sure with the adrenaline of being with Brady will help a lot. 

Now I must prepare.

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we’re getting married.

On Friday afternoon, Carly texted me asking me what I was doing that evening. When I told her I had no plans she said, “Good because you’re hanging out with me and Chris.”

“No I’m not,” I responded. I didn’t have any plans but I wasn’t going to be bored enough to be someone’s third wheel. 

“Yes you are. You’re the one who even got me in this situation. It’s going to be awkward so you have to tag along.” 

Ugh. I totally planned going home, taking a four hour bubble bath and watching reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I agreed, but told her that if I started to feel like the third wheel I was bailing. We were supposed to meet Chris at his Lincoln Park duplex at 8:30ish so Carly came over after work so we could get ready/drink wine. 

“We’ve been texting a lot, but this will be our first time hanging out,” Carly explained. “And not only that, but he’s expressed no romantic interest in me.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. 

“All we ever talk about is drinking and work. He’s never called me pretty or asked me out on a date. Even tonight he just said, ‘do you want to come over and drink?’ His roommate might even be there.”

“Carly, you know you’re gorgeous. You don’t need Chris to tell you that. And you can’t be afraid to make the first move. If you want him, show him,” I said. 

“That’s so easy for you to say. You’re so good with guys.” 

This was actually laughable.

When we arrived at Chris’ I was already buzzed from the wine. Chris let us in to his place and I was really quite impressed with how clean and fresh it was for two straight guys. My first thought was that Chris was actually gay and that explained the chic apartment and lack of romantic interest. And then I thought maybe he was married and he actually shared the duplex with his wife. I couldn’t wait to get Carly alone and discuss my theories.

“I didn’t know you were coming, Reese, but I’m glad to have you,” Chris said as he led us through the living room to the open concept kitchen and dining room. 

“Thanks for allowing me to crash your date!” I said, glancing at Carly. 

We walked through the kitchen and into the dining area. The most beautiful man I have ever laid eyes on was sitting at the large oak table.

“This is my roommate, Brady,” Chris said as we entered the carpeted dining area. 

Brady looked up from his laptop at us. He had close cropped hair, blue eyes and the most perfect nose I’ve ever seen on a human. He was a little more clean cut than I usually go for, but he was so incredibly hot. He stood up and Carly stuck her hand in his face – a little too eagerly. 

“I’m Carly!”

They shook hands and he turned to me expectantly.

“Reese,” I said, shaking his hand. I suddenly hated myself for only wearing mascara, jeans and an Elsa braid. 

“Nice to meet you,” Brady said just to me and not Carly. “What are you guys getting into tonight?”

“I was thinking we would just go downstairs and drink and maybe watch some baseball. Wanna join?” Chris said. 

Brady glanced down at his laptop. “I have some work to complete, but maybe later.”

I wondered what his work consisted of. He had on a pastel colored oxford, slacks and argyle socks. He looked deliciously business casual. Maybe he worked in finance or law.

Chris led us down a flight of stairs to the basement and on our way down I texted Carly, “I love him.”

She replied, “Reallyyyyy??? He is really cute!!!” 

“We’re getting married,” I said back.

The basement had a full kitchen in the corner – with an impressive fully stocked bar. Chris told us to help ourselves and we each grabbed a bottle of Bud Light out of the refrigerator and then sat on the leather sectional watching the Sox game. 

We spent the next hour talking. Chris happens to be a Chicago native so we talked about how our childhoods differed and college. Luckily Chris is just waiting tables on the side and is finishing up his masters. He’s such a good catch for Carly and I’m proud that this was my idea. 

Just when I was wondering when my new boyfriend was going to join us, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. 

Brady appeared behind the sofa with a beer in his hand. He had changed into a fitted white t-shirt and what looked like an elaborate bicep tattoo was peeking out of his sleeve. So maybe he wasn’t as clean cut as I thought. “Sox winning?”

“Yeah, I think we’ve got this one,” Chris answered. 

Brady took a swig of his beer and glanced down at me. It was then that I realized I was grinning and battling my eyelashes at him. He smiled back. 

“Let’s play beer pong!” Carly suddenly exclaimed. 

We all looked at her. Really, Carly? Are we back in college? 

“Okay. I’m down,” Chris said.

Apparently beer pong was frequently played in this household because Chris immediately pulled a long rectangle table out of a closet and Brady started filling red cups up.

“Should we play guys against girls?” Brady asked after the table was all set up. 

“Nooo, that wouldn’t be fair. Me and Chris against you two,” Carly said wagging her fingers at us.

“Fine with me,” Chris said pulling Carly close by her waist. 

Brady joined me on the other side of the table and gave my body the once over. “Are you any good?”

I don’t know about you, but I’m really good at beer pong. I think it’s because I lived next to a frat house in college, but people are always surprised at how good I am. 

“Of course,” I purred.

Brady and I won the first two games then apparently all the beer gave Carly and Chris a boost because they won the third. Brady and I high-fived and talked about the strategy of the game a lot. I could tell he is really smart because he used words like “saturated” and “inertia.” It was super cute. If he wasn’t sexy, confident and completely perfect, he would be a nerd. 

After the third game, we decided that we were going to walk down to the bars. While Brady and Chris cleaned up the table and cups, Carly and I went back to their bar for more drinks. Carly grabbed another beer, but I found a bottle of tequila with my name on it. I began filling a cup up, but Carly grabbed my arm. 

“Reese!” she exclaimed, giving me a wide eyed look. 

“What?!” 

“If you’re actually interested in Brady then you better slow down. Don’t let Drunk Reese out yet.” 

She was absolutely right so I only filled the cup a quarter way up and filled the rest with orange juice.

When we got down to the bar, Carly and Chris immediately started dancing leaving Brady and me at the bar. Which was fine with me because I wasn’t drunk enough to start dancing yet.

Brady and I had no choice, but sit at the bar and talk. I learned that he’s a clinical pharmacist at a hospital here and I was instantly impressed. He’s originally from Massachusetts and went to private school K-12 and Yale for undergrad. Apparently his father is a huge and important politician in Massachusetts and his mother is the CEO of a hospital, a job I didn’t even know existed (how does one even qualify for that?). I can’t lie, I was kind of intimidated. His life is so in control. ASU and my measly 3.7 cumulative GPA were dull in comparison. 

My dad at least has a cool enough job to talk about. He’s not the next Mitt Romney or anything, but he gets by. I wasn’t about to tell Brady that my mom runs a cupcake shop part time but mostly spends her days shopping, laying out by the pool and rearranging our house despite being a licensed therapist though. He did say that my job sounded “stimulating” and that it must be nice to have a “creative outlet” that was “financially rewarding.”

Before we knew it, we had finished an entire pitcher of beer.

“Shall we order shots?” Almost-Drunk Reese asked.

Brady raised an eyebrow. “Shall we?”

I nodded and flagged down the bartender. I ordered two modest lemon drop shots for us and instantly began bouncing in my barstool after finishing mine. I was totally drunk enough to dance. 

I stood up and grabbed Brady’s hand and tried to drag him onto the dance floor, but he wouldn’t budge. 

“I don’t dance,” he smiled and pulled me closer to him – so that I was directly in front of him and our legs were touching. 

“Not even with me?”

He looked as if he was considering this when that “Fancy” song by Iggy Whoever came on. Sober Reese finds this song obnoxious, but Drunk Reese immediately started dancing – giving Brady some sort of pseudo lapdance/personal rap concert. So fucking embarrassing. 

But while I danced in front of him, he kept a super light hold of my hand and watched me closely. For some reason it was really intimate and sexy. When the song was over, I put my hands on his thighs and leaned down close to his face. 

“Sure you don’t want to dance with me?”

Brady opened his mouth like he was either going to say something or kiss me and I was desperately hoping for the latter. We stayed like this – breathing into each other’s mouths – for a full minute. I felt his thighs tense up under my hands and without even having to look down, I knew he had a boner. My heart rate quickened as I leaned down even closer so our lips just barely brushed each other. Brady lightly bit my lower lip and my entire body ached because I wanted him so bad. 

But suddenly Chris and Carly came bounding back to the bar hand in hand, interrupting our moment. I quickly sat back down in my own barstool. 

“Are you guys ready? I have to work early,” Carly yawned.

“Yes, I’m becoming tired as well,” Brady said.

We tabbed out and made the short walk back to their place. Carly had driven us so she and Chris stood in front of her car saying goodbye/making out.

“I’m going to head inside and get some sleep. It was a pleasure talking to you, Reese,” Brady said.

I stood there smiling stupidly. A pleasure talking to me? Wasn’t he going to ask for my number or invite me in so we could have sex? I wasn’t going to, but the invitation would’ve been nice.

“See you later,” I said. 

On the ride back to my apartment, I told Carly what happened. 

“I’m sure he was just too shy to ask for your number. Chris said he’s not aggressive enough with girls,” Carly said.

I considered this. Brady didn’t seem shy at all, but maybe Chris was right about him not being aggressive. He had plenty of opportunity to kiss me. We got to my apartment and Carly decided to stay the night because it was so late.

God. Now I’m thinking maybe I’m not agressive enough either. I should’ve given him my number, right?

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