i felt like i was babysitting.

I knew Kendra would be delicate and fragile so I was constantly checking in on her. I planned on taking dinner and wine to her apartment on Thursday evening, but she insisted we go to happy hour. I met her at a lowkey spot near her office and by the time I got there she was halfway done with her grande margarita.

“Hi, hun,” I said gently. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, Reese,” she said like I was being completely ridiculous.

“You are?” I gave her a skeptical look. “Have you talked to John?” 

“He came to get his things last night and we talked a little bit. He’s staying with his sister. He’s called me a few times today, but I haven’t picked up. I don’t want to talk to him.”

“Good. You’re way too good for that weird ass loser,” I said.

“Do you want a margarita? I’m going to order another one,” Kendra said, changing the subject.

I let her ramble on about work, her parents, her hair and anything else she could think of that wasn’t John. We talked about Halloween and even though I had a costume and plans, I told Kendra that I would stay home with her.

She waved me off. “I’m fine. I’ll still go out. I already have my costume so I might as well.”

I guess we really didn’t have set in stone plans – Brady and Chris’s friend was having a house party, Chris’s alma mater was having a party, Preston wanted to go to a costume contest at a gay club and I just wanted to drink.

Brady and I did end up doing coordinating costumes: a roaring 20’s couple, kind of Daisy and Jay inspired. I know it’s so last year, but I literally couldn’t think of anything. Plus I’ve been eyeing this amazing Art Deco inspired dress and wanted an excuse to buy it. I wore it with strands of pearls, an amazing intricate headpiece I had expedited from Etsy and my nude Rockstuds (if Daisy had the opportunity to get Rockstuds, she definitely would).

I picked Brady’s “costume” out myself too: black slacks, white dress shirt, suspenders, and a bow tie. The only thing I had to buy was the cool two tone hat. I’m not sure if his costume was accurate for that era, but he looked so fucking hot that I didn’t care.

The weather was absolutely disgusting on Friday so we all met at Brady and Chris’s and took an Uber to one of the parties. The place was decorated like a haunted house with spider webs and mirrors and red lights and shit. It was awful and that plus being miserably cold, I needed to be drunk ASAP.

The bartender was making all these ridiculous Halloween themed drinks like “Candy Corntini” and “Spiked Witch’s Brew Punch.” It was really quite childish (although that punch was delicious). We stayed there for a little while and drank and danced. I was happy to see that Kendra seemed to be having a good time and was even dancing with us. She hardly ever dances anymore. Maybe her and John breaking up isn’t so bad. 

After a while, we decided to head to the gay club so Preston and Dillon could enter the costume contest. Their costumes were pretty risqué I thought, but everyone there was practically naked. Brady and Chris only lasted half an hour before they were tired of seeing dicks everywhere and told us they would meet us at the bar.

Preston and Dillon didn’t win, but a zombie stripper did. His costume was really cool so I get it. We took a ton of pictures with everyone then headed down to the bar. We found Brady and Chris standing at the bar with four girls who looked like they were dressed as the Pussycat Dolls. Naturally, I was irritated and wanted to a. let them know that their costumes were tacky and overdone and b. tell them to stay their asses away from my man.

But Carly bounded over and introduced herself to the skanks and didn’t act confrontational at all. I need to be more like that. If Carly didn’t feel threatened and insecure then why should I? Plus, aren’t I supposed to be trying to be less jealous?

Carly continued talking to the girls and learned that one of them is from close to her hometown and they have some of the same friends. I tried to stand there being friendly for a while until I finally got bored. I grabbed Brady’s hand and pulled him into a corner for some couples time. Sometimes when we’re drunk, Brady and I like to have meaningful conversations about life/our future. We were in the middle of a deep discussion about where we thought would be the best place to raise our children when I felt someone grab my ass. It was Kendra.

“Hey lover,” I said, putting my arm around her. Then I turned back to Brady. “We can get so much more for our money in Texas. I just don’t see myself living in Chicago with children.”

For whatever reason, Brady just isn’t into the idea of moving to Texas and wants to stay in Chicago or move back to Massachusetts. Personally, if I’m going to have a bunch of little brats running around then I want a huge house where I can hide from them if I need to. Everyone knows everything is bigger in Texas especially the homes.

“And I don’t see myself living in Texas ever,” Brady said.

I scoffed, offended. “Why? You’ve never lived there. It’s a wonderful place to live and grow up!”

“I don’t think living in the northeast would be that bad,” Kendra spoke up. “I lived summers in Boston and New York City and it was really nice. You could get a nice charming house in the suburbs.”

I glared at her. “You lived there in the summer. Meaning you didn’t witness how it is in the winter. I bet it’s cold and miserable!”

“It can’t be any worse than Chicago,” Kendra pointed out.

“Chicago isn’t an option! That’s why I’m saying we should move to Texas!” I shouted.

Obviously we resolved nothing and the night started winding down a little bit later. The five of us climbed into a cab and I completely intended on dropping Kendra off at home then going home with Brady.

But Kendra said, “Reese, I’ll just spend the night with you.”

Ugh. And with everything going on with her I obviously couldn’t object so the cab dropped us off first. I have never been so sad to say goodbye to my boyf. We got up to my apartment and ripped our costumes off and heated up some pizza rolls. It was literally just like we were back in college.

Kendra confessed that she’d had so much fun and didn’t think about John at all until it was time to go home.

“You’re handling this surprisingly well,” I told her. “I know you’re strong and everything, but you and John were together forever.”

She shrugged. “I guess he really didn’t mean that much to me.”

I don’t know if I believe her.

On Saturday, Kendra and I hung out around my apartment for a few hours then we went to lunch, went shopping, got our nails and eyebrows done, then got Jamba Juice. I felt like I was babysitting.

Finally she said she had some work to do so she went home. Then I passed out on my couch for three hours. I woke up because Brady called and invited me to dinner. He said he would pick me up in thirty minutes so I got up and took a fifteen minute shower then put on black leggings, a huge cable knit sweater and riding boots. And then I spent almost forty minutes doing my hair and makeup. Oops.

After dinner, Brady and I went to his place and chilled for the rest of the night. We slept in on Sunday and laid in bed for a while. We were just laying there talking when Brady suddenly looked at his phone and said, “What the fuck?”

“Hmm?” I wondered.

He was quiet for a moment then turned his phone to show me. On the screen was what looked like a zombie bride and groom complete with a veil, bouquet and blood everywhere. There was so much face makeup and blood that the people were unrecognizable. 

“Hunter got married,” Brady explained after seeing my confused face.

Ohhhh.

“On Halloween,” Brady went on.

I gasped probably a little too dramatically. “That’s what they wore?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you know who the girl is?” I asked, even though clearly he had no idea.

Brady shook his head. “Hunter never mentioned even dating anyone. So I’m really shocked right now.”

“So he got married and didn’t warn anyone? He eloped?” I clarified.

“It seems. I wonder what my mom thinks about this,” he said.

I imagined the face Brady’s mom made when she found out Hunter eloped and the fact that they’d dressed as zombies. I couldn’t help bursting into laughter. She probably shit an entire brick. Brady got out of bed and said he was going to the kitchen to call his mom.

He was on the phone for literally one hour. When Brady came back in his room he said, “Well my parents know. So it must be official?”

“Oh my gosh, were they soo pissed?” I asked, eating all this drama up.

“My mom seems to be taking it well. She is just upset that she hasn’t met the new…wife.”

I nodded. “Mmhm.”

“But my dad is having a party in Boston next weekend and they are both going. Everyone will get to meet her then.”

And then Brady said that his mom wants me and him to go. Me! So maybe she doesn’t hate me? Anyways, I obviously said I would love to go and am already using that as an excuse to buy a new outfit. I can’t wait to see how this is going to play out!

Advertisements
Standard

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.

Standard

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.

Standard

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.

Standard