Tuesday, July 28, 2015

i think i did something bad

Over the weekend, I got an email from this guy Nick, with whom I went to college. He's a couple of years older than I am, and we were both snobby English majors who drank too much. We were part of the same giant friend group, and he and I would ditch that group a lot to go do things like drink whiskey hidden in Coke bottles somewhere on campus. He also used to come over to my dorm room a lot at night, and we'd take shots and argue about books and politics. He's one of those people that I always had sexual chemistry with, but we never dated and he was never my boyfriend. After my freshman year, his parents moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and picked out a house with no guest bedroom, so he stayed with me and my parents for a couple of months. We continued our routine of drinking and arguing about books; we'd "borrow" some vodka from my parents and then hole up in my room watching old movies. I'm honestly kind of shocked that we never had sex. He was really hot, too. He looked like Adrian Brody, and he was the only one of my friends who was smart enough to actually fight with me. Or dumb enough, but I digress.

We did try a couple of times, though. There was one time in his dorm room--his roommate was away for the weekend, and I decided to stop by unannounced and surprise him with sex. It was late at night, and I was coming home from a cast party when I was walking by Nick's dorm room and it popped into my head.

"Hey!! Are you there?" I pounded on the door, not letting up as I talked: "Let me in!!!!"

"Okay, okay, I'm coming, hold on," from behind the door, I heard rustling and things moving around. He cracked the door and eyed me through a slit of space. I could see about two inches inside--his room looked the same way it always did, which was to say, messy.

"I'm drunk, you need to catch up. Let's watch The Daily Show!" I pushed my way into the room, narrowly escaping a giant pile of shoes on the floor. Nick scratched his messy black hair and gave me a blank look.

"Hello, Lauren. It's after midnight, you know?" he said, in this annoyed voice, spacing out every single one of his words.

"I know!" I chirped, breezing on, "Why weren't you at the theatre party? I wore this for you!" I was joking, but all the same I stood back and spun around slowly and let him stare at my handkerchief minidress that showed practically all of my boobs. (It was 2007, okay?)

"I decided to stay in," he said in that same vexed tone, but he didn't stop staring at me.

"Oh, why? Was Bridget going to go? I didn't see her," I gave an exaggerated shrug. Bridget was his ex, and he'd dumped her a few days ago. Not that it mattered, I'm pretty sure that he and I had made out a lot while they were dating. I think he actually dumped her because he felt guilty about it. I plopped down on his bed, leaned over, and started digging around underneath for his alcohol stash.

"Hey, Lauren, can we do this tomorrow? I'm tired, it's really late," he trailed off. I glared.

"Are you fucking kidding me? You're sooooo lame! I haven't seen you in like, a week!" I was maybe exaggerating a little bit. We always had classes together because of our major (and because we'd bully each other into signing up for the same classes so we could make fun of the stupider people together), but he'd skipped on Thursday and Friday because Bridget was also in the class.

"Sorry, I forgot my manners. Please come in for a little while, we'll have a nightcap," he smiled at me and handed me a plastic cup with some vodka in it. I batted my eyelashes and pushed my arms together so it looked like I had cleavage before patting the bed. He sat down--way closer to me than necessary--and leaned against the wall so his arms and legs were pressed against mine. I was glad that I'd shaved that day.

"Prosit!" I said, tapping the side of his cup with mine before downing my drink all at once. He widened his eyes and I started coughing and sputtering. My mouth tasted like rubbing alcohol.

"Uhm, whoa there, tiger. You okay?" He reached his hand up and wiped some of the vodka off my chin before giving me a more thorough look.

"Yeah.. just like, that party sucked. Theatre people are soooooo self-absorbed, they're so boring," I said, spreading my arms in classic drunk-Lauren exaggerated pose.

"Indeed, I can imagine it was a fairly unpleasant gathering," he said, digging his elbow into my ribs and making me squeal. "Which is, perhaps, why I decided to stay in this evening,..." I rolled my eyes.

"Okay, I get it, you're too good to go to your own cast party..." I looked up and smirked at him, knowing he wouldn't dignify that with a response. Leaning over to get more vodka, I felt his hand rest on my lower back, and I took that as initiative to scoot closer and drape my hand in his lap.

You know how getting used to making out with a new person is always kind of weird, but fun because it's new and weird? Making out with Nick was always, always like that.

I can't remember who started it, but the next thing I knew, we were laying down and kissing and his hand was up the back of my dress, stroking my butt. I remember being kind of confused, because I'd wanted it to happen, and it was, but it wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. It still felt weird.

"I really like you," he said.

"I don't think this is maybe the best idea after all," I blurted out at exactly the same time. We looked at each other and pulled away. Suddenly I was really embarrassed about my boobs falling out of the top of my dress, and started blushing. I scrambled back into my shoes, downed the rest of my vodka, and left. The next day, we didn't mention it at all, and it was pretty much like it never happened. Until the next time, at least.

Things like that happened maybe five more times over the first couple of years we knew each other, and then he graduated and I started dating this other guy, and we didn't really keep in touch.

And then out of nowhere, last year, we started talking again via email. We even went to a happy hour in DC together, but I also remember it being kind of weird--I dunno if I'd built my expectations up super high or what, but it was actually really awkward and I made up an excuse so that I could leave. It was like, Nick and I got along best when we were showing off in class, or in front of other friends. Whenever we were alone together, the same energy just made it feel anticlimactic. United against a common force but useless alone, or some bullshit like that.

And then on Sunday, he emailed me again. My mom wrote to the alum magazine from my college and let them know that I'd gotten married, and they published it in the little blurbs that they write about people from different graduating classes. And I guess he saw it, because he wished me congratulations and asked if we were registered anywhere.

When I saw the email from Nick, J and I were at the movie theater waiting to see Ant Man. I don't really like comic book movies, but J loves them, so I told him I'd go only if we could bring vodka. And then the previews went on for like twenty minutes and I got bored so I started drinking on an empty stomach. Ten minutes into the movie, I was so trashed that I was contemplating taking a nap. To wake myself up, I went to the pee and check my emails. And then I saw it, and since I was drunk, instead of emailing him back, I logged onto the Paperless Post app and forwarded him the invitation to the reception in September.

Then, later, I'd totally forgotten about what I'd done until my phone pinged and I saw that I had another email from Nick, and he thanked me for the invitation and he accepted. Welp.

So now I have to go home tonight and find a way to explain this to J so it doesn't sound completely horrible. I don't think it will be weird, in fact, it may even be kind of nice to see Nick again, but I definitely have to explain it in certain terms. And it's not even like J would care, or be jealous, because he's not really a jealous person and he definitely has no reason to be. But I'm still really embarrassed that I did that, and I think he would find it weird that I did that without really telling him anything about Nick beforehand. Thanks, Ant Man vodka.  And who knows, we may be able to be real friends now. When we've emailed in the years since college, they've never been particularly flirty or overtly sexual emails, but I always got the feeling that he was sort of pleased that neither of us had paired off.


Friday, July 17, 2015

wife poaching

On Tuesday, I left work early to go to my gyno. He has an office in the hospital where J's mom used to work, which is about a ten minute walk from our apartment. I was soooooo nervous about going, I tossed and turned all night on Monday. I think I got about two hours of sleep, even though I'd taken a ton of NyQuil and my trazodone and a melatonin. I kept having nightmares that I was actually pregnant or that I was gonna die or something equally horrible. I felt bad, I knew I was thrashing around so much that J barely got any rest, but he was too nice to say anything. I even tried going on the couch at one point, but he followed me out to the living room and pulled me back to bed, saying that if I couldn't sleep, at least he would spoon me until I could relax. I was so panicked, though, that it didn't help much. But I appreciated the gesture.

There's always kind of a weird feeling that I get from taking public transportation in the middle of the day, like I'm skipping school or something, plus it felt even weirder due to my jumpy nerves. When I got on the train, it was practically empty except for a couple of kids and this middle-aged man reading a paper. Once I sat down and took out my book, middle-aged dude scooted over next to me and eyed me with an exaggerated manner.

"He must have really pissed you off," he said drily, pointing at my left hand. I was wearing the new ring that J gave me for my birthday with my wedding band. I glared at him instead of responding and pulled out my book, even though I knew I would be too distracted to read.

"What are you reading?" He tried again, cocking his head to the side and trying to read the cover my book. I glared, and turned my body in the seat so I was facing away.

"Do you always leave work at 10am? Want to get a coffee?" I looked up and he was staring at me, or rather staring at my boobs through my dress.

"I do NOT want to talk to you," I hissed, in a low voice. He got this really shocked look on his face, but I kept going. "I want you to leave me alone. Do you always do this? Are you always this rude? And why the fuck do you think it's okay to poach other people's wives? Do you have no respect??" By the end of my little tirade, he was giving me the look that most reserve for crazy homeless people. I didn't even feel bad, though. He left me alone after that, and I stared at the same two pages of my book for twenty minutes and pretended to read. It was useless, though.

By the time I got to the hospital, I was a mess. My doctor is this sweet older guy. I like him because he speaks in a very non-threatening voice and doesn't give me the same shit that I've gotten from other doctors. Like, once I went to a doctor and he refused to write me a prescription for birth control because I wasn't married. That was in Virginia, so maybe I should have expected it, but it made me so angry.

A nurse took me into an exam room and had me put on one of those paper gowns and lay back with my feet up. The doctor hadn't come in yet, so I pulled out my phone and took a selfie and sent it to J, and then started posting pics to my Snapchat feed of those weird plastic anatomy segments that doctors always have.

When he came in and settled himself between my legs, I lay back and looked at the ceiling and tried to breathe. He was poking around for a few minutes, and did some godawful uncomfortable thing where he pressed down on my lower belly while he had his other hand in me. I winced.

"Dear, have you ever been diagnosed with endometriosis?" He asked it in this musing voice, as he kept prodding my belly.

"Uhm. No. Ouch," I sucked in a breath.

"It feels like you have some large fibroids right now," he paused, "have you ever had those before?"

"I'm not sure, actually. My mom did, though. She had a couple D&Cs when I was growing up. I have had cysts rupture before, though, when I was on a different prescription,"

He switched off the exam lamp and scooted back from between my legs, patting me on the knee to let me know that it was okay to sit up.

"There are different things we could do there, yours seem to be quite developed. I'm going to give you a prescription and then we can talk about laparoscopic surgery once we see how you respond to the drugs. Sound fair?" I nodded.

Leaving the doctor's office, I felt much better. Kind of a pain in the ass, yeah, but it could have been way worse. And now I had hours to relax or nap since I'd taken the full day off.

J was standing up at the bar and working on my laptop when I got in the door. He came over and did the appropriate fawning and cuddling over me, and I just stood there with my face pressed into his neck. It was very soothing. Then he pulled me into the bathroom and showed me a bag full of goodies from Lush! I immediately had to take a bath after seeing that, so I let him start one for me.

"You can stay in here if you want," I said, pulling my clothes off. He smirked.

"I don't really think we would both fit in there," I pouted, but he was right. Our bathtub is very tiny. It's basically only good for children and midgets.

"I'll be quick," I promised, getting into the tub. He kept a hand on me so I wouldn't slip. Aww.

"Take your time, baby. I just want you to relax. I'll be in the kitchen." He kissed the side of my neck and left me in the tub.

The rest of the day was pretty chill. I told J I was writing and did a lot of online shopping, which I don't really feel bad about because I hadn't bought myself anything new in a while. Since we combined our bank accounts, the temptation hasn't been there as much because I know he can pretty much police me if he wants to. In reality, I'm the one who checks the balance and pays our bills, I'm not even sure if he has the bank's mobile app on his new phone. But in practice, it's been a good idea to curb my overspending.

His birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I was pretty clueless until a couple of weeks ago. I got him some artsy stuff and some kitchen stuff, but nothing really seems like the perfect gift. I hate buying presents for people when I don't know what to get, it stresses me out. I'm sure he'll like what I bought, but I wish I could really get him something that would get him excited. I keep asking him what he wants and he says 'nothing' or 'you', which is sweet, but irritating when I'm trying to be a good wifey.

Later that night, we were doing our usual drinking-and-TV binge and he was being really quiet. I was talking a fucking blue streak about something, and I actually caught him staring off into space. It embarrassed me.

"I'm sorry, baby. I know I talk too much," I shrugged a little bit and vowed to keep more quiet.

"No, you're fine. You know I love listening to you," he paused, "but I'm going to tell you something that I didn't really tell you, okay?"

"Okay, I won't hear anything, I promise."

"I'm worried about Ma," J took a deep breath. "She and Nordan [her boyfriend] have been fighting a lot. It's getting out of hand,"

"Why? What's going on?" I've met Nordan a handful of times now, and he's nice. He's very spacey and high strung though. He's a professor and always has some stress going on with school or with his running and triatholons. He's super healthy and runs like 10-15 miles a day. I'm pretty sure he thinks that J and I are fat stoner slobs, but he's too polite to ever suggest anything of that sort.

"Just living together differences, I guess. I would have thought they would have settled after 8 years, but maybe not."

"Like what?"

"Oh," he sighed. "I don't even know. Like, arguments about how things should be put away, etc. She'll say something and then he flips out and beats himself up and won't stop being hysterical for hours. He actually cracked one of his ribs the other day."

"Oh my god. That's so fucked up." I took J's hand and tried to turn my look of horror into something more moderate.

"Yeah, but she doesn't really know what to do. It's just been escalating for years and it's finally at this point."

"Do you know what her end game is with this relationship?"

"Not really. I think she assumed they would have broken up by now, as he grew up." J scoffed slightly and I winced. Nordan is only 7 years older than he is, and it's kind of a sore point. They started as a fling, but they've been living together for years now.

"That's a really emotionally loaded situation. I know he doesn't mean to, but he's being really manipulative with the self-injury. That puts so much pressure on her," I mused. I really did feel bad. I adore my mother-in-law. She gets me in a way that my real mom never did.

"Well, he's not trying to do that. But it's pretty heinous for her." I could tell he was getting uncomfortable talking about this.

"She's welcome here any time, she's really the only person who could stay with us indefinitely and I wouldn't mind." I said, honestly.

"I would mind, after a while. But yeah, we should be there for her. We should hang out with her on Saturday, go downtown and shop at Eataly or go to the movies or something."

So.. we've been hanging out with her a lot this week. She came over last night and plowed through a couple of bottles of wine with me, and then we all went to a play and got Chipotle for dinner afterwards. We're going shopping tomorrow and then to the movies. I don't think she knows that J talked to me about what's been going on, and I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to make her feel uncomfortable.

I also changed some blog settings, so now I have to approve comments on older posts. I was getting so much spam!! Sorry guys. If it's really annoying, I'll turn it back off, but it seems to be the best solution for now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

i'm not a good test taker

"Can you turn around?" I asked quietly, leaning forward and letting my elbows rest on the inside of my knees.

"Oh! Okay, sure. I'm sorry," J gave a little look of embarrassment, and turned around to face the bathtub. From my perch on the toilet, I reached over and turned on the "hot" tap handle. Then, lowering my hand between my legs, I forced myself to start peeing. It's really hard when you've got someone listening to you, though. Even though I'd pretty much drank my weight in San Pellegrino over the course of the day.

"Yikes," I groaned, looking down. When I was sure that the tip of the white plastic stick was soaked, I pulled it up through my spread legs and replaced the cap before throwing it in the sink. J kept his back to me until I had flushed, and then turned back around.

"How much time?"

"Three minutes," I wrinkled my nose, moving the stick out of the sink (and keeping it face down) to wash my hands. J opened the bathroom door and let himself out before walking to the kitchen and setting a timer on the stove. "Thanks!" I called out, and he nodded.

"Do you want a shot?" he asked from the kitchen as I flicked out the bathroom lights.

"Uh, yeah, right now. Vodka please," I came up behind J and rested my forehead against the back of his neck. His smell always calmed me, no matter how fucking freaked out and terrified I happened to be. Wordlessly, he handed me a shot and a cocktail glass filled with juice as a chaser.

"To good results?" he raised his glass, and I clinked it against mine. We simultaneously tapped our glasses on the counter, and then downed our shots.

"Hopefully," I muttered, still unsure. It was all so weird. I am so good about taking my birth control, I've never missed a day. I did miss it by about 6 hours one day last month, but that was it. My body's been acting really strangely as of late, though, and I really wondered what the problem was. I've been much hungrier than usual, and craving weird food, and my boobs have been big and very tender, plus I'd had some weird, light spotting off and on.

After taking our shots, we looked at each other in silence. I knew he was trying to be stoic and upbeat about everything, but I was pretty shaken up and that was getting hard to ignore. I knew that no matter what, things would be okay. I just was not looking forward to the interim period if the test came back positive. When the timer dinged, I raced back in the bathroom. J followed me, in his usual saunter.

"It's negative," I said, flipping the stick over in my hand and closing my eyes in relief. J yelped, and kissed me excitedly. I threw my arms around him and sighed so hard that my lungs hurt. I felt so drained all of a sudden.

"Baby, that's wonderful. I'm so glad,"

"Me too," I took a deep breath, trying to relax. "But what's wrong with me, then?" This was almost scarier than the test being positive.

"I don't know, sweetheart. We'll figure it out really soon, though, okay?" He stroked my hair. "I think you should make a doctor's appointment for later in the week,"

"Yeah, you're right. I'll call him tomorrow when I'm at work," I scratched my forehead. It hadn't sunk in yet that I wasn't pregnant. Relief was washing over me, in these giant hot-flash-feeling waves. I felt like I'd just done a 500m sprint and I was waiting to throw up. I could feel the sweat beading on my forehead and dripping down my temple. 

"Are you going to change your birth control?"

"Well," I wrinkled my nose, "I really want Essure, but doctors always told me I was too young before. Then again, I asked about it when I was maybe.. 23? And obviously not married,"

"Yes, good thing you have a husband now to tell you what to do with your body," J said in a very serious voice before raising an eyebrow at me. I cracked up. He's listened to my rant on misogynistic doctors sooooo many times that it's hard to count.

"I should ask about it, though. I think my insurance would probably cover it, fingers crossed."

"Even if your insurance DOESN'T cover it, I think you should ask. That's something we should do, for sure." I rolled my eyes a little bit. It was sweet that he was being so supportive, but I knew he had the ulterior motive of not wanting to get a vasectomy, which we've also talked about.

With that unpleasantness out of the way, I started prepping dinner in the kitchen. One of my mom's friends sent us fondue pots when we got married, which was kind of cool in a 1960s way, but also kind of weird and I couldn't help but wonder if they were a regift. Not that I mind, but when was the last time you saw anyone ask for a fondue pot? J poured me a glass of wine and slid it over to me on the counter as I was cubing some apples and baguette for the cheese fondue. Nodding my thanks at him, I took a long swig and swallowed. Cooking was not nearly as much fun without wine, which is maybe why I never had any interest in it growing up.

When dinner was ready, we perched on the counter and used those little metal skewer things as forks.

"Are you okay? You're being really quiet," I said, gently.

"Yeah, baby, I'm good. Just... thinking. I'm really glad you're not pregnant, no offense meant." I widened my eyes and nodded in agreement.

"Uhm, yes. No offense taken. That would be a nightmare for us,"

"Yeah, I know. We'd be such horrible parents," he said, grimacing.

"Our kid would be so fucked up. And probably a cokehead or addicted to pills and lying to us constantly by age 14," I mused, tracing little patterns in the air with my skewer.

"Just like Mom and Dad," he raised his eyebrows at me and I started laughing again. I couldn't help it. It was so, so good to be on the same page about this. Sometimes I used to worry that I'd really end up alone because I didn't think I'd ever meet anyone else who didn't want children. I've definitely had guys say things to me before like, "Oh, of course I don't want children. I just have to have them anyway, to pass my good genes on!", which is a little eye-rolly. Why would someone be egotistical enough to make a lifetime commitment to another human that they don't even want?

"Yeah.. I mean, in all seriousness, wow. I mean, my dad was a raging alcoholic, and my mom's side of the family just thinks it's fun to rack up DUIs. When I was 17, I was already sneaking out of the house every weekend to go take ecstasy, and I got away with lying about it. My mom never found out because I did well in school," I paused, letting that sink in. "I am no fucking way fit to raise a child. I'd never believe anything they told me. I couldn't. I lied too much. She always thought I was like, studying with a girlfriend."

"My mom has no idea about the coke problem. She thinks I have a dent in the side of my nose from acne," J said slowly, resting his hands on the counter.

"Jesus, we can barely take care of ourselves. Did you ever think that would change as you got older? I used to think it just came naturally, but now I wonder if all adults feel like constant fuckups."

"Eh, I never thought about it," he shrugged. "I was thinking about other stuff,"

"Like how to get laid?" I teased, smacking him on the butt. "And how to sneak away in the mornings?"

"Uhm. Exactly. This was before I met you," he said sheepishly, eyeing me. I shook my head dismissively.

"You know I don't really care about that. I was just as bad," I finished, not going into detail. J knows some of the hairier things about my past, but not the really gory details. I'm not a huge fan of oversharing completely like that.

"Besides, if you ever want to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night and take care of something small and cute, we could get that puppy..."

"Really?" I perked up, cocking my head to the side. J laughed, teasingly.

"Yes. And it would tilt its head in exactly that same way," he said, still laughing.

This morning, I made an appointment with my gyno for next week. I explained the symptoms and told him I likely wasn't pregnant, and he told me not to start googling or looking online for anything. That seemed off, but whatever, I know people probably get really paranoid and WebMD themselves into a pit of despair. I've definitely done that before (I had a blood blister on the inside of my thigh and thought I had an STD.. yeah.. not proud of that one), so I get it. On the other hand.. that statement itself makes me anxious! But I'm trying not to worry about it, and I know I'll find out what's going on soon.

Monday, July 6, 2015

so i guess we're moving to florida

Last Wednesday was my 27th birthday, which to be honest, I was kinda dreading. Birthdays have ALWAYS sucked for me, ever since I was little. It's like the one day where the universe conspires to make me feel like shit. I told J this, and I also told him I didn't want a big celebration or a party. Partially because I'm uncomfortable with tons of attention on me, and partially because every time I've had big plans for my birthday, something has happened to come and fuck them up. Like the time I was supposed to go to NYC with a boyfriend and he fucking canceled on me to go euthanize one of his family pets. Or the time another boyfriend said he was coming home from a summer work study program early to celebrate with me, and then stayed because he'd "missed his plane" (met someone at the airport and decided to have sex with them). So I don't really "do" birthdays. J was relatively unhappy with this explanation though, and kept trying to bring up ideas of things we could do.

"You could skip work and we could rent a car and go away for the long weekend?"

"I wish. I have a client call that day, I'd feel bad about rescheduling because I've already had to cancel on them once,"

"Well, how about we go out to dinner? Anywhere you want. Name it,"

"Yeah, but I have to work the next morning. Let's go out on Friday instead,"


So I kinda wore him down about it before it even happened. I know that wasn't the best thing to do, but I was feeling so pessimistic that I couldn't help it. I was trying to make sure that if nothing happened, I wouldn't have any reason to be disappointed. Is that dumb?

We stayed up really late the night before and he gave me one of my presents early. It was a pair of leggings printed with the hotel carpet from The Shining. It was super sweet, and I was actually really touched because that's one of my favorite movies and he remembered. I had told him some other things that I wanted, but they were pretty small. We agreed not to spend a ton on each other this year because of all the money we spent on the Amsterdam trip, so I wasn't expecting anything huge. That's what Christmas is for (jk).

On Wednesday, true to form, I had a horrible day. The client call at work went well, but I had a really stressful time of everything else. I've been at my new job for a little over a month now, and I'm finally working on some projects independently, so it's my first time going through the process alone. It took me 4 hours to rewrite this hierarchy code on a document, and then I didn't have time to do either of the things that my boss had asked me to finish by the end of the day. I didn't even have time to eat lunch. I went in the bathroom and cried because I was so frustrated, and then I felt like shit because I didn't want anyone to know that I'd been crying. I really should have just taken the day off.

When I got home, J was out "running errands" (buying pot and shopping for dinner). I called him and when he picked up and I heard his voice, I just started crying again.

"Can you come home now? Can we just order takeout?"

"Uh... okay, honey. If that's what you want. Are you sure?"

"...yes," I sniffled, choking on snot.

"Okay. I'll be home soon. I love you,"

"I love you, too," I started crying again for real as soon as he hung up. I don't even know what was wrong. I was irrationally mad at him for not being home to comfort me, even though I knew he was going to be out running errands. However, I was determined not to make this a horrible day. I dragged myself up and got in the shower, and then curled up on the couch until he got home. I must have dozed off, because the next thing I knew, I could feel him gently rubbing my neck.

"Baby? How are you doing?"

"I'm okay," I twisted around in my blanket nest and looked up at him. "I'll be better tomorrow, I think,"

"Oh yeah?" he kept rubbing my neck, but moved to sit down on the back of the couch.

"Yeah.. I dunno. I psyche myself out. Today could have been a lot worse," I conceded, still in the blackest of black moods for absolutely no reason. 

"Yeah, but it could have been better. How about we go out to dinner on Friday? Pick someplace and I'll make a reservation tomorrow while you're at work,"

"Oh, I forgot to tell you. I'm going to work from home tomorrow, isn't that nice?"

"Yeah, we'll have a 4-day weekend together!"

"Well, not really, because we still have to work. And you have to work Friday," I groused.

"But at least that means we'll both be sober enough to go out to dinner, right? Anywhere you want. I want my princess to be happy and well-fed." He leaned down to kiss the top of my head.

"Is there someplace we can go eat tons of caviar? I really want caviar." I thought out loud, not really caring if he was listening or not. "And duck. I really want duck."

"Like Peking duck?"

"Uhmm. No. Other duck," I said vaguely, staring off at the wall. I wasn't even stoned (yet) and I was already rambling about food. That was a little weird. I mostly only ramble about wanting pizza, and luckily that doesn't usually happen when I'm sober.

"Okay. I'll see what I can do, alright?" J returned from the bedroom, carrying our phones and the pot grinder.

The rest of the night was pretty chill. We ordered Indian food (my choice) and I was feeling a little better by the time we went to bed. I don't know what it is, but birthdays really just suck.

We worked from home on Thursday. I had kind of an easy checklist of things to take care of, and J made us brunch and rubbed my feet a lot. I could tell he was still taking care to be extra, extra nice to me. Normally that would have made me feel bad, but somehow I was just able to relax and enjoy it for once.

When we were getting dressed for dinner on Friday night, I couldn't decide what to wear. I eventually settled on a romper and these gold d'Orsay flats because I didn't know where we were going and how much walking I was going to be expected to do.

"You look so nice, baby," J said, kissing the side of my neck.

"My boobs are making this fit weird," I whined, pulling at the fabric. He gave me a weird look. "They've been sore, like really sore."

"Does this hurt?" He slipped his hand down my top and cupped one of them. It did hurt a little, but it also felt good. I made a purring sound in my throat. I wasn't even thinking about sex, but when he did that it really woke me up. I pressed myself really close to him and started grinding against him while he was groping me.

"What time do we have to be there?" He checked my watch and shook his head.

"We're good. Come on," he picked me up and set me down on the bed after pulling my romper off. And then he went down on me for like half an hour. I was shaking and moaning, and I just lay back and let him do it. Normally I'd have stopped him and pulled him up after a while, but it felt so good and I couldn't remember the last time we'd just done foreplay stuff and not had actual sex. When I felt a really powerful orgasm tear through me, he bit the inside of my thigh and moaned, and then pulled away.

"Thank you," I said, shyly. I rolled off the bed and tried to stand up, looking for my romper.

"You're most welcome, angel." He slipped out of his pants and threw them in the laundry, looking for another pair.

"Did you...?" I looked at him quizzically, furrowing my brow. J looked sheepish.

"What? You're really hot when I'm getting you off, what can I say?"

Dinner turned out to be at this Russian restaurant downtown, which was really nice. It was also almost empty, which was kind of cool. I let him order for me, and we had the caviar service and then he ordered me roasted duck legs with another side of caviar. He also ordered me 2 vodka flights and a glass of my favorite wine (vouvray), which was sweet. For all the pot we smoke, he has a good memory.

"This is for you," J said, passing me a small box once we'd finished eating.

"Baby, I told you. No big stuff," I said, still taking the proffered gift.

"Well, this isn't really big. As you can see," he said, not breaking eye contact. I slowly used my thumbnail to slit the tape on the wrapping paper. There was a printed out sheet of paper on top.

"What's this?"

"Laur, you have to read it. And that's the first one, anyway." he said, pretending to be impatient.

The paper was a printout of this webpage. I gasped, and then narrowed my eyes.

"Get the fuck out of town. How did you know I wanted this??" I demanded, really unsure. I hadn't said anything about it.

"So.. you had one bookmarked on your laptop. I had to use your computer for work on Tuesday, my laptop was acting up. And I saw it.. So I bought it, and then realized like an idiot that it's a pre order, and doesn't ship until October. Do you want me to cancel and get you something instead?"

"No.. no, definitely not. This is so perfect!! Baby!! Thank you," I was tearing up, because I had been wanting to get one of those bags. Even though I'd wanted it for when we travel this fall, and I didn't wanna have to wait for it, it was still perfect. He smiled.

"I'm glad. And this is for you, too," he picked up the small box that I'd unwrapped and then discarded with the printout for the bag. I pulled it open, and saw a ring. It was a large, very pale green, round center stone, set in platinum with a diamond halo and pave diamonds on the shank. The tears that had built up in my eyes really came out, and I started bawling.

"What is this for?" I said, wiping my eyes.

"Well.. because you picked out your engagement ring. I never got to buy you what I thought you would like, and I really really wanted to surprise you. It's green amethyst, I wanted to get something unusual. Now you can change your rings to match your clothes," J said, squeezing my thigh under the table. I leaned over and kissed him gently, still crying. I really don't get it. I don't deserve to be treated the way he treats me.

The rest of the weekend was good, but pretty quiet. I tried really hard to cook and clean whenever I had free time, because I know how much of that he does during the week and I feel bad about not doing my share. He keeps telling me that it's not a big deal because I have to go into an office most days, but I don't really want to fall back on that. I don't want him to start resenting me.

We had this conversation about where we want to live after Chicago. I really want to buy a condo (I have condo rabies the way some people have baby rabies), but J is really pessimistic about it happening here. We don't want to buy anywhere except in our favorite neighborhood, which would be pretty impossible given our current salaries. Then J brought up Florida. He grew up in Sarasota, and loves it, and kept telling me how we could buy a big house with a pool and be close to the beach. I'm not sure if it was because I was drinking a ton of wine while we had this talk or not, but I'm actually kind of intrigued. I'm not sure if I hate the idea or not. I really do hate summer/humidity, but I think if we lived in a house with a pool, I wouldn't care because I could just be in the pool all the time. We also both have jobs that would let us work remotely, so employment wouldn't really be an issue, although I did stress that we'd need extra bedrooms in the new house so we could have actual offices.

The whole rest of the weekend he kept bringing it up. I was laying naked on the bed after running errands, trying to cool off in the AC.

"Practicing for Florida?" he'd ask, lightly smacking my butt. Yesterday, I made these watermelon-vodka-cherry slushes (so good) and he came up behind me and said, "those would be so good to have in our pool in Florida!"

So I guess maybe we're moving to Sarasota in a few years.