Friday, September 26, 2014

Double Standard

I was annoyingly anxious the entire time Dylan was in Vegas. By nature, I am an extremely worrisome person - constantly assessing situations trying to find how things could go wrong. Yes, I know this is a negative trait but I just don't see it changing anytime soon.

Therefore, all day Friday and Saturday I was incessantly checking my phone, waiting for one of Dylan's comrades to call and break the news that he had either A) taken some sort of illegal drug that was laced with bath salts and then proceeded to eat someones face off (I know, that's so 2012) or B) fallen head over heels in love with a stripper and ran away with her to California to start their lives together drinking kale smoothies and taking up windsurfing. 

Both highly unlikely scenarios, but I was still glued to my phone anyway. It didn't help matters that Dylan sent me about one text every 8 hours, usually littered with spelling errors that were dead giveaways of his current level of drunkenness. 

By Saturday evening, I knew I had to get out of the house for a distraction. So I texted Elena and persuaded her to meet me out for drinks. As I was getting ready in my room with Ellie Goulding blaring, I decided to wave the white flag and invite Ashley as well. We'd spent nearly a week now acting like polite acquaintances and I was ready to stop freezing her out. 

"Ash?" I asked, rapping twice on her door. 

"Come in," she replied. I opened the door to find her curled in a ball on her bed, book in hand. 

"I'm going to meet Elena for drinks, do you want to come?" I offered.

She looked at me skeptically. "Does this mean you're done treating me like I have Ebola?" 

I rolled my eyes at her but smiled, perching on the side of her bed.

"That depends, are you done romping around with your basically betrothed ex?" 

"It's complicated," she said, sitting up to face me.

"Well lay it out for me," I said, waving my arms open. 

She sighed. "I don't know, Dani. It's just so easy with him. It's almost like we needed this break to figure things out."

"Ash," I started, choosing my next words carefully. "Has he told you this? Because when he broke the news to me about Adriana-" I saw her wince at my direct use of her name, "-he told me that he had never felt this way before." 

"People always say that in the beginning of relationships though," she defended. "It's sunshine and butterflies and mind-blowing sex the first few months." 

I considered this, knowing I was in no position to disagree considering Dylan and I were currently King and Queen of honeymoon land. 

"So what, he is just going to leave her for you now?" I asked.

"No! I don't know. It's just so confusing. I mean he slept here last weekend and yes, we hooked up. But we've hung out twice since and all we have done is talk. I'm just waiting for him to figure out what he wants." 

"But how is this fair to Adriana?" I asked. "You're the other woman!" 

"Last time I saw him, we decided to just not talk for a few days and figure out everything," she said.

"Well what do you want?" 

"Him," she replied, steadfast and sure. 

I considered her skeptically. Ash was a prime example of someone who constantly wanted what she couldn't have. 

"I just want you to be sure. I mean you can't go back to him and then leave him again," I said.

"I know that," she replied. 

"Also, he might not even want you back, you have to be prepared for that," I continued. 

"I know! Ugh I don't want to talk about this right now, please," Ash said gently. 

"Okay," I replied and we sat in silence for a few moments.

"Do you still want to come out with us?" I offered.

"Sure," she said. "Yes. That would be great." 

I debated hugging her, but it felt a little too Full House-y so instead I stood up.

"Great, be ready in 20?" 

She nodded her head and I retreated back into my room to get dressed.

A little while later, Ash, Elena and I were sitting at a table at a small bar in Union Square sipping on Dirty Martinis. The two of them were immersed in a conversation about AcroYoga, something that Elena had recently taken up.

"You two definitely need to come," she said enthusiastically taking a sip of her drink. 

"I'm in!" I interjected. "Also, we need more drinks." I scanned the room for our waitress, flagging her down.

"So," Elena said, changing the subject from fitness to men. "Gimmie the deets on that Nick/TV show thing!" 

"What TV show?" Ashley asked, confused. Due to the cold war that had been taking place in our apartment all week, I had never gotten around to telling her. I quickly filled her in on the promo I had seen on TV, and the text I had sent him after seeing it.

"Ohmygod, that's so cool. You dated a celebrity," Ash said, and I rolled my eyes.

"Hardly. He said that they only filmed like, four episodes." 

"That's all the details you got from him?" Elena asked, looking disappointed. "How did he get into it?" 

I shrugged, "No idea. He seemed kind of embarrassed when I brought it up. But he did ask me to get drinks with him next week."

"Why?" Elena asked. "He knows you're with Dylan right?" 

"Yes," I said. "But we are still friendly, and he said he'd give me all of the details over drinks."

"Did you say yes?" Ashley asked. 

"I said maybe," I replied, downing the last of my drink. "I just told him my schedule was pretty full next week but I would text him if I had the time." Which was a bold faced lie, I just wasn't sure the protocol for drinks with an ex when you have a brand new beautiful boyfriend.

"Hmm," Elena mused outloud. 

"Yes, oh wise one?" I asked her. 

"I just think that if Dylan were to go to drinks with Kara you'd flip a shit, it seems like a double standard." 

I let this sit for a minute, considering what she was saying. From my perspective, Nick and Kara were two completely different relationships. But when I looked at it factually, they did seem pretty similar. They were both in the picture when Dylan and I met, and they both tried hard to be with us. 

"I guess you're right," I said, as our second round of drinks appeared. The guy who dropped them at our table was not our waitress, but instead appeared to be the bartender. The bartender with gorgeous green eyes and dark locks that reminded me of Adrian Grenier in Entourage. 

"Thanks," I swooned, practically drooling over his biceps. 

"You're welcome," he replied and I detected a hint of a Boston accent.

I turned to Elena, wide-eyed and salivating. 

"Oh. My. God." she said. "Mine!" 

I laughed out loud, "See! I told you coming out more would open the door to prospects."

"Oh settle down," she said with a giggle. "First we have to make sure he's not gay, taken or into weird sex stuff."

"Hey, don't knock the weird sex stuff until you try it," Ashley chimed in with a grin. 

"Operation get Elena sexy bartender's number, commence!" I said, and we all cheersed. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Real Wolves of Wall Street

I leaned back in my desk chair, stretching the kinks out of my limbs. Pulling my phone off my desk, I saw that it was almost 9 p.m.

"Good god," I said aloud to no one in particular. Mainly since.. no one was even there to hear me. I had completely lost track of the time going over website edits. We were doing a whole relaunch in the coming weeks, which meant every single line of copy on the website had to be reworked. It was a monstrous task on top of my already daily duties. Luckily on Monday, Colleen had relayed the good news that I would be assigned my very own intern soon from the crop of incoming college kids who were trying to bulk up their resume.

I saved what I was working on and shut down my computer, gathering my things to head home. As the elevator carried me swiftly down towards the lobby, I pulled out my phone and was alerted to the encouraging fact that I had 0 new messages since 5 p.m. Ever since I had fully flipped out on Ashley Sunday night when she told me about Steve, she had been tiptoeing around me at home and not sending me so much as a text during the day. Granted, she admitted that he had slept in her bed but they hadn't done more than kiss but still. Part of me didn't believe her, and the other part knew that even just kissing is definitely cheating.

Out on the street, I walked over to 7th and squashed the inner voice telling me not to waste 10 bucks on a cab, hailing the first available one I saw. 

"West 12th and Greenwich," I told the cabbie, settling into the seat as my phone buzzed with a text. It was a photo of Dylan's bed, strewn about with clothes and a half-full suitcase.

Think you can squeeze in there?

I smiled, in spite of the fact that he was packing to go drink and gamble on the other side of the country.  

Doubtful, I'm not nearly as bendy as the strippers you have waiting for you :) 

Although I was pissed that he was going to Vegas (I'm justified in this, right?), I didn't wanna be the psycho girlfriend who got mad at him for it. So instead, I just kept making passive-aggressive comments about strippers and prostitutes #mature. 

I dare to disagree with that statement Ms. Fitzgerald :) 

I wanted to go further but I knew it would eventually take a turn towards sexting, and I didn't want to get all hot and bothered in the back of a cab.. alone. So instead, I tucked my phone away and watched as the lights of Manhattan blurred past, bars and clubs just waking up for the evening. I couldn't believe that it was already dark out at 9 o'clock. This summer had flown by, but when I compared my life now to how my life was just four months ago, everything was different.

When I got home, Ash was no where to be found. There was a note on the kitchen counter alerting me to the fact that she was "out for drinks with friends" and wouldn't be home until later. It didn't take a genius to figure out that she was most likely out with Steve.

Bored, I meandered into my room and changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt, absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook on my Mac. That lasted all of four seconds before I noticed two new engagements from people I went to high school with. Now, I love a good proposal story as much as the next gal but I'm not immune to feeling the pressure. Even though I didn't want to get married for another few years, it was like a little devil whispering in my ear "you're drying up!" every time I saw someone I had grown up with put a ring on it. 

Shutting the laptop, I decided to move into the living room and chip away at the ever-growing DVR situation. With all the work I had been doing and then spending any spare weekend with Dylan, I was seriously behind on the Fall shows. I clicked play on a new sitcom and settled in to watch. 

I was mentally debating whether or not pouring a glass of wine would constitute alcoholism (how many nights of wine per week is too many nights of wine per week?) when a familiar voice on the TV snapped me out of my head. 

It was a commercial for some new reality TV show that was premiering in late October. "The real Wolves of Wall Street," an announcer's voice was saying over a montage of shots of 20-something guys in suits, rushing around an office. Then it panned to a shot of the guys at a bar, doing shots with tons of girls surrounding them. I hit pause, scanning the screen again. 

Holy. Shit. It was Nick. I hit play again, standing with my face about 5 inches from the screen. It moved back to a shot of the guys walking into work .. Barclays Capital? But Nick worked for KPMG. I scanned my brain, trying to figure out that last time I had seen him. Briefly that morning he had been on my couch, but we didn't discuss anything at all. Then, there was the work event I had attended with him back in July. But I guess that was plenty of time to have moved onto a new company.

I replayed the commercial twice, in a state of complete and utter shock. Nick was doing REALITY TV? I paced the room, desperately wishing Ashley was home to talk this out with. Do I call Nick? Text him? Quietly freak out and pretend it never happened? 

In the end, I pulled up his name on my phone. 

Hey - did I just see you on a commercial for a new show on Bravo.. or do you have a doppelganger? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tapas and Confessions

**Bonus post, enjoy your weekend!**

"Have you seen that black lace bra?" I asked Dylan, hunting around his room for the missing garment. 

"Which one?" he asked from where he laid in bed. It was nearly 2 p.m. and we had yet to leave the cocoon of his room, except to sneak out to Manhattan Bagel for breakfast around 9. 

"The one I had on Friday night," I replied, bending down to check under his bed. 

"Haven't seen it," he answered, and I heard the crowd go wild on TV. He was engrossed in the Eagles game, being of absolutely no help in my packing. My bus back left in less than an hour and I was still modeling his tshirt and day old sex hair. 

I gave up on the bra and turned to gather up my makeup and products from his dresser, dumping them into my suitcase. I heard a commercial for Taco Bell come on the TV just as Dylan finally returned his attention to me. 

"Don't go," he said, finally leaving his bed and coming to stand behind me. I looked up in the mirror to see his perfectly sculpted body standing behind me. I leaned back, resting my weight on him. 

"I don't want to," I said with a sigh. "What are you doing next weekend? You should come up to the city."

"I wish," he said, nuzzling my neck. "But we have Ryan's bachelor party."

"Oh?" I said, surprised. This was the first time he had mentioned it. 

"Yeah so we leave Thursday night and I won't be back until Monday morning." 

"Wait, it's not in Philly?" I asked, pulling away to finish gathering my things.

"No, Vegas," he said, leaping back into bed as the game returned.

"What?!" I yelled. "You're going to Vegas next weekend?" Call me crazy, but finding out that your boyfriend is traipsing off to Sin City four days before he leaves seemed a little negligent. 

"Yeah, is that okay?" he asked, looking at me with a puzzled expression.

"I don't know, just would have been nice to have some warning. I mean if I hadn't asked you to come up to New York, would you have just like.. sent me a snapchat from a stripclub?" 

"Don't be ridiculous," he said with a small laugh. "It just hadn't come up yet, obviously I was going to tell you." 

I had a horrible flashback to Big telling Carrie he was leaving for Paris as she sat, blindsided on his bed. Only obviously on a much smaller scale.

"Whatever," I said, stomping across his room to pick up my jeans. I shimmied them on and tossed the shirt I had been wearing in his direction, pulling on my own tank top. "We have to go though, my bus leaves soon. Unless you just want me to take a cab." 

"Danielle," he said, turning the TV off and rifling in his closet for a shirt. "You can't be mad at me for going to my buddy's bachelor party." He gave me an amused grin like I was a petulant child who was throwing a fit over missing candy.

"I'm not mad at you for going, I'm mad that you casually threw into conversation that you're heading - in four days - to the stripper capital of the world," I snapped. 

He tried to wrap his arms around me, and when I pushed him off he let out a loud, playful laugh which only fueled my anger. 

"Woman," he said, trying to stifle his laughter. "You're cute when you're jealous." 

"I'm not jealous," I clarified. "I'm simply mad at your complete lack of knowing how a relationship works. When one party is leaving the tri-state area, it is proper etiquette to inform the second party about said departure." 

"Noted," he said, kissing my cheek and grabbing his wallet, keys and phone off of his desk. 

Once we pulled up to 30th street, my anger at him had been overridden by the familiar ache I felt every time we parted. I willed the tears that were prickling at my eyes to stay put, at least until he was gone. 

"Come here," he said, pulling me into him as he leaned against his car. "Have a safe trip." 

I nodded into his chest and gave him one last, long kiss. 

"Text me when you're home," he said. I nodded, my hand slipping further out of his with each step I took away.

A few exhausting hours later I unlocked the door to our glorious apartment. "Hello?" I called, my voice echoing off the walls of the living room.

"In my room!" I heard Ashley's response. I dumped my bag in the hall and headed into her bedroom. 

"Hey!" she greeted me cheerfully. 

"Hey yourself," I replied, shocked at her attitude change. This was a completely different Ashley than the one I had left on Friday night. "Have a good weekend?" 

She nodded vigorously. "Try great weekend."

"Wow," I said, raising my eyebrows. "Tim?" 

"Um, yeah," she said, typing away on her mac. "Want to go grab dinner?" she asked, without elaborating further on Tim.

"Yeah, let me just change," I said, heading into my room to throw on a maxi skirt and crop top. I sprayed some dry shampoo into my hair, trying to remember the last time I had washed it. Wednesday? Thursday? Regardless, ew. 

Ten minutes later, Ash and I were settled into a small table at Alta. 

"Two of the red sangrias," I said as the waiter approached. He nodded his head and scurried off towards the bar. 

"The lamb meatballs look good," Ashley said, scanning the menu. "Do you want to just split a bunch of things?" 

"Sure," I said, my mouth watering at the description of the shrimp and chorizo skewer. The waiter returned with our drinks and we ordered six tapas to split.

"So," I said once he had left to put in our order. "Tell me about your weekend."

Ash blushed a bit, looking uncomfortable. "Oh come on," I said with a laugh at her silence. "You're the last person who follows the 'don't kiss and tell rule'."

"Okay, I'm going to tell you something, and you're not going to get judgey on me," she prefaced, piquing my interest. 

I narrowed my eyes, "I make no promises."

"Okay," she sighed, taking a long sip of her drink. "Tim came over Friday and it was.. fine. We just stayed in and watched a movie, and he slept over. But I didn't do anything but make out with him."

"Why not?" I asked. 

"I don't know," she said with a shrug. "I couldn't.. I couldn't stop thinking about that annoying wedding invitation. So when he left on Saturday morning I called Steve." 

I was shocked by this, but nodded my head encouraging her to continue. 

"So I asked him, point blank, why he sent the invite. And get this- he had no clue about it. Like, he knew that they went out, but he said he simply gave her his list of people to invite and that I wasn't on it." 

I furrowed my brow. "So what, the fiancĂ©e some how found our address and sent you one?" 

"Apparently," Ash continued. "So first off, psycho. But anyway, I guess this got Steve all worked up, and he asked if he could come over to see it. I don't know why, maybe he thought I was lying or something? Anyway, I told him I had thrown it out." 

"Did he believe you?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said, nodding slowly. "I mean how else would I possibly know about them? So he just apologized and then we hung up." 

"Wow," I said, stunned. "So have you talked to him since?" 

"Um.. yeah," she said, avoiding my gaze. 

"He confronted the girlfriend?" I asked. 

"I guess so," she replied. "But he drunk dialed me that night. And I was just at our place, drinking wine and watching a Modern Family marathon. He said he was at a bar by our house and invited me to meet him."

"Did you go?!" I asked, floored that all of this had gone down in my absence. 

"Yeah, I went," she said. "He was alone and we just sat at the bar for like, three hours talking. It was nice. But then they did last call, and he didn't want to go home since I guess him and the fiancĂ©e are in a fight over the invitation thing. We didn't get into the details, but I told him he could sleep on our couch."

"Ash.." I said. Drinks with your ex is one thing, but inviting him back at 2 a.m. was another. "Did he sleep over?"

"Yeah," she said avoiding my gaze again.

"On the couch?" I prodded. 

Her silence told me everything. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Everyone has a Past

"Are you sure you don't want to come with me?" I asked Ashley for the fifth time as I struggled with the zipper on my overnight bag. I stood back, frowning at the budged zipper. Looks like I was going to have to lose a pair of shoes. 

"Yessss," Ashley replied from her perch in my bed. "I'll be fine. I have plans with Tim tonight."

"Tim?" I asked.

She rolled her eyes at me. "Ted." 

"Oh!" I replied, while victoriously zipping the bag closed without having to compromise on footwear. "That's good, so he's back for the weekend?"

"Yep," she replied, scrolling through her Twitter feed. Ever since the invitation fiasco the other day she had been closed up and reserved, very un-Ashley. I had suggested she ask Steve what in gods name he was thinking sending her the invitation, but she had vehemently declined. Now, I was heading down to Philly for the weekend and I was nervous about leaving her alone. 

"That will be fun!" I answered with too much enthusiasm. I was desperate for her to show any emotion at all. "What are you two going to do?"

"I don't know," she said flatly. "Since you're out of town maybe just fuck all over the apartment."

I looked up at her, trying to judge if this was a joke or not. She gave away no clues, her steely eyes still fixated on her phone. 

"Well just bleach the counters afterwards," I deadpanned, stealing a glance at my watch. It was 6:45 and my train was leaving at 7:30, so I had to hustle out of there. I pulled on my new cut-out booties and hoisted the heavy bag onto my shoulder. "Alright I'm going to head out, but I'll be back Sunday night. Want to go to that tapas place we saw last week for dinner?"

"Sure," Ash said, unfolding her long legs and following me out to the living room. 

"Okay, well have a good weekend," I said giving her a kiss on the cheek. 

"You too, tell Dyl I say what's up," I heard her say as the heavy door clicked shut behind me.

Two hours later I was emerging from the Amtrak tunnels and into 30th St Station in Philly. The grandiose station was packed with people milling about and the sweet scent of Auntie Annes pretzels reminded me that I hadn't eaten since lunch. I pulled out my phone to call Dylan and find out where he had parked, but before I could hit dial I heard my name being yelled to my left. Looking up, my heart skipped about five beats. 

Dylan stood there looking alarmingly handsome in his work clothes. His car keys were dangling lazily from his left hand as he strode towards me with a knees-melting grin across his face. 

"Hey babe," he said, looping his strong arms around me and burying his scruffy face in my neck. I inhaled his smell, squeezing him tightly and ignoring the tingling I felt down there at just the sight of him.

"How was your trip?" he asked, pulling apart and removing my bag from my shoulder. 

"Easy peasy," I said, wrapping my arm around his waist as we walked. Even with two-inch booties on, I still barely came up to his shoulder. 

He draped his arm across my shoulders and pulled me in to kiss the top of my head while steering me through the crowd and outside.

"What are the plans tonight?" I asked as he opened the car door for me. 

"Well," he started, closing my door and then appearing a moment later on the driver's side. "I have a bit of a surprise for you."

"Oooh is that so?" I replied, leaning back into the supple leather of the seat. 

"Mmmhm," he replied, expertly pulling out of the tight space and zooming down market street. 

"Hint?" I asked, admiring his profile as he drove. 

"You'll see in about three minutes," he replied, patting my knee like an impatient child. 

"Is it a puppy?" I asked, only half-joking. I had spent the week perusing adoptable dogs on the SPCA website and sending him links roughly five times per day. I don't know if it was the baby clock ticking in me or what, but lately I was infatuated with the idea of a dog.

"Yep," he replied, putting on his right blinker. "It's actually three, so I hope Amtrak is cool with you bringing dogs on on Sunday."

"I'll figure something out," I replied with a laugh. Finally we pulled up to his house and he parked, leading me up the stairs.

"Okay," he said, turning to face me instead of putting the key in the lock. "Just don't laugh." 

"Why would I laugh?" I said, intrigued. 

"It's corny.." he trailed, turning around to undo the deadbolt. The door swung open and I peered around his shoulder, trying to see what this alleged surprise was but the house was dimly lit and not revealing anything. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the dining room, where I saw he had set the table with a beautiful looking and incredibly smelling dinner. There were at least two dozen candles around the room, a vase of flowers on the table and two bottles of wine.

"Did you.. did you cook all of this?" I asked. 

He smiled at my unabashed shock. "Yes, I told you I could cook."

Keeping his hand on the small of my back, he lead me over to the table and pulled out my chair.

"My lady," he joked, bowing down in front of the seat. I laughed but sat down, surveying the feast in front of me. There was steak tenderloins, roasted veggies, some sort of orzo dish and fresh bread. My mouth was watering and it took every ounce of will power I had not to dive right in.

"It looks incredible," I said, smiling at him as he sat down across from me. "Are your roommates just like hiding upstairs or something?" 

"No," he said with a laugh. "Mike is out of town and Ryan is at Erica's."

"Convenient," I said with a grin, taking a long sip of the delicious red wine. 

We dug into the food which tasted even better than it smelled. I added another 10 points to Dylan's already high score in the boyfriend department for being able to cook such an incredible meal. 

"So I have a question," I said, the second glass of wine giving me the courage to start this awkward conversation.

"Shoot," he said, stabbing the last piece of roasted zucchini from his plate.  

"On Sunday you said that you'd never been in love.." I started, glancing up at him. His gaze was still fixed on his now empty plate. "Does that mean that you've never had a serious relationship?"

It was kind of pathetic to think that I had been dating him for this long and we had never discussed his past. I mean, he knew about Nick and how long we dated, but we never discussed anything about him besides Kara. 

He looked up at me, fixing his brilliant blue eyes on mine. "I dated a girl in college for about two years, but we broke up when we graduated. I don't think I loved her though, I mean it was college," he said. 

I frowned. Nick and I had been together in college and I had definitely loved him. "What do you mean it was college? I don't think that diminishes anything." 

He shrugged, "I don't know, we were always out drinking. She was a great girl but we kind of both knew it was for the best to end things once we graduated. She was moving to Atlanta, I was going to Philly." 

"What is her name? Do you still talk to her?" I asked. I had thoroughly stalked his Facebook when we first met and recalled seeing multiple pictures of him and a brunette girl from a few years ago. I made a mental note to look at them again on Sunday. 

"Her name is Kensie and no, not anymore. We kept in touch for awhile but it just seemed pointless." 

I nodded my head, knowing that this was probably all of the information I was going to get out of him. It was unsettling how little he seemed to care about this girl who he had spent two years with, I hoped that if we ever broke up he'd talk about me a little more wistfully.

"Hey so Ryan and Erica's wedding is coming up," he said changing the subject. "November 1, and I need a hot date. Know anyone who might be interested?" he asked. 

"I might know of a gal, where is the wedding?" I asked. 

"Here in the city," he said. "I'm in the wedding, so you'd have to be solo for a bit during the ceremony but Laura is going." 

"Great," I said with a smile, already mentally calculating how much I could spend on a dress.

He stood up and walked behind me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and leaning down. "Want to go upstairs?" he asked into my neck, sending shivers down my spine.

"Always," I said, and he tucked his arms under mine, lifting me up from behind. I squealed out in laughter as he threw me over his shoulder and carried me up the stairs.

**Bonus tomorrow, so check back! xoxo**

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At Your Disposal

"Wait, so he's moving here?" Elena asked as I stabbed my cobb salad and took a huge bite.

I shook my head while I chewed. "No, he is looking into possibly transferring," I said. 

"But if he got a transfer, he would move here?"

I shrugged. "I guess? I mean I think it would have to be a good position and a healthy salary bump to accommodate the difference in cost of living. Plus, he'd have to find a place to live, I wouldn't like.. move in with him."

"Do you want him to move here?" Elena continued her barrage of questioning.

"I mean..yes and no. Obviously him living here and not two hours away would be incredible. But on the other hand, I don't want him to uproot his entire life for me when we've only been dating a few months," I replied. I had given this a lot of thought ever since my conversation with Dylan on Sunday. It was now Wednesday and he had only mentioned it one more time, just to say that their NYC office had received the paperwork and would let him know if anything came up. Currently, there were no openings but I guess things could change in an instant.

Elena nodded. "Makes sense. That's just a lot of pressure." 

I took a deep breath, "Yeah it's fast, but long distance is hard," I said. 

"Well I'm sure if he came here you two would just be even more sickeningly in love," Elena said, rolling her eyes but giving me a genuine smile. 

"Anyway," I said, steering the subject away from the heaviness that was Dylan and me right now. "How is your love life? You haven't mentioned anyone in ages."

"Nonexistent," she said slumping her shoulders. "Unless you count the extremely serious relationship I'm currently in with the second season of Orange is the New Black."

"Oh god, didn't you hear one of the writers on that show just left her husband because she realized she was a lesbian?" I said with a laugh.

"What are you saying?! That my netflix binge is going to cause me to switch teams?" Elena asked with a laugh.

"I don't know, but maybe you'd have more luck with girls anyway," I deadpanned.

"I'm thinking about getting on Match or something. I mean come the fuck on, I live in NYC. According to every sitcom and rom-com, I literally live in the most viable city to find a guy. But they're all either gay, taken or massive d-bags," she huffed. 

"Don't get on Match, you're only 24. Just go out more! If you'd accept my invite to come out with Ash and I once in awhile.." I said accusingly.

"I know, but by Friday I dream about my couch in a practically lustful manner. It's disgusting," she said. 

I laughed, "Dude I'm the same way. But come out more, and we'll start going to more Happy Hours, and it'll be great."

After lunch with Elena I spent the remainder of my afternoon buried in work. I was loving my new role as Community Manager (especially all of the pretty new fall boots I could afford with my new salary), but it was a shitton of work. I was putting in 60+ hour weeks and felt naked without my iPhone in my hand open to Hootsuite to monitor our Twitter accounts. For the past few weeks, I'd been waking up in the middle of the night and scrolling through my apps just to see if I'd missed anything. It wasn't like I was the only person monitoring the accounts, but I felt like I had to prove how hard I was willing to work. This was my first real world promotion and I didn't want to screw it up.

When I was finally unlocking the door to my apartment that night, it was nearly 9 p.m. I unlocked the mailbox on the way in and pulled out the heaping pile of bills and magazines that was waiting for us. The one thing Ashley and I failed miserably at, was checking the mail.

"Hey!" Ash greeted me excitedly as I walked in the door. She was in the kitchen putting away what appeared to be Chinese. "I ordered extra, want some?" 

Sometimes, coming home to Ashley was better than coming home to a man. 

"Does a bear shit in the woods?" I replied. 

Dropping the mail on the counter, I pulled out a plate from the counter and piled it high with sesame chicken, lo mein and steamed broccoli. Not even bothering to heat it up, I popped up on the counter and crossed my legs to eat.

"How was your day?" I asked Ash in between bites. She was sifting through the pile of mail, tossing US Weeklys and the latest Cosmo aside to put on the coffee table. 

"Fine, pretty busy. We got in a huge new shipment of bags since my bosses are over in Milan right now and placing all these ridiculous orders. There's this one YSL bag that I'm definitely going to snag before we put it onl-" she stopped mid sentence and I looked up to see what had caused her to pause. She was holding a large gray envelope and staring at it, unblinking.

"What is that?" I asked. It didn't look like a bill, and I had no idea what would cause her to go that pale. 

"Ohmygod," she said, dropping it on the counter but continuing to stare. I set down my plate and strode over to her, reaching for the envelope. 

"DON'T TOUCH IT," she yelled and I jumped back. 

"What the hell?" I asked. "Is it anthrax or something? What is your deal woman." I peered down at it and saw in perfect calligraphy Ashley's name and our address. 

"Ashley?" I asked again.

"Why the FUCK would he invite me?!" Ashley screeched, gingerly picking the envelope back up. That's when I saw the return address. The same as the place she had lived.. with Steve. 

"Oh shit," I said, finally putting two and two together. When Ash didn't say anything I spoke again. "Do you want me to open it?"

She thrust the envelope in my direction and headed towards the fridge, pulling out a bottle of Grey Goose from the freezer. Pouring herself a massive glass she walked back over.

"Not until I'm at least half way through this glass," she said, taking a huge swallow. 

"Okay," I replied, setting the offending envelope back down. I peered at it, confused. He told me they were thinking next Spring. Why would they be send the invites already? I had never gotten an invitation more than two months in advance. Even if it was two months out, that would put the wedding in November. I was burning with curiosity and my fingers were itching to open the envelope. Ash continued to pace the kitchen, every now and then taking swigs from her nearly-empty glass.

"Alright," she said, walking over to the silverware drawer and producing a knife.

"Woah now!" I said, leaping back. 

"Oh calm down I'm giving this to you as like.. a letter opener, or whatever. I feel like we shouldn't damage it," she said, handing me the butter knife. 

"Okay weirdo," I replied, slowly inserting the knife under the envelope and dragging it across. I pulled out a shiny invitation with two names in calligraphy matching the font on the front. I slowly opened it to reveal the details of the wedding. 

Stephen & Adriana 
Together with their families
Invite you to share with them the joy of their wedding day
on Saturday, the sixth of December at 4:00 in the evening

I saw that the ceremony was being held out on Long Island, which surprised me since Steve's family is from North Jersey. Back when I had assumed Ashley would be marrying him, I had always pictured them having a wedding down there. 

I slid the invitation across the counter to her and her eyes flicked over it before dropping it back down. 

"I know this is probably a fruitless question, but are you going to go?" I asked timidly.

She looked up at me as if I had just proposed we go down to the dog park and kick some puppies around. 

"No way in hell," she said. "I'm not even going to dignify this invitation with a response." She balled the invite up between her ineffectual fists and tried to shove it down the sink.

"Whatcha doin?" I asked in a humorous tone. 

"Garbage disposaling it!" Ash replied, now using a spatcula to shove it down further. I walked over and turned on the sink to help her.

"Thank you," she said, as it grumbled down into the blades. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


On Sunday morning, I laid in bed watching reruns of The Office and staring at my phone trying to psyche myself up to call Dylan. I was terrified of where the conversation would go, so naturally I was postponing it as long as possible. 

"Hey," I said to Ash when I finally drug my hungover self out to the living room around 10:30. Spence had caught an early train back to Stamford for work.

"Mmmeph," Ash replied, curling herself further into a ball on the couch. 

I padded into the kitchen for water, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror we had hanging on the wall and grimacing. My hair was firmly knotted in the bun I had apparently thrown it up into before sleep and last night's smoky eye was now more of a raccoon eye.

"Want to go get breakfast?" I asked Ash, curling up on the other end of the couch. "I see omelettes and bloodys in my future." 

"Yes, but not until you make good on your word and call Dylan," she said, not removing her eyes from the TV, where Big was about to stand up Carrie on their wedding day.

"I'm calling him right now," I said, standing up and taking my water back into my room. Perching on the end of my bed, I scrolled through my favorites until I found his name. The photo I had assigned him was one of us the first weekend we had met down the shore, looking happy and sunkissed at Happy Hour right before we hooked up for the first time. My heart swelled at the memory, but I tried to squash it before hitting his name to dial.

He picked up after two rings.

"Hey sexy lady," I heard his chipper voice on the other end, and I knew he had been up for hours. 

"Hi," I replied, standing up and pacing the room. 

"How was your night?" 

"Fun, blurry.. haha," I replied, rolling my eyes at myself. I was nervous.

"I feel like I haven't talked to you in days," he said, pausing. "Look are you mad at me about the Kara thing? Because I told you, nothing happened. But you've just been so weird."

Apparently, we were skipping all small talk and diving right into this. I bit my lip, wishing more than anything I didn't have to have this conversation.

"I don't know," I said, flopping onto my bed. "It's just so.. weird. I mean this is like the fifth time you've had to make excuses for you and her."

"It's not an excuse," he said. 

"Look Dylan I'm just going to be honest. I really like you, obviously I do. But I don't know if it's the distance or the trust issues or what, but I just feel like I'm constantly second guessing where you are and who you're with. I mean this Kara bullshit has come up so many times in like two months," I took a deep breath, and then finally said what I had been holding in for so long. "I guess I just want an honest answer to something." 

"What? Anything," he said, sounding desperate. 

"Why are you doing this? With me? I'm two hours away and you're always with other girls." 

There was a pause.

"Dani, I like you.. a lot," he said, and my heart sank. It wasn't the heartfelt response that I needed. But before I could rebuttal, he spoke again. 

"Dani I have never been in love, okay? I've never said it. I always kind of thought that love was for poor deluded individuals, grasping at some idea not because they wanted it, but because movies basically told us we had to have it. Then, we met, and everything changed," he said. "God. I feel like an asshole even saying it, but that is how I feel. You're changing it for me."

I wanted to believe him and what he was saying, desperate for these words to be true and not just something that sounded pretty. 

"If that's true," I started "Then why do you constantly risk it all by doing stupid things like falling asleep with Kara?" 

I heard him sigh on the other end. "I don't know, I've thought about that. I think it's just that for so long I was used to being able to do whatever I wanted with no consequences. I never had anything to lose, until now."

I could feel the wall I had spent all week building slowly starting to come down. 

"This is why I wanted you to come here this weekend, so that I could tell you all of this in person," he said.

"I didn't know that," I replied. "But I'm glad you told me. There are consequences now though, I mean you can't keep flirting with girls like this and expect me to trust you."

"I know," he said. "And I won't, really I just wasn't even thinking."

"Okay," I replied, unsure of what else to say.

"So are we good?" he asked tentatively. 

"Yeah, we're good." I answered. 

"Great, because then I can tell you my exciting news," he said, his voice shaking off the serious tone he had been using.

"What's that?" I asked. Now that my nervousness over Dylan was gone, I was feeling the full effects of my hangover. I wanted to be excited for whatever he was about to tell me, but I also wanted to puke.

"Well I started inquiring at work about a possible transfer... to New York." 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fish in the Sea

After seeing Dylan's (mildly) pathetic attempt at getting me to visit, I promptly replied to his email with the link to Amtrak's Refund and Exchange Policy page. A one-way ticket the day before departure between NYC-Philly ran upwards of $100 (I know, it's insane) and I didn't want it to go to waste. 

He hadn't been happy.

Regardless, I had already made plans since Spencer was down for the weekend to see my and Ashley's new place. It was now Saturday, and the three of us were buzzed off of cheap Trader Joe's wine and getting ready for a night out.

"What about these?" Spence asked, modeling a pair of too-chunky heels with the dress she had chosen. I scrunched my nose and shook my head. 

"What are they selling you up in Stamford?" I joked, taking in the hideous heels.

"I told you I never get out!" she said with a laugh. Spence had recently started dating one of the residents at her hospital, and between work and him she claimed she hadn't seen the inside of anything resembling a bar in months. 

"Don't you want to impress your man though?" I asked, raising my eyebrows. Weren't the first months of a relationship the part before you got too comfortable or was I wrong? 

"Please, he sees me in scrubs and crocs everyday, my idea of a little black dress is yoga pants." 

I laughed as she bent over to rummage in her bag for another pair of shoes.

"So is that how you and Dylan are? Always trying to impress each other?"

I shrugged, leaning forward to put on another coat of mascara. 

"Okay what gives? You can't just avoid him forever," Spencer said, coming over to stand next to me and meeting my gaze in the mirror. She could look pretty menacing, for being so damn small.

I dropped the mascara back into my makeup bag. "I know I can't."

"So? Are you going to break up with him?"

Overhearing our conversation, Ashley came in and plopped down on my bed. "Finally, answers!" she said, taking a swig of her wine. She had been pestering me to figure out what I wanted for days.

"No," I replied with a sigh. "I can't even fathom breaking up with him, I like him too much." 

"Well then what? Are you forgiving him? Because, no offense Danielle, but he's been nothing but shade ball central since the start," Ashley said.

"Geez Ash, don't hold back how you really feel." 

"I hate to agree, since I've never even met him," Spence started and I already knew I didn't wanna hear where this was going. "But I feel like whenever I talked to you about him you were either completely blissed out and in love or furious and untrusting. It was never just... normal."

Ash nodded her head in agreement. "I totally agree."

I crossed my arms across my chest, feeling defensive. I was in no mood to be ganged up on. 

"Lets just go out," I said. Before Ashley could say anything further I interrupted her. "I promise I will call him in the morning and work this all out. But tonight I want to have fun."

"Alright," Ash said reluctantly. 

An hour later, the three of us were at a bar on the Lower East Side. 

"This is so great!" Spence said, starting to slur her words a little. "I love being out! We should totally get pizza later. Oh my gosh, this SONG!"

Ash and I looked at each other, stifling a laugh.

"Spence, that wasn't even a logical progression of thoughts," I said with a giggle. She was like a puppy that had been crated for too long. 

I scanned the crowd, looking for Haley. She was supposed to meet us here 15 minutes ago. I checked my phone but saw only a text from Dylan - possibly his 20th of the day. 

Hey babe, have fun with the girls tonight. I'm just hanging in so feel free to drunk dial me to your hearts content :) 

I felt a dull ache in my chest, the result of missing him but forcing myself not to. My fingers itched to call him but instead I tucked my phone safely back into my clutch. 

"Dani! Ashley!" I heard Haley's voice carry over the bar. I turned around and nearly ran smack into her boyfriend, Joshua. 

"Hey guys!" I replied, introducing Joshua and Spencer. The five of us managed to squeeze into an open spot at the bar and ordered a round of shots.

"Careful," I said quietly to Haley. "Spence is already pretty drunk." 

"I can tell, she pretty much dropped all of her body weight onto me when we hugged," Haley said with a grin. "By the way, I think Keith is meeting us here. Not sure if it even matters, since I know you're with Dylan and all, but I wanted to give you the heads up." 

My stomach did a little flip at his name. I had really liked Keith, and I wonder if it would have gone anywhere if I hadn't met Dylan. Regardless, I hadn't so much as seen him since the night I ended it. It made sense that he would come around though seeing as him and Joshua lived together. 

"Oh, okay. Thanks for the warning," I said. "It's no big deal." 

By the time Keith got there, we had already done two rounds of shots and I was feeling giddy at the prospect of seeing him again. When I told Ashley he was on his way over, she gave me a look.

"You still have a boyfriend you know, even if you refuse to admit it," Ashley said sternly.

I rolled my eyes. "I know, Mom. I wouldn't do anything. I dumped Keith for Dylan, remember?" 

"Do you remember?" Ashley said back. I punched her shoulder. 

I felt a strong hand on my shoulder, ending Ashley's chastising. "Hey you," I heard Keith's voice. I turned around to face him, throwing my arms around his neck a little too enthusiastically.

"Hi!" I replied happily. He ordered himself a beer and handed me one as well. 

"So how have you been?" he asked, and I took a moment to appreciate how good he looked. 

"I've been great. Ashley and I moved down to the West Village," I said. 

He nodded, "Yeah I heard through Haley. That's a great area, you're lucky." 

"Yeah it's a bit of a haul to work, but it feels less like being in the city down there ya know? So much or something. So how's your summer been?" 

"It's good, nothing new to report," he said, downing the second half of his beer and ordering another. I could tell he was nervous. 

"So I also hear you found yourself a boyfriend," he said. I shifted uncomfortably in my wedges. 

"Um, yeah, his name is Dylan," I said, mostly into my beer instead of at Keith.

"In Philly right? That must be tough," he said, pushing a $5 across the bar for his second beer.

"It's not so bad," I said with a shrug, desperate to change the subject. "Quick 2 hour bus or train ride." 

"Interesting timing though, you think?" he said and I could tell he must have had a few drinks before coming to the bar.

"What do you mean?" I pressed, even though I knew exactly what he meant.

"I mean you end things with me because you 'had too much on your plate', but then you have a new guy in like a minute," he said accusingly. 

I narrowed my eyes at him. "Keith, I wasn't like.. with him when you and I were talking," I said, wondering why I was even defending myself.

He shrugged and gulped more of his beer. I excused myself, grabbing Haley's arm and dragging her to the bathroom with me.

"What the hell?" I said to her once we were safely in the bathroom. 

"What?" Haley asked, fixing her hair in the mirror. 

"Keith just gave me the third degree about Dylan, you didn't tell me that he was upset about us." 

"Honestly, he never said a word to me. But I know he hasn't dated anyone else since you." 

I sighed. "We hardly even dated. We never even slept together." 

"Well I told you, he takes things slow with girls. But I know that he really liked you."

Great, just rub salt in the wound. I took out my phone and found another text from Dylan.

I'm going to bed but call me in the morning? 

I typed back that yes, i'd call him in the morning and tucked my phone away. I was now just more confused than ever. I had no idea that Keith had liked me so much, and I had just thrown it all away for a guy who lived 2 hours away that I couldn't even trust. I decided that tomorrow I'd be up front with Dylan about how worried I was, and if he couldn't give me some answers then I was done. There are plenty of fish in this Manhattan sea. 

Friday, September 5, 2014


On Thursday Morning, I surveyed my outfit in front of the mirror before the BCBG show. I was sporting silk high-waisted black shorts, a BCBG black fitted crop top and a long open tan cardigan with tie up sandals. My long wavy hair was pulled into a side fishtail and by some act of god I had mastered the cat eye. I thought the finished product was pretty good, considering.  

I grabbed Ashley's BCBG envelope clutch that she graciously let me borrow and headed out the door. The show was at 10 o'clock up by the office at Lincoln Center, and I wanted to get there early to scope it out and take some notes for the blog post.

As I walked towards the subway I pulled out my phone, unsurpised to find a text from Dylan. Ever since our conversation Tuesday night he had sent me roughly one text per waking hour. After his message that we "needed to talk" I had set my phone down and agonizingly waited until after work to call him. 

"Hey," I'd said once he answered as I walked my way downtown.

"Hi babe," he had replied, and my heart had skipped a few beats at the pet name. Surely he wouldn't preface the conversation with that if he intended on dumping me.

"So what did you need to talk about?" I had asked, cutting right to the chase.

I heard him sigh before answering, and I pictured him running his hand through his hair the way he did when he was stressed.

"Look, Kara was down the shore this weekend," he had started, and my stomach dropped to my feet. 

"Nothing happened, trust me, nothing. But she still tries pretty hard and we did pass out in the upstairs bedroom on Saturday night. Believe me that nothing happened, we were just talking but Laura walked in on us the next morning sleeping and I guess she kind of assumed.." 

"Assumed what..?" I had asked skeptically.

"I mean we'd all been in the hot tub earlier, so Kara and I were both in our suits and in bed together. I don't know, Laura just gave me shit about hurting you so I think she assumed more happened than really did." 

I had no idea what to say. Laura hadn't mentioned a word to me and even so, he was being way more defensive than normal. So he passed out in bed with someone? That seemed to be pretty much protocol in the shore house where mattress real estate was hard to come by. 

"Okay," I had said, shaking it off (#taytay). I didn't want to start an argument over the phone. "So that's all?" I asked.

"Yes, babe. I just didn't want you to hear anything from Laura and get upset."

I had nodded, even though he couldn't see me.

"Okay, well I'm about to get on the subway so I'll talk to you later," I had said sharply. 

"Wait, how was your day? Are you excited for the fashion show?"

I bit my lip. I wanted to fill him in on my day and act normal, but a bigger part of me was telling me that something was up.

"Yeah. But the next train is in like two minutes so I've got to go," I had said before hanging up.

That was two days ago and I'd ignored his calls ever since, always making excuses about why I couldn't answer. I'd replied to texts but kept the responses to a three to four word maximum. This wasn't even the second or third time that Dylan had made me doubt him and I was starting to get really scared that my heart would be shredded into ten thousand pieces. I had to decide if I was willing to take that risk. 

I hailed a cab on 10th and settled in, trying to calm my nerves for the show. I was equal parts excited and terrified that I would embarrass myself. 

Outside of Lincoln Center, I found Elena looking stunning in a black romper and killer blue heels.

"Hey!" I greeted her with a huge hug. 

"Hi!" she replied. "I think I just saw Shay Mitchell" 

I frantically scanned around, but didn't spot the Pretty Little Liars star. "Let's go inside," I squealed, linking my arm through hers. "I want to get seated so we can scope out the other celebrities!" 

Once we had made it through the throngs of people, paparazzi and security we settled in to our third row seats. I surveyed the crowd, catching sight of a few B-list celebs. The energy in the room was electric, everyone murmuring and looking around anxious for the show to begin. By the time the lights dimmed, I had already filled out an entire screens worth of notes in my phone.

The show began with upbeat music and it was clear from the start that the theme was long, flowing, bohemian pieces. I kept refreshing my Instagram feed to check for the items I could "purchase". Colleen told me not to actually buy anything, but I was supposed to "like" a few of the items and then check to see how the email system worked. 

Elena and I were awestruck by some of the gorgeous filmy garments, all presented in subtle prints and pastel colors. Nearly everything looked like something I would wear, if I had about six more inches on my frame. I tested out the shoppable feature on two of the dresses that I adored, and was almost instantly greeted with an email on how to buy the item. If I was a rich celeb, this would basically be the dream.

By the time the show ended and everyone had applauded, we filtered out with the rest of the crowd and started the slow walk back to the office. I was busy typing notes into my phone as Elena navigated the sidewalk for me, yelling out things like "biker" or "small child" every twenty feet. 

It was nearly noon by the time I sat down at my desk and I was chomping at the bit to write the post and get it up quickly. I uploaded a few of the photos of Elena and I at the show, along with some lower quality ones of the models on the runway. Hopefully if I made this piece good, I could get assigned better topics to cover for the blog. It was getting pretty hard to write about sex and beauty hacks every single day. While furiously typing away, I saw an email notification pop up in the lower right hand corner of my screen from Dylan. Opening it, I saw an Amtrak confirmation for the next day with a small note from Dylan up top.

Come see me this weekend, please?