Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fatal Attraction

Dylan and I rarely left the comfort of his bed all weekend, sneaking out only when food was needed. Our Saturday night was spent in bed with wine and thin crust pizza, while watching a slew of made for TV movies. It was absolutely perfect and I tried my hardest to push the Kara incident out of my mind. The only way to trust Dylan was to throw my whole heart into it and hope for the best. What was the point in stumbling across a relationship this remarkable, if I was just going to hold back? I couldn't be afraid to love him for the fear of the inevitable hurt. There was a very real possibility that I would get my heart smashed into a thousand little pieces, but it was a risk I was willing to take. 

On Sunday afternoon I found myself boarding an Amtrak to NYC, fighting my hardest to hold back the tears that I wouldn't let fall in front of Dylan. Aside from Friday night, the weekend had been impeccable. I felt like he was my boyfriend, but we hadn't had the talk yet. I didn't want to be the one to bring it up first but I hoped that he would say something soon. The truth was, Dylan terrified me. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. He was gorgeous, successful, funny and endlessly fascinating. There had to be some hidden secret that I wasn't seeing, like he kicks puppies in his spare time and feeds on the souls of children. 

When I got back to the apartment Sunday night, I found Ash knee deep in brown boxes. 

"What are you doing?" I asked, dropping my weekend bag next to the door and picking up the pile of mail sitting on the table, greeted by an electric bill, victorias secret coupon and Penn State Alumni letter.

"Packing silly!" she replied cheerfully, reaching for another pack of tissue paper to roll up a cup in. 

"But we still have another week," I replied, glancing over the letter from Penn State, pleading for a donation. I gave them four years and tens of thousands of dollars, yet they always hit me up for more. 

"Yes and the movers come this Saturday, so I want everything boxed, labeled and ready for them." 

I always considered myself an organized person, but watching Ash divide, label and wrap each individual item in my tiny kitchen made me look like a disorganized mess.

"Okay, let me take a quick shower and then I'll help," I said, heading into the bedroom. I dug around in my purse to plug in my phone which had died somewhere around Hamilton, NJ. As it booted up, my stomach flipped seeing two texts from Dylan. I opened them eagerly.

I had an incredible time with you this weekend, miss you already.

Then, 10 minutes later, a photo of him... shirtless in front of a mirror, the sink cutting off just before I could see the goods. I felt a heat rush through me at the sight of his perfectly sculpted pecks leading into an eight pack of abs. He was glistening in sweat, presumably from the run he had been about to go on before I left. Should I send one back? I was tempted to ask Ashley for her opinion, but then I knew she would want to see what Dylan sent. Not willing to share the photo with her, I padded into the bathroom with my phone in hand. 

I peeled off my maxi dress and regarded my matching red thong and bra in the mirror, leftover from the outfit I had worn for Dylan last night. Unhooking the bra, I turned sideways in the mirror and used my free arm to cover my breasts. Sucking in, I snapped a quick picture. The end result wasn't too bad, for my first attempt. I hit send before I could chicken out and hopped into the steamy shower.

Dylan's response came 15 minutes later.

God you look so hot. Get that ass back down to Philly ASAP.

I was irrationally turned on, considering I had just spent the entire weekend having sex with him. I bit my lip as I typed back a response.

Oh yeah? What would you do to me if I was there? 

I put the phone down and headed over to assist Ashley. 

"So, you had a great weekend?" she asked, pulling tape across a full box labeled "kitchen appliances". 

"Yeah it was awesome, aside from Friday," I replied, grabbing the stack of kitchen towels and starting to fold them. I had filled Ash in on the weekend via texts on the train. 

"So do you believe this Kara bitch?" Ash asked, giving me a skeptical look.

"I don't know," I shrugged. "I mean she definitely seemed vindictive towards me when she said it. It's clear she isn't over Dylan." 

"Well just be careful," Ash replied, looking me dead on. "You're already in deeper than I have ever seen you." 

"I know," I said with a nod. "Trust me, I haven't let my guard down just yet." 

I heard my phone beep just then and reached over to grab it. 

Well, first I'd reenact what happened in the alley Friday night..

My heart sped up thinking about how good it had been Friday, and how risky it had felt doing it in public. I had only been sleeping with Dylan for a few weeks and already our sex life was far more exciting than it had ever been with Nick. 

I was just about to type back when I got a Facebook notification to my phone. Clicking on the app, I saw I had a friend request. Kara Pierce. I showed the phone to Ashley who raised her eyebrows in response.

"Well that's bold of her," she said, handing the phone back to me. "Are you going to accept?"

Of course I was going to accept, I was dying to know what traces of Dylan I would find on there. But at the same time.. I was terrified to see what traces of Dylan I would find on there. 

I nodded my head in response to Ash, while hitting confirm on the request. The page suddenly filled with Kara, her at the beach, her out at a bar, her in her nursing scrubs. I clicked on "about" and saw that she had gone to University of Maryland like Dylan had. She was a nurse at CHOP in Philly, her birthday was in April and she was listed as "It's Complicated". 

"What the heck?" I said, reiterating her relationship status to Ashley. "Does she mean it's complicated with Dylan?

"That's weird," Ash agreed, starting to fill another box with throw pillows from the couch. "On an unrelated note, do you think we need a new couch?" 

"Yes, but back to the matter at hand!" I said needily, the knot in my stomach that was now becoming all too familiar. 

Ash walked over to me, placing one hand on each of my shoulders. "Listen D, I love you, but you have got to calm down. You've known this guy all of a fortnight and you're already going mental. Now before you go boiling Kara's rabbit in a pot, just ask Dylan about it. Clearly Kara is trying to get under your skin, and you're letting her." 

I gave her a weak smile at the Fatal Attraction joke, but it did nothing to lessen the growing anxiety I felt. I wanted to ask Dylan but I had no way of doing so without sounding nuts. Instead, I quickly hit "remove friend" before I could do any more stalking damage. 

"Maybe tomorrow," I said, returning to folding the kitchen towels. 

"Good plan," Ash said. She then dove into details of when the movers were coming and what we needed to buy in the meantime. She was rattling off items like light bulbs, swiffer pads, a new mattress for her and I tried my hardest to nod along and pay attention. After all, moving into a new apartment with my best friend should be a source of excitement. And I hated, hated so badly in that moment, that Dylan already had the ability to sneak under my skin and affect the way I felt about everything. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Brotherly Love - Part 2

**Sorry for the short post, will make up for it with a longer one next week! Have a great weekend**

When I walked out of the bathroom I felt sick to my stomach. She must be telling the truth, why else would she say that? If she wasn't with Dylan all night she would have had no way of knowing that he didn't call me back. She wouldn't risk such a bold lie, would she?

I returned to the table and tried to act as normal as possible, which was pretty impossible considering I was sandwiched between Kara and Dylan, i.e. the illicit lovers of Center City. Knowing it would require very little response from me, I asked Erica about their upcoming nuptials. She dove into details of floral arrangements, bridesmaid gowns and the stress of people with food allergies. I nodded along with feigned enthusiasm, doing my best to not over analyze what Kara had said to me. Dylan was not my boyfriend, I reasoned with myself. 

Finally, what felt like hours but was probably only 30 minutes, Dylan leaned over and placed his hand on my lower back. "Want to get out of here?" he asked.

I nodded slowly and said my goodbyes, promising to see Laura soon. 

We stepped out into the uncharacteristically cool evening and Dylan draped his arm casually around my shoulders. I fought the urge to shrug it off. 

"So that wasn't so bad, was it?" Dylan asked, looking down at me with a lazy smile. 

I raised my eyebrows at him, "For you maybe".

"What do you mean?" he asked, stopping in the street and turning my shoulders so that I was facing him.

"Dylan..." I started, not sure how to proceed. I didn't want to come off as crazy, but I was pretty fucking pissed.

"What?" he asked. "Were you just uncomfortable around Kara? Because I told you, that is over." 

I raised my eyebrows at him a second time. "Over as of 48 hours ago?" 

He looked at me, puzzled for a second. 

"Kara said something to me in the bathroom, about Wednesday night." I said, hoping he would interject before I'd have to recite what she had passed along.

His face drained of color, and the pit in my stomach turned into a full-blown black hole. She hadn't been lying.

"Look, I was hammered Wednesday and we all went back to her apartment after the bar, and I passed out there. That's all. What did she say?" 

His excuses were coming rapid fire, which made me doubt him even further. 

"Just that it 'meant nothing'," I said, using my fingers as air quotes.

"Me passing out in her bed? Because yeah, it meant nothing, since nothing happened," he stressed, pleading with his eyes. 

I wanted to believe him, badly. But I had known this guy all of a few weeks. 

"Okay," I said with a shrug, eager to stop the conversation. 

"No, not 'okay'," Dylan said, using the same air quotes I had just thrown at him. "You have to believe me."

"I don't have to do anything, considering either way, whether or not you hooked up with her, you did lie to me." 

"All I told you was that I fell asleep early, I didn't specify where," he said back.

"Seriously?" I said incredulously, this was a side of Dylan I was not enjoying. 

"I didn't want to upset you for no reason," he said more tenderly, stepping in closer to me. I was ashamed that not a single fiber in me wanted to push him away this time.

"Look, you're not my boyfriend, technically you can do whatever you want. But I can't deal with lying. Especially not when you throw me into a situation with Kara knowing full well you lied to me, and I had to find out through her snide bathroom remarks," I said. 

"You're right, I'm sorry," Dylan said, his hand finding the nape of my neck and rubbing in slow circles. "I promise not to lie ever again," he gave me a half smile.

"Okay," I said, returning the grin. He leaned down and kissed me, making my anger dissipate. He pushed me back two strides until my back was pressed against the brick of a building, raising my arms over my head and holding them there. His insistent mouth pressed against mine and I could feel how hard he was through the layers of clothing separating us. He pulled back and said forcefully "I need you," and I nodded, insanely turned on. 

Walking a short distance, he found an alleyway between two row homes that was completely obscured in darkness. Pushing me into it he lifted up my skirt and with one swift motion, was inside of me. Placing his hand over my mouth to cover the screams that were involuntarily coming out of me and lowering his face to my neck. I came almost instantly. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brotherly Love - Part 1

In the cab on the way home Thursday evening, I called Dylan. I was aching for him and after deciding to put all of my effort into making it work, I wanted to see him as soon as possible. I offered to come down to Philly for the weekend and he readily agreed, which is how I found myself on an Amtrak Friday afternoon.

The ride to Philly was quick and familiar, and I stepped out of 30th Street Station just after 8 o'clock. Dylan was waiting in the passenger drop off, still in a polo and khakis from work, leaning casually against a sleek black BMW sedan. I didn't even bother to slow down as I barreled towards him, as if we had been apart for months.

"Hey gorgeous," he said, his joyous laugh tickling my ear as he lifted me off of my feet.

He removed my weekend bag from my shoulder and tossed it in the back seat before opening the passenger side door for me. How gentlemanly, I thought as I sat down on the buttery leather seat. He got into the drivers side and leaned over towards me, his scent filling the car. Cupping my chin in his hand, he ran his thumb over my lips. It was a sweet torture when all I wanted was his mouth. Finally, he leaned in and kissed me slowly, with a gradual intensity that warmed my whole body. 

"How far is your place?" I asked as we pulled apart. If he said more than 10 minutes, I wasn't above doing it in a car..

"Just over in Rittenhouse," he replied with a grin, referring to one of the nicer areas of Philly just a short drive away. I put on my seat belt and took in the views of the city. I adored Philly and could definitely see myself moving back one day. It was a much more manageable size than New York, not to mention the cost of living was about half of what it was in Manhattan. Plus it had the bonus of my family being just 30 minutes away in the suburbs. But when it came down to it the career opportunities were far more abundant in New York.

"I'm so glad you came," Dylan interrupted my thoughts. I turned over to look at him, his one hand on the wheel and the other resting casually on my knee. It took me by surprise almost every time I looked at him how irrationally good looking he was.

"Me too," I replied, thankful he had encouraged the impromptu trip. 

"I hope you like my place, I tried to clean up a bit before work this morning," he said sounding nervous. By the looks of his car, I figured he had no reason to worry about me not liking his house.

"Hey as long as it has a bed and running water, I'm set," I said back, reaching to place my hand on top of his. He flipped his palm up and intertwined his fingers with mine. 

"The gang is going to Ladder tonight, I figured if you were up to it we could grab a bite and then join them?" he offered, referring to a popular bar in center city.

"Sounds great," I said, secretly hoping Kara was not one of "the gang". 

We slowed down along a long block of row homes and he expertly parallel parked the car in front of a three-story brick house. I remembered him saying he lived with Ryan (the engaged one) and one other guy who I had not met named Mike. Grabbing my bag from the back, he lead me up the short steps to the front door. 

The house was narrow, but had clearly been recently redone. Exposed brick covered one wall, while shiny wood floors swept from the living room, through the dining room and back into the kitchen. A windy set of stairs led us to Dylan's room. I eagerly pushed it open, curious to see what it looked like.

The room was spacious with high ceilings and the same exposed brick along one wall. His furniture was all black, with a blue comforter covering his freshly-made bed. The walls were filled with black and white images from all over the world, Dylan himself featured in many of them. 

"They're from a six month stint in Europe," he said as I examined a shot of him in front of the acropolis. 

"I didn't like Athens much," I remarked, moving onto a photo of him in Florence. I noticed a blonde girl in many of the images and made a mental note to ask him about ex girlfriends. It was one topic we had not yet broached. 

"Me neither, very dirty," he said, spinning me around so that my back was to the photos. He wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me firmly into him. "We have thirty minutes until our reservation, you know what we can do in thirty minutes?" he asked.

"Twice?" I replied with a grin. 

After a delicious sushi dinner, we walked over to Ladder 15 where most of Dylan's friends were waiting. I had texted Laura to make sure she would be there so that I would at least know someone in "the gang". 

We weaved through the crowd and up to the second floor where Dylan's friends were waiting. I spotted Laura over by the bar, ordering a round of beers. 

"Dani!" she yelled over the din of the crowd. 

"Hey Laur!" I said, returning her strong hug. 

"Here," she said after breaking the embrace and thrusting a beer towards me. "You're going to need it, Kara is here and she is not happy about Dylan moving on."

I felt a nervous knot twist itself together in my stomach. Great. I didn't even know the girl and she already hated me. 

"Awesome," I replied my voice heavy with sarcasm. Taking her advice I downed almost half of the beer at once. Just then I felt Dylan's strong arms come around my waist from behind and I turned around to face him. Being so close to him made me crave his lips on mine again, but I refrained from any PDA in case Kara was watching us. 

"So that girl Kara is here," Dylan started as I continued to house my light beer. "I should probably warn you that she wasn't very...pleased with me when I ended things."

"Laura alerted me to that fact," I said as he raised his eyebrows at me. I had finished the beer in under two minutes. 

"Thirsty?" he asked with a laugh. 

"More like nervous," I said, shifting my weight from left to right. "I wasn't planning on having to beat a girl up tonight, otherwise I would have worn more destructive rings," I gave him a small smile to let him know I was joking. 

"I doubt she'll say anything to you," he said, tightening his arms around me and lowering his face into my hair. "Plus if she does, then that's just our excuse to duck out of here early." I felt him nuzzle my neck and the spinning in my head started again, that lightheaded, soaring feeling I got anytime he touched me.

He gave me a quick kiss, light as a breeze on my lips before grabbing my hand and leading me back towards the bar. He ordered me a whiskey coke and I smiled at the fact that he knew my drink, when I had only ever ordered it that one time in front of him at the shore. 

We made our way over to where Laura was sitting with Dylan's roommates, Ryan and Mike, Ryan's fiancee who he introduced as Erica (and who I instantly felt empathetic towards knowing what happened between Ryan and Ashley), and Kara. 

"Dani," I said, extending my hand towards Kara last. She gave me a chilly stare but shook my hand. 

We all exchanged polite conversation for about thirty minutes while I tried to focus most of my attention on charming Dylan's roommates and avoiding eye contact with Kara. She was even prettier in person than she was in the Instagram, which wasn't doing great things for my confidence level.

After finishing my drink, I excused myself to the bathroom. Once inside the safety of the stall I sent a quick text to Ash.

SOS that girl he used to hook up with is here and she's gorgeous and hates me. 

I waited a few minutes but it was clear Ash was probably out and not checking her phone. With a sigh, I pushed open the stall door and stopped in my tracks at the sight of Kara's back towards me, washing her hands in the sink. I debated fight or flight for a quick second before she raised her steel blue eyes in the mirror and met mine.

"Hi," I said, giving a meek smile and choosing the sink furthest from hers. 

She smiled but returned to her thorough scrubbing - I still had yet to hear this girl speak - so I tried to wash up as quickly as possible and high tail it out of there.

"Just so you know," I heard her sing-song voice and assumed it was directed at me, seeing as we were the only two in the bathroom. I shifted my eyes over to meet hers in the mirror. "Wednesday meant nothing," she said as she reached for a towel to dry her hands.


"He really likes you and we'd just had too much to drink," she continued and I could see a mischievous glint in her eyes. She was enjoying this. With that, she stalked out of the restroom leaving me alone.

Wednesday was the night he had gone to SIPs with all of them and I had seen the Instagram. The same night he had never called me back. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Want You Back

I studied my look in the full length mirror on Thursday evening, satisfied with the outcome. The dress was borrowed from Ash, a black lace number that came high up to on my neck while keeping my shoulders exposed. I had braided my hair into a messy fishtail off to the side, and left a few curly pieces tumbling out. The final result turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. 

I was sipping on a glass of chardonnay and flipping through the latest US Weekly (who will Andi pick?! #TeamJosh) when I heard the buzzer sound. I grabbed my nude Chinese Laundry pumps and skipped down the stairs. 

Nick stood just outside the door to my building, looking handsome in a sports coat and still-wet hair. I kissed him on the cheek and used his shoulder to support my weight as I slipped on the 5" heels. 

"You look fantastic," he said, giving me an appreciative full-body scan. 

"Not so bad yourself," I grinned. 

"No really," he continued, placing his rough hands on my hips and pulling me slightly towards him. "I'm going to be the luckiest guy there tonight." 

The look in his eyes suggested more than what I was willing to offer, and I gave him a small smile in return. I was still bitter about the Kara/Dylan Instagram, which Dylan hadn't even mentioned when he finally called me on my lunch break earlier that day. All he said was that he fell asleep early and was sorry he didn't get the chance to call. My heart wanted to believe him, but my head knew better than to trust a guy so quickly. Regardless, I wasn't mad enough to hook up with Nick out of spite. Even if Dylan and I weren't exclusive, I wasn't willing to risk messing it up. 

"Ready?" he asked, moving his hands to my back and leading me towards a cab that had been waiting for us.

"Absolutely," I replied, sliding in the car. It was a short cab ride down to Toshi's Penthouse where the event was being held. The evening was an informal celebration of the company's 10th birthday. According to Nick, they had a larger, more formal event planned for mid-September. 

I had never been to the venue before and I was stunned to silence when we stepped inside. A huge room with floor to ceiling windows was filled to the brim with many guys about Nick's age, all with a girl on their arm. There was a terrace off to the side with low lying couches and the most incredible view of the Empire State Building that I had ever seen. "This is insane," I hissed to Nick after we had done a lap of the room and stopped at the bar.

"I know, I saw photos when they announced the venue but they didn't do the place justice," he said, handing me a glass of white wine. 

"Well cheers to your event planner," I said, taking a sip of the delicious white blend. 

"Speak of the devil..." Nick trailed off, as I noticed a girl approaching us with intent. She was about my age and had an exotic look about her, and she sauntered right up to Nick and gave him a kiss on the cheek. 

"Nicholas, I'm so glad you made it," she said and I detected a hint of an accent. It sounded middle eastern, but I was always bad at pinning those things down.

"Of course, Sash," he said, turning to coil his arm around my waist. "This is Danielle, Danielle this is Sasha. She planned this whole thing," he said, using his free arm to gesture to the room.

"You did an incredible job," I gushed, feeling the unjustified, overwhelming need for this girl's approval. I had thought I looked good when I left the house, but standing next to this glamazoid I may as well have been wearing a paper bag. 

She gave me a closed mouth smile which I interpreted as a thanks. "I see someone I should talk to but, Nick? Find me later," she gave him a sultry smile and I felt my guard go up. He nodded in response and Sasha and her Louboutins disappeared into the crowd.

"So she's the event planner?" I asked, stating the obvious but fishing for more clues. 

"Yeah, we hire an external firm to do our events, and Sasha is our rep." 

"You seem pretty well acquainted," I noted, taking another sip from my almost empty wine glass.

"Are you jealous?" Nick asked, an amused smile tugging at the edges of his lips. 

I shrugged, but gave him a coy smile. Hey, I never said flirting with Nick was off the table. 

"Let's get you a refill," he said, nodding to my empty glass. I followed obediently behind him towards the bar.

A few hours later, after I had met nearly all of Nick's coworkers, Nick and I were sitting outside in the warm summer air on one of the couches. His arm was slung around me, pulling me close and all of the wine I had consumed was letting him. 

"So," Nick began, fixing his gaze on me. "Who was that guy on Sunday?"

I bit my lip, not wanting to discuss Dylan. Talking about a new guy with your ex was the comfort equivalent of going to the gyno. 

"Um, just this guy I've been seeing," I said, doing my best not to meet Nick's gaze. 

"Is it serious?" he asked. 

"It hasn't been going on very long, but... yeah, I guess it is. Kinda." I said, dancing around the truth. Truthfully, I had no idea what it was. 

"Oh," Nick replied, looking angry. 

"What?" I asked.

"I mean I don't know Dani, you practically have a new boyfriend just weeks after I told you I wanted you back?" he was starting to raise his voice, and I was thankful that there was no one sitting at the couches around us. 

"He's not my boyfriend," I countered, feeling irrationally defensive.

"You got pissed when that waitress was hitting on me Sunday, you got weird when you met Sasha, I mean make up your mind!" he threw his hands in the air, exasperated. 

"Nick," I began, but stopped when I had no idea what I wanted to say. 

He turned to me and took a deep breath, calming himself down. "Look, Dani. Whatever, you have the right to date people, I get that. But you act like we're over, when we both know we're not." 

I felt something catch in my throat, a sudden surge of adoration that caught me off guard. I wanted to agree with him, to say that he was right. Afterall, Nick was my first love and my best friend for years. Dylan was just some guy down in Philly, who may or may not still be fucking some girl named Kara. 

"Are you going to say something?" Nick asked after a solid minute of silence had passed. 

"I waited Nick.. for months. You ended this," I said. "I need to see where things go with Dylan."

"He lives in Philly, why even start something with him, when I'm right here?" Nick said, a pleading look in his eyes that I didn't recognize. But he made an excellent point. 

I reached over and squeezed Nick's hand in place of a response. A glance at his watch told me it was past midnight.

"I should head home," I said, hoping he wouldn't ask me to stay. 

He let out a loud sigh. "Do you want me to help you get a cab?"

I nodded, not wanting to let him go just yet. We walked out of the venue together holding hands, and as we stood on the corner I turned to face him before trying to grab a cab. I wanted to try something. Reaching up, I wrapped my left hand around the back of his neck and pulled him towards me. He looked confused, but didn't stop me.

The kiss was familiar and sweet, but lacking the electricity and excited tendrils that enveloped my whole body when I kissed Dylan. It was exactly what I had needed to find out. 

"What was that for?" Nick asked, smiling. 

"Nothing, just a thank you for a nice evening," I smiled. At least now I knew, Dylan was the only one I should be focusing on. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


"Fifteen beauty hacks with a bobby pin?" Elena asked, staring at the copy I was about to push through onto the blog. 

"It's the best journalistic piece of my career," I deadpanned as I searched through stock images that could fit the article.

"Sometimes I worry that we're not really contributing to society," Elena replied, chewing absentmindedly on the straw in her empty Starbucks cup. It was 7:30 p.m. and the office was almost empty. 

"But did you see the one I did yesterday about Selena Gomez's Instagram filters? It was shared more than 2,000 times..." I said with a smile. Sure, a large amount of the content on our blog were puff pieces related to celebrities, beauty, fashion and more. But Platform did publish quality stuff, especially in the print issues. But we had a quota when it came to the blog, which I was desperately trying to keep up with. So if I had to post inane stories for the sake of engagement, so be it. 

"Okay, there," I said, hitting publish and watching as the copy and images melded together and emerged into the blogosphere. "Done." 

I spent another ten minutes checking the scheduled tweets in Hootsuite, replied to and retweeted a few mentions and then shut off my computer. "I have to head down to the West Village to see an apartment with Ash, want to come?" I offered, throwing miscellaneous items into my purse. 

"Sure," Elena shrugged, trailing behind me to the elevators. I was so relieved that her and I were back to normal. It had been a lonely few weeks during the Jeff debacle. As we waited for the doors to close, I pulled out my phone which had been neglected since my late lunch at 3. I had two texts from Dylan, both of which made my heart leap straight up into the air.

4:45pm: Hey babe, how is your day going?

5:58pm: I'm heading over to my big brothers meeting, but I'll call you after.

He was already treating me like his girlfriend, and I wasn't the least bit freaked out by it. Which, ultimately, freaked me out. If a guy had ever come on this strong in the past, I would have hightailed it out of there faster than you could say stage five clinger. But with Dylan, it felt normal, right even.

Hey, heading to see an apartment now. Can I just call you tonight?

I typed back. Elena and I hailed a cab and I gave the driver the cross streets. The West Village apartment was the one I had seen over the weekend online, shockingly in our price range on top of being in an amazing location. I was half expecting it to be riddled with cockroaches or carbon monoxide leaks. 

"So how's Dylan," Elena asked as the cab headed downtown. I had filled her in over lunch on Monday, and she had voiced a similar opinion as Ashley. They both told me to guard my heart and not move too fast. I really did believe I knew what I was doing and had it under control, so I was defensive to their opinions. 

"He's good," I replied. It was only Wednesday and I already missed him terribly. "But did I tell you? I'm going to this work event thing with Nick tomorrow." 

"Does Dylan care?" Elena asked.

I shrugged. "I told him on Sunday, and he didn't really say anything in response. So I guess not." 

Just then, we pulled up to 12th street and I paid the cabbie. Stepping out onto the street, I saw Ash waiting in front of a narrow red door. The street was wide, lined with trees and each house looked adorably the same. This already seemed too good to be true. 

"Hey!" I greeted Ash.

"Hey," she replied, typing furiously into her phone. "The guy should be here any minute, he just texted me." 

"Great," I replied, surveying the street some more as Ashley and Elena said their hellos. A few minutes later, the landlord appeared to let us in. 

I let out a gasp as I stepped inside. The door opened up to a tiny platform, with two stairs to the right leading down to an airy living room, and two stairs up to the left leading to a kitchen and dining area. There were two massive windows in the living room that filled the entire room with light. The kitchen was small but had the essentials, and a full bathroom lead off of the side. One bedroom was off of the kitchen and the other off of the living room. Both were a little small, but could easily fit a queen bed and small furniture. 

I gave Ash a look and she nodded furiously. After asking the landlord a few basic questions, we immediately filled out an application. 

"I can't believe that place is only $2,200," Ashley said as we stepped out onto the street. 

"It's perfect," I replied, already daydreaming about how we could decorate the living room. "Ugh I pray we get it." 

"And you'd live so close to me!" Elena chimed in, as the three of us walked slowly around the 'hood. We were just steps from the Hudson river, lined by a perfect trail for running. Although it would mean I would no longer have the luxury of walking to work, I was desperate for this apartment to work out. 

A few hours later after the three of us had grabbed dinner and Ash was in the shower, I called Dylan.

"Hey you," he answered after a few short rings. I could hear noise in the background.

"Hey, where are you?" I asked.

"At a bar for SIPs," he replied, referring to the Philly Happy Hour that occurs city-wide every Wednesday in the summer. 

"Oh," I replied, "With who?"

"Some shore house people," he said and I heard laughter in the background, while someone yelled "shots!". My mind immediately pictured Kara sitting across from him.

"I'll let you go then, have fun," I said in my most upbeat voice. I didn't want him thinking I was pissed at him. 

"I'll call you later tonight, okay?" he said. 

I nodded before realizing he couldn't see me. "Great!" I replied, a little too enthusiastically. Then I heard the line go dead. 

I stared at the phone in my hand, upset but knowing I had no right to be. I opened Instagram to pass the time until the shower was free, and my heart sunk seeing the very first photo on my feed. It was posted by Laura just 10 minutes ago, of them at SIPs in Philly. Dylan looked impossibly handsome in a button down shirt from work, his arm casually slung around the girl next to him. A simple tap on the photo showed the girl was tagged, and he name was Kara29xo. She had long blonde hair, striking blue eyes and the type of genetically superior bone structure that predisposes you to hating her. I tossed the phone onto the bed feeling sick. How was it possible to be this invested in a guy after just two weeks? 

By the time I got into bed at midnight, Dylan still hadn't called. I debated texting him but Ash convinced me otherwise. 

"If he's not thinking of you, don't let him know you're thinking about him," she said pointedly. Although her advice seemed a bit harsh, I took it anyway. After all, I was going to spend tomorrow night on Nick's arm all evening. I really had no right to feel angry. I rolled over and closed my eyes, trying my best not to strain my ears to listen for a ringing phone that would never come.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's too fast?

**Short bonus! See you guys again next Weds. 

I stood there between the two guys, shocked. All day long I had thought Dylan was ignoring me, when in reality he was on the train to New York?

"Dylan," was all I could manage to say. He smiled stiffly, glancing once again at where my hand was enveloped in Nick's. I quickly let our hands drop, wiping my palm against the soft fabric of my dress. 

"Um Dylan, this is my friend Nick. Nick, this is Dylan," the guys shook hands awkwardly. I had always considered Nick good looking, but standing next to Dylan he seemed smaller, plainer. The blue in Dylan's eyes made the blue in Nick's look like the murky Atlantic ocean next to the Mediterranean. I ached to touch Dylan but felt too weird doing it when I had just been flirting with Nick. 

"So how do you know Danielle?" Nick interrogated, standing taller than usual.

"We met down in Sea Isle," Dylan replied, shooting me a knowing smile. I felt a familiar heat run down from my chest into my toes, unable to tear my eyes from Dylan's. I felt like a coil ready to spring, shifting my weight from left to right. 

"Do you live in New York?" Nick said, eyeing Dylan's bag suspiciously. 

"No, I actually live down in Philly. Just up for the evening," Dylan replied. 

"You didn't mention you were having company," Nick said, turning his attention to me. I was flattered by his protectiveness, but at that moment I wanted nothing more than for him to scram.

"It's a surprise to me too," I said, pasting a smile on my face. "A good surprise," I directed the last comment at Dylan. 

"I guess I'll leave you two to it then," Nick said, looking like he would like nothing more than to sucker punch Dylan. He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek, lingering a little too long. "I'll see you Thursday, D." He gave my hand a squeeze before retreating around the corner.

I turned to Dylan and practically tackled him. "What are you doing here?" 

"Not happy to see me?" he grinned back. 

"Not at all," I said, the massive smile on my face impossible to repress. Was sex in the street considered illegal? 

"I saw your text this morning and thought, 'Why not'. So I got your address from Laura and here I am." 

"Why didn't you text me?" I replied, unlocking the door to my building. 

"I figured I would make a grand entrance." He stood behind me as I fiddled with the locks, both of his hands resting on my hips. As we headed up the stairs he told me about how he had missed the train in Trenton and meant to get here hours earlier to take me out to dinner. 

"We don't need dinner," I grinned back at him, pushing open the door to my studio. He laughed in response and I smiled back, throwing my arms around his neck. The laughter faded as soon as we got inside. Still wrapped around him, he pushed me up against the wall across from the door. Within seconds his mouth was on mine, kissing me with an urgency that mirrored how I felt. His rough hands traveled down my thigh until he found the hem of my skirt. Drawing small circles with his hands, he moved slowly up my leg until he was pulling at my underwear. I silently thanked Nick for making the dinner plans, prompting me to shave my legs this morning. Otherwise god only knows what kind of forest situation Dylan would be facing right now.

His hands moved to my ass and he lifted me so that my weight was no longer resting on the wall. In two strides he was at my couch, which was currently littered with an assortment of magazines and Ashley's work papers. He dropped me onto my back and I leaned upward, undoing his belt and pulling his jeans down. I yanked my skirt up and, not even bothering for any attempt at foreplay, I used my legs to pull him into me. All thoughts of Nick escaped my mind as he thrust into me. I let out a loud moan at the sensation, arching my back and screaming his name. He grinned down lecherously at me before flipping me onto my stomach. I was insanely turned on by how assertive and rough he was being. His right hand remained on my ass and the other one wrapped around my waist, applying pressure in just the right spot. I bit my lip as I came, collapsing face-first down onto the couch. Moments later he finished, and we laid tangled up in each other, catching our breath.

"Want to join me in a shower?" he asked moments later, rising up to his full height in front of me. He offered his hand and I followed him into the bathroom. It had been maybe three minutes since he had finished, and we were already at it again in the shower. This was easily the best sex of my life. 

Two hours later, we were on my couch watching a horrible Lifetime movie. I had texted Ashley and she promised to sleep at a coworkers that night to give us time alone. I was dying to ask Dylan if he had hooked up with that other girl this weekend, but I didn't want to come across as crazy.

"So how was Sea Isle?" I asked as casually as possible.

"Packed," he replied, his hand absentmindedly stroking my hair. "But pretty fun."

"Laura was there?" I asked, not wanting to drop the topic.

"Yes," he said, eyes still on the TV where a girlfriend appeared to be shoving her boyfriend's body into a closet. Oh, Lifetime and your emmy-winning acting.

"Who else?" I replied, trying to sound nonchalant.

He smiled down at me. "If you're trying to ask if Kara was there, the answer is yes." 

My stomach tightened and a wave of nausea swept over me. The thought of him with another girl was already more than I could stomach.

"Oh," I said, pulling away from him a little. 

His arms tightened as he pulled me back into him, using his strong arms to position me so that I was lying directly on top of him, our faces one inch apart. 

"I told her I couldn't hook up with her anymore," he said. I desperately wanted to believe him.

"It's none of my business," I declared, trying my best to shrug in the position I was in. 

"It is your business," he countered, kissing me before continuing. "Dani, I want to try this. Make this work. You're incredible."

I felt like I was soaring. I had never in my life moved this fast with a guy, but nothing about it felt wrong or rushed. I suddenly could totally relate to Khloe and Lamar when they said "I do" weeks after meeting. Although, look where that got them. 

"Me too," I said, kissing him back. 

"But who was that guy you were with when I got here?" he asked. I had naively thought (prayed) he wasn't going to ask about Nick. 

"He's my ex, but we're just friends now. We dated in college." 

"What did he mean about 'See you Thursday'?" 

"I told him I would go to a work thing with him," I said, not meeting Dylan's gaze. 

"Oh," Dylan replied. I was relieved he didn't try to bully me into not going. 

"So, when do you have to leave?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

"My train is at 8 a.m., I have to go to work tomorrow for a late morning meeting," he said.

"Plenty of time," I grinned, leaning in to kiss him again. Although I knew we were moving fast, and that Ashley would definitely tell me I was being stupid, I was the happiest I had been since Nick and I broke up. And that was all that mattered. 

Friday, July 11, 2014


**Bonus tomorrow, check back! Have a great weekend - xoxo**

I woke up on Sunday and immediately reached for my phone eager to see what Dylan's response was to my drunken request. My heart dropped when I saw that the only text I had was from Nick, circa 8 a.m. 

Hey I'm heading back into the city today, want to grab a bite? It's been a while.  

I hadn't seen Nick since our impromptu dinner a few weeks ago. Again, my mind wandered to Dylan, but I knew I couldn't hold out for a guy who I might possibly never see again. 

Sure, dinner at BarBacon? 

I replied, referencing a bacon-centered restaurant near my studio. 

Bar..bacon? Sounds like my kind of place. I'll meet you there at 4. 

I rolled out of bed and hopped into the shower, turning it all the way to the left so that steam filled the tiny room. I didn't want to admit to myself how upset I was that Dylan hadn't replied, but the ache I felt in my chest was speaking for itself. I shaved my legs, rinsed my hair and stepped out onto the thick rug next to the shower. Wiping the steam off of the window, I lathered on face moisturizer and padded back out into the bedroom. Ashley was awake, scrolling through Twitter on her phone.

"I'm having dinner with Nick later," I said to her by way of greeting.

"God woman, I can't keep up with your love life," she answered with a smile.

"Well looks like the count is back down to zero, seeing as I texted Dylan last night and have heard crickets." 

"What did you say?" 

I showed her the phone, and she shook her head. "It's only 11, he could still be asleep. You did send it at 2 a.m." 

"Maybe," I said, trying to ignore the shred of hope I felt at the suggestion. I tossed my phone onto the bed and dug out a t shirt and shorts from the dresser.

"I'm not meeting Nick until 4, want to grab brunch?" 

Ash nodded and tossed her long legs over the bed. I mused not for the first time how weird it was that two grown women had been sharing a bed for the past two months. "We really need to move," I said with a laugh.

"Yes, yes we do, you snore," she said, pointing at me accusingly. 

"You're the one that showed up at my door, homeless. I took you in, no complaints," I pointed back. 

A few hours, an order of eggs benedict and two more episodes of Orange is the New Black later, I was surveying the green dress I had chosen to wear to meet Nick.

"It's not too much?" I asked Ashley, who was shoving her iPad into her bag. Her company was launching of a new line of bags that week and she had missed a lot of work being in Salt Lake, so she planned to spend her Sunday evening doing inventory. 

"It's perfect, but you asking me that worries me," she replied, hoisting her tote over one shoulder while raising an eyebrow at me.

"Please, Nick and I are way too confusing right now for anything to happen. Plus, kissing three guys in one week is borderline Samantha Jones," I argued. 

Ashley rolled her eyes as she walked past me towards the door. "I'm not judging, have fun!" 

I heard the door close behind me and grabbed my purse to follow suit. 

The restaurant was mere steps from my apartment, so I wasn't surprised that I beat Nick. I took a seat at a high top by the front, so that we were practically sitting outside. I loved how in the summer, nearly every restaurant in New York opened their storefront so that there was hardly a separation between outside and in. While I waited I checked my phone for the 4,389th time that day. Still no Dylan. 

"Hey you," I heard Nick come up behind me, planting his hand on my shoulder and kissing my cheek. I inhaled his familiar smell and smiled.

"Hi stranger," I replied. He took a seat across from me, freshly tanned from his long weekend at the shore. The blue in his plain t shirt set off his eyes, and his shaggy hair was even longer from weeks without a cut. 

"How was your fourth?" he asked, as the waitress came over to take our drink order. She let her gaze linger on Nick a little longer than I was comfortable with. After years of him being mine, I still got defensive when other girls were around. 

I ordered a Dirty Martini to Nick's beer and the waitress walked away to fetch the drinks, a little too much of a swing in her step as she retreated.

"It was quiet, I actually stayed here with Ash. Caught up on errands and Netflix," I smiled.

"That sounds nice," he replied, as the waitress (who I had by now privately named Candy due to her strong resemblance to a stripper) returned with our drinks. 

"Anything else I can get you?" she crooned, angling her body towards Nick and sending him a sticky-sweet smile. 

"We're good for now," I replied. She didn't even look my way before stalking off. 

"That girl wants your bones," I said to Nick, while glancing at the menu.

"She does not," he replied with a laugh. "And even if she did, there's not much you can say." 

I looked up at him, unexpectedly hurt by the comment. "I guess not."

We ordered the bacon tasting platter, a heavenly combo of four flavors of bacon, along with two BLTs. The food was incredible, as most things are that involve bacon, and the conversation felt natural. Nick paid the check and we stepped out onto the street. 

"You should consider the lower east side," he said, nodding towards my building. I had filled him in on the imminent move over dinner.

"Why, so I can be close by for your beck and call?" I said, tilting my head up flirtatiously. I knew I shouldn't kiss him, but that didn't mean I couldn't flirt a little. 

"Exactly," he said, leaning in to give me a kiss on the forehead- my weakness. "By the way, I have this work function on Thursday. Want to be my date?" 

I did a mental scan of my calendar (completely empty) and nodded. "Sure, just text me the details." 

"Great," he replied, suddenly distracted by something over my shoulder. I turned to see what he was looking at and nearly keeled over. 

It was Dylan, two feet away, duffle bag slung over his shoulder. 

"You said soon," he said to me, looking uncomfortably at where my hand was joined with Nick's. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Ash and I decided to spend the July 4 weekend in a similar fashion as MDW - by staying in the city and taking advantage of the glorious emptiness of Manhattan. On top of that, we had officially decided to move in together (cheers!) so the Great Apartment Hunt of 2014 was in full swing. 

On Saturday night, we were splitting a margherita pizza and checking out dozens of potential apartments online. We had decided that pretty much all of Manhattan was game, since our budget was low and our offices spread pretty far apart. We had vetoed the idea of Hoboken or Brooklyn, agreeing that it was worth the extra rent to be in the city. 

"What about this two bedroom in the West Village?" Ash asked, tilting her iPad screen my way. I gave her a look at just the mention of West Village, but peeked anyway.

"Why is it so cheap?" I asked, noticing the monthly rent. It was priced more along the lines of Washington Heights than the ritzy area the address suggested. 

Ash shrugged, "I'll submit a request now to see it this week. It's available August 1st." 

I had emailed my landlord about possibly cutting my lease short, and she was borderline ecstatic at the suggestion. At first I was offended at how quickly she wanted me out, but it turned out that some guy had been slowly buying out the units in the building as they became available and she was itching to get mine off her hands. I did some snooping online and realized that two other studios in the building had sold for- get this - over $700k. If I were her, I'd take that money and run off to Spain. Sangria for everyone!

"Okay, and I just put in one for that place on 3rd," I replied, taking note in an excel sheet of all the places we had put in inquiries for. The market in NYC moved fast and I wanted to be sure we followed up with every one that we liked. 

I leaned back against the couch and shut my laptop, exhausted from comparing square footage for the past two hours. I glanced at the clock, it was only 9 p.m. "Want to go out?" I offered, we had basically been hermits since Thursday.

"Definitely," Ash nodded, clicking off her iPad. 

I stood up to examine my hair in the mirror, and decided that I could probably get away without a shower. 

"I think Keith is in town, he mentioned something to me about it last week. Should I text him?" I asked Ash. I had cancelled my Tuesday plans with Keith to meet at the wine bar that week, not anticipating how much work I would be buried in. When I apologized, he had made a vague remark about being around that weekend.

"Yes, especially since you blew him off on Tuesday," she answered, standing in front of the closet we now shared. In the last two months of her living with me, our closets had melded into one. Between the doubling of the closet, the reduced rent and the constantly stocked kitchen, I was starting to realize living with Ash had many perks. 

"I know, but we haven't spoken since then." I answered, staring at my phone. 

"All the more reason silly," Ashley answered, pulling out a flowy yellow top from the closet. 

I pulled Keith's name up on my phone and typed a short message.

Hey, if you're free tonight my roommate and I thinking of going out for a few drinks. 

I plugged the phone into its charger and headed into the tiny kitchen to retrieve wine. "White or red?" I asked Ash, as I heard my phone beep at the same time. 

"Either," Ashley replied, watching as I bolted over to my phone. I hadn't realized how much I wanted to see Keith until now. I saw his name lighting up the screen, and cautiously slid it across praying it was a good answer. 

I'm with a few guys down at Waterfront Ale House if you want to join. 

I showed Ash the message and she nodded. "Great place, we should go!" 

"Okay," I answered, responding to Keith that we would be there in an hour. 

As I closed out of the message to Keith, I saw Dylan's name a few slots down from our conversation the night before. We had texted back and forth every day since Wednesday and it was dangerous how much I was starting to like him. But I knew he was down in his Sea Isle house this weekend, probably hooking up with the girl that Laura had told us about. I clicked the phone off and tried to push him from my mind. 

"Should we be dressing patriotic?" I asked, handing Ash a full glass of white wine. 

"It's July 5th," Ashley said with a laugh. 

"I know, but we didn't go out last night!" I answered. We had instead chosen to stay in with a marathon of Orange is the New Black, being very un american. 

Ashley rolled her eyes, but conceded. The end result was muted, but definitely patriotic. I was sporting white shorts with a red crop top and blue flip flops, and Ash wore a red dress with a white belt. 

"Good enough," I said, examining our outfits in the mirror. 

We had no trouble finding a cab, and were at the bar by 10. 

"I don't see him," I said to Ash, scanning the surprisingly-crowded pub. 

"Is that them?" Ash replied, pointing to a booth near the back that was crowded with five guys. I shrugged, but headed in the direction. When we got to the table, Keith was all the way in the corner, engaged in conversation with one of the guys. I noticed Joshua among the group but no Haley in sight. 

"You made it!" Keith said, finally noticing our arrival. "Let's move to the bar so there's more room." 

I was relieved at his suggestion, not wanting to stand weirdly at the end of their booth the whole evening. The group of us moseyed over to an open spot at the bar, perching between a high top and some empty stools. Keith introduced me to some of his friends, slipping his arm territoriality around my waist as he did so. 

"I'm glad you came," he said once I had met all of his friends. He leaned down and gave me a long, lingering kiss. It felt nice, but I couldn't help but notice the absence of chills down my spine when he did this. Dylan had completely ruined kissing for me. Bastard. 

Ashley handed me a whiskey coke and I chatted with a few of Keith's friends for the next hour. Ash seemed uncharacteristically disinterested in the group of men, which surprised me. Now that she was single, she hooked up with less people than when she was basically betrothed. 

By one, the night was already winding down. Keith had kissed me a few more times but something inside of me knew it wasn't right. I wasn't sure if it had to do with Dylan or not, but the fact that I couldn't get him off my mind was telling me it was. 

"You want to come back with me?" Keith asked hopefully as we stood on the street saying our goodbyes. 

"I should really go back with her," I said, gesturing to where Ash was trying to hail a cab. 

Keith looked at me with a frustrated expression. "Are you into this or not?" he asked bluntly. I was taken back by the directness of the question.

"Keith, you're great. Really. I'm sorry I just have a lot on my plate right now I guess." I heard the answer come out of my mouth without even thinking and I could hardly meet his eyes. This was not how I expected the night to go.

"Well give me a call when your plate is less full" he said, looking dejected. He lead me over to where Ash had a cab waiting and held open the door for us. Giving me a kiss on the cheek, he shut the door. 

"I think I just broke up with Keith," I said to Ash.

"How can you break up with someone you'd only dated like, twice?" she said with a laugh.

I leaned back against the cab seat and let out a loud sigh. "Dylan has ruined me. I've been ruined by a guy I met once!" 

Ash rested her head on my shoulder "You'll see him again," she answered. "I'd put money on it." 

Back home after Ash had long since fallen asleep, I laid in bed wide awake reliving the night with Dylan for the 52nd time. Alcohol clouding my judgment, I pulled up his name on my phone.

You should really plan a trip up here... soon. 

I clicked the phone to silent and rolled over, closing my eyes and urging sleep to come. 

**Thanks for being patient with me last Friday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Also, anyone else totally depressed that LSP is over?! Can we all order pizza and skype-cry together?**