“Hello? at home. drunk” said the text message I finally received at 9 p.m. I thought, What did I do wrong to turn this hopeful young relationship into late-night booty texts?
Through many protracted therapy sessions with my girlfriends, I realized I didn’t do anything wrong at all. The dysfunction was all on his side.
I met Brent when I fell out of escrow. He was my knight in shining armor, president of his own company. He walked on water and got me a loan in — no joke — 52 hours. I got my house ten minutes before the deadline. How would I ever repay this savior?
I went to sign the documents Friday afternoon at his ocean-view office in Newport Beach. Designer jeans, hip retro paisley shirt with the top button open, chain around his neck, blinding whitened teeth, baby-blue eyes. After the papers were signed I said that I needed to find a gas station, and he offered to take me to one. “I’ll meet you in the driveway,” he said in the elevator. “I have the black Porsche.”
At the gas station he asked me out, and I accepted. That’s when the text barrage started. “You know how to be a woman, and I like that.” “You are smart, young, and hot. What else is there to know?” “I wish I wasn’t leaving town tomorrow.”
He had to leave the next day for Colorado. He was selling his eight-million-dollar architectural-award-winning house he built in Tahoe. He called me morning, noon, and night. The phone sex was hot. “I think I finally hit the relationship jackpot,” I told my friends. “See, we told you it would get better after your divorce!” they said to me. God closes one door and opens another. I could start to believe in the universe again.
Brent couldn’t wait to see me after Aspen. He set me up in a penthouse executive suite at a high-end hotel in Newport so I could relax there after leaving work in Irvine. His plan was to come see me immediately upon landing.
As I sat on my ocean-view balcony sipping a $100 bottle of wine, I planned out my new life with Brent in Newport. I’d quit my corporate dead-end job, meet the other ladies who lunch, attend fancy dinners, drive a complementary-colored Porsche. I debated what would go best with his black one. I’d never again worry about paying back my school loan or buying a new set of tires. I was tired of working 11-hour days. I could do this.
The next day the seducing continued. He invited me to his house. Upon entering, the 180-degree view of Lido and Balboa Islands from his cliff above PCH had me enchanted. Luxury sheets that cost $800. That’s per sheet. I never knew sheets could feel like that. I woke up to an orange-pink morning sky overlooking the palm trees and yachts of Newport Harbor. Finally, something good had happened to me in this life. I needed to send God a thank-you note.
Then, it happened — without warning the tide turned and Brent became distant and cold. It was the ol’ bait and switch. Now that he had my attention he didn’t have to expend as much energy as he had in the beginning. Our relationship turned into texts. And sex. Mind-blowing hours of sex. That was it. My imagined life was getting distorted and melting away.
Not that I was complaining at the time. Brent’s corner office with ginormous windows facing the ocean was the perfect setting for Friday-night sex on his granite desk. Million-dollar figures floated by on Excel spreadsheets on his monitor as we spent hour after hour turning his office into what Kansas must look like after a tornado. Hey, a girl’s got needs.
Then he began to blow off date after date via text. “Lunch tomorrow. Come to my office.” I was constantly rearranging my schedule. “Rough day at office today. Lunch Monday?” He’d always let me down. “Very sorry we couldn’t play today. Dinner & dancing next Tuesday.”
I’ve read He’s Just Not That Into You. I’ve watched Sex and the City. I know the warning signs. Men move mountains to be with a girl they’re interested in. When he changed our Tuesday dinner date to Wednesday, the fourth blow-off, I should have known it was not going to get better.
On Wednesday the silence was deafening. I emailed, then called. At 4:53 p.m. came this text: “Been drinking since lunch with friend from Atlanta. You never told me if Wed or Thurs worked better.” I responded civilly, even flirtatiously. Brent, three sheets to the wind on a Wednesday afternoon like a frat boy, responded: “Been drinking since 1. Not a pretty sight.” Forget it, right?
But the tail end of drinking always involves booty calls. Especially for an ultra-rich 51-year-old good-looking guy with game in Newport. I got two booty calls after being stood up two nights in a row. “Just got home. Where are you?” Seriously?
Reflecting upon this fiasco of a relationship, I find that what I’m looking for is much more elusive than oodles of money. In fact, I theorize that having a lot of money is inversely proportional to that person’s lack of character. Prove me wrong. Wealth spoils people, warps their ethical compass. I smile and say good morning to the janitor at work every day. I doubt Brent would do that.
The texting continued long after I had lost interest in the game. “I will be much easier to deal with after my house sells 10/15.” I’m already gone, Brent. You had so much potential. Enjoy your checking account and your empty house.
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