October 15, 2013

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

I took a deep breath. "Okayyy. Care to elaborate?"

"Actually," Kate said, "I wouldn't care to elaborate. I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about." With that, she turned around in her chair and went back to typing away.

"You don't want to at least talk about this?" I asked. "Can I even tell my side of things?"

"Not here," Kate said, over her shoulder.

"Lunch?" I asked.

Kate paused. "Fine."

I was actually glad Kate didn't want to talk about it until lunch, because at that moment I was so irritated with Richard I just wanted to call him up and give him a piece of my mind. That kid was on my shit list for taking it upon himself to tell Kate what happened. It took two to tango and it should have taken two to tell!

I would have called Richard, but Kate wasn't that far from my desk and I didn't want her to hear that conversation. Instead, I sent him a text, "Did you tell Kate about that night after the Social Media party?"

To my surprise, Richard called me back immediately. I picked up, my voice low. "Richard," I whispered. "I can't talk about this here."

"I know," he said. "So just listen." Richard told me that he had been telling Kate about this job he was close to getting, and how he'd made an off hand comment about how the office was mostly guys, but maybe that was a good thing because hooking up with co-workers had always gotten him into trouble. Kate latched on to Richard's plural use of 'co-workers' and demanded to know if something had happened between him and I, and at that point he felt he couldn't lie to her, so he told her there had been a drunken kiss after the Social Media party but that was all.

"I'm sorry," he said. "It was an innocent slip but once she asked me directly about it, I felt I couldn't lie."

"You could have at least given me a heads up about what I was walking into this morning," I whispered.

"She seemed fine when we left!" he said. "I didn't think she would say anything to you."

"Well, she did, and she is pissed," I said. "I have to go."

"Wait," Richard said. He groaned, but didn't say anything else.

"What?" I pressed.

"I keep making a mess of things with you. I just feel like such a dick."

"You are a dick, Richard!" I exhaled. "But whatever, maybe it's for the best that she knows. I feel like Kate is mad but not so mad she's never going to speak to me again. At least it's out. It was kind of eating at me."

Richard and I hung up and I made myself busy until lunchtime. Around 12:30, I knocked on the wall to Kate's cubicle. "Want to go?" I asked.

Kate gathered her things and we rode the elevator down to the street in silence.

Once we were outside, Kate said, "I don't even really care that you guys kissed. I care that you didn't tell me and you guys kept this secret from me and I look like the idiot."

"I know," I said. "I'm sorry. I guess I just didn't want to upset you when it was a one time thing that would never happen again."

"But how could you let me go home with him not even twenty-four hours after it happened?" Kate demanded. "Was he just trying to make you jealous? God, that's so embarrassing."

"I tried to talk you out of it!" I said.

Kate gave me the side eye. "Come on. If you had told me that you guys had kissed I would have never gone home with him. I really wish I'd known."

I jammed my hands in the pockets of my trench coat. "I guess I just didn't know how to tell you, but you're right, I should have. I would have wanted to know too."

We walked in silence for a few blocks. "I know I'm, like, inexperienced at all of this," Kate said. "Dating. Guys. But I just hate feeling like you view me as this kid sister who you keep the truth from because she can't handle it or something. It's so fucking condescending."

I don't give Kate enough credit, because that was a pretty astute observation. I did kind of view Kate like that, and with my track record, it was hypocritical. "I get it," I said. "I won't do it again."

"Good," Kate said. We'd reached our favorite deli.

"So are we okay?" I asked.

"Not until you buy me a salad with all of the one dollar toppings," she said, holding the door open for me.

Later that week, I was in William's office, going over a few things, when he said to me, "You know, I don't like getting into my personal life. But I just want to let you know that Elizabeth and I are no longer together and she is not welcome in this office."

You don't fucking say. But I was curious what made him bring that up—had he somehow gotten wind of the fact that Elizabeth had contacted me? "What made you say that?" I asked.

"Security mentioned to me that she was in the building the other week. Trying to get up to my office to give me a birthday present." William snorted. "My birthday's in July."

I tried to keep my face neutral. "How odd," I said.

William held his hands on either side of his head and moved his eyes back and forth. "Cuckoo for Cocoa puffs, that one," he said.

When I got back to my desk, I was surprised to see that I had a text from Peter. "You left some work stuff at my apartment," he said. "Manuscripts and stuff. I can mail them to you or you can come by and pick them up."

"I don't mind picking them up," I said. I didn't want to make Peter mail them out, and I also hated how we had left things that night in the lobby of my building. I had secretly hoped we could have another chance to talk because I didn't want things to end on such bad terms. "When is good for you?"

Peter told me to come by on Saturday morning, and I agreed.

On Saturday morning, I did a run up the East River, stopped for a few minutes to creepily ogle the dogs in the dog park, before cutting west to Peter's apartment. By the time I arrived I was sweaty and out of breath.

"You didn't have to get all dressed up for me," Peter said when he opened the door.

"Ha ha," I said, stepping inside. I saw my things in a pile on the kitchen table. "Thanks for holding on to these for me," I said.

Peter shrugged. "Thanks for coming to get them."

We stood in silence, awkwardly. Finally, Peter asked me if I wanted water or something.

"Water would be great," I said.

Peter disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a glass of water in his hand. He has one of those refrigerators with a water dispenser built into it, and it always seemed like the most luxurious thing in the world to me. "Thanks," I said, taking a sip.

"So how's work?" Peter asked.

"Bleeding money." I grinned.

Peter rolled his eyes. "So that's how it's going to be?"

"Come on," I said. "It was a joke."

"Whatever happened with Elizabeth?" Peter asked.

I shrugged. "I told her not to come, and I didn't think she did. But William told me she was at security, trying to get in. You know it wasn't even his birthday?"

"Doesn't surprise me," Peter said.

"I should thank you though," I said. "For pointing out that it was absolutely nuts for me to take her at her word. That would have been a disaster if she got into William's office on my watch."

"I have a few years of Elizabeth experience on you," he said. He leaned up against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. "So listen," he said. "We still have that date...from the charity dinner? I got an email about it a few days ago....if you want to still go, as friends...." he trailed off.

"I didn't think you'd want to go with me," I said. I was honestly shocked he suggested it.

Peter looked down at his feet for a second. "I thought a lot about what you said. Then I thought about where I was when I was twenty-five."

"And where were you when you were twenty-five?" I asked.

"Living in a shithole with three of my frat brothers, barely able to take care of myself let alone a girlfriend."

"Why do I have a feeling Fedora Guy was one of your roommates?"

Peter laughed. "Of course he was." Peter paused. "The point is, I shouldn't have made fun of you for wanting to 'find yourself.' The people who don't do that when they're young are always the ones who end up divorced."

"But," I said. "Didn't you end up divorced anyway?"

"I ended up divorced because I ignored some red flags about my relationship," Peter said. "But I'm just thinking about a lot of my friends from college. The ones who didn't play around in their twenties have either gotten divorced, or are really unhappy in their marriages."

"That's what my mom always tells me too," I said. "I just have this feeling that I don't want to be tied down right now, and I want to honor it."

Peter nodded. "I can respect that." He cleared his throat. "So this charity date thing. If you don't want to go, I have other options." He wiggled his eyebrows at me.

I laughed. "I'm sure you do."  I thought about it a second. "I'd go," I said. "But I mean, come on, are we really going to be able to go to this thing as friends?"

"I can if you can," Peter said.

I thought about it some more. Maybe it could be just a friendly thing. Maybe Peter and I could be 'just friends.' Not friends the way Nina and I are friends. But every now and then, we call each other up, see how the other person is doing? Maybe grab a drink? Maybe, eventually, we'll be in the same place at the same time and things will work out? It wasn't unthinkable. "Sure," I said. I smiled. "I'd really like that."

Peter smiled back. "Me too." He held the door open for me. "Now get out of here, you're starting to stink up my apartment." I gave him a little elbow nudge as I walked out the door.

I was in a good mood by the time I got back to my apartment. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I'd already worked out and had the whole day in front of me to do with as I pleased. As I turned the corner, I saw that Ashley was standing outside my building.

"Ash?" I balanced the pile of manuscripts in one hand and shielded my eyes with my other.

"I've been calling you all morning," she said.

"I went for a run," I said. "Then I had to swing by Peter's. I didn't bring my phone with me."

"You were at Peter's?" Ashley asked, surprised.

"Just to pick up some stuff I left there," I said. "Nothing happened." I handed her the pile of manuscripts. "Hold these." I dropped to one knee to take the key off my shoelace. I stood and unlocked the door. "Here," I said to her, indicating that she could hand them back to me. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay?"

As Ashley passed the manuscripts back to me, something hard and sharp scratched the skin on my wrist. "Ow!" I yelped. But then I knew what had scratched me before I even saw it, before Ashley held up her hand and announced, excitedly, "We're engaged!"



32 comments:

  1. Glad, Kate and Josie made up. Richard is a dick. He claims he mentioned it on accident and I totally don't believe him. I think he will use any excuse to insert himself in Josie's life.

    Ashley...part of me feels bad for her but since she is the kind of person who is defensive any time you mention anything she doesn't want to hear. I don't know what Josie's options could really be. If I was really worried for her safety, maybe she could reach out to her family.

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  2. I wish Kate and Josie would have fought longer. I really don't like Kate she irritates me so much!

    Ashley is a idiot.

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  3. Oh Ashley...no bueno. I hope Nina and Jos squash this quickly

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  4. Ashley is such a tragic character!!! It seems like she literally has no friends in the world other than Josie and her now-fiancee. It's good to see that Richard wasn't being completely horrible when he told Kate about the kiss. I'm really curious to see how Josie and Peter work as friends, they were never friends to start with - my guess is "not well"!

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  5. Josie manages to get off the hook so easily in every situation. Hard to believe that Kate went from being pissed to cool in so little time. Still think Josie wants Richard regardless of her saying he's a dick.

    Ashley's situation sucks. Why can't she ever have a good relationship. From inception she's been with fedora guy, Luke and now this loser. She needs help and guidance from her friends.

    I think Peter is handling the situation well. I also think that William knows that Josie put Elizabeth name on the security list. Josie needs to be more careful and focus on work. Wish there was more to the Elizabeth drama

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  6. Mind. Blown. Ashley had better come to her senses before she's another statistic. I was hoping for something from Ian in the meantime! Glad the Richard/Kate/Josie stuff is out in the open. And if Josie wants to screw up and buy me stuff, she's more than welcome to be my friend....

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  7. Um that was just too short lol Poor Ashley, hope she comes to her senses soon. Glad that j and p may be friends and he isnt scraped totally from the story. Keep um coming, i love love love your blog :)

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  8. What I like about this is that the situation with Ashley is real. Girls can end up so caught up in a relationship that it doesn't matter what their friends or family say or how they're treated. They're in love and that's that, "he'll change", "I started it"...the blog has a real-life situation in it that happens all the time. It's not as simple as saying "he's a bad man, stop dating him" to friends anymore. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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  9. Ashley is such an idiot but I really like this post! I'm sure being friends with Peter could seem naïve but its possible and there's no reason to keep things on bad terms. If they can talk occasionally why not?

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  10. Love this post. So glad her and Peter are on good terms. MAYBE FRIENDS W BENEFITS!! Cant wait to hear about the dinner they attend.

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  11. I wish things with peter would work out. Glad everything with kate is cool. Ashley is an idiot.

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  12. I can see hot "accidentally on purpose" sex happening with Peter coming our way ;)

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  13. OMG can she please be with peter!!! the sex between them is so mature and hot ;)! and Ashley is so stupid! a violence relationship doesnt go anywhere..... #cantwaitforthursday !!!!!!

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  14. Kate's kind of irritating. While I agree Josie should have told her about the kiss (especially when he tried to take her home the next night!!!) she can't deny that she does overreact and expresses her naive anger when it comes to jealousy in the wrong way, like pretending everything was peachy to Richard and then spazzing at Josie. Mentioning the condescendion may have been necessary, but she should embrace Josie's "little sister" mentality by encouraging her to be open and give advice- Josie s nowhere near as naive as Kate, so she could be a good resource!
    I doubt Richards story is as innocent as he made it sound, but honestly, he's completely within his rights to tell Kate. Was it respectful, tactful, or likely to win him points with Josie? No way, but we all knew he has a tendency to be a bit of a dink. Plus, Josie and Kate are probably closer than him and Kate- I'd be quite a bit more upset at her than him.
    Ugh. I wish Josie could just take some time away from Peter. It's possible someday they could be friends, but they broke up a fricken week before and now they expect to be totally cool with friendly dates?! Even while she clearly still has some hope of rekindling things in the future? I'm sure that will go just great- until one of them meets someone else!
    Ashley...she just keeps digging herself in deeper. I know what it's like to stay in an abusive relationship, but somewhere deep down in my heart I knew it wasn't forever. I just had no idea how to get out. When he seriously wanted to move in together is when I found the strength to- I wish the proposal had been as much of a wake up call for Ashley! I'd have another talk with her about it, and be very open and honest and as un-confrontational as possible, just expressing worry. And in the end if she insisted on staying with him, I'd encourage her to slow things down and enjoy a long engagement. Sometimes it just takes time for girls to come to their senses, plus if he has already shown violent tendencies which left marks on her, it WILL get worse, and sadly it may take more abuse and the exposure of the abuse to finally give her a reality check. And if it does gets worse and she stays with him, that's when you look for help from the police or her family. Honestly though, I wouldn't blame Josie for giving up like Nina did, and I didn't blame many of my friends when they stopped pestering me to break up with him- in the end, she's an adult, and she will be alienating herself. No one can control her choices. I hope the author uses this as an opportunity to show how all encompassing and controlling relationships like this can be, and how toxic they can be to someone's life and the people around them.
    More Elizabeth! I wanna know what the scheming bitch is up to!

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  15. I'm really happy Josie and Peter are getting on better terms. I understand it was really divided between readers on whether Josie should've been with Peter or not, and this is a really nice way for him to stick around for those of us that really did like Peter! So thank you for that Jessica! I think all Peter fans appreciated this post!

    I think it's really nice to see Josie trying to stay friends with at least one of her exes. All of her past relationships have always ended on bad terms and it's refreshing to see her trying to come to good terms with one of them and remain friends.

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  16. Thank you for keeping Peter in the storyline Jessica!! I like that him and Josie and going to try to be friends! This is the side of Peter I like. The one who respects Josie's decisions and is kind enough to give back her stuff when he could've easily gotten rid of them. The one who opens up about his life and tries to understand where Josie is coming from. Please keep writing him like this and not the like the Peter that we saw the last time. I really enjoy this Peter. I'm also really glad that Josie acknowledged that he saved her by telling her to not listen to Elizabeth. It was a nice interaction between them and I'm enjoying that they're making an effort to remain friends.

    Keeping Peter around is also a good way to get updates about Elizabeth and her craziness. As much as she is insane, she is very interesting!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this whole Ashley thing will play out as well! Great post in my opinion Jessica! Thank you!

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  17. I like the fact they are trying to remain friends. But please don't let them be FWB. That would cause too much drama. Let them talk about work, friends and family. But keep the relationships talk out of it. Don't want to hear about regrets or jealousy from either one of them. I would also like to hear his perspective on the whole Ashley situation. A guy's POV would be interesting.

    It would be really interesting to see Elizabeth and her father at the charity dance. I could see Elizabeth saying something to Josie about William and about her run-in with Peter in the park. I would like to see Peter defend Josie.

    As for the whole K & R situation, I think Josie got off pretty easily. I just hope next time she thinks about how her choices affect other people instead of just herself.

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  18. Ashley is baout to make the biggest mistake of her life...

    Josie and Peter are meant to be for one another. I know she knows it I hope I am not in the wrong but they need to end well, but she does have to find herself before anything.

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  19. Am I the only one who thought this blog was actually real.Like Josie was a real person and she was writing a blog about her life.

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  20. Wow. She needs to knock ashley over the head with a lamp, tie her up in the closet and not let her out until her sanity returns! Thanks for talking about domestic violence though, lots of girls and women get themselves into relationships like this without even realizing it until it's too late.

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  21. I really want Josie and Peter to work, but maybe in the future.

    I do think Josie and Richard will hook up. I feel it's like one of one time thing that the sex will be so awkward that the would never ever think about it again. And Ashley is an mayor dummy, that marriage will end badly. I think she will ask Jos to be the maid of honor since Nina is so mad

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  22. I just want to say ... Ashley isn't stupid for being a victim of domestic violence, as many of the people commenting are suggesting. And it really rubs me the wrong way that it is such a frequent comment. People who are victims of domestic violence are other abuse are not stupid people. Their abusers are often - if not almost always - incredibly manipulative emotionally, intimidating physically, and prey upon those who have self-esteem, self-image, or simple naivete issues.

    It's not a matter of Ashley being stupid. And it makes me feel sad to see so many women have that as their first reaction to a woman ... even if she is fictional .. struggling and call her stupid.

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  23. Honestly I wish Ashley would just disappear from the storyline completely.
    I love Peter and want him back. If he understands Josie I think they can work their relationship out!

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  24. Iv been reading this blog for a while now and I have to say I look forward to the comments just as much as the actual blog! So entertaining. Keep up the good work everyone :)
    With love from Australia!

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