Friday, October 31, 2014

Are you interested?

**Happy Friday! Bonus tomorrow on the wedding, check back! :) ** 

On Thursday afternoon, I was brainstorming ideas for a holiday-themed twitter chat when Alice plopped down unannounced next to my desk. As the weeks wore on, her shy facade was crumbling fast and I was learning that she was actually pretty arroga- er, outgoing. 

"Hey boss," she said, chewing her gum loudly. 

"Hi Alice," I replied flatly, keeping my eyes fixed on my computer screen. It was nearly 5 o'clock and I still had a few more things to wrap up before calling it a night.

"I finished that article, it's on the server. Can I go?" she asked impatiently. 

I wanted to scream. During the two internships I had held in college, I had worked myself to the bone in order to get the most out of it as possible. Not to mention that when trying to land a full-time job later in life, the people you work for at your internships make the best references. Alice seemed to disagree with this philosophy completely, preferring to scrape by on the bare minimum asked of her. 

"Um, do you mind if I read it first?" I asked. "If I need you to change anything, it'll have to be done by Monday morning."

"Can you just email me then?" she asked, and I stared at her incredulously. Can you fire interns?

"E-mail you?" I echoed. 

"Yeah, I have this thing tonight I need to go get ready for, so I can just make the edits over the weekend." She popped her gum. I grated my teeth.

"Sure," I said shortly, turning my chair back to face my computer screen. I swallowed all of the things that I wanted to say to her knowing full well that I always regretted it when I spoke out of frustration or anger. 

"You're the best!" she said cheerfully, standing up on her five-inch heels and sauntering back over to her desk. She cleared her things and walked out without so much as a farewell. 

I took a deep breath and opened up the article that I had assigned her over a week ago. Lord knows why it took the girl so long to write a 750 word piece on college fashion, especially when she was a fashion student in college, but whatever. I skimmed the piece - which was at least 150 words short - and was happily surprised to find that her writing was clear, concise and even a little bit funny. Relieved, I made a few minor notes and sent her an e-mail asking her to beef it up a little.

I was getting ready to leave when Jeff stopped by my desk. Ever since the Elena debacle, our friendship had been reduced to polite hellos and goodbyes in passing, and any cordial exchanges when necessary to collaborate on something. So when I found him standing anxiously at the corner of my desk, I assumed he just had a work-related question.

"Hey Dani, do you have a minute?" he asked, and I noticed he was nervously twisting a pen around and around in his right hand. 

"Sure, whatsup?" I asked, gesturing towards the empty chair next to my desk. 

"Um do you mind if we actually talk somewhere else?" he said, glancing nervously around the office. 

Intrigued, I finished collecting my things. "Sure, I was just heading out.. want to walk with me?"

He nodded, and we walked side-by-side in silence to the elevators. We filed in with two other coworkers, and Jeff remained silent as I chatted with two girls from the graphics department about the February cover. When we were in the nearly-empty lobby, Jeff lightly touched my elbow and steered me outside into the chilly October night.

"What's going on?" I asked, confused by his peculiar behavior. 

"I wanted to ask you something," he said, his gaze on his feet.

"Okay.." I replied, glancing at my phone to check the time.

"I'm leaving Platform," he said, and my head shot up. 

"You are?" Jeff had been at Platform since before my time, and he was a valued member of the staff. 

"Yeah," he nodded "I put in my two weeks today."

"Oh. Where are you going?" 

"Well that's the bigger news.. a few of my college buddies founded this company recently. It's kind of a visual marketing platform that pulls and tracks user generated content for companies," he said, losing me. 

"A what?" 

"It sounds confusing, but it's a really good idea," he said. "Anyway, I'm going to join them.. I think it's the start of something really big. They already have the product finished and a few investors. But they're looking for someone to head up the PR and Marketing end. Manage the social media channels, plan events, do media relations.. wear a lot of hats, ya know?" 

I nodded. "So that's your role?" I asked.

"No, I'm going to be on more of the technical side, actually. My major in college was engineering and I want to get back into that. What I'm saying is I think you'd be a great candidate for that job." 

I was stunned for a minute, both flattered that he thought I was capable of filling such a role and also confused as to what he was saying. "Me?" I asked.

"Yeah, are you interested?" he asked. 

"I have no idea... I know nothing about the company. And I just got this promotion at Platform." 

"Well, I'll send you an e-mail with all of the info, website, etc. I don't think the guys have a job description written up - it is a start up afterall - but if you want to meet with them and learn more, let me know," he said. 

"Okay," I replied, "thanks." 

He nodded his head in acknowledgement and started to walk past me before stopping. "Please really do think about it, Dani." 

"I will," I said, as I watched his back retreat into the busy street. 

I started towards the subway, curiosity flooding my mind. Would I really leave Platform so soon after getting a promotion? And joining a B2B company would be a completely different path than the one I was on now. The decisions I make these first few years of my career would most likely lay the groundwork for where I would go in life. I pushed these heavy thoughts from my mind. I didn't even know the name of the company yet, no need to make major life decisions on a two-minute conversation. For now, I would focus on the present. Which meant just one more day until I could jump back into Dylan's arms.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One lie, Two lie..

On Sunday morning, Dylan and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm October morning and enjoyed brunch outside at one of my favorite spots. As I stifled a yawn - I hadn't been able to fall back asleep all night - he eyed the menu carefully.

"What are you having?" he asked, his eyes still glued to the menu.

"Eggs benny and all of the coffee," I said.

He set his menu down and looked up at me, "Did I keep you up last night? Sorry if I was snoring," he said, giving me a grin and squeezing my hand across the table.

"No, your snoring is like an adorable lullaby," I joked, and the waiter appeared before I could say anything more.

"I'll have the eggs benedict, a bloody mary and coffee please," I said, smiling up at the high-school aged waiter. He scribbled into his notebook before turning to Dylan.

"I'll have the french toast and coffee," he said, handing the waiter his menu.

"No bloody?" I asked, feeling like an alcoholic drinking one alone.

He shook his head, "I have to go into the office this afternoon, and I know once I have one I'll want five more." 

"Some people have no self control," I said, mock-shaking my head. Dylan cracked a weak smile. 

"Really though, is something bothering you? You've seemed a little.. quiet or something all weekend." 

I took a deep breath. I couldn't exactly spit it out that what was bothering me was the realistic dirty dreams I was having about my ex-boyfriend, or the fact that I had been incessantly checking social media since Tuesday waiting for that photo of Nick and me sharing sweet nothings at the premiere to surface. 

"No, nothing. Just distracted with work I guess," I heard myself lie. 

Dylan studied me for a few seconds longer before accepting this answer. 

"So, do you have a dress yet?" he asked, as the waiter appeared with our drinks. 

"For the wedding?" I asked, referencing the wedding of his roommate that was the following weekend.

"Yeah," Dylan said, stirring creamer into his coffee.

"Not yet, but I figured I would drag Ash shopping with me after you leave today," I said. 

"Well," Dylan continued, pausing to sip the piping hot coffee, "I don't want to brag, but I look pretty damn dapper in a suit."

I laughed, "I've seen you in a suit," I said. "Not all that it's cracked up to be."

"Watch your words missy or else you won't be getting laid next weekend," he said with a smile. 

I rolled my eyes, "Please, that would be as much of a punishment for you as it would be me."

"True," he said. "Anyway, I already booked your train for you for Saturday morning. I can't bring a date to the rehearsal dinner, but it gets into Philly at noon on Saturday. Will you be okay to get to the venue by yourself? You can always meet up with Laura beforehand too."

"I can find my way there," I said, taking a long sip of the bloody. "What time is the ceremony?"

"Four, I'll leave my key under the mat so you can use my place to get ready. The ceremony and reception are at the same hotel, so you can walk there from my place."

"Great," I said. Just then our food arrived, and I dug into the heavenly combination of eggs, carbs and hollandaise sauce. 

A few hours later, we were standing in Penn Station and I refused to let go of Dylan's neck. He was laughing, insisting that he was going to miss his train if I didn't let go.

"They haven't even listed your track number yet," I said, burrowing my face deeper into his neck. I was scared that once he left, there would be nothing to distract me from the Nick debacle. 

"Track 4," he said, and I turned around to see, much to my dismay, that his track had been announced. "I'll see you in a few days, crazy lady," he said, giving me one last long kiss. 

"Bye," I said, watching as the crowd swallowed him up. I stood there for a few moments longer, people watching in the vast lobby of Penn Station. I watched a guy who was standing, anxiously scanning the crowd for whomever he was waiting for. I tried to follow his gaze but was only met by a wall of people coming off what appeared to be a train from Boston. 

As I started to head out, I heard a loud squeal and turned back to see a blonde girl barreling towards the man, arms flailing and suitcase bumping along behind her. She shouted something in a language I couldn't place - maybe German - before flinging herself onto him. His grin was practically splitting his face as he squeezed her, spinning around. I smiled watching the reunion - the captivating display of the end of missing someone. 

I turned to head out, mentally counting down the days until I would see Dylan again. All I had to do was focus on him, on us, and I would get past this Nick drama. 

When I got home, Ashley was watching Hocus Pocus on the couch. "Hey," I said, plopping down next to her.

"Hey, Dylan make his train okay?" 

"Unfortunately," I said, scanning through my work emails on my phone.

"You missed an interesting night," she said, lowering the volume on the TV. 

"Oh yeah?" I said, half listening and half reading an email from my intern about her upcoming blog ideas. They were abysmal, which was sugar coating it. 

"Did you even notice that I didn't come home?" she said, and I turned my attention back to Ashley.

"No! Dyl and I went to bed pretty early. Where did you sleep?!" I prayed to god it didn't have anything to do with Steve.

"Trevor's," she said, and a pink flush crept up her cheeks.

"Wait.. Trevor as in, Trevor? As in, Nick's roommate?" I asked. I guess it wasn't too far fetched, they had been flirting the entire premiere. But I had brushed it off, knowing that they were both huge flirts to begin with. Something in me felt defensive about the fact that she had slept at Nick's, and I bit my lip to avoid asking if he had brought anyone home.

"Yesss that Trevor," Ash said. 

"How did that happen?" 

"Well I met up with Haley, who was with Joshua and I totally felt like a third wheel. So I texted Trevor since we had hit it off so well on Tuesday to see if he wanted to meet up." 

"I take it he did," I said with a smile. Despite how uncomfortable I felt about Ashley hanging around my ex's apartment, Trevor was a good guy. And anything to help her move on from Steve was a-okay in my book.

She nodded, "Yeah he met us out, and one thing lead to another and I found myself back at his place at like, 4 a.m." 

"Did you sleep with him?" I asked.

She rolled her eyes, "Duh." 

I laughed, "Oh man. How was it?!" 

"Kind of incredible," she said sheepishly.

"Ahh! Ash!" I yelped, this was great news. 

She nodded, laughing. "I know, ah I think I really like him. He's even already texted me this morning and asked me to grab dinner this week."

"Ash, that's awesome. Trevor is great." 

"You don't mind do you? I know it could be weird if I'm hanging around Nick a lot," Ash said, reading my mind.

Even though it felt weird, I didn't want to ruin anything for my best friend. "Of course not! Nick and I are friends." 

"Okay, good," she said, breaking out into a happy grin. "I was a little worried that you would be uncomfortable." 

"Not at all," I heard myself say my second lie of the day. "Now, get dressed, because we need to go shopping." 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Recurring Dreams

**Short post to make up for last week. Longer one at the usual time tomorrow!** 

We were standing outside, trying to hail a cab a midst a mass of people trying to do the same exact thing.

"Let's walk over to seventh," I said, hoping we would have more luck over there. Nick nodded and took my hand, leading me towards the street.

As we waited for the light to change, he turned towards me and pulled the hand he had been holding up to his chest, his free hand outlining my jaw. Wordlessly, he leaned down and touched his lips to mine. I felt tingles go from my mouth all the way down to my toes as I returned the kiss with fervor, my free hand gripping his neck. As his arm wound around my waist, I leaned into him and could feel through the layers of fabric that he was growing hard. I wished we weren't on a street corner. As the crowd began to cross the street I reluctantly pulled away and suddenly, with a jolt, was back in my room.

"Ahhh!" I yelped, sitting straight up in bed, my breath quick as if I had just ran up a flight of stairs. It took my eyes a minute to adjust to the darkness of the room, the dim outlines of furniture illuminated by the soft glow from the street. I felt a mixture of sorrow and relief wash over me with the realization that it had just been a dream. My body was slick with sweat and I peeled off the soaked through tank top, tossing it to the corner of my room. To my right, Dylan snored softly, clearly undisturbed by my sudden alertness.

I laid back down and tried to drape my arm across Dylan's side, but his skin was so hot that I retracted it, rolling onto my back. It was Saturday night and even a full two days of Dylan hadn't been enough to erase Nick from my mind. The premiere Tuesday had been great, and I was impressed with how Nick appeared on the show. Even though it was just the pilot, he hadn't been hitting on girls or coming off like the player that the media was portraying him as at all. We'd watched the episode, then had a few more drinks before calling it a night. But even though nothing had happened, I had been having recurring dreams about hooking up with Nick ever since. 

I clicked on my phone to see that it was 4:38 in the morning. Dylan and I had laid low that night, choosing to stay in and watch scary movies instead of hitting the bars with the rest of my friends. I knew there was no way I would be falling back asleep. Instead, I gingerly rolled Dylan over and climbed on top of him, slowly kissing his neck to wake him up.

"Dylann.." I whispered, nibbling on his ear lobe. 

"Errmhp," he responded, trying to crack an eye open. 

"Wake up," I said softly, moving my attention down his stomach. I felt his back arch slightly as I reached the hem of his briefs. He was hard already - it's like he could do it on command, it never took much effort on my part - so I slid the briefs down and, with his eyes still closed, took him into my mouth. 

He gasped, his hand reaching to tangle itself in my hair as I moved slowly down to take the whole thing in my mouth. 

"Babe, yes," he said breathily, which only turned me on more. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore. I yanked off my thong and positioned myself on top of him, facing away. I leaned forward and rocked back and forth furiously, my hands digging into his calves. 

"Oh my god Dani," he said, waiting another minute before flipping me around. Once I was facing him, he wrapped his arms around me and twisted so that I was on my back. Taking both of my legs and placing them over his shoulders, he drove into me until I was screaming. It felt fucking incredible. 

Once we both finished, Dylan fell asleep within seconds, groggy from his sex coma. He pulled me tight which I should have enjoyed - but I only felt trapped. 

Friday, October 24, 2014


Hey guys - so sorry, but no post today! I promise to send one your way before next Wednesday to make up for it - and I'll even throw in a bonus next Saturday (11/01) for good measure.

Have an incredible weekend! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deceptive Date

I surveyed my outfit in the mirror on Tuesday afternoon. I had no clue what one wore to a reality TV premiere party, so I went with something easy. A strappy blue dress that dipped dangerously low in the back, falling into a flirty, loose skirt that ended several inches above my knees. I paired it with nude heels, and headed into the living room to check on Ashley's progress.

"Ash?" I called, hoping my voice would carry over the blaring music coming from her room.

"Yeah?" she called. 

"We have to go in 15!" I yelled back, pulling a bottle of white from the fridge. Occasionally, I told myself I was going to cut back on wine during the week. But usually I had those internal pep talks with myself while I was drinking said wine during said week. 

I poured two glasses and sipped mine slowly, deciding what to text Dylan. He hadn't been all together pleased when I informed him that I was going tonight, but he didn't tell me that I couldn't go. He'd acted a little cold the past two days since I told him, but it was nothing I couldn't remedy with a little extra TLC this weekend. 

Hey love, heading to the premiere shortly - call you after xo 

I pulled up second text to Nick, feeling only mildly uncomfortable that I was simultaneously texting my ex and my current BF.

Hey, almost ready over here! What's your ETA? 

The show was providing Nick with a car to take him to and from the event, so he had graciously offered to pick Ash and me up at 5:30. The only information that Nick had given us was that the screening of the pilot started at 7:00, and was being held at a space called Arena in Midtown.

Just got the car, be there in 15. 

I relayed this information to Ash, and downed my wine before she emerged from her room.

"Ow, owww," I said, taking in her outfit. She'd chosen a fitted midi skirt in a black and white pattern, with a black crop top and sky-high heels. She did a dramatic spin for me, her blonde hair cascading in waves down her back.

"You look fantastic!" I said.

"Thanks, I figured if I look good, maybe I'll feel good, and that will distract me from whats-his-face," she said, applying a coat of matte lipstick. I wordlessly handed her the glass of wine I had poured her. 

"You mean that guy you used to live with who's getting married?" 

She pretended to ponder this, "Hmm, doesn't ring a bell." 

We clinked glasses and I took a long sip of my second glass for the evening. I didn't want to get too drunk, but I needed something to calm my nerves. A few minutes later there was a buzz at the door.

"Hello?" I said into the speaker.

"Your chariot is here," I heard Nick's voice on the other end. 

"We'll be right out," I said, slipping on my heels. "Ready?" I asked Ash, who nodded excitedly before following me out the door. 

When we stepped outside I noticed that ominous clouds were filling the sky, a promise of rain to come that would surely ruin my hair later. I was so distracted debating the perils of the weather that my heart nearly leapt out of my chest when I saw Nick. 

He was wearing a suit that looked like it had been created just for him, hugging his broad shoulders and torso in all the right places. His blonde hair was slicked back, showing off his blue eyes. 

"Well don't you two look stunning," he said, and I tried my hardest to pull Dylan to the front of my mind.

Nick kissed us each on our cheek and opened the door to the large black SUV. Ash climbed in first as I made a conscious effort to ignore Nick's warm, lingering hand on my bare back. Nick's roommate, Trevor, was already in the car.

"Hey guys!" he said holding up a glass of scotch by way of greeting.

Ashley laughed, "Looks like you've already started the party."

Trevor raised his eyebrows and gave a charming smile. The four of us chatted as the car drove uptown, and I declined Trevor's offer of a drink. I noticed Nick wasn't drinking either, and I wondered if he had been instructed not to. As the street numbers grew higher, Nick became quieter and quieter. 

"You okay?" I asked him quietly while Ashley and Trevor were engrossed in an argument about the best sushi place in the city.

"Yeah," he said, leaning over and giving my hand a squeeze. "Just a little nervous, not like I do these things a lot." He gave me his signature half-smile. 

"You'll do great!" I said eagerly. "You've been doing all of those promotions, I'm sure you could do this in your sleep."

"Yeah, but what if no one likes the show?" he asked.

"Well Nick, I hate to break it to you but it's reality TV. I don't think anyone is expecting you to win an Emmy," I grinned.

He laughed in response and squeezed my hand again. "I'm glad you came.. Both of you," he said. 

"Me too," I replied, sneaking a glance at my phone. Dylan hadn't bothered to reply to my text. 

A few moments later the car jolted to a stop, and the driver grunted something along the lines of "We're here." A young guy with a headset opened the door, grinning widely when he saw Nick.

"Nicholas! Right on time. Now come on, come on, it's show time!" The peppy kid was talking a mile a minute. Nick stepped out, and clapped him on the back affectionately.

"Reno, I want you to meet my guests," Nick said, extending his hand to me. I gingerly stepped out of the car, careful not to pull a Britney. 

"This is Danielle," he said, and I shook Reno's hand giving him what I expected would be the first of many forced smiles for the evening. 

"Gorgeous, gorgeous!" Reno said enthusiastically, and I stepped aside, laughing, as he greeted Trevor and Ash with the same eager warmth.

The next 30 minutes was a blur of hand shaking, introductions, and trying to stand at the outskirts of photos as people snapped away at Nick. It seemed like he knew everyone there. Once we had made it inside, I was awe-struck by the gorgeous interior of the event space. A large screen had been set up in the middle, with chiavari chairs arranged in a semi-circle and an aisle parting the middle. Each chair in the first three rows was draped with a sign and I spotted my name, right next to Nick's, in the front row. 

"Where are Ash and Trevor sitting?" I asked as we walked past the seats on the way to the bar. 

Nick shrugged, "I'm not sure." 

I narrowed my eyes at him. "Did you somehow trick me into being your date under the guise of this being a group thing?" 

Nick bit his lip, something he did when he was trying desperately not to smile. 

"Nicholas!" I said, punching his arm harder than intended. 

"Sorry! Look, I needed a date and the thought of bringing someone I hardly knew was unbearable," he said. 

"You lied to me!" I said again accusingly. 

"Lie is a little harsh. I prefer provided you with slightly inaccurate information," he said. 

"I have a boyfriend," I said, half a reminder to him, and half a reminder to myself. 

"So I've heard," Nick replied, any traces of humor gone as he turned away from me and ordered at the bar. He silently handed me a glass of champagne, and when we turned around a tall, insanely goodlooking guy was behind us. 

"Nick!" the guy said loudly, and the two shared one of those manly half-hug, half-handshake situations. "And who is this," he asked, gesturing towards me with his drink.

"Danielle," I replied, extending my hand to the handsome stranger. 

"Eric," he said, grasping my hand firmly. "Always good to meet a friend of Nick's."

"Eric and I are on the show together," Nick said, and I sensed a weird tension between the two of them. 

"Sure are," Eric said, rocking back onto his heels. "I showed Nick the ropes at work when he was the new kid."

"Well we better be finding our seats," Nick said, placing his hand on my back and pulling me away.

"Great meeting you, Eric," I said over my shoulder as Nick lead us back into the crowd. I scanned the room, spotting Ash and Trevor already seated in the middle. I tried to catch her eye but she was engrossed in something that Trevor was telling her. 

The lights dimmed as Nick and I took our seats. A woman stood up front, welcoming everyone to the premiere. "That's the producer," Nick whispered to me, his breath on my shoulder sending shivers down my spine. "She's a massive bitch, by the way," he added, making me laugh. 

At that moment, a photographer swung by and snapped a photo. Without seeing it, I knew that it portrayed a misleading situation. Nick whispering in my ear, me leaning in grinning like a fool. Knowing without a doubt it would end up on social media in light of how often Nick's name was online these days, I prayed that Dylan wasn't going to freak out on me. 

As the producer wrapped up, the lights went out almost completely and a montage of the city came on the screen.

"Here we go!" I said to Nick as the music began to play. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

We're In

On Friday night, I stood in front of my closet trying to find an outfit that was both sexy but not too sexy, seeing as I was now a stand up gal with a boyfriend and I didn't want to give anyone the wrong idea. But who am I kidding, it's not like I was beating them off with a stick pre-Dylan. I settled on a pair of skinny jeans, my new Topshop heels and a backless top, tossing all three garments on the bed. 

I was reaching for the jeans when my bed rang. Digging through the mess of covers, clothes and god knows what else, I finally unearthed it from under a pillow and grinned involuntarily when I saw that it was Dylan calling. I fluffed my hair, thankful that I had already done my makeup. An unmentioned downside of having a long-distance boyfriend is that since the advent of Facetime, you have to be camera-ready from the shoulders up at any given moment. 

Looking casually gorgeous 24/7 is a full-time job.

"Hey!" I said, as his face pulled up on the screen. He was in his hotel room, by the looks of it.

"Hey gorgeous," he said, his brown hair hanging a little longer than usual. 

"You need a haircut," I said, laughing. 

"I know," he replied, shaking his head. "I also need a shower. It's been nonstop events and meetings since we got here last night."

"Are you done for the day?" I asked. It was 8:30 here, which meant it was 7:30 in Chicago. 

"Yep, just cleaning up before dinner. Hold the phone further away," he said, giving me a sly smile. I was wearing nothing but my bra and underwear, since I had been picking out my outfit. I flipped onto my back on the bed and held the phone at arm's length. 

"Better?" I asked, slowly sliding my hand down my stomach. He nodded slowly, watching my hand as it trailed down my rib cage and towards my black lace thong. I slowly traced my hand back up, and arching my back, unhooked my bra, tossing it away.

He groaned on the other end as I squeezed my breast. "You're killing me," he said. 

"Do you want me to stop?" I asked.

"Hell no," he said breathlessly. 

Two hours later, Elena, Spencer, Ashley, Haley and I were waltzing into a popular club near my apartment. We walked through the front part which was purely a bar, and through a pair of curtains that lead you to an open room dotted with circular booths. Haley knew a guy who had gotten us a table for the evening, with the first bottle complimentary. 

"Here you are ladies," Haley's friend said, waving his arm out as we arrived at our table. The place was already almost full.

"Thanks Bruce," Haley said, leaning up to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Stop by if you have a free minute!" 

He gave her a charming smile and disappeared into the crowd.

"Um, Hal, this is awesome," I said, sliding into the buttery leather booth and surveying the bounty in front of us. All of the times I had gotten bottle service in the past had been when Nick and his friends were footing the bill, and I was usually too hammered to appreciate the set up. There was a bottle of grey goose and a bottle of veuve clicquot chilling on ice, with glass pitchers of OJ, cranberry juice and tonic water next to it. A bucket of ice with crystal glasses was on the other side, along with a tray of crackers, cheeses and fruits. 

"I know!" Haley squealed. "Bruce always hooks me up, but I try to only come a few times a year so that he doesn't think I'm just using him."

"Are you sleeping with him or something?" Spence asked with a laugh.

"No!" Haley replied in mock horror. "I'm a faithful girlfriend."

We settled in and made drinks; Me, Ash and Haley going straight for the vodka and Elena and Spence starting with champagne. 

"So Elena," Ash said, after we had all downed about half of our drinks. "What is going on with Mr. Barwyer?"

"Who?" Elena and I asked in unison.

"Whatshisface, the bartender slash lawyer? A Barwyer." 

Elena laughed, "We've seen each other a few times but it's super casual. Between school and work, he really doesn't have a lot of time for a commitment right now."

Ash and I shared a loaded glance. 

"Elena?" I started hesitantly. "Are those your words or his?"

She shrugged, "I mean those weren't his exact words, per say, but he is a busy guy."

I chewed on my lip. Elena was so sweet that guys tended to take advantage of that and walk all over her. A la the Jeff incident of a few months ago. 

"As long as you're okay with that set up," Ashley said, a tinge of sarcasm in her voice. 

"I'm fine with it," Elena defended, and I felt the need for a topic change. 

"So! See any worthwhile men in here?" I interjected, giving the room an obvious sweep with my eyes. 

"Over there, already spotted," Haley said, tipping her head towards the back left corner. I followed her gaze and sure enough there was a table packed with guys around late 20s, early 30s. We decided to have one more drink before approaching them. 

After two more vodka cranberries, I was definitely feeling tipsy. Tipsy enough that I finally brought up my conversation with Nick to Ashley when the other girls were in the bathroom.

"So.. Nick invited me, well us, to his premiere party next week," I said to Ashley. 

"What!" she squealed, squeezing my forearm in excitement. "We have to go shopping tomorrow!" 

"Wait, wait!" I said, laughing. "I didn't say yes yet! I don't want to make Dylan angry."

"Please," Ashley said, rolling her eyes. "I know you want to be a good girlfriend, but it's not like he's your date if I go too, right?"

I shrugged. "I want to go, and he did say it was a 'group thing' when we talked."

Ashley widened her eyes, pleading. "Pleeease Dani, we have to go. How fun would that be! Dylan will totally understand. Plus, he was super shady like seventeen times when you first started dating, and you've only been shady that one time you had lunch with Nick. This will like.. even the score."

Have I been living with her for too long or did that just make sense?

I chewed on my cheek, trying to decide what to do. My brain was coaxing me straight into the wrong option, which I knew was wrong. But it didn't seem fair to put off a great evening just because it involved my ex. 

"Okay, I'll tell Dylan in the morning," I said. 

"Tell him, or ask him?" Ashley said. 

"Both?" I replied with a laugh. Then, pulling up a text to Nick I typed before I could chicken out.

Ash and I are in for Tuesday! Just lmk the plans. 

I set my phone on the table and freshened up Ash and my drinks. Within minutes, he had texted back.

Awesome, thanks D. It means a lot that you'll be there. 

I showed the text to Ashley, who rolled her eyes in response. I laughed before texting back.

Wouldn't miss it :) 

My phone beeped again with his response immediately.

Are you out tonight? I'm heading down to the lower west side now.

The vodkas decided that texting him back would be a good idea.

Yeah, we're down at a club off bleecker near my place. 

"What are you saying to him?" Ash asked, noticing that I hadn't put my phone down in 5 minutes.

"Um he asked if we were out," I replied sheepishly.

"Dani..." she warned. "I know I'm all morally confused most of the time, but don't you dare invite him here."

"I didn't!" I defended. "All I said is that we were at a club down this way."

Ashley gave me a warning glance as my phone went off again.

Okay well have a good night. Call me later, if you want. 

I tucked my phone away in my bag. Call me later? I reminded myself, firmly, of my ridiculously gorgeous, nice, smart and funny boyfriend who I would get to see in just 6 days. But in the meantime, I would have to find a killer dress for Tuesday night.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Intern Alice

The work week dragged, partly because I had finally gotten my intern (more on that) and partly because I was looking forward to the weekend so much that the days went at snail speed.

My intern is a communication design student at FIT by the name of Alice. I think she was hoping to be in the graphics department, but they were full for the semester so she got stuck with me. She worked two days a week- Tuesdays and Thursdays - and had to share a desk with one of the editorial interns named Jack. They had been involved in some heavy flirting though so I'm fairly certain that being stuck in digital was starting to grow on her. She was only 20 and her face turned bright red whenever anyone spoke to her, but she had killer fashion sense and I was hoping we'd eventually get close enough that she would take me shopping..

But for now, I had her doing a lot of easy tasks like cleaning up files and archiving things so that she could get familiar with our systems. I was holding out hope that her writing was good so that in a few weeks she could start to contribute to the blog. 

"Alice?" I asked on Thursday as the afternoon was winding down. She scurried over wordlessly, iPhone in hand. Another thing - kids these days apparently take notes in their phone instead of the trusty old pen and paper. She eyed me suspiciously when I pulled out my "Shakespeare never tweeted a sonnet" notebook in that morning's content meeting. I bet she never even learned cursive! 

"Do you have a minute?" I asked, gesturing to the chair that sat mostly unused next to my desk. 

"Sure," she said in almost a whisper. She sat down, folding her black pleated skirt under her and looked at me expectantly. 

"I just wanted to touch base since you finished your first week here to see how you're liking it," I asked, turning the tables on her. 

"It's great!" she said, seemingly nervous to be put on the spot. 

"Okay," I said, dejected at her lack of sharing. "Well I'd like to keep you on some of the tasks that need done for now, like the archiving and just monitoring twitter and stuff," I said. "But I'd like it if you spent some time between now and next Tuesday checking out the blog that our department runs to get a feel for our voice and the content we share." 

"Okay," she nodded, typing away on her phone. How am I to know if she's taking notes or texting?

"Then on Tuesday why don't you bring in a few ideas on topics that you'd like to write about?"

"Topics?" she asked. 


"Yeah, our department is responsible for the blog and all of social media, and most of what we share on social media is content from the blog. So eventually, we will want you to be a contributor," I said. "You have the advantage of being in college still, so maybe focus some topics on that. No one else who writes for us has that angle."

She brightened up a little at my suggestion, clearly happy to have a direction to go in.

"Okay, great!" she said. "Anything else?"

"Nope," I said, shaking my head and peeking at an incoming text from Dylan on my phone. "Do you have any questions for me?"

"Just one," she said, looking uncomfortable again. 

"Shoot," I said, resisting the urge to check my phone.

"What is the rule on dating coworkers?" 

I stared at her for a minute, stunned. She'd been here for two days and this was the first and only question I had ever received from her, aside from "where is the bathroom?".

"Um.." I stammered, not even sure of the answer. I guess when Elena and Jeff dated no one had blinked an eye. I also recalled a girl Katie in the Accounting Department who had gotten engaged to one of our on-staff photographers. 

"To be honest, I don't know the exact rules. That would be something you'd have to inquire about with HR. But I can tell you that I personally don't think it's a great idea."

She nodded slowly, and gave me a weak smile. "Thanks, I'll ask around."

With that, she got up and retreated back to her shared space. I assumed her question meant she was interested in the other intern, Jack, who had already left for the day. I quickly opened gchat and pulled up Elena's name.

Me: OMG. My intern just asked me about the rules on inter-office romances.
Elena: STOP IT. She's got balls. What did you say?
Me: I told her I didn't think it was a great idea but I wasnt sure the "rules". 
Elena: I don't think there are rules, does she mean the other intern? 
Me: I think
Elena: He reports to me and like four other people, I'll totally try to get info from him.
Me: Hahaha our interns are sluts.
Elena: That they are. Anyway, I can't wait for tomorrow! Need me to pick anything up for the evening?
Me: Nope, just come over around 8! 

I clicked back through to the social media accounts to take one last look for the day. It was only 6:15 and I was ready to leave work, which had to be some sort of record. 

"I'm going to head out," I said to Alice about thirty minutes later. She was, as usual, immersed in her phone. "You can feel free to leave whenever you're ready," I added.

She shot me a grin and then went back to texting. Can I trade my intern in?

Once I was outside, I remembered the unopened text from Dylan. 

Hey babe, call me if you're out of work before 7. That's when my plane takes off. Otherwise I'll call when I land.

I quickly dialed his number, hoping he hadn't boarded the plane yet. He was flying to Chicago for a business trip and I wanted to talk to him before he was in the air for three hours.

"Hey gorgeous," he said after just two rings.

"Hey! Glad I caught you," I said, stopping outside the subway station that would take me downtown. "You all set for your trip?"

"Yep, and we got bumped up to first class since the plane is pretty empty," he said. 

"Be careful I just read a news story about an American Airlines flight that almost split in two a few days ago," I said. 

I heard his deep laugh on the other end. "I read that, one of my coworkers is actually freaking out about it. But I promise you I can see this plane out the window and it looks very sturdy."

"It better be," I replied, smiling even though he couldn't see me.

"How was your day?" he asked, and I heard him mumble something to a guy in the background.

"Good, my intern is a fool though. She's so lazy, and today even asked me about dating in the office." 

"Isn't today like her third day?" Dylan asked.

"Second," I replied. 

"Geez," he said. 

"Okay well I just wanted to say hi before you took off, have a safe flight," I said, getting ready to descend into the dank halls of the subway.

"Wait," Dylan said. "I wanted to tell you, I took off next Friday so I'm going to come up Thursday night." 

"Next Thursday?" I asked. He had plans to come up for the weekend to visit, and an extra night would be incredible.

"Yeah.. is that okay?"  

"Of course!" I said. "I can't wait."

We said our goodbyes and I started down into the subway, mentally debating if I should schedule a wax in honor of Dylan's three-day visit. I had only made it about two stairs down before my phone went off again. I pulled it to my ear without looking, assuming Dylan had just forgotten to tell me something.

"Yes babe?" I answered, turning to head back up the stairs and fielding glares from angry pedestrians who were heading down.

"..Danielle?" I heard a familiar man's voice, but it wasn't Dylan's.

"Oh.. N-Nick, sorry. I thought you were someone else." 

"Haha did you delete my number or something?" he asked, clearly confused.

"No, of course not!" I defended. "I'm just walking and I didn't check the screen. Whats up?" Nick and I hadn't spoken since before I was in Philly. He had texted me twice and I had ignored both, recognizing that it wasn't fair to Dylan. 

"Well my premiere is next Tuesday.." he said, and I immediately knew where this was going. "There's a whole party thing that the network throws, and I was wondering.. since you were such great arm candy at my last work thing.. if you'd want to come?" 

"As your date?" I asked, knowing I would say no. 

"Well I'm trying to get a whole group, so you can bring Ash too. It's not really a date, date."

I chewed on the side of my lip. On one hand, it would be really cool and Ashley would freak. On the other hand.. Dylan would also freak, in a less positive way.

"Um.." I started, trying to decide how to best let him down.

"Look I know that you have a boyfriend and I respect that, I just figured it would be a fun night. Just do me a favor and think about it?" 

"Okay," I said reluctantly. "I'll think about it. When do you need to know by?" 

"Sunday, to make sure I can get the names on the list," he said. 

"Okay, I'll let you know by Sunday," I replied, scared to realize how badly I wanted to go.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Square One

"FUCK HIM," Ashley's voice boomed, and it was a toss up which was louder - her blistering remark or the heavy slam of the apartment door. It was Sunday night I and was standing in the kitchen watching my pasta boil on the stove, fresh off the bus from Philly.

"WHO!" I yelled back, mirroring her rage in an attempt to mock her melodramatic entrance. 

She glared at me, clearly not amused.

"STEVE," she snapped, stomping (seriously, stomping) into the kitchen and pulling out the first bottle of wine she saw. She snatched the corkscrew out of its home in a bowl on the counter and started stabbing at the cork. 

"Woah now," I said, walking over and taking control. "The cork is just an innocent bystander, don't take it out on him." 

She relinquished control of the cork's imminent torture and went to stand on the opposite side of the counter.

"Wine first?" I asked, pouring her a healthy glass of the red. Wordlessly, she took the offering and downed the entire glass in one long gulp. 

"He's marrying her," she said, a mixture of anguish and rage dancing behind her words. 

My shoulders slumped and I felt a look of pity flash across my face. I quickly recovered and put on a brave front for the sake of my friend. "I'm sorry Ash," I said.

"He's marrying her," she repeated, and I could tell she was fighting back tears. She shook her head when I tried to pour her another glass, instead taking the bottle out of my hands and heading towards the couch. I turned off the stove and followed obediently. 

"Did you just see him?" I asked tentatively. 

"All weekend. We spent all weekend together." 

I really needed to start putting her in a cage when I went to Philly. 

"Did you..." I trailed off, nervous to suggest the act of them sleeping together.

"No," she said between swigs of the wine. "I tried, I threw myself at him like a goddamn idiot and he kept saying he wanted to wait until he had ended things with her."

I waited silently, knowing she would fill in the details on her own.

"He came over Saturday morning and we cooked brunch.. then he stayed all day and night. He left this morning, walked out all defiantly saying grandiose things about how he was going to end things with her." 

Another swig, and I noticed the bottle was 2/3 gone.

"Then when I hadn't heard from him in a few hours, I went over there," she said.

I widened my eyes at her bold move, but kept my mouth shut. Had I been here, I certainly wouldn't have let her traipse over there - the other woman showing up on the doorstep - but it was too late now. 

"And?" I encouraged. Her eyes were fixed on the wall, clearly reliving the memory of what she was about to tell me. 

"He answered, and then looked panicked. So he asked me to take a walk. I guess she was inside asleep or something. Probably napping after their afternoon of makeup sex." 

Again I remained silent, grasping for words all the while knowing nothing I could say would lessen the hurt. 

"He told me that he's too invested in what they have. That he has feelings for me still, but we didn't work out before and he couldn't leave her to try and ultimately fail with me again. He said that he does love her." 

"Ash..." I started, wanting to hug her but knowing she'd shrug it off. 

"I look like a fool," she said, her voice finally lowered to normal speaking level. 

"You don't look like a fool, he does," I said, silently noting that Steve did have a point. Why would he walk away from his fiancee to try with Ashley, when all she did was cheat on him when they were together? 

"Either way, back to square one," she brought the bottle back to her lips. 

"You like being single though, remember?" I encouraged, trying to shine light on the positives here.

Ashley rolled her eyes, "Yeah when I had someone to be single with. Now you and Dylan just make love eyes at each other and it makes me miss that."

I sighed loudly. "You'll find that again Ash," I said. "You just have to push Steve out of your mind."

"I know," she replied, tossing her head back to rest on the back of the couch. "Sorry for being a brat. I'm just upset, but I know that in reality I have no right to be."

I was stunned to silence for a minute, this was very un-Ashley to apologize for her actions. 

"It's okay," I replied after a beat. "You're entitled." 

I walked back over to the stove to resume pasta making. Ash followed me, dropping the now-empty bottle in the recycling. How was she not drunk?

"How was Philly?" she asked. "Did your parents like the ol' ball and chain?"

I rolled my eyes at her but laughed, "Yes he got the stamp of approval."

"Good," she said, taking a bite of an apple from the counter.

"Didn't you already consume enough fruit for the evening?" I asked jokingly. 

She fake glared at me.

"When is he visiting again anyway?" Ashley asked. 

"Dylan? Not for two weeks. He has another business trip next week that goes through Saturday." 

This perked Ashley up. "So you're around this coming weekend?" 

"Yesss," I said, draining the pasta and searching in the cabinets for sauce.

"Girls night!" she yelped, and I could tell the wine was kicking in. "Invite Elena, so I can have a single comrade." 

"I wouldn't be so sure about single," I said, raising my eyebrows. "Last I heard she was starting to see that guy Trey that we met the other weekend."

"Trey?" Ashley asked.

"The bartender."

"Ohmygod," she replied, mouth agape. "Jealous."

I nodded in agreement. "I'll text Spence, maybe she can come down."

"She's not single either," Ash pouted. 

"Isn't that better? Less competition for you," I replied with a laugh.

"Maybe you're right. Anyway, we should plan a whole night. Bottle service, the works." 

"Sold," I said, reaching for my phone to text Spencer. Even if it was 5 days away, the weekend was already making me excited. 

I saw a text that had come through ten minutes ago, and my heart beat a little faster seeing it was from Nick.

Have a good time in Philly? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet the Fitzgeralds

Try as I might, I couldn't shake Nick the entire train ride down to Philly. Somewhere around Trenton I caved and started googling his upcoming show. The premiere date was October 21, a Tuesday. I wondered if he was attending a premiere party and if so, if he was bringing a date. Then I stumbled across a TMZ article from the previous week titled, "Who Is Nick Murray?" 

Nick Murray, 25, upcoming 'Real Wolves of Wall Street Star', will sizzle the small screen come October as the resident bad-boy of the show. A resident of New York for the past year, this hottie is allegedly single. 

The photo they chose wasn't one that I recognized and seemed to have been taken at an event. He was standing solo in front of a step-and-repeat, looking ridiculously gorgeous and possibly photoshopped. I had the screen inches from my face, trying to decide if his bicep had been altered when the train lurched to a stop. Disoriented I looked up and realized I had just spent the past 40 minutes googling my ex. Oops

I stepped off at 30th my mood much more solemn than the giddy girl who usually bounded into his arms upon arrival. Spotting Dylan in the crowd I was relieved that my heart gave it usual somersault at seeing him. 

"Hey gorgeous," Dylan greeted me, wrapping his arms around my waist and lifting me up to plant a kiss on my lips. 

"Hey," I replied, stretching my grin further than it would go on its own. 

"I figured we could just take it easy and stay in tonight, are you good with that?" he asked, draping his arm around me and steering me outside. 

I nodded into his chest, glad that alcohol wouldn't be involved in the evening. I had a bad habit of drunk texting and with the day I had, lord knows I wasn't safe around an iPhone. 

By Saturday afternoon, the hefty dose of Dylan had almost erased Nick from my mind. Every minute I spent with him made me realize I was absolutely insane to even think about wanting someone else. I sat comfortably in the passenger seat as we wound through the familiar roads of the suburbs that I had grown up in.

"It's pretty back here," Dylan remarked, as the road curved past a breeding farm that I had always admired. The rolling pastures were framed by white picket fences, and pregnant mares dotted the fields. 

"I know, it's all horse country out this way. A lot of the major horse shows are out here and most of the people spend Spring and Summer here, then have second barns down in Florida." 

"Do you ride?" Dylan asked, reminding me again just how new this relationship was. There were still hundreds of things we didn't know about each other.

"My whole life," I replied. I missed riding everyday, but the only horses NYC has are the poor ones that pull the carriages. "Turn left here," I said as we approached my parent's street.

As we pulled in, I spotted my brother's car in the driveway and instructed Dylan to park next to it. As he turned the key, he let out a loud sigh.

"Are you okay?" I asked, a smile playing at my lips.

"Just nervous," he answered, his hand squeezing my knee. 

Well, that's adorable.

"They'll love you," I said, not a shred of doubt lacing my words. Dylan gave the best first impression I had ever seen. Waitresses, cab drivers, anyone we encountered fell under his charming spell. I leaned over to give him a kiss that lasted a little longer than appropriate. Even though we'd had about three rounds of morning sex, I found myself calculating how long until we were back in Philly and I could tear his clothes off. 

We got out of the car, me carrying the presents I had gotten my mom in New York (two books, a sweater and her favorite chocolates), and Dylan holding the bouquet of flowers that we had gotten this morning at the farmer's market. I let us into the back gate and up onto the back patio, sliding open the back door. 

"Dani!" my mother's voice immediately greeted me, followed shortly by the tiny wagging mass of blonde fur that was Clarence. I knelt down and allowed him to lick my face before greeting my parents, brother, and his girlfriend Rachel. 

"This is Dylan," I said proudly after hugging everyone. I stepped aside and presented him like a trophy I'd just won. 

"Nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald," Dylan said formally, introducing himself to everyone. "and Happy Birthday," he said, extending the flowers to my mother.

"They're beautiful! Thank you!" she said, heading into the kitchen to put them in water. We moseyed into the living room for appetizers and the men immediately began discussing football, comparing their fantasy teams using names and numbers I couldn't even begin to keep up with (does this happen in every family, or just mine?)

I focused on getting to know my brother's girlfriend, Rachel, better since this was only the second time we were meeting. She was a 5th grade teacher and although seemed perfectly nice, was very quiet - something that my family was not.

As we headed into the dining room for dinner, my mom placed her hand on my arm and leaned over, "He's a looker!" she whispered and I couldn't help laughing out loud. 

"Oh, Dani," my brother said when we were halfway through dinner. "I saw Nick on a commercial for some reality TV thing, what is that about?" My heart skipped a beat and I gave my brother a death stare. Is it not common knowledge to not mention the ex when meeting the new boyfriend??

"What?" my mother said excitedly. "Nick is going to be on TV?" 

"Um.. yeah," I said, focusing on the pot roast on my plate. "Some TV show thing." I felt Dylan tense up beside me and I realized that I had completely forgotten to tell him about Nick's TV gig. 

"For what?" Rachel asked and I wanted to discuss anything other than Nick. 

"It's just this reality, banker thing. They're spinning it as a 'Real Wolves of Wall Street'," I said, taking a massive bite of food so that I could no longer answer questions. 

"This roast is great, Mrs. Fitzgerald," Dylan said, promoting a subject change. I wanted to kiss him. 

After we had said our goodbyes and climbed in the car a few hours later, I armed myself for the barrage of questions I was sure that Dylan was going to ask. Much to my surprise, he acted as if it had never happened, instead discussing my dad's motorcycle and my mom's great cooking.

I nodded along, adding words here and there all the while wondering why he was breezing over the subject that my ex had a TV show that I had failed to mention to him. 

As the city lights came into view thirty minutes later, I decided to just bring it up. Rip off the band aid. 

"So, about the Nick thing.." I said, and before I could go into more detail Dylan interrupted.

"I've seen the commercials, Dani," he said flatly. 

"Oh," I replied, surprised that he had seen it, let alone recognized Nick. "Honestly I forgot to tell you, I wasn't hiding it or anything."

"I know," he said, his eyes fixed on the empty lanes in front of us. 

"I had lunch with him yesterday," I spat it out like word vomit. When he didn't reply, I continued. "I saw the promo last week and texted him, he had wanted to grab drinks but we just had a quick lunch yesterday instead. Just catching up."

"Okay," he said. I dug my fingernails into the leather seat, frustrated with his lack of words. 

"Are you mad?" I pushed.

"No, he's your ex and something big is happening for him. I get it. I don't like that you saw him, especially without telling me first, but I understand."

"Geez, boyfriend of the year over here," I said with a weak smile. 

"Just tell me next time you two hang out, okay?" 

"Okay," I said. I wanted to add that Nick and I wouldn't be hanging out again, but I couldn't bring myself to say those words out loud.