Friday, June 26, 2015

Mason Jar Drinks

"Come on, this might be the last time we go out while you're still a Long Island girl!" Anna shrieked at me as I tossed the uncomfortable wedges aside that she wanted me to wear.

I rolled my eyes at her. "So shouldn't I be comfortable on my 'last night?'" I put those last two words in air quotes because I really didn't see this as any sort of bon voyage outing. That would be the Fourth of July, right? We weren't even through June at this point!

"Yeah, the flat sandals look fine," Jessica said as she picked a piece of mint out of her mojito. Jessica, Anna, and Darlene had come over around five to make dinner and drinks before we headed to a strip of bars more East on the island.

"I guess you don't have anyone to impress, right?" Anna said, giggling to herself.

"I can't believe Scott can't come out with us," Darlene pouted. "I think we're more entertaining than the Mets, anyway."

I laughed while pulling a clothes hanger out of my closet. "I definitely think we are," I commented.

Things were pleasant among us all. I thought things would at least be awkward between Jessica and I, but she was actually being nicer than usual. I'm not complaining, but it was odd.

After we hung out in my room for a while, where I decided on wearing an aztec patterned tank top, denim shorts, and the flat sandals, we began gathering our things so we could head out. I made sure to snap a selfie of the four of us to add to my Snapchat story before piling into Darlene's car. She was on antibiotics, so she couldn't drink anyway. Perfect designated driver for us!

We blasted 90s Pandora on the drive over and I could feel the liquor from earlier really hitting me. I was having such a good time that I began wondering if I could convince all three of them to follow me to California.

Once we were about five minutes away, I checked my phone and had two text messages. One was from Scott, letting me know that he missed me and bought me a present from Citi Field. He's the best. The other was from Moose. I slightly cringed when I saw he was texting me, while being somewhat excited since I haven't really spoken to him too much over the past few weeks.

"Hey! You're going to be in Patchogue? I'm headed there with some of Beth's friends." For about two seconds, I was confused on how he knew where we were going before quickly realizing that I wrote it on my Snapchat story. I was relieved to know he wasn't following us in his car.

"Hey! Yeah, we're headed there. Let me know what bar you end up at!"

We parked and headed into this bar that had a live band playing music. We all ordered drinks and the bartender served them to us in small mason jars. "This place couldn't be more fucking trendy if they tried," Darlene laughed before taking a sip of her Long Island Iced Tea.

"Right?" I agreed. "Anna, this was a good find." Anna had been the one to suggest this place after meeting a guy on line here for a drink.

"Oh, you know," she began as she playfully whipped her hair behind her neck. "I go on all these dates just so we know the happening places."

We were all laughing and even began dancing to the live music for a little while. I just happened to peer behind me and a tall guy caught my attention. It was Moose.

I turned and began walking over to him. "Hey, stranger!" I greeted him as I leaned up on my tippy toes to give him a hug.

"Yeah, I'm good. How have you been?"

It was pretty loud so I just kind of nodded. It dawned on me that I hadn't told Moose about my move. I hadn't told many people outside of my family, Scott, and my closest girl friends. I waved him over to where the rest of my friends were and decided to let my future self worry about when to drop the news.

Beth and her friends must've went to the bar or something, but they met us a few minutes later. They said they wanted to head to a bar a few doors down so we all finished our drinks and followed. The weather that night was perfect; not humid at all. I wondered how it'd compare to the weather in Santa Monica.

Our next spot was a German bar with a bunch of different beers that I didn't recognize, but I picked one and went with it.

I went to the bathroom and when I came back, I noticed Anna, Darlene, and Jessica talking to a big group of guys. They were all pretty hot, but I didn't feel a single ping of jealousy. With past boyfriends, I would sometimes go out, watch my single friends meet guys, and feel slightly envious. However, I didn't feel that at all. I was happy for them, but I didn't want to be them. Not even a little.

I decided to go outside to get some air and quickly call Scott. I wasn't sure if the game was over yet, but it had to be close. When I walked outside, though, Moose was sitting there by himself.

"Yo, where's Beth?"

"Huh?" Moose asked as he looked down at me with a confused look. "Oh, she's in there with her friends. I just wanted some air." I slowly nodded. "So, what have you been up to?"

I don't know if it was the alcohol or if I just felt the need to be completely honest, but I decided to just flat out tell Moose. After all, he was one of my closest friends, at least at some point.

"I'm moving to Santa Monica," I quickly blurted out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebratory Dinner

"So let's raise our glasses," my dad said as he embarrassingly lifted his beer bottle into the air. "To Caroline, being offered a job within a couple weeks of her graduation. We're so proud of you, honey."

"Thanks, Dad," I said with a timid smile. It was a really nice night out so we decided to eat dinner on the patio. My mom made some amazing Italian dishes for the occasion, including chicken parmesan and spaghetti. Of course, she made too much, because she always makes too much. My mom comes from a big Italian family, where any night that's considered even a little bit special is a reason to eat in excess.

My immediate family was sitting around the table, along with Scott who my mom insisted I invite over. "This dinner is to celebrate your new job!"

I had no trouble inviting Scott over. I always enjoy when he comes over to have dinner with my family. My parents loved him and he got along with my siblings pretty well. In addition to my brother, I have a younger sister. She's in college and we get along just as well as any other sisters, I suppose.

I felt a little awkward inviting him to this particular dinner, though. That Monday morning I received an official offer from Web Matcher. I was actually pretty surprised at the starting salary, but my dad and brother still told me I had to ask for a relocation fee. It felt very unnatural to me to ask for more, but I knew it was the correct way to go about accepting a job. My mom asked me, "haven't you read Lean In?" I told her I hadn't, so she chewed my ear off for about twenty minutes about the major points.

I called Scott on the phone right away about the offer. I obviously had no way to dissect his body language through the phone, but he sounded genuinely happy for me. After some discussion of the details with my family, as well as Scott, I realized that not only did I want to take this job, but I had to. Even Scott said that I'd always kick myself if I didn't take the chance on something new.

However, since making the decision, Scott and I have only discussed a few details of the move. I felt like we were both carefully dancing around the real issue; what about us?

A celebratory dinner with my family and Scott made me feel good, though. I didn't know what would happen between me and Scott. I also felt guilty about moving across the country, because I was close with my family. I wondered if being further away from them would weirdly make us closer or simply drive us apart.

Besides Scott and my family, I still wasn't sure how my friends, mainly Jessica, were going to take it when I actually moved. She apologized for her outburst at dinner, but things still felt tense between us. I knew she meant everything she said, but what could I do? Like I said, I had to take this job.

"So, you're going to have to keep me very informed about all the important pre wedding events," I said to my brother. 

"Yes, Samuel," my mother began. "If you expect Caroline to come home, you're going to have to tell her with enough notice so that she can arrange a flight!"

"Well," Sam began before pausing to take a sip of his beer. "I don't expect you to come back for everything. There will only be a handful of important things and we're not getting married for two years."

"I'm moving across the country, not to outer space!" I proclaimed. "I will be coming home all the time." I turned to Scott, who was spinning spaghetti around on his fork. It was the first time I noticed him seeming uncomfortable around my family.

I looked at everyone else. They were all politely smiling and my brother quickly changed the subject. I felt like everyone thought I was going to just pick up and forget about all my loved ones at home. Maybe I was fooling myself if I thought I'd be jumping on a plane all the time once I became comfortable in Santa Monica.

The rest of dinner went fine. While it was a congratulatory dinner, it was far from a bon voyage dinner. I had talked to Lillian a little bit about a possible start date and we landed on the week after the Fourth of July. It gave me a little bit of extra time, but it seemed a little unnecessary for me to begin before a big holiday weekend that I'd either want to spend with my family or spend getting settled in California.

Scott and I went for a walk around my neighborhood shortly after dinner. I wanted to have some alone time with him, since it was apparently clear to everyone that we had no idea what we were doing come my move. I also felt super full after dinner. Damn that Italian bread!

"Thanks for coming over today, baby," I said to Scott as I squeezed his hand. "I really appreciate it."

"Anything for you," he replied as he watched his feet move one in front of the other along the street.

"Listen," I began as I felt a lump forming in my throat. "I don't want you to think I haven't thought about you, about us, at all in regards to this move. I feel like I haven't been completely fair to you."

Scott kind of cut me off. "Caroline, don't think about me. You have to do what's right for you. I know that."

"Okay," I continued. "But, we'll talk about us soon, okay? I don't know how you feel, but I don't want to make any decisions yet. We still have a lot of time here, right?"

Scott stopped walking and gently kissed my forehead. "Right," he agreed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Girl Talk

"I'm so unbelievably jealous of you! My job has turned into such a shit show." Darlene immediately finished off her second whiskey sour after she said this.

"What am I supposed to do if you move?" Anna dramatically asked as she spun spaghetti around her fork. It was the Friday night after my interview and I was out with Darlene, Anna, and Jessica. I had originally mentioned the potential job to them, but I had forgotten to mention that it was located in California once I found out. Oops.

"You guys will visit me!" I exclaimed. I was honestly trying to put on my bravest face, but for the last few days I had been a ball of nerves.

When I walked into the coffee shop for my interview, I looked around for a few seconds before spotting a middle aged man with a very subtle receding hairline sitting with his legs crossed in a leather arm chair toward the back of the room. I walked over to him, while trying to mimic the power moves I had watched in a YouTube video the night before.

"Mr. Ellis?" I asked, hopeful, with my hand out, ready to shake his own.

"Yes," he bellowed before standing up to shake my outstretched hand. I was relieved that my assumption was correct. "Please, take a seat," he continued. "What can I get for you?"

The question caught me somewhat off guard, but I stood up straight and told him I'd take a black coffee.

"Oh, boy," he replied with a smile. "You mean business! I'll be right back."

I was a little stunned by his response, but his demeanor was so easy going that I knew this interview wouldn't be too bad. I eased up a bit and once he returned, he began asking me typical interview questions. We fell into a rhythm where I felt like we were almost just having a casual conversation.

After about twenty minutes, Mr. Ellis told me that he didn't have any more questions for me and asked if I had any for him. Of course, just like the trained Type A personality I have, I asked him two that I found off a Forbes list. One was about the potential growth of my position and the other was about opportunities for continuing education classes related to the job. He seemed impressed that I asked these questions and gave me very thorough answers.

By the time I walked out of there, I felt fairly confident in how well I did. I tend to think worst case scenario, so even though I kept thinking about the disappointing email I'd probably receive in a few days, I told myself that even if I didn't get this job, I did my best on the interview. I was also happy that he told me they'd email me by Monday, even though this meant I'd have the luxury of stressing all weekend. Fun!

So I filled my weekend with friends, family, and mostly Scott. He was still being super supportive, but I feel like we were both thinking the same thing: this was the last weekend we could have before our fate was potentially decided by a job offer.

I was indulging with a chocolate martini that didn't taste as great as it looked in the picture while eating my mussels like somebody was going to take them away from me. I was almost as nervous to tell Scott about my job offer as I was to tell my core friends. We had definitely grown a bit distant, but don't a lot of young women go through phases like that with their friends? It would still be hard to say goodbye to them.

"I know, I'm just being selfish," Anna laughed. "We're so proud of you!"

"Yeah, I seriously might follow you there," Darlene added in. This was now her fourth or fifth comment about how much she hated her job. I had read online that the company was laying people off, but Darlene is pretty private and sensitive about her job, so I never asked her about it. Now, I felt like it was staring us all in the face.

"Have you sent your resume anywhere else?" I politely asked.

"No," she quickly replied with a sigh. "I mean, I wouldn't really leave unless I had to, but my supervisor's been such a bitch lately. I'm hoping she calms down next quarter."

We all nodded and Anna said something encouraging to Darlene. I'm not even entirely sure what she said because it was that moment that I caught a glimpse of Jessica, who was being weirdly quiet.

"Everything okay, Jess?" I cautiously asked.

"Sure," she replied. Well, okay then.

There were a few seconds of silence. I wasn't about to poke the tiger, but we couldn't exactly ignore the awkwardness at this point.

"Jess..." Darlene said.

"I don't know!" Jessica blurted out as her fork hit the plate in a dramatic fashion. "We barely see each other anymore and now you're fucking leaving? I can count on one hand the amount of times we've actually had fun together this year. All of us!"

Darlene, Anna, and I remained silent. I felt like a deer in freaking head lights.

"Listen, I know I'm supposed to be happy for you," Jessica continued as she lowered her gaze to the table. "And I am happy for you. But, this is coming out of nowhere! You never mentioned the desire to move before in your life and now you're moving three thousand miles away? For a job that you don't even know is going to exist in six months?"

Jessica had a point. The position I was going for was completely new. "I don't know what I'm going to do," I finally replied. "I'm sorry to upset you." Jessica sighed and quickly apologized before heading to the bathroom.

I felt awful. She was right. How could I even think about just picking up and leaving?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

But I didn't say any of that.

Things felt so much better with Scott the days following our dinner on the south shore. Without even discussing it, we fell into a pattern of seeing each other much more. I slept over his house that Friday night. As soon as I walked into his bedroom, I felt him kissing my neck behind me. His arms immediately followed suit, quickly massaging my neck before moving down my arms and around my waist.

"I want you," he whispered into my ear as I playfully giggled at his touch. I turned around and kissed him hard. After some strong emotions, I felt like the passion between us was heightened. He walked me backwards to the bed where I lifted my shirt over my head before laying on my back. He towered over me for a moment, exhaling his breathe before leaning in to kiss my neck. Before I knew it, he was slipping off my jeans and undoing his own zipper.

I shimmied back on the bed a few inches and he simultaneously positioned himself on top of me. I wanted to say so much to him in that moment. I wanted to tell him that he was the most important person in my life. I wanted to tell him that I never meant to keep a secret from him. I wanted to tell him that even in the short time that we've been together, I have already felt myself becoming a better person. He made me want to push myself and in the most dramatically ironic way, I wanted to succeed at this job, or whatever job I decide to take, because of him.

But I didn't say any of that. And he didn't say anything either.

I knew he wanted to tell me things, though. He told me with his eyes and with the way he had sex with me that night. Something was different, but in a good way. I felt extremely present as he held my hips and continuously thrusted inside me. I ran my hands over his chest and leaned my head back as I softly moaned his name. I like to think that it was more intimate because we had become closer that night. However, there was a small part of me, the guilty part of me, that felt like he was trying to show me how much he loved me in case I left.

The next morning, I awoke in Scott's arms. We didn't always cuddle anymore. It was getting hot again and we had grown comfortable in our relationship. However, I don't think we separated at all that night. I didn't move for a few minutes, because I didn't want to wake my adorable, sleeping boyfriend. Soon, I had to go to the bathroom, though. I tried to gracefully remove myself from his grasp, but I wasn't smooth enough. It's a good thing I never had a one night stand that I had to escape from.

"Babe, don't get up yet," he murmured. 

"I have to use the little girl's room," I replied as I kissed his forehead. He smiled with his eyes still closed.

Once I was done and reentered the room, Scott was sitting up on his phone. I crawled back into bed and innocently peaked down at his phone, where I saw the ESPN application opened. "Everything good in sport's land?" I asked.

"Huh? Oh, yeah," he quickly put his phone down and leaned in to kiss me. This made me feel even more guilty than I had the night before. Scott loves his sports and I try to give him the space he needs to keep up with all his teams. He was really making an effort to give me more attention and I felt like a bitch because he didn't have to change anything about the way he acted around me.

We did a lot of outdoorsy stuff that weekend and saw each other every night during the following week. The day of my interview, I even took an earlier train to the city so I could meet him for lunch near his building.

As we sat down with our food at a salad place almost right under his building, I began feeling extremely nervous and told Scott so.

"Don't be nervous," he said waving his hand at me. "Just be your awesome self. And don't be afraid to brag a little. If you just talk about all your accomplishments and hard work, he'll probably offer you the position on the spot."

"Thanks," I replied, rubbing Scott's arm. "I just can't wait 'til it's over. These things freak me out."

"I know," Scott said as he planted a kiss on the side of my head. "You'll get it, though. Plus, if you don't, you'll just get something even better."

I happened to look down and saw Scott's foot nervously tapping on the stool. My heart melted. He was putting on such a brave, encouraging act for me, but he was clearly nervous, too. I think we were both not only nervous for how I'd do on the interview, but also what would happen if I actually got the job. If I was offered the job, we'd have to do some serious relationship talking.

"Well, I don't know if I'll even take it if I get it," I continued before putting a huge fork full of my strawberry and spinach salad in my mouth.

"I'm sure you'll make the right decision," Scott replied. I was curious why he hadn't said more about what he wanted me to do, but realized that I was thankful that he was putting the choice in my hands.

When we were outside, I gave Scott a long kiss on the sidewalk. I didn't care if it was tacky. I needed some affection before heading to talk to Lillian's supervisor!

I walked to the coffee shop where we were meeting and took several deep breathes before walking through the door. "Here goes nothing," I thought.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Time to Tell Scott

A beautiful, long stem rose appeared in the small opening of my driver's side window. It almost startled me as I looked up from my cell phone.

"Aw, babe," was all I managed as I lowered my window to take the rose from Scott's hand. "What's this for?"

I looked up at Scott, who shrugged. "A guy was selling them on the subway and it made me think of you." He leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the lips.

"Can I drive?" He quickly asked.

"Sure," I responded without really thinking about it. I don't mind driving but I'll always let other people drive if they offer. I hate concentrating so much on the road.

Once Scott began driving, though, I realized that we hadn't discussed a place to eat but he was driving without saying anything to me. "Where are we going?" I asked as I leaned back in the passenger seat.

"You'll see," Scott replied with a wink.

Ugh, why did he have to be so perfect right before I was about to be such a bitch? I felt bad enough about keeping this potential job a secret, but now I felt even worse. I asked him about work, hoping to fill the car ride with a pleasant discussion before arriving at our dinner destination.

"Stressful," he replied without taking his eyes off the road. He began telling me more about why it sucked and I sympathized as he tried explaining the major problems. Some of them went over my head because math is hard.

"Is your boss any better?" I asked, remembering that a couple of weeks ago his boss was making his job a lot harder than necessary.

"Yeah, he's been cutting me a lot more slack and I actually think he's realizing how unreasonable he was being."

"That's good," I replied, reaching my left hand over to his right arm and rubbing it. "You work too hard."

"Thanks," he said as he cracked a smile. "He briefly mentioned something about a promotion, but knowing him, I'm not getting my hopes up."

I sat up more in the passenger seat. "Scott, that's great," I exclaimed. "You deserve one!"

"We'll see," he said as he quickly turned toward me and smiled again. "Have you heard from Mike at all about your resume?"

My heart skipped a beat. I hadn't even thought about Mike and if he had any leads with my resume. I also wasn't ready for the conversation to be turned to me. I wondered how close we were to Scott's mystery destination.

"Um, not yet," I responded. "Maybe I'll email him tomorrow."

Scott silently nodded. "Yeah, if he can't find anything for someone as hard working and skilled as you, he doesn't deserve to make it as a recruiter."

"Aw, you're making me blush," I replied with a smile. Then, I brought up something that I had been so curious about but was too nervous to ask. "It's so strange to me that you aren't uncomfortable with my ex-boyfriend trying to get me a new job."

Scott laughed. I was glad he wasn't sensitive about the statement. "I don't know," he replied. "You're exes for a reason, right? Should I be uncomfortable?"

I smiled. "No, I hadn't thought about it that way, though," I honestly answered. "Most guys wouldn't be so cool about it."

A moment later, I knew where Scott was driving us. We were on the south shore of the island where a strip of seafood restaurants were located along the water. It was a really nice area to go when the weather got warmer.

We parked the car and began walking along the strip. We picked a nice restaurant that didn't seem to have a long wait. There was a small table near the bar that had a great view of boats going by.

"So, I wanted to tell you something," I began after ordering drinks. Scott's eyebrows went up but he just looked at me, patiently waiting. "I met this woman, Lillian, at the conference in San Francisco. Anyway, I didn't want to say anything until there was a strong possibility that it was going somewhere, but we've discussed a possible job opportunity. She works for Web Matcher."

"Caroline, that's amazing!" Scott quickly interjected. He actually got up from his seat and pulled me in for a big hug. "Wow, I'm so happy for you, babe," he continued into my neck.

"I don't have it yet," I modestly replied. "And, um, even if I get an offer, I don't know if I will take it."

"Why wouldn't you take it?" Scott asked as he settled back into his seat.

I wanted to stall so I began telling Scott about the job description.

"It sounds awesome," Scott replied, puzzled.

I looked into his eyes. "Yeah," I replied as his gaze pulled at my heart strings. "The only thing is, it's in Santa Monica."

Scott's face instantly deflated. "Oh," he began. "I see."

I slowly nodded as I looked down at my lap. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I just, I don't know what I'm going to do."

"Babe, don't cry," I heard Scott say, but that only made it worse. I had to look away. Damn it, I hate crying in public!

I wiped my eyes as I saw the waiter come over with our drinks. I smiled at him and let Scott order our meals. Good thing I told him what I wanted before my cry fest.

I waited a moment, as I sipped my drink. Scott wasn't saying anything and it freaked me out. I finally looked up at him and decided to break the silence. "I don't know if I'll get it."

"You'll get it," Scott replied, meeting my eyes. "You're so smart. But, why don't we take it day by day, okay?"

I nodded. At least he didn't dump me. Day by day, Caroline.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Brotherly Advice

"Maybe you didn't want to see it," my brother said after nearly swallowing his second taco whole.

I rolled my eyes at him. "I'm sorry, I thought you were taking me out for getting my master's in psychology. Not the other way around."

He half laughed at me. "I'm just saying," he began. "You researched the company before calling. I know you're more obsessive than a dog with a bone. How did you miss that they're located across the country."

Well, he had a point there. "I already told you," I began before taking a long sip of my strawberry margarita. Damn, it was strong, but also delicious; a dangerous combination for me. "I researched the company. I looked at employee reviews, the website for general information on benefits, and a few other details. But I figured she knew I was from New York so she would've mentioned that the job would require a move for me." I knew it all sounded dumb, but it was the truth. "I just figured New York is the center of everything. I mean, what big company doesn't have an office in New York?"

"I can name one," my brother said, grabbing the salsa and moving it closer to him.

It's weird, but ever since my brother got engaged, we've gotten closer. He insisted on taking me out to dinner for my graduation, even though we had a family dinner the day I actually graduated.

I told my brother about the possible job, but made him swear not to tell my parents. My dad never liked the idea of my siblings and I growing up, so I didn't feel like preparing him yet for something that might not even happen. I knew my mom would be more accepting of it, even if she wanted me to continue living in New York.

I was more nervous to tell Scott, though.

"Listen, you guys will work something out," my brother encouraged me when I voiced that concern. "If Linda got an opportunity like this, I would immediately provide my support."

"Yeah, but I'm going to have to move," I responded. "Plus, you guys are engaged now. We haven't been dating that long, so this could be it for us."

"Well," my brother began as he diverted eye contact with me. "It sounds like you're kind of okay with that."

"I'm not!" I immediately protested. I turned red as soon as the words came out of my mouth. "I mean," I continued as I quieted my voice. "I want to stay together. I do. I just know it's improbable if I get the job." I leaned back and rested my upper back against the booth. "If I get the job," I repeated with a weak laugh. "I'm probably making a big deal for nothing."

"I think you're going to get it, but you're right. You always worry about shit that usually doesn't even happen. Just wait until you have an interview, an in person interview, before you stress Scott out for no reason."

I took my brother's advice. I know I wasn't hiding anything real from Scott, but I still felt like I was betraying him in a way. I mean, I tell Scott everything so not telling him about this huge opportunity just felt wrong.

That's partially why I was so excited and relieved when I got an email from Lillian a few days later. She had told me that ordinarily they set up a phone interview followed by a final in person interview, but since she had met me and already talked to me, her boss wanted to skip ahead to the in person interview. Lillian had written a lot of information in the email.

"My supervisor is going to be in New York for business next week, so he thought it would be easiest to do the final interview in Manhattan. Of course, this means you won't get to see the building and get a feel for the environment, so if you'd prefer we can fly you here the following week."

Both options had their pros and cons, but being given the choice definitely made me feel more confident about my chances of getting the job. I decided that I didn't want to wait longer than necessary, even if that meant not getting to fly to California, so I wrote back that I was comfortable with the New York interview.

Even though it took me several hours to respond, Lillian emailed me back within minutes. She provided me with the proposed interview location and time. After I confirmed that this was fine, she responded with three little words that gave me butterflies.

"Excellent. Good luck!"

I wasn't sure if the good luck wish was an indication that her boss was going to be tough, but I told myself not to worry. The important thing to do now was the thing I was both excited and anxious to do; tell Scott.

I called him up. It was about 4 o'clock on a Friday, so he was probably just getting ready to leave work. Just when I thought it was going to go to voicemail, he answered with a tired, "Hey."

"Hey, babe!" I responded. "Want to come to my house after work and we can grab some dinner?"

"Um," Scott began and I immediately felt irritated. I wasn't irritated with him, but I really wanted to finally tell him about this news I had been bottling up! After what felt like an hour, but was realistically 7 seconds, Scott agreed.

"Okay, I'll pick you up from the train station!" I excitedly responded.

"Sounds great, babe," Scott replied. "I can't wait to see you. I miss you."

My heart melted at this sentiment. I know it wasn't particularly special, but Scott isn't always super verbal with his feelings. "I can't wait to see you either," I said back.

I didn't know what to expect, but I really did not want this talk to break us up.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Job Talk

"Caroline, I'm so happy to hear from you!" Lillian's voice beamed over the phone. Her enthusiasm was just as strong via phone as it was when I met her in person.

"It was great to talk with you at the conference," I responded. I felt kind of awkward but tried to just speak slow so I didn't come across like an idiot. Whenever I get nervous or excited, I tend to speak really fast and my speech becomes hard to understand.

"Yes, I'm so glad I got a chance to see your poster. When I saw your research in the program, I was intrigued, but it wasn't until I talked to you that I really knew I wanted you on board with us. Have you given any thought to working for Web Matcher?"

Had I? Of course! It's not like I had any other job prospects at the moment and why wouldn't I want to work for a company with such a great reputation? I actually checked the internet for employee reviews and everyone that worked there, regardless of department, seemed to be happy with the way the company treated its employees.

"I have," I responded in an enthusiastic but not overly eager tone. "I remember you said there would be a new service provided by the company. I was interested to hear more about that."

"Of course," Lillian replied. "Well, we're basically adding an 'extra' feature to our site. As you know, we are a matchmaking service and we have very specific formulas for matching our customers. However, the one complaint we get from users who have a hard time meeting someone is that the formulas aren't personal enough. So, we're looking for people with psychology or counseling experience to be part of this service that will be offered to individuals who pay a higher monthly cost for membership. That's where you come in. Part of the reason I was at the conference was to meet candidates like you! I think you'd bring a really interesting perspective to some of our younger clients."

"So would I essentially be a matchmaker?" I asked.

"Sort of," Lillian cautiously replied. "Individuals would still be matched based on their questionnaires. The algorithm works, Caroline. We just want to offer an extra personal touch for individuals who are willing to pay for it. I met my husband on the site!"

She paused after that so I felt the need to congratulate her to fill the silence. "Oh, thank you," she quickly said back. "Are you seeing anyone?"

I was really enthralled in the details of what was really shaping up to be an awesome job description, so this question definitely caught me off guard. "Um," I began, hoping that I didn't suddenly start stuttering. "I actually am. I didn't meet him on a dating website, but my single friends who do online dating said they find Web Matcher to be by far the best." A little sucking up and lying couldn't hurt, right?

"How does he feel about the possibility of you getting a job with us?"

This also struck me as an odd question. I understand that Lillian was interested in hiring me to work for a dating website, but what were questions about my romantic relationship doing in the preliminary phone conversation?

"He's been really supportive of my education and excited for me to find a fulfilling career," I replied back. I know this is the most politically correct answer I could have given, but I couldn't really tell her the truth for this one, since the truth was that I hadn't even told Scott I had met Lillian.

It wasn't that I wanted to hide it from him. I was dying to tell him. Scott had really become my best friend over the past few months. Sure, Anna had brought up a good point. We were boring, but I liked being boring with him. He supported me. He laughed at my stupid jokes and his laughter was only, like, fifty percent pity. He challenged me. We got along really well and the passion was still there. Of course it's not all rainbows and butterflies (shout out to Adam Levine), but when I hear about some of the issues my friends endear in their relationships, I consider myself really lucky to have found Scott.

"Well, he sounds like a keeper," Lillian responded. "I mean, I can't imagine most boyfriends encouraging their girlfriends to take a job three thousand miles away."

My heart stopped. I felt like a zombie just walked past my line of vision because that's how much the comment caught me off guard.

"Right," I managed to say. I felt like a ballerina who just fucked up on stage but had to continue on and hope the audience wouldn't pick up on the fault. "He knows that I'm really career focused, so if a great opportunity presents itself, he would never dream of standing in my way. So, um, what would be some of my responsibilities?"

Lillian answered my question in an equally enthusiastic manner. I tried to pay attention as much as I could, but my mind was racing. How did I miss that this job was not going to be in New York. I patiently finished up the conversation so that I could run back into work and do some more digging on the company.

I was still able to comprehend the rest of the job description and it seriously sounded awesome. As we neared the end of the phone conversation, Lillian told me she'd send me an email later in the week outlining the next steps.

"We're going to have to set up at least a phone interview, but I'm hoping we can fly you out here for an in person interview. Would you be available for that?"

"Yes, I think it'd be possible to arrange that," I replied.

Once the call was over, I Googled the headquarters of Web Matcher. There it was. Santa Monica, California.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wine by the Pool

I left the conference after my poster session was over and met my mom to continue our San Francisco exploring. I was fully present for all our activities and really loved seeing the different sites in the city, but I was definitely a little distracted. When I met my mom at the hotel, I told her I needed a few minutes before we could head out. I immediately searched whatever I could about Web Matcher. I obviously knew about the company; it was a pretty popular dating site, but that was pretty much all I knew. What new service was Lillian talking about? I had so many questions, but I didn't want to spoil the rest of the weekend so I put it out of my mind while on the West coast.

Even though I hadn't seen Scott in a few days, I opted to see my friends for a bit Monday. I was feeling slightly jet lagged but powered through it and drove to Anna's house. She wanted to have me, Darlene, and Jess over to swim and drink wine.

It was a little too cold to go swimming, but we dangled our feet in the water and gossiped while passing around a few bottles of Sauvignon blanc. While things had been tense among the four of us the past few months, it seemed like a little time apart had made things better. I was really enjoying my time with these three.

We got on the subject of Moose and I quickly realized that I had completely no idea what his relationship with Beth was really like. Darlene started talking about the Friday before when Darlene, Jess and most of the guys went out.

"She got wasted, but what else is new? So Moose got pissed off and left for like an hour.  It was ridiculously awkward for us."

"Yeah," Jessica interjected. "I was trying to talk to her but she couldn't really hold a conversation and when she realized Moose wasn't just in the bathroom, she started balling."

I saw Anna cringe. "Fuck, that sounds so uncomfortable," Anna replied, since she hadn't been there either.

Darlene started giggling to herself. "Jessica, when I saw you just robotically patting her on the back, I almost died." We all started laughing and I looked down at my feet in the pool.

"It kind of sucks, though," I said after a few seconds of silence. "I mean, it's funny to us, but can you imagine being Moose? I don't get why they're still together."

"Caroline, you have a boyfriend," Darlene began. "Don't think about breaking these two love birds up."

I reached down and splashed some water at her. "I'm serious!" I knew she was joking but I still shot Anna an annoyed look when Darlene and Jessica weren't looking. I would never try to steal Moose from another girl even if I was single and even if I was interested.

"Yeah, I agree," Anna quickly said. "But I get why he's with her. It took him so long to find someone up to his 'standards.'" Anna put that last word in air quotes because Moose was always weird about which qualities were acceptable or unacceptable in his potential girlfriends. He actually broke up with his high school girlfriend when we started college because her major wasn't "challenging" enough.

Jessica was nodding in agreement as she replied, "And I don't get what makes him feel entitled to be so picky. It's not like he's perfect."

"I guess he'll break up with her when he's ready," I said before finishing off my second glass of wine and pouring myself a third. I was eager to change the subject so I decided that moment would be a good time to tell them about my encounter with Lillian at the conference in San Francisco.

"Caroline, that's amazing!" Jessica said before I was even done telling them about the encounter.

"So what would you be doing?" Anna eagerly asked.

"I'm not really sure," I said as I felt my eyes widening. "But I'm excited. I'm going to call her tomorrow."

"We can be commuting buddies if they're in the city!" Darlene squealed.

I waved my feet up and down in excitement. "Yeah, I figure that's where I'll be working! But I should probably focus on getting the job first." I nervously laughed.

"People don't hand out those cards willy nilly," Jessica said as she narrowed her eyes at me. "Just don't shit the bed on the interview and you'll be fine."

"I don't even have the interview yet!" I protested. "Anyway, tell me more about what's going on with you guys. I'm getting anxious."

We talked for a while longer until all the wine was gone and it was too dark to comfortably sit outside, which thanks to the change of season was after 8 o'clock.

When I went to bed that night, I understandably had some trouble sleeping. I was so nervous that I had to take two antihistamines after almost an hour of tossing and turning. I was able to distract myself from thinking about my important phone call by thinking about what Darlene had said to me. Sure, I'd probably commute from my parent's house for the first few months of working. The train to the city only took me about 45 minutes. But if I liked the job and saw myself working there for a while, I'd probably want to move into the city. I thought about the possibility of moving in with Scott and started to get excited at the dream life I was dreaming up. I vowed that if I did get the job, I'd sit and have a real talk with Scott about our possible future together. I just hoped it wasn't going to scare him away.

The next day, I waited until my lunch break to go outside to my car. My hand was shaking as I pulled out Lillian's business card and carefully dialed the number.