Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 15

Jack

I’m glad I’m home from New York. I remember why I hate it there and why I don’t like people. People are every fucking where it’s claustrophobic. I’ve decided to stop torturing myself about Annie. I want her. I have no idea if her magic will wear off on me, but I can’t ignore this attraction. I like her as a person. I respect her; she’s beautiful, soft, and real. She’s consuming too many of my thoughts not to act on them. I can’t keep ignoring how many times I’ve been working and thought about her big blue eyes and her big warm smile. God help me, but I want her softness wrapped around me. I’ve been beating off to the thought of those big blue eyes looking up at me while she sucks me off the last two weeks, and I’m tired of ignoring it. I need to have her, get to know her better, and hope I can get my attraction to her under some kind of control. She’ll probably decide I’m not worth the headache once she gets to know me better. A part of me knows that’s not true, Annie is sweet to a fault, but she’s far from dumb. She knows I’m an asshole, and she just thinks it funny for Christ’s sake.

We almost run into each other. She’s rushing out the door at the house, and I’m trying to get inside to see her. “Hey,” I reach out and take ahold of her shoulders, so we don’t crash into one another. I want to pull her closer to me and kiss her. I’ve missed seeing her every day.

“Oh hey, sorry about that, I didn’t mean to bowl you over.” She smiles and leans back from me. “I’m headed out for the night. Derek and Maranda will show you everything that’s been done since you’ve seen it last. I think you’ll be surprised. I’m off now. I’ll see you around, Jack.” She skirts around me and leaves. I frown, what the hell?

I walk in and see all the wallpaper is gone, everywhere downstairs. I walk straight to Derek, who’s leaning on the island in the kitchen writing in a notebook. “Hey, long time no check-in. So what do you think?” He puts the notepad in his ridiculous painter’s pant pocket.

“Looks fine, where is Annie off to?” I ask gruffly.

He smirks, “She has a date.”

I scowl, not liking what I’m hearing. “Really? Good, okay.” I look around and see the ceilings have been painted back here in the two-story great room.

“You are so transparent, you know. You should learn how to control your facial muscles better.” He chuckles, but I don’t. “You missed your chance. You two flirted the first couple weeks, the third week you two eye fucked each other than boom you disappear-”

“I’ve been in New York for business. Who is she going out with tonight?” I interrupt, wanting to end this conversation as soon as possible.

He leans casually on the island. “Relax, she’s meeting some regular at The Stardust who’s lonely, and she feels sorry for him. She’s really hoping someone calls off work because the weather is strangely nice for this time of year. She needs the money. She went in early to hang out with him. He made a big purchase today from Mom and Dad. She went on and on about it all day. I’d say you still have a shot.”

He smiles knowingly, waiting for me to say something. I don’t give him what he wants. I turn and leave.

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