Saturday, March 29, 2014

One Tequila, Two Tequila

**Bonus post, hope you're enjoying your weekend! Just had to fill you in on Dani's Friday night :) **

Thursday morning I got to Blast for my interview 10 minutes early. Their offices were in an older building in Tribeca above an adorable boutique where I could imagine myself blowing paychecks. The company was fairly small, from what I could tell about 30 people total. The whole place had a very open feel, the floor was comprised of uneven hardwood planks and there was artwork and plants everywhere. There were no cubicles, just sporadic, mismatched desks with a Mac on each one. Since my interview was at 8 a.m., not many people had arrived as I waited on a leather couch in the foyer area. A young receptionist was yaking away on the phone that seemed to ring endlessly.

From what I knew, I was meeting with Renee Carr who was the Director of Communications. The open position was a Communications and Event Coordinator, so I assumed I would report to her. Around 8:15, a stylish woman in her mid-30s approached me.

“Danielle?” she asked, extending her hand in my direction.

“Yes!” I said a little too enthusiastically, shaking her perfectly-manicured hand. She was dressed in leather pants, a half-tucked in blouse and had loads of bracelets up and down her arms. Her hair was short and almost black hanging stick straight just to her shoulders. She didn’t have a stitch of makeup on, and looked flawless. Please god, let me have skin like that in ten years.

“Follow me back. Glad you could make it in this morning! Kristen had a lot of great things to say about you,” she said leading me to an office in the back. The offices were separated from the open middle by large glass walls. I took a seat directly across from her desk.

“So, tell me a little bit about you, Danielle,” she asked, leaning back in her chair. God I hated this question.

The beginning of the interview passed easily, with the typical interview-y questions. As far as I could tell, I would make a really good fit for this position. However Renee’s earlier warmth had disappeared, leaving me with an ice queen as an interviewer. Almost all of my jokes bounced off of her motionless face and hung in mid-air, with not a chuckle in sight.

“So, why Blast?” she asked after covering the basics.

“Well, Kristen has always raved about the company, and I have been to two events that you’ve produced, which were amazing. But mostly I just want to work somewhere I’d be passionate about. And I am passionate about marketing, promotions and event planning, which is what this company is all about. Your client list is extremely impressive and I would love for the chance to show you what I’ve got,” I said only deviating slightly from the answer I had rehearsed twenty times. I wasn’t the best interviewee, but I was a a damn good employee.  

“Well,” she started, giving my resume one last look-over. “Starting salary would be around $70,000 excluding the quarterly bonuses. Benefits and 401k are all outlined in the employee handbook.” She started rifling around in her desk, presumably for said handbook. Was she offering me the job.. right now?

She thrust the handbook in my direction. “We’ll give you a call,” she gave me a tight smile. All I could think in my head over and over was that $70,000 divided by 26 paychecks was roughly $2,000 a paycheck after taxes. I’m rich, bitch!  Okay, settle down Dani. No one has offered you anything.

I said my goodbyes and got her business card before leaving. I had to stop home and make a quick outfit change - Platform would definitely know I was not at a doctor’s appointment like I’d said if I showed up in a suit - before heading to work.

Thursday and Friday passed with no word from Blast, but I sent Renee both a thank you email and handwritten note - better to be overkill than underkill, I always say. On Friday night, I was standing in front of my mirror as Ashley tried to convince me that a crop top and skirt was totally acceptable in March, since said crop top had long sleeves. I turned on my heel and examined my outfit from the side. I had on a long-sleeved black crop top with a high-waisted white skirt which showed off about 2 inches of stomach in between. My hair was straightened, which made me acutely aware of how badly I needed a haircut.
“You look great,” she said, applying highlighter to her cheekbones. “Seriously, it doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. And the fact that you’re worried about what he thinks, worries me,” she said giving me a stern look. Truth be told, I had felt nauseous all day about tonight. I had told Ash about hooking up with Nick, and she was standing firmly in camp Bray.

I gave a sigh and reached for my bag, “I just don’t wanna show up all decked out if everyone else, including you, is in jeans,” I said. “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” she said grabbing her own bag and coat. “And I’m in waxed denim - totally different.”

I laughed and tugged her arm, “Let’s go!”.

I texted Haley while we were in the cab to let her know we were on our way. Haley and I had been close in college, but close in the way that girls are when they go out and drink together a lot, sharing lip gloss in the bathroom and borrowing each other’s clothes.

Wooo!! So excited. We’re at tables near the back, just say my name at the door. See you soon!! xoxo

I put my phone in my bag and turned to Ash. “So what’s Steve doing at home this weekend?”

“I don’t know I think he just wanted to get out of the city, but I didn’t feel like going with him,” her gaze remained away from my face and staring out the window at the passing storefronts. “Truth is… we haven’t had sex in more than two weeks.”

“Two weeks?” I said, incredulously. “How is that even possible when you’re sleeping next to each other every night?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know, but it’s awful. And it’s gotten so bad that I’m like, scared to initiate it. Because we just don't discuss the fact that we have. not. boned.”

“Well, that’s the only way to get past it. Maybe when he comes home Sunday, just be casually waiting in lingerie cooking dinner or something,” I offered.

“Maybe,” she continued “but it’s not even that, it’s like I don’t want to you know? I used to look at him and literally jump his bones. And now - nada.”

I gave her a sympathetic look. I couldn’t really relate, since I had never lived with a guy. But I can’t imagine keeping the spark alive 24/7 when you’re sharing a bathroom is all that easy.

“Well don’t freak out yet, it’s probably just a phase,” I offered in support. I had no idea if it was a phase, but what else do you say? Two weeks wasn’t that bad, it could have been two months.

She shrugged as we pulled up to the club. “Let’s just have fun tonight!” she grinned at me. We spilled out of the cab and got into the club with no problem, and I scanned the already crowded bar for our group.  I heard Haley before I saw her.

“It’s my birthdaaaaaaaaaaay bitches!” her voice carried across the room. I laughed, some things never change. I found Haley perched on a guys lap, looking very drunk with a bottle of champagne in her hand and crooked crown on her head. I walked over and said hello, introducing her to Ashley.

“I’m so glad you came,” Haley slurred, hoisting herself up from the guy’s lap and upright on her four-inch heels. She tossed her arms around me and allowed the full weight of her body to rest on mine. Homegirl was drunk.

“Me too!” I replied pulling away and making sure she was standing firmly on both legs.

“Nick is already here,” she said pointing in a direction behind my left shoulder. I didn’t turn around. “I’m surprised you two didn’t come together.”

I guess she hadn’t heard about our breakup. I took a deep breath, this was largely why I had avoided our college crowd lately. Explaining the breakup always felt like I was announcing my own failures.

“Yeah, we uh, broke up a little while ago,” I said shrugging to portray that it was no big deal. Her eyes widened.

“Noooo! You two were like, the perfect couple!” she whined. We had spent many a college party fighting, so it’s hard to believe she thought we were the perfect couple.

“It was for the best,” I heard myself saying. “We’re totally friendly though so don’t worry!” I tried to sound chipper, not wanting my relationship drama to put a damper on her birthday. She seemed satisfied with my answer, and looped her arm through mine leading me towards the bar. I glanced over my shoulder at Ash to make sure she was following.

Twenty minutes and three tequila shots later, Nick and I finally found our way over to each other.

“Hey D,” he said smiling down at me. The bar was so packed that even just speaking to each other required our bodies to be standing about six inches apart.

“Hi,” I said, the alcohol causing me to grin up at him like a fool.

“I hoped I’d see you here,” he said. “Trevor mentioned he ran into you and a friend of yours the other night at Frames.”

“That he did,” I replied, taking a large gulp of my beer. Without warning, his hand was on my waist, pulling me closer to him.

“Lets dance,” he said into my ear. I shook my head no, smiling up at him. I may be drunk, but he wasn’t going to have it that easy. I turned around and walked away to find Ash, who was looking very cozy with one of my college friends James. I plopped down next to her at the booth, giving her a look.

“What?” she hissed at me.

“Whatcha doin?” I teased, looking from her to James’ hand on her thigh.

“Two weeks, D,” she replied, as if this was some sort of justification.

“Monogamous relationship, Ash,” I said back. I may not be Steve’s biggest fan, but I wasn’t about to condone where this was about to go. She gave me a defeated look back and removed James’ hand. Drunk Danielle assumed her job was done, so I got up and found Haley for more shots.

Twenty minutes later, I found myself on the dance floor with Nick. We were facing each other, his hand pulling my lower back into him and moving with the music. I turned around so that my back was to his chest and started moving up and down. This continued for about two songs before neither of us could take it anymore.

“Do you want to get out of here?” he asked breathlessly in my ear. I nodded, scanning the room for Ash. I couldn’t find her anywhere so I sent her a quick text.

Hey I’m heading out, where are you?

I took Nick’s hand and followed him out of the club and into the cool air of the street. He quickly hailed a cab and gave it his address. Within seconds we were all over each other in the back of the cab Nick pinning me between him and the door, his hand already finding the bottom of my skirt and inching up. A small part of me felt bad for the cabbie, but a much larger part was willing this car to speed the hell up.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Past Strikes Again

On Wednesday, I got home from work with just enough time for a quick outfit change and a glass of wine (in case you hadn’t realized yet, I need at least one glass of wine to lessen my severe awkwardness in any possible awkward-inducing situations). I was ready and waiting in jeans, flats and a casual t-shirt and feeling a nice buzz from the one (okay two) glasses of Chardonnay by the time Bray knocked on my door. I had even managed to clean (aka shove everything in sight in the closet) before he got there, so my apartment was basically pinterest-worthy. 

“Nice studio,” he said leaning in and kissing me on the cheek. 

“Thanks,” I replied as I tried to tell the trapeze artists in my stomach to sit the hell down. “Do you want a drink or anything, or..” I trailed off, motioning towards my small kitchen.

“I’m okay,” he replied, extending his arm to me. “Let’s get going.” I grabbed his hand and followed him out the door and down the endless stairs.

“So where are we going?” I asked as we settled into a comfortable walk. He didn’t seem to be hailing a cab, so it couldn’t be too far away.

He gave a small laugh “You’ll see in a mere five minutes.”

We spent the walk talking about our work weeks, the weather and other fairly mundane topics until he stopped and held open a door for me. I looked at him, quizzically. This was not a restaurant. I took a step back and examined the sign above the door: Frames. Was he taking me to get new photos framed? Did he know I’d found the Nick photo?! I didn’t have any more time to spend on the  Bray-installing-cameras-in-my-apartment theory, because he gave my arm a gentle tug to follow him into the frame shop. 

Once inside, a long narrow hallway lead to an elevator. I was starting to rethink my framing store theory and go the speakeasy route, but when Bray didn’t need to whisper some secret code word like “toothpaste” into an invisible box, I told myself to relax.

“Where are we?” I asked as the elevator ascended. Bray simply smiled and turned me around. The back of the elevator had another set of doors, that I presumed was about to open and deposit us into the frame store/speakeasy/black market for selling 20-something girls.

The doors opened with a ding and I tentatively stepped out. A massive bar was in front of us, and clubbing music was beating all around. The left wall was lined with bowling lanes each outfitted with neon lights. A second bar sat further behind the first one and waitresses dressed in all black zipped from the lanes to the bars serving drinks. This. Place. Was. Awesome. 

“I hope you like bowling,” Bray said, placing his hand on my lower back and leading me towards the check-in. He purchased us a lane for an hour and pointed me to a wall lined with bowling shoes. I grabbed a size 7 and followed him to our lane.

I was settling into the red couch to tie my shoes when the waitress appeared asking what we would like to drink. Bray ordered us two beers and started to enter our names into the screen.

“I have to warn you, the last time I bowled was at an 8th grade birthday party,” I said going over and examining which bowling ball I wanted to claim. 

“I have to warn you,” he replied “I play on a bowling league each week.” 

“You what?” I laughed. I had pegged Bray as more of a basketball player or rower or something. 

“My team is the best in the league,” he flashed a smile at me, wiggling his eyebrows. I laughed out loud. 

“Well then hotshot,” I said gesturing towards the lane. “Show me your moves.”

Bray won two games in a row, but I wasn’t trailing too far behind. He purchased another hour for us on the lane, and I’m pretty sure he let me win the third one. Either way, it was fun to pretend I beat him. 

We changed our shoes and took a seat at the bar for one more beer. 

“This place is amazing, I can’t believe I didn’t know about it,” I said taking a sip of my Stella. 

“Yeah, we play our games here every week for the league. It’s always a good time,” he said.

“Well then I guess I’ll have to come be your cheerleader one of these days,” I said.

“You’d look hot in a cheerleading uniform, I bet,” he flirted. I was enjoying being around Bray, he was easy and didn’t put too much pressure on me. It was the perfect distraction. I looked down at my watch and saw that it was almost midnight.

“I should get going,” I said mournfully. “I have a job interview tomorrow.” I slid down off of the high barstool. He stood up next to me and downed the last of his beer. 

“Let me walk you home,” he said, pulling on his jacket. We were just walking away from the bar when I heard someone yell my name a few feet back. I turned around to see Trevor, Nick’s roommate, waving his hand in the air towards me.

“Do you know him?” Bray asked looking from Trevor to me. 

“Yeah,” I said smiling back at Trevor. “Friend from college.” Friend from college, ex who I’m possibly sleeping with’s roommate, tomato, tomato. We started over to where Trevor was sitting with two other guys I didn’t recognize. He stood up and enveloped me in a big hug.

“How are you!” He asked enthusiastically. “God it’s been forever, D”. 

“I know, I’m good. Trevor, this is Bray; Bray, Trevor.” I said, gesturing between them. 

“Hey man,” Bray said giving him a firm handshake. Trevor then introduced us to the two other guys at the table, whose names I forgot almost instantly. Was everyone born from 1985-1990 named Mike, or is that just my imagination? 

“Well we were just heading out,” I said to Trevor as I leaned in to give him a goodbye hug. 

“Alright well don’t be a stranger anymore. Are you going to Haley’s thing this weekend?” he asked, referencing a mutual friend of ours from college. I remembered getting a Facebook invite for something at Libation this Friday. 

“I actually hadn’t decided yet,” I said, making a mental note to stalk the Facebook guest list when I got home. 

“Well I think we’re going,” he said, as I silently decoded “we” to mean him and Nick. “So you should definitely stop by.” He looked over at Bray, then back at me. The last thing I was planning to do was subject Bray to an awkward encounter with Nick, although it would be kind of fun to arrive on Bray’s arm in front of him.

“I’ll think about it,” I said giving Trevor a kiss on the cheek. 

Bray and I got back into the elevator and took it down towards the creepy hallway. “He seems nice,” Bray said.

“Yeah, we were really close in college. I never see him much anymore though,” I replied, hoping he wouldn’t ask why. 

He grabbed my hand as we walked out onto the street and pulled me closer to him. We spent most of the walk in silence until we reached my building. 

“Well thanks for a really fun night,” I said, my breath visible in the chilly night air. 

He responded by pulling me into him and giving me a long, hard kiss. When he pulled away, I stood on my tiptoes and reached for his neck, pulling him back into me. His arm slipped down and under my jacket, circling my waist. The facial hair that had grown in from his morning shave was scratching lightly on my face and I moved my hand up into his long hair. He lifted me slightly and pressed me against the door to my building. I pushed myself closer to him, closing any space that was left. I could feel how firm his whole body was and wanted to run my hands up his chest, wishing desperately we were in my bed, or his bed.. or any bed for that matter.

A few moments later, I realized we were basically humping each other on my doorstep. I pulled away, out of breath. He laughed. “I don’t suppose asking me up would help with your beauty rest for tomorrow, would it?” 

“Hmmm..” I pretended to think. “I doubt it.” 

“Well goodluck on the interview,” he said giving me one last, much more public-appropriate kiss. “You’ll kill it.” He stepped away and started towards his place uptown.

By the time I had showered, laid out my interview outfit and chugged two glasses of water to ensure I’d wake up hangover-free, it was almost one o’clock. I wistfully set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. hoping to get in a little interview prep before having to leave. The interview was all the way downtown at 8.

I was just about to call it a night before I remembered Haley’s party Friday. I pulled up Facebook on my phone and searched for the forgotten invite. I scanned the attending list and saw Nick’s name towards the top. 

There’s this party for a college friend on Friday, want to come with me and be my support system? 
I texted to Ashley hoping she was still awake.

By support system, I assume you mean Nick will be there and you need me to tell you how hot you look and make sure you don’t go home with him?

Maybe.. I replied

Steve is going to his parent’s this weekend, so count me in 

You’re the best :) Come over around 8

I hit “attending” on the Facebook invite and pulled my comforter up to my ears. 

Ed note: I have a feeling that a bonus post will be appearing this weekend, so keep checking back :) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Memory Lane Pain

My phone was radio silent on the Bray front all day Monday and Tuesday, which was probably just my karma for going and slutting it up ten seconds after our date. The first few days of the week were consumed with back-to-back meetings, and I spent every spare moment researching Blast for my interview on Thursday. It was almost nine o’clock on Tuesday night by the time I trudged up the stairs to my apartment, collapsing in an exhausted heap on the couch. 

I kicked my heels off and flopped onto my back, skimming my seamless app for something that was at least mildly healthy. The calendar kept alerting me to the fact that bikini season was coming up, so it was time to kick the obscenely unhealthy habits I had become accustomed to over the winter.. Farewell burritos the size of a newborn, hello salads and unsatisfying wraps. I had just hit “Confirm Order” when my phone buzzed with a text from Bray.

Hey stranger. Hope you’re having a good week. I know it’s short notice, but if you’re free tomorrow I’d love to take you out. 

I contemplated saying I was busy, even though the only thing on my calendar was a date with the salon down the block for a pedicure. But I decided to not play by Cosmopolitan’s rules and accept his invitation.

I could move some things around, what’d you have in mind?

I responded. 

Just dress comfortably :) Pick you up at 9. 

Comfortably? I was intrigued, but replied that yes, I would be ready at 9. I squealed excitedly and bounced over examine my closet. Since the weather was finally catching up to the calendar, I decided to unearth some of my warmer clothes from their hibernation spot under my bed. I yanked out two massive tubs of clothing and started to rifle through. About two minutes in, my hand hit something hard stuffed underneath a two-year-old Urban Outfitters skirt. I reached down and pulled out a shoebox. Not just any shoebox, but the one I had stuffed with all of my Nick memorabilia when we broke up. I settled cross-legged into the soft gray fabric of my Ikea rug and gingerly lifted the lid. It had been months since I had angrily stomped around my apartment, grabbing anything Nick-associated and tossing it either into the trash, a box to give back to him, or this box. A few days after the break up, when I had seen a photo of him and another girl on Facebook, I nearly threw the box in the trash. But a more sane voice in my head convinced me to hide it under my bed where I wouldn’t have to see it on a daily basis.

The top of the box was filled with cards from birthdays, anniversaries, christmases and miscellaneous “i’m sorry” cards after fights, all with his unmistakable handwriting. Unfolding each one was like bringing Nick right here into the room - they were a time capsule of our relationship. Mentions of inside jokes, nicknames, funny stories. The banter of our own secret language that you can only form when you’re so unbelievably comfortable with someone. There were photos of us tailgating at football games, at his fraternity formals, ticket stubs from baseball games at the Philadelphia Phillies. There were dried flowers, boarding passes from visiting each other at our respective cities when both abroad in Spain and a pair of 3D glasses from the Rockefeller Christmas Show two winters ago. And then there was the photo. A close up of us taken by my old roommate, looking drunk and happy, our faces so close that my eyelashes rest on the top of his nose in that instant before our smiles turned into a kiss. It had always been my favorite photo of us. My hand reached for my phone before I could reason with myself that texting him was not a good idea. I snapped a picture of the photo and texted it to him.

Spring cleaning - I forgot about this one. 

I hit send before I could change my mind. His reply came almost immediately.

I still have that framed in my living room. 

No you don’t i said back. Cheesy Danielle had given him the photo in a frame on his 23rd birthday. 

Wanna bet? It’s sitting right on that black bookshelf. 

I knew where this was going, and I didn’t even try to deter it from getting there. I could picture the photo in my hazy memory of his apartment. Wedged between a stack of DVDs and the side of the shelf propping them up. My phone vibrated again in my hand.

Your copy looks pretty faded, maybe you should come over and give mine a peek to get the full effect. 

I chewed on the side of my cheek, contemplating his offer. Obviously, I wouldn’t be going there to look at a photograph. My mind said a firm no, but there were other parts of me that really wanted to go over for very unlady-like reasons. I placed my head into my hands and groaned. How in just one week did I go from having zero men, to having two? Looking up at the heaps of summer clothing in front of me reminded me of the reason I even was looking at this box in the first place - my date with Bray tomorrow. 

I’ll just have to take your word for it. 

I placed the lid back on the box and moved it to the top shelf of my closet. If there was anything I was starting to learn, it was that the best thing to do with Nick was just to walk away. Plus, I had a date to dress comfortably for, and a job interview to knock out of the park. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ex with Benefits

Nick stared up at me, but he still didn’t answer my question.

“What are you doing here, Nick?” I repeated, crossing my arms across my chest.

“Where have you been?” he asked, ignoring my question. “I called you twice.”

“I was out to brunch, my phones off,” I replied stepping over his legs and starting to unlock my door. He stood up and brushed invisible dirt off of his pants. I walked into my apartment and he followed. I dropped my keys onto the table by the door, took off my coat and stared at him expectantly, raising my eyebrows.

“I don’t like the way things ended the other night,” he said shrugging. 

“So you show up on my doorstep?” I asked tossing my hands in the air. This was ridiculous. He looked like he had slept in his clothes, and I could smell the alcohol on him from the night before. When he didn’t reply, my anger reached a new high. My good mood from my date with Bray had now completely dissipated. “Look you can’t just show up here okay? I’m not your girlfriend, so when I don’t answer my phone that doesn’t give you the right to storm over here and ask where I’ve been.” I walked over to the door and purposefully held it open. His face hardened and he walked over towards me. I thought he was going to leave, but he placed his hand over mine on the door handle and pushed it closed. I stepped with the door as it shut, and found myself wedged with my back against the door, and Nick’s face inches from mine. 

He didn’t say anything, just looked at me, judging my reaction. When I didn’t speak he leaned his face in the final two inches. I didn’t stop him. His kiss was familiar and urgent and I completely ignored the voice in the back of my head screaming for me to stop. His hands moved down my sides and around my back until they were under my ass. He lifted me up and let the wall support my weight, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I could feel how hard he was through his jeans. We were kissing frantically now, grabbing at each others clothes. I threw his shirt across the room and ran my hands down his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and turned around so that I was now sitting on a bar stool at the kitchen counter. He pulled my jeans off and I thanked myself for shaving my legs and having the good sense to put on a lace thong this morning. His lips found mine again as his hand moved slowly up my left thigh, drawing small circles the closer he got. I moaned into his mouth and I could feel a smile playing at his lips. “Say you want me,” he said into my neck. I made a weak noise in response. This was killing me. He pressed the pads of his fingers into me. “Tell me you want me Dani,” he said again.

“I want you,” I replied gasping. He pulled off my thong and thrust into me. It lasted just long enough for me to orgasm before he finished too, pushing into me one last time. We sat there, tangled up in each other for a minute before I extracted myself and started to put my clothes back on. I sat down on the couch and he came over and sat next to me, me looking ashamed and him looking triumphant. I buried my face in my hands.

“Whyyyyyyyy” I groaned, leaning back. He laughed. 

“Don’t tell me you didn’t miss that,” he said pulling me into his chest. 

“Of course I did, that’s the problem,” I responded, pulling away from him. “You need to go.” I stood up and found his discarded jacket behind the couch. I thrust it into his hands and pointed at the door. 

“Let’s go grab a bite,” he said, unmoving.

“I just had brunch. In fact, it was a date. And now I’m feeling a bit slutty after going on a date with one guy and then banging my ex. So you really, really, need to leave.” He looked a little hurt at my mention of a date, which I secretly took pleasure in. 

Nick stood up and walked towards the door. Just as he was reaching for the handle, he turned back and looked at me. “Turn your phone on,” he said before slipping out the door. 

I reached for my phone and turned it on, watching as the apple glowed on the screen booting up. I debated whether or not I should tell Ashley, and decided against it for the moment. I threw my phone onto the bed and went to change out of my dirty sex clothes. Two men in one day, who was I? 

An hour later, my phone went off. It was Nick. 

If I show up with chinese and a chick flick tonight, will you let me in?

I rolled my eyes. As much as I wanted sesame chicken right now, I was not going to make what happened this afternoon a regular occurrence. 

I’ll let the chinese in, but you and Katherine Heigl will have to wait outside. 

When he didn’t reply ten minutes later, I worried he wasn’t going to think I was serious. I sent another text.

Seriously though Nick, don’t come over. What happened today is not going to happen again. 

I chewed on the inside of my cheek waiting for his response, ashamed to admit the flips that my stomach did seeing his name on my screen.

Famous last words was all he wrote back. 

I grabbed my laptop and decided to spruce up my resume. Kristen had finally gotten back to me on Friday about the job she had mentioned, and I had an interview lined up for this Thursday. The position she described seemed like one part event planner, two parts social media and I was definitely intrigued. This spring was all about new beginnings for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Back in the Saddle

After I had gotten home Thursday night I half expected a text or call from Nick, but no dice. I wasn't sure if this made me upset or relieved. He made it clear that he wanted me back in his life, but he sure as hell wasn't acting like it. Friday was payday, aka I spent a large chunk of the weekend shopping (I have the worst budgeting skills north of the Mason-Dixon line) and trying out a new Mexican restaurant with Ashley.

“Absolutely not,” Ashley replied to me, dunking a chip into the fresh salsa bowl in front of us. I had asked her whether or not I should text Nick. It was Saturday night, and I still hadn't heard from him. “You had the last word when you saw him Thursday, so ball is in his court.”

I reached for my margarita on the rocks, taking a long sip. “You’re right, I know you’re right. Anyway how’s Steve?” I asked.

Ashley and her boyfriend Steve had been together for a little more than two years now. They met in college, but didn't get serious until they were both in the city. They now shared a small apartment in the West Village together along with their dog, Murphy. Steve had pressed Ashley to move in with him when her lease ended in September, which made financial sense for the both of them since she slept there almost every night anyway. I was convinced that they would have broken up by now though if they hadn't lived together. Ashley was constantly being mistaken for Blake Lively (i’m not kidding - at Starbucks they have even written it on her cup before. I personally didn't really see the resemblance, but we had been friends since we were 10 so maybe I’m just used to her obnoxiously good looks) which meant men were always paying attention to her. It’d be annoying if she wasn't so humble and kind. Unfortunately, all this attention meant Ashley was constantly tempted and on one or two occasions she had cheated. She always said she wanted to marry Steve but she wanted to be single to get it out of her system first. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Steve is too keen on the idea of her romping around the city boning every man in sight.

“He’s fine, but he never wants to go out anymore which is so frustrating. I know he’s a little older but still,” she sighed. This complaint of hers was not a new one.

I laughed, “He’s only 25! Why is he such an old man all of a sudden.”

“Who knows, but I refuse to stay in with him. Thank god you’re here to take me out when I need it!” she smiled. “Are you excited for your date tomorrow?” she asked, referencing brunch with Bray tomorrow. (Brunch with Bray! Sounds like the sequel to Breakfast at Tiffanys).

“I am, I hope it’s not awkward. I literally know nothing about him. I even did a thorough Facebook stalk and couldn't find him.” Fact: a millennial with wifi is more effective than a PI.

“It’s probably better you didn't thoroughly creep on him beforehand,” Ashley replied, leaning back. Our food had arrived and the waiter was setting down the hot plates in front of us. My mouth watered a little as I dug into my Trios de Flautas, aka three deliciously crispy tortillas stuffed with chicken, peppers and some sort of magical cheese sauce. I could eat Mexican for every meal and be totally fine with it.

“Maybe,” I replied taking a sip of my water. These flautas had a kick. “I guess I will have a more genuine reaction when he tells me about his prison stint,” I joked.

“Yeah and it won’t give you time to think of an excuse to bolt when you find about his ex-boyfriend,” Ashley quipped. I laughed appreciatively at her joke, but seriously it could be true. Dating strangers is scary business.

“I’m half worried I’ll walk in and not remember what he looks like. I mean, I was pretty drunk the night we met. All I picture in my mind now is long brown hair and then a big ol’ blur in the middle where his face is,” I said.

“Haha I’m sure you’ll spot him,” she reassured. “Just don’t order eggs benedict, we all know you’re not a graceful eater.” I shot a tight smile back at her. Rude.

I was in bed with a nice buzz from the margaritas by 12:30, and debated setting my alarm. I wasn't meeting Bray until noon, but better safe than sorry. I set the alarm for 10 and pulled the comforter up to my chin, sinking into my pillow-top mattress.

When I woke up to the sound of my alarm, the sunlight was streaming in the windows. Another gorgeous day, I could get used to these. I dragged my sleepy butt into the shower and even managed to shave my legs. Good date karma, coming up!

I began the long process of blow drying my hair, and settled on jeans, nude flats and a lace shirt for our date. I grabbed my light blue J Crew trench and skipped out the door. Yes, skipped. This was a new era for me. A new man, a new season, I had a feeling this spring was going to be good to me.

Luckily, I didn't have to go around poking random strangers in the side asking “Bray?” hopefully, because when I walked in I spotted him immediately. He was (thankfully) even better looking than I had remembered. His hair was long, but not long enough to touch his shoulders. He seemed to be just under six feet and had gorgeous blue eyes that I imagined staring into while doing some R-rated things.

“Hey,” he smiled warmly. Glancing me quickly up and down. He stood as I approached the table. How gentlemanly. There was an awkward moment where I wasn't sure if we were going to hug or shake hands or awkwardly pat each other on the back, which turned into weird a half-hug which I then spent the next three full minutes blushing about. Awkward.

“Are you feeling better?” I asked, reaching for the menu. I had never been to this place, and taking Ashley’s advice I had to order something that wouldn't end up all over my face.

“I am,” he said swallowing a sip of water. “Sorry about having to cancel before, but I swear I’m no longer contagious,” he gave a little smirk. Well aren't we Mr. Forward?

“Good to hear,” I sarcastically said in return. “So what’s good here?”

“I pretty much always get their breakfast burger, which sounds a little weird but I promise you, it’s worth it,” he replied. I skimmed my menu to check out the item in question. That would definitely end up all over my face, but I was salivating just reading the description. Sign me up for anything involving bacon.

“Sold,” I said placing my menu on the table and smiling up at him. God, I hadn’t been on a real first date in forever and I already felt awkward. The waitress came over then and we ordered two breakfast burgers and two bloody marys, “the best in the city,” he had said.

The rest of the date passed in easy conversation. Since we knew nothing about each other, there was plenty to discuss. I learned that Bray was from the DC area, went to UVA and then moved up here for work as a graphic designer for a marketing firm. He was the baby of three boys, his parents were divorced and both still lived down in DC. The conversation was playful and he easily countered any of my sarcastic remarks. I could feel my palms getting sweaty and I became shyer as the date when on, realizing I might actually maybe kind of like this guy.

When the check came, I pulled the instinctive 'reach for it but slowly so that he gets there first' move, to show I was totally cool with paying except secretly hoping he would, since I firmly believe all boys should pay for the first date.

“Let me,” he said grabbing the check and reaching for his wallet.

“Thanks,” I said placing my hands back into my lap. We paid up and started to walk out of the restaurant. I knew from previous conversations that he only lived about 10 blocks away from me, so we started uptown together. I was feeling a little bold from drinking two bloody marys and stepped a little closer to him as we walked.

“What are you doing the rest of the day?” he asked. I craned my neck up to see him, relishing in standing this close. He had a good seven inches on me.

“I actually have to meet a friend at three,” I lied. I didn't wanna go looking all super-available and ready for anything. Even though the fire in my stomach and the fact that I hadn't had sex in more than three months (Can cobwebs grow down there? I actually googled it the other day…) made me want to invite him upstairs very, very badly.

“Okay,” he said pulling me in for a hug. His coat had the faint smell of cigarettes, and I hoped it was from a club and not his own habit. “I had a really good time,” he said stepping back, keeping his hands on my waist. I leaned into him slightly and tilted my head up.

“Me too, we should do it again sometime,” I replied. His hair had slid down and was grazing his eyes as he looked down at me. He leaned in and kissed me lightly on the lips. Everywhere tingled. It was a slow, sweet kiss but just enough to let me know he was definitely a good kisser.

“I’ll hold you to that,” he said. He gave me one last kiss on my forehead - seriously, swoon - and continued uptown. I watched him for approximately five seconds, just enough to not be a total creep, and unlocked the door to my building.

As I rounded the last flight of stairs, I stopped in my tracks. Nick was sitting against the door to my apartment, his head fallen back on the door frame, fast asleep. I kicked his shoe. Startled, his eyes shot open and he leaned forward.

What are you doing here?” I demanded.