Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Been MIA...

But if I start to write again... will you all come back?


Thursday, October 15, 2015

An Ordinary Wednesday

It started off as an ordinary Wednesday. 

Work had been hectic, but I'd be fortunate enough to escape by 7:00. The crazy, stressful days were always my least favorite as they were happening. At Platform, I was used to turning to my peers to hash out problem solving when it was needed. But at Arabella if there was a problem, I was finding more and more that people would turn to me for the solution. I never wanted to run to my boss for help so I was constantly finding myself pulling my own hair out over a solution. Alas, once it was resolved I always found myself feeling giddy and proud, a fulfilling day. That is the biggest difference between Arabella and Platform - the sense of fulfillment and challenge I felt each day. I loved it.

Yet even though I loved it, it didn't stop me from grabbing a bottle of wine on the way home. 

As I unlocked the door to my apartment, I was overjoyed to find Ash in the kitchen stirring something that smelled heavenly. 

"Hey!" I greeted her, dropping my gym bag from the morning on the floor of the living room.

"Hello hello!" she replied, reaching for a spice and adding it to the pot.

"What are you making?"

"Stuffed Pepper Soup," she replied, adding a hefty amount of hot sauce.

"Yum," I said, peering into the reddish-brown, bubbling soup. 

"I have rice on too to put it over, it's kind of thick. But I made enough for an army so I hope you're hungry!"

"Always," I replied, placing the wine on the counter. "I brought the beverage."

She rolled her eyes. "We have like, ten bottles over there," she laughed, tilting her head toward our full wine rack.

"Yes," I said, reaching for the wine opener and getting to work. "But this is my favorite." 

"Is there a celebration?" she asked, raising her eyebrows skeptically at me.

"No," I replied, keeping my eyes fixated on the wine.

"What did you do," Ash asked, knowing me all too well.

"Nothing!" I defended.

"Oh my god did you... that married guy?! DANIELLE."

"No! Jesus!" I nearly yelled. "First off, I'm no home wrecker. Secondly, I met his wife remember? I won't go there. Thirdly, you'd have known the second it happened." 

"Then what?"

"Why do you assume it's something with men? Maybe I got a promotion?"

"That would be a promotion world record."

"Rude," I said, although I was smiling. "No, I just had a long day."


I let out a deep breath. She knew me too well. "Okay. And... Dylan is coming to town this weekend."

She dropped the wooden spoon she'd been holding dramatically to the counter.

"Excuse me?"

I didn't answer.

"Dani!" she followed up.

"I didn't invite him! He's coming for work. But after that Philly weekend I don't know... I'm kind of excited."

She let this sit for a while. She had never made a firm standpoint on Dylan, but I doubted she wanted me to actually get back together with him. "Okay," she said, after a solid 30 seconds.

"Okay, what?" 

"Okay... I mean, okay. You didn't invite him, but obviously you want to see him which is normal."

"Yes," I said.  

"But, maybe it's not the best timing," she said quietly, not meeting my eye.

"...Why?" I asked, drawing out my response.

"Well, you see, someone - a mutual friend of ours - let me know they were going to be in town this weekend," her eyes remained fixated on the soup.

"Who?" I knew the answer, there is no other reason she'd act this weird. My stomach began its slow decent to my feet.

"Nick," she said. "He's home for a few days starting tomorrow."

"Why are you just telling me now?" I demanded, feeling my nervousness be replaced by a slow anger at my best friend.

"I just found out last night! And I didn't want to just text you." 

"Why didn't he tell me?" I said, raising my voice again. "I've texted him and he's ignored me!"

"I don't know!" she said. "I'm sorry, look, I know he wants you to know. Maybe he just felt weird since you two haven't talked in a while." 

I was fuming. I knew I was actually mad at Nick but Ashley was the one standing in front of me, much easier to take my anger out on. "Well you can see Nick, I already made plans with Dylan."

I stood up, taking my glass of wine and sitting down defiantly at the couch. I turned on a Modern Family marathon and tried my hardest to ignore Ash.

"Do you not want dinner then?" She asked me a few minutes later, an amused tone hovering behind her voice. 

"Nope," I said, taking a long sip of the wine. "I'm satisfied with my grapes."

I heard her sit down at the kitchen island to eat dinner, and turned my attention to my phone. 

Can't wait to see you I texted to Dylan. The mixture of Nick's impending presence and wine making me bold.

Me neither - it'll be like old times. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Your call

Hi there,

I can totally get your frustration with there being no post last Friday. However, I'm not sure how that justifies a few of the ridiculously out of line comments that were left.

This is done in my personal time, for free. I didn't post Friday because I didn't want to half-ass it, and I was bone tired after a really long week. I have a great idea of where I want Dani's story to go, but I don't want to get berated when my own life gets in the way of an update. I don't want to post something just because I have to, I only want to post it when it's good.

You guys were used to depending on me that first year because my job was way less demanding, and I had more time to focus on this blog. Now, my job is a huge focus of mine, and I don't have as much time to devote to this blog. That doesn't mean I want or intend to stop posting though. If you'll stick with me, and read when I post (which I can promise will be regular, but maybe not every week at the same time for now), then I want to stick with it too. 

Your call.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

His Real Life Wifey

** hi all! question - todays post is a bit short, but I'll post again Friday to make up for it. What do you prefer, one longer post on Wednesdays or two shorter installments on Weds & Fri? This week will be Weds & Fri, but I'll defer to your preference going forward! I have exciting plans coming up, so stay tuned :) **

I sat in the SEO training on Wednesday afternoon, willing my eyelids to stop fluttering closed. Our in-house specialist was trying to train ten of us how to optimize our blog and web content and I was running seriously low on caffeine. 

"Now," Diana, the presenter, continued, "Google Keyword is another tool that you'll come to rely on, especially when deciding on meta descriptions for each page. First, you go to.." I drowned out her monotonous speech and instead turned my interest to the flashing IM popping up on my computer screen.

Emma: Happy hour?
Danielle: Yes, free me from this meeting first! 
Emma: And how do you propose I do that?
Danielle: Fire alarm?
Emma: Ha, meet us at Ardesia when you're out

She signed off before I could ask who "us" was, and my mind flicked to Jon. We hadn't spoken, let alone even seen each other in passing, since the drunken texts. 

Thirty minutes later, Diana folded her hands in front of her with a satisfied smile on her face. Poor thing, she had no clue that hardly anyone had taken a single note. I tried not to bolt too eagerly toward the door, but I had at least another hour of work to wrap up before joining Emma and "us" at happy hour.

Forty minutes later, I was sending my last email of the day. I mentally crossed my fingers that the contract I had just sent to one of our most expensive bloggers had every i dotted and t crossed, but I was too impatient to sit at my desk any longer. Most of the office had gone home and the large windows overlooking a slowly retiring Manhattan had grown dark.

I welcomed the sticky breeze that pushed back my wavy hair as I left Arabella's offices a few minutes later. I was in black slim overalls paired with a long sleeved white crop top, and pointy heels. Not the best happy hour outfit, but I didn't have time to go all the way downtown to change. I started walking the few blocks back to my old hood, while skimming my Instagram feed. I stopped short when I saw a photo of Nick appear in my feed, posted by E!. He was looking devastatingly handsome in a perfectly tailored suit, his blonde scruff sprinkling sexily across his jawline. He was on the carpet of one premiere or another, his arm slung comfortably around the waist of an equally devastatingly gorgeous red head.

"Aye, bitch watch where you're going!" a grumpy, potbellied man yelled at me. Oh, the charm of New Yorkers. 

I snapped out of my daze, and quickly clicked my phone off. I really needed some social media filter that caught any and all "Nick" mentions bef ore they made their way to my impressionable eyes.

Between my two poisonous exes and the very married Jon, my love life was looking both bleak and explosive at the same time.

I finally arrived at the bar and swung open the heavy door. I was immediately hit with a warm wave of voices, clinking glasses and the mouthwatering scent of tapas. I scanned the crowded bar for Emma's blonde head, eventually spotting her in the back corner with a few of our coworkers. I weaved my way through the throngs, gripping her elbow as I got close.

"Hey!" I said loudly, trying to project my voice over the din of voices. 

"Dani!" she squealed in response, with more enthusiasm than usual. She was definitely a few drinks in.

"Here!" another coworker, Ryan, said handing me a shot glass. I downed it, cringing at the plain vodka flavor. He grinned at my reaction, "You've gotta catch up!" He handed me another shot.

"No way," I said, making a face and waving my hands. 

"Yep, you'll need it," he said, pushing the shot towards me again.

"And whys that?" I said with a flirtatious smile. Ryan was very much into men, so I enjoyed knowing I could be as over the line as I wanted with him.

"Your office hubby brought his real life wifey," he said. It took a minute for this to sink in. No one knew I had any feelings for Jon, at least, no one except Ashley. 

"Who?" I asked, trying to act nonchalant. 

Before he could answer, I saw Jon heading toward our group. A small, gorgeous blonde was on his arm. 

"Okay fine give me that shot," I said, downing it in record time. This was going to be interesting.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Morning After

My mouth felt like the Sahara. I felt my head pounding before I could even register the fact that I was hungover.

"Meeughhh," I let out a pathetic groan and, using all of my strength, rolled myself over. My right arm flopped onto a solid body next to me. Fatigued by my hangover, I couldn't even manage a panicked reaction. Slowly, I peeled my mascara-clad eyes open. I knew that exposed brick wall.. and I really knew that bare, bronzed, god-help-me man's chest breathing slowly that my wrist was resting on.

I slowly removed my arm, not wanting to interrupt Dylan's rhythmic breathing. It wasn't lost on me that the first time we had woken up in bed together had been after a blacked-out evening, too. 

I remembered Kara coming in the karaoke bar the night before. I remembered turning to vodka in order to not act on all of the jealous feelings that had been stirring. I remembered Kara staying within 6 inches of Dylan at all times, as if his proximity was the only thing that mattered. I remembered leaving with Laura and some girlfriends, going to a close-by dive bar and doing tequila shots. I remembered Dylan walking in after we had been there for a while, looking angry. And then...nothing. 

I took inventory and was relieved to find that my clothes were still on, even if my crop top had weaseled its way up above my boobs in my sleep. Luckily I had a lace bra on, which was covering most of me. I sat still, staring at the familiar ceiling for another ten minutes before my thirst beat out my desire to postpone the awkwardness.

I was, unfortunately, on the inside of the bed. Which meant my only possible escape routes were either over Dylan's body, or out the foot of the bed. I chose the latter. Peeling myself out from under the warm comforter, I tried to gingerly crawl toward the end of the bed. I was six inches shy of freedom when...

"What, exactly, are you doing?" I heard his amused and raspy voice come from behind me. 

I folded my legs under me and flopped back onto the pillow. "I was in search of water, and I didn't want to wake you up," I said, keeping my face turned away from his. My morning breath was bound to be deadly.

"And you decided the best way to do that was to 007 yourself toward the foot of the bed?" I could hear his smile. My body was dying to rip off my clothes and curl up next to him. It was the weirdest sensation, fighting my brain against my body. My body was telling me: This is Dylan's bed, you should most likely be naked and seducing him right now. But my head, my head was who I had to listen to. 

"I'm not exactly at my peak decision-making capacity right now," I said. "Clearly."

He rolled over to his nightstand and miraculously presented a bottle of water. I lunged at it, chugging half of the bottle in one gulp.

"Thank you," I managed, wiping at my mouth. He took a few sips before placing it back on the nightstand. 

I remained upright, stiff and uncomfortable. "So, last night..." 

"Last night," he said, offering nothing further.

"Look I was really, really drunk to be completely honest, I don't really remember much about coming here. So I'm sorry if I was ridiculous, or came onto you or anything. I know Kara is probably not happy about this, and I'll head out right now but-" I stopped talking, because he was looking at me with a shit-eating grin. 

"What?" I demanded.

"I'm not dating Kara," he said, as if this was so apparent. "I'm sorry that you thought that, but I can promise you, I'm not."

I gave him a skeptical glare. "She kissed you on the mouth by way of greeting. Apologies if that threw me off."

He rolled his eyes. "She knew you would be there."

"That doesn't explain it," I replied. "But whatever, you don't need to explain yourself to me anymore." 

With that, I slid down the bed and stood up, searching for my bag. 

"Dani, relax," he said. I was about to reply with a sharp remark before he spoke again. "Look nothing happened last night, which I'm sure you know already anyway. You were drunk and Laura had already left, so I told you you could sleep at my place. I offered to stay on the couch but you said, and I quote 'Oh, don't be such a prude. This isn't 1940.', so I slept in the bed. That's all that happened, you seemed preoccupied by your phone all night for the most part."

Oh, shit. What the hell happened on my phone? This is why I don't drink this way anymore.

"Okay,"  I said, relaxing out of my defensive state. "I should be going though."

He swung his legs out of bed, wearing only a pair of old football shorts. Either I had misremebered his body in an attempt to get over him, or he had gotten way, way more chiseled. I tried not to stare. 

"Let me take you to your car," he said, digging in his closet for a shirt. A wave of disappointment washed over me as he slid the plain white tshirt over his body.

"I can take an Uber," I said. "Just as soon as I find my phone."

"Under the bed," he said. "You kicked it there last night."

"Charming," I said, rolling my eyes at my drunken self. I bent over and sure enough, my crossbody bag was slumped underneath his bed. I pulled it out and pressed the round button on my iPhone. I had a text from Jon at 3:44. Good. God. What had I done. Instead of checking it, I shoved the phone deep back into the bag.

"Fine," I said.

"Fine what?" he replied. I could see him biting his cheek to keep from smiling. If he found hungover, defiant me amusing, so be it. 

"I'll let you drive me," I said, raking a hand through my knotty hair. 

"How kind of you Ms. Fitzgerald," he said, giving me a mock bow. I rolled my eyes again and headed toward his bathroom in search of Listerine. 

Ten minutes later, after I had done the best patch job I could on my appearance using only mouth wash and the meager contents of my purse, we were heading towards Laura's and my since-abandoned car. We were quiet during the one-mile trip, and in just minutes he had pulled up behind my sedan. 

"Thanks," I said, digging for my keys.

"It was really, really good seeing you Dani," he said. I could hear the emotion in his voice. 

I raised my gaze to his, feeling the stomach flip that always accompanied a glance at those blue eyes. "I know, it was great to see you too," I replied. His hand reached over and rested on my shoulder, before moving up my neck into my hair. My entire body was tingling, yet he wasn't leaning in to kiss me. His thumb traced the outline of my ear, and I involuntarily bit my lip. I could feel my heart throwing itself against my rib cage. The kid still had it.

He removed his hand, and I watched it retreat back to his lap. It took everything in me not to lunge across the passenger seat and kiss him. Instead, I turned away and reached for the door handle.

"D?" he said, and I turned back to face him, leaving one hand on the door handle. 

"I...I've really missed you." 

I took a deep, audible breath. "I know, me too," I managed. The lust for him I had felt just moments ago was replaced by a sad, longing feeling for who had once been my best friend. I gave him a half smile, not trusting myself to say anything else, and got out of the car. 

Instead of going into Laura's to say a proper goodbye, I decided to just get in my car and head home. My hangover and sense of confusion over Dylan was too much to handle right now. I slid into my car, and leaned back against the seat. Finding the courage to pull my phone out, I slid open the text from Jon. I quickly scrolled up, reading the entire conversation, relieved that he had started it.

Jon 12:34 AM
Hey you, I'm on in the LES with some friends, you around?

Danielle 12:48 AM
Not unless you could Philly as around! 

Jon 12:51 AM
Hmm.. 90 or so miles, not too far.

Danielle 12:53 AM
Haha, yeah, here for a friend's birthday. Who are you out with?

Jon 12:59 AM
Just a few buddies from college.

Danielle 1:04 AM
The wife?

Jon 1:06 AM
No, no wife 

Danielle 1:08 AM
Well, enjoy your evening

Jon 1:10 AM
It'd be a lot more entertaining if you were here

Danielle 1:17 AM 
You can't say things like that, not to me.

Jon 1:28 AM
I meant as friends, sheesh.

Jon 3:44 AM
Okay, maybe not just as friends.

Aside from the wife comment, I was fairly proud of myself for not being totally embarrassing. I decided not answering was probably the best policy, and tucked my phone back into my bag. This weekend had turned out to be a hell of a lot more eventful than I had bargained for. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Today's post...

Will be up tomorrow or Friday at the latest! And will be extra long to make up for this :) 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jen and Ben

Being limited to 1/40th of my wardrobe still didn't stop me from changing 15 times on Saturday night. The walls of my childhood bedroom made me feel like I was back in high school, getting ready for a date with the most popular kid in school. In the end, I settled on a camel suede skirt, white long sleeve crop top and strappy, flat sandals. I let my freshly-balayaged hair fall in loose waves, and added minimal make-up. Minimal in the sense that obtaining that "barely there makeup look" took me 20 minutes to achieve. 

I grabbed my bag and headed downstairs. "I'm off," I said in the general direction of where my parents were engrossed in the TV. They had, apparently, just discovered GOT and were knee deep in season 2. 

"Bye honey," my Mom called over her shoulder, more distracted by Jon Snow's bicep than her second born. 

"Be safe!" my Dad followed-up. "No drinking and driving, there are no cabs in these parts so if you drink, you stay in Philly. This is no Manhattan."

I rolled my eyes. "I'm not 12, Dad. I'll stay at Laura's." 

He returned his gaze back to the TV as I grabbed the keys to my old car and headed into one of the two garages. My favorite thing about coming back home (besides an abundance of homemade meals) was driving. You just couldn't belt out bad Taylor Swift songs anywhere better.

An hour later—after fighting the gridlock traffic that is route 76I was at last pulling up to Laura's house. I had to circle a few times to find parking, and then spent 5 additional minutes trying to utilize my very rusty parallel parking skills to maneuver into a spot on the street. Finally, I was walking up to her house a solid 20 minutes later than I had originally planned. 

"Hiii!" Laura flung open the door to her rowhome and enveloped me in a warm hug. I could already smell vodka on her but hey, it was her birthday after all. 

"Hi you!" I replied as she squeezed me tighter. "Here," I said once she had released me, pushing a bag into her arms. "Happy birthday." I had abused my employee discount to get her a dress, necklace and earrings. It was my way of overcompensating for having turned down so many Philly invites in the past few months. 

"D, this is too much," she said, all the while a tipsy smile on her face. 

"Nonsense," I argued, linking arms with her as we headed down the narrow hallway. When we entered the kitchen, I spied a few more of our high school classmates in the tiny space and pulled away from Laura to make the rounds. 

An hour and two drinks later, we had morphed into an incompetent giggling mess of girls as we tried to organize ourselves enough to go out. This involved another 20 minutes of fixing hair, lining lips and bandaging feet in an effort to ward off eventual blisters. It took two cabs to hold us all, but finally we had made our way to a karaoke bar where we had rented out a room for the night. We headed into the bar that was throbbing with music and, after giving Laura's name, were whisked upstairs to a private room. We were the first to arrive and we all made ourseleves home in the thick comfort of the black leather couches. There was a massive TV on the wall (presumably for the karaoke), along with two bottles, various mixers, and high top tables. 

"This is amazing!" I said, surveying the room. 

"I know," a high school friend, Kaylee, answered. "We come here for almost everyone's birthday now since it's something different. But I'm sure you're used to waay cooler up in the city."

I gave out a small snort, "Everyone romanticizes New York so much, but in reality it's just a more expensive version of any other city." 

"Lies!" Kaylee bellowed in response. "I've visited, it's incredible."

I smiled in response, not wanting to waste energy trash talking my own city. It still shocked me how high of a pedestal everyone placed New York City on. True, it had some amazing perks. You could get anything at a moment's notice, you were surrounded by the most incredibly diverse group of people in the world and, well, the food didn't suck. But the rent was unjustifiably high, the wackos on the street were constantly yelling at you and the subways smelled like feet. The open feel of Philly, complete with its ability to walk almost anywhere in just 20 minutes, greeted me like an oasis every time I came home. 

We all poured another drink and turned the karaoke station to what could only be described as bad 90s pop. All the while, I kept one eye trained pointedly on the door. It was already 11:30, where was he? 

"Oh!" Laura yelped in between choruses of 'Bye Bye Bye', "the boys are in a cab." 

I took a deep breath and popped a mint, feeling several pairs of eyes dart to me. Everyone in this room knew about me and Dylan, and I knew they would be scrutinizing our reunion as if it were the return of Jen and Ben. 

Laura came over to me then and broke the tension. "More booze?" 

"More booze!" I said, although cheerfully to portray it was a celebratory drink—not a calming one. 

As soon as we had poured our vodka tonics, the door swung open to much applause. The gaggle of drunken girls descended on the boys as if someone had dropped seasoned steak into a lion's den. I hung back and let them all get their squeals out, as if they didn't see these boys every weekend. 

Ryan found me first, looping his muscled arm around my waist and lifting me slightly off the ground. Clearly, this lot had been pregaming too. 

"Hey D!" he said, plopping me ungracefully back to the ground, making me laugh. Before I could respond his wife, Erika, appeared beside him.

"Hi Danielle," she said, unmoving. I almost felt like I should shake her hand in greeting with how stiff she was being. 

"Erika," I replied, the booze making me overly friendly. I pulled her into a hug, more to remove the pole from her ass than anything. "How are you!" 

She looked surprised, but not mad about being manhandled by a near stranger. "I'm great! Married life totally suits me." Gag.

I was about to ask how their house was when I saw Dylan walk up behind her. I smiled, accepting his hug with more enthusiasm than necessary. I knew at least half of the room was watching this encounter. For added effect, I gave him a two-second-too-long kiss on the cheek. 

"You look incredible," he whispered in my ear. 

"Thank you," I said, praying the lights were dim enough that he wouldn't see the flush in my cheeks. 

"I'd offer you a drink, but..." he trailed off, his gaze falling to the full drink in my hand. 

I tipped it towards him, "Next one," I smiled at him, not even trying to ignore the fire in my chest. 

This was bad. 

I joined back in on the singing with a bit more enthusiasm this time, feeling elated at just the nearness of Dylan. He hung back, chatting with a few other guys while I belted out "Thong Song" with little regard for the beat. I sipped my drink faster than I usually would, knowing it would give me an excuse to talk to Dylan. It felt so weird having to orchestrate a conversation.

Once my glass was nothing but ice, I headed towards Dylan in, what drunken me thought was, a sexy swagger. 

"I believe you owe me a drink,"  I said, shaking the ice in my glass toward where he was perched on one of the thick leather couches. 

He stood up and took my glass, "What'll it be Miss Fitzgerald?" 

"Hmmm...." I pretended to think, even though my options were extensively: vodka or vodka. 

"I'll have a vodka cranberry. Two parts vodka, with three limes." 

He assembled this order and handed me the drink with a flourish. I gave a mock courtesy before accepting the drink.

"You didn't put anything in here I should be worried about, did you?" I teased.

"Miss Fitzgerald," he said with an expression of mock horror. "How dare you accuse me of wanting to take advantage of an ex."

The fun faded away for a moment at the realization that I was his ex. For the past hour it had felt more like he was a new crush, rather than an old one.

When I didn't reply he took a sip of his drink. "What are your plans after this?" he said, his blue eyes locking mine. I looked away.

"Whatever Laura is, I guess," I said. "I'm staying with the birthday gal."

He nodded, glancing over at a hammered Laura who was now singing and dancing along to Thriller.

"She'll be lucky if she makes it past one," he said, returning his steely gaze to mine.

Involuntarily, boldly, stupidly, I stepped toward him so that our faces were only inches apart. "Well if she doesn't make it, I suppose I'll have to go home early won't I?" 

He leaned into me, which might have been imperceptible to everyone else. But to me, it was miles. If I had tilted my head up just enough and leaned in, we would be kissing. 

"I would really, really prefer you don't leave early," he said, his words slower now. 

I bit the inside of my lip, and was about to ask him why when the door to the room flew open, flooding it with light from the hallway. Dylan's gaze fell upon the door and he stepped away from me, as if he had been caught. 

I turned my head just in time to see Kara walking in. Straightening, I felt the distance that had been placed between Dylan and I spread even further. My heart knew before my mind was even able to put together the pieces. Which is why, I wasn't even surprised when, like I somehow knew she would, Kara sauntered right over to Dylan and placed a kiss right on his lips.