What are you wearing Friday night? We need to coordinate, although I doubt I own anything purple and green with patterned smiling pigs. Or sequined, feathery hats with pom-poms and bow ties.
Or anything else completely grotesque, for that matter.
Daisy seems to be obsessed with the same squirrel. I am afraid they will create a subspecies. Squog. Squirrel dogs.
Bull. Shit. What was Pediatric Boy’s emergency? Testosterone transplant?
Frantic, I scrambled to the trash can to retrieve the last notes we’d written to each other to see what he was referring to in the second PS. The trash can was full to the brim. I looked down at it, aghast, before flipping it over, squeezing my eyes shut while breathing through my mouth.
Garbage rained down on the floor. I sifted through it as Daisy sniffed around banana peels and string cheese wrappers, tail wagging, until I found our last notes. I smoothed them on the floor, reading them over. Chase had taunted me that Ethan was still a virgin. I’d told him we’d had crazy sex the night he’d dropped me off from the Hamptons. Obviously, he wasn’t buying it.
I scowled at Daisy, who was licking the inside of a chicken-salad can, making slurping sounds.
“No one can know about this, Daisy. No one.”
She replied with half a bark. I picked up my pen and wrote, pressing it against the paper so hard the words dented the rest of the pages.
Haven’t thought about my attire for the evening. But now that you’re asking, why, yes, I will go for the sequined purple dress with the green jacket (velvet) paired with brown heels. No smiling pigs, but I think I have something with Michael Scott on it.
Ethan is more of a man than you’d never be. He is honest and loyal and NICE.
Yes, the squirrel’s name is Frank. Let them be. They’re dysfunctional but good together.
I’m suspiciously low on orange juice. Please do not help yourself to anything while fulfilling your side of the Daisy bargain.
On Thursday, there was radio silence. I did not analyze the lack of notes while riding the train on my way to work. I didn’t care. Truly, I didn’t. But if I had given it some thought (which, again, I hadn’t), the natural assumption would be that Chase had forgotten to bring his black notes or golden pen or both.
Which meant that continuing this conversation wasn’t something he thought about regularly.
Which, again, was completely okay with me.
The day slogged by painfully slowly. I texted with Ethan back and forth. We weren’t able to see each other for the rest of the week because he was training for a half marathon—the same charity marathon Katie had told me in the Hamptons she was going to do—and had to wake up super early. Sven said I was surprisingly useless that day. I wanted to believe it was because I wasn’t going to be seeing Ethan, but realistically speaking, it was Chase that made my mind drift away from work. When Sven was out of sight, Nina helpfully added I was turning into one of my plants. “A burst of color and inefficiency.” She click-click-clicked her mouth, her eyes glued to her Apple monitor. I had to take the sketch I was currently working on home to finish since it was due the next day.
Then, on Friday, another note waited for me on the fridge:
Daisy doesn’t like her food. I brought her something new. The guy at the store said it’s the dog equivalent of caviar. Left it on the counter.
She also tried to hump Frank this morning. Are you projecting on the poor dog?
I cannot believe we pay you to design clothes. You do know not every fashion statement needs to be screamed?
Re: orange juice. I admit I did help myself to some, but only because I was thirsty and you only drink tap around here. Very poor hospitality to point it out. How unbecoming for a southern girl.
I picked up my phone and texted him a response. Normally, I was firmly against any communication with him, but my body was simmering with unrestrained rage. How dare he?
Maddie: I’m from Pennsylvania, NOT the South, Satan McDevil.
Chase: Pennsylvania = South. South of New York. Know your geography, Goldbloom. Knowledge is power.
Maddie: WHY ARE YOU SO INFURIATING???
Chase: All caps. This pent-up sexual frustration is going to kill you one day.
Maddie: Good! Being dead would beat spending time with you today.
Chase: If you’re trying to get my feelings hurt, it’s working.
Maddie: You know, when I saw you on my stairway, I thought you were going to apologize as a part of your postrecovery steps for your sex addiction treatment.
Chase: If I were a sex addict, I’d hardly treat it.
Maddie: Remind me why I’m helping you again?
Chase: Because you are a good person.
Maddie: And why are you accepting?
Chase: Because I’m not.
Chase: Don’t forget the banana bread.
Chase: Have you slept with him yet?
Chase: That’s a no. Thought so. See you in the evening.
I resisted the urge to hurl my phone against the wall. I had a feeling if I adopted the habit of smashing things every time Chase pissed me off, nothing in my apartment would stay intact, walls included. Instead, I stomped to the counter, grabbed Daisy’s new bag of food, and poured a cup into her bowl. She wolfed it down so fast she nearly took my hand in the process.
I told myself it’d all be over in less than twenty-four hours.
I told myself I didn’t care.
Most of all, I thought Chase might be a little right. Maybe I did need sex to calm me down. It had been six months, after all. I texted Ethan.
Maddie: Let’s meet at my place on Saturday after your marathon. Unless you think you’ll be too exhausted?
Ethan: *half marathon.
Seriously? That was what he took from my message? My phone glowed to life with a second message a few seconds later.
Ethan: And I will adequately perform, even post–half marathon. It’s a date. x
“So lay it on me. How’s my old man doing?” I sidestepped a kid on a scooter as I walked with Grant to Madison’s apartment. Grant Gerwig had been my best friend ever since I was four. Currently, he was a Colin Firth–looking, prestigious oncologist with a private clinic in the Upper East Side. He was one of those assholes you read about who accidentally found the cure to an incurable disease at a bar eating stale peanuts while waiting for their Tinder date. The kind of smart that made you wonder if there was a secret meaning to life that he wasn’t telling you about. We jogged every morning together and made it a point to have a weekend drink, no matter our schedules, if we were both in town. When we’d found out about Dad, I’d physically dragged Ronan Black to Grant’s clinic for a second opinion, despite him muttering that he clearly remembered having to help Grant “take care of business” when my best friend had had an accident while watching a horror flick with me when we were five. “I just don’t like the idea of getting my medical verdicts from people I knew before they were fully potty trained.”