Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 16

Annie

A knock on my door at ten forty-five startles me. I’ve checked in with everyone when I got home from The Stardust. No one wanted the night off tonight, so I had two glasses of wine with Kyle and listened to him complain about his life. I don’t know any neighbors except for the older couple on the ground floor, and I doubt they are still awake.

I’m a mess. I’m crying because I just finished A Star Is Born. God, when Barbra Streisand bites Kris Kristofferson’s lip in the bathtub, it makes my belly drop every single time. I still cry every time I watch it. It guts me when he drives off and dies in the end.

I look through the peephole. Surprised, I unlock my door and throw it open. “Hey, what’s wrong? Did something go wrong with the house?”

Jack casually leans against my doorframe. “I figured out who your date was with tonight, and I’ve been trying to get ahold of you.”

“What?” I whisper.

“Where is your phone, Annie?” I swallow when he moves so close to me, I can feel his breath on my face. He growly says, “I don’t like you dating.”

I’m suddenly very aware that I’m in one of Laura’s old nightgowns. It’s pretty, warm, and comfortable, but it’s not what I had in mind wearing for the scenarios I played out in my head for the first time I get to touch Jack. He can feel this between us, too.

The air around us feels electric; it zaps throughout my body. He keeps still, not moving, waiting for me to respond. My heart is pounding. I close my eyes, and I lean up towards his mouth. Jack takes hold of my face softly and kisses me far too quickly than I intended. In my daydreams, I also didn’t imagine him scowling down at me either after our first kiss like he is now.

“Why are you crying? Did something happen tonight? Where’s your cell phone, Annie?” He’s checking over my face. He looks grumpy, frowning, and very serious.

“I’ve just finished watching A Star is Born, and I was crying. My phone is almost out of minutes, so after I checked in with everyone, I turned it off.”

He holds my face again, and this time kisses me slowly and thoroughly. I close my eyes and sink into him. This is the kiss I imagined. I can feel his full smile on my lips. Yes, this is how I pictured our first kiss, with him smiling. I put my arms around him and wrap myself around him as close as I can get.

“Come home with me tonight.” He pulls his head back and looks around my apartment. I watch his dark eyes taking in my space. My twin bed, a recliner, and an end table is the only furniture I own. The built-in bookshelves and entertainment center in the apartment houses all of my pictures along the back wall. All of my possessions, my forty-two years of life condensed down to what he sees and fits into an efficiency apartment.

I feel dumpy dressed in this nightgown, and I can tell by the frown on his handsome face he’s doesn’t approve of my tiny place. I love this apartment. “At the end of my one year lease, I’m hoping there is a one-bedroom available in this building. I feel safe here, I haven’t lived in a city for twenty-five years, but I was raised and grew up in downtown Memphis. I loved it, and I’m getting into the swing of city living again.”

He kisses me quickly and backs away, “Grab some clothes to spend the weekend with me. Tonight at my place downtown and tomorrow, we’ll stay out at the house.”

My insides explode with butterflies. I’m not missing this opportunity. I ignore Mama’s and Laura’s voices in my head that he won’t respect me if I give it all away so soon. I don’t care. I smile, hoping it doesn’t show how happy I am about finally getting to be with him. “Yes, to tonight, and we’ll see about tomorrow.”

He raises his brows like he wants to argue. His frown makes me want to grab him and jump him, right here. His overly long, dark hair curling and sticking out around his face and covering his ears. His dark, serious expression, and dark stubbled, strong jaw… It all makes me want to hug him, so I finally do. “Give me a few minutes.”

I go to the bathroom room to change and grab some necessities for spending the night with Jack. I collect some clothes in containers from under my bed. I watch him look at pictures of Jenny, Mama, Laura, SJ, and Leslie. My entire life is on display for him to see. Yes, he’s caught me looking at pictures at the house, but they are only of his childhood. A few of him with his mom, dad, Sophie, Ben, and Sophie’s mom. I wonder about Sophie’s mother, how she passed, and how long ago? I need to ask Leslie that question. I hate to think about her Mom not being a part of her daily life.

I grab my drying clothes that are hanging in my tiny bathroom to paint tomorrow. And because I’m a hopeful person, I bring things to shower at the house and be ready to, fingers crossed, to work at The Stardust.


Annie

Jack holds my hand on the short drive to his place. We’re quiet, but I feel relaxed with him running his thumb across my knuckles. I stare out the window with a goofy smile on my face. “This is my building.” He points to a building as we pass it. He turns behind the building and pulls into an underground parking lot.

I’m surprised by how close he lives to me. He lives on the south edge of the downtown. His building is next to the neighborhood of Clinton. I wished I could have afforded Clinton; it was my first choice when I moved up here to be by my family. I couldn’t even afford to live in a closet in that part of town. My place is on the edge of Clinton, in the neighborhood of Reynolds, and is further south. “How many people live in your building?” I ask.

“One, me.”

“Wow, you’re the only person who lives in this whole building?”

“Yes, it used to be an old department store. It was locally owned and operated by one family for generations. It was built in nineteen fifteen. I purchased it ten years ago after it sat abandoned and brought it back to life. The first floor is a commercial bakery. They bake and deliver fresh bread to a lot of the local restaurants and stores, plus they have a big contract out west. On the second floor, I rent office spaces; it’s full of an Accounting and a PR group. The third floor is my business, and I employ six people. The fourth is my office and work out facility. The top two floors are my personal space.”

“Did you always know you wanted to be an architect? Silly question, you designed your parents’ house when you were only fifteen. I’m excited to see inside your building.” I swallow down the rush of nerves racing through me.

He chuckles, “I’ve always known Annie since my first set of building blocks and Legos.” He smiles softly. Wow, I don’t think he has ever smiled at me quite like this one. No, I know he hasn’t, I would have remembered it. We ride a private elevator up to his floor. The doors open up into a wide foyer to a set of double doors into his apartment.

He lets go of my hand and walks to his state of the art kitchen. I wipe my hand on my jeans. I feel a little out of my depth now. I look around; the space is all warm colors and brick walls, it’s very cozy. “This is beautiful, Jack.”

“Thank you. Let me get you a drink, and I’ll show you around. What can I get you?”

“I had red wine earlier; I’ll think I stick with that if you have it.”

He frowns, as is his way, shakes his head, and walks over to a wine fridge. I sit at his kitchen island and look around. It’s an open concept plan, but you know what each space is designated and used for in his daily life. He has a large, round dining room table covered with blueprints and papers.

I stand and walk over to look while he pours our drinks. He joins me and hands me a glass, “Is this what you’re working on now?” I look up curiously. I always find myself curious when I’m with him, waiting for any crumb he’ll give me about his life. I think he’s the most fascinating man I’ve ever met. He laughs. I smile. I love it when he laughs.

He shuffles through the blueprints and moves one to the top of the pile. He points, “This structure will be a museum on Park Avenue named Silvia.” I feel my eyes get huge. What did he just say? I can’t say reply; my mind is blown. Park Avenue, New York City, unreal. He’s standing beside me like this is an everyday thing. I guess it is in his world.

He chuckles at my silence and my expression. He leans his butt on the dining room table, crosses his ankles, and folds his arms across his broad chest. “If this,” he nods to the blueprints laid out behind him, “plays out like I think it will, my work, my vision, my mark will be visible on a massive platform. My work and name will be cemented in history books whenever the skyline of New York City is discussed.”

“Wow, congratulations, Jack.” I nervously laugh. I’m so out of my league here. “I bet people from all over wanted this to be their mark on the world.” I glance over to the massive-sized blueprint of a future building. I feel the energy buzzing through my body. Part of me is turned on because this sexy man has reached a level of success only a few achieve. God, what they say must be true. Power and success can be felt, I know, I feel it when I’m near him. A part of me is screaming what, besides my body, do I have to offer this man?

He slowly shakes his head yes. “This will be my second building on Park Avenue.”

I again am speechless. He smirks, I know my face shows my awed emotions. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by his success, but I try to play it cool. I take a sip of my wine and mimic his stance. I lean my butt back on the table and fold my arms. Jack stands and quickly pins me to the table with his body up against mine. He looks down at me. He looks dark, his eyes, his stubble-covered jaw, his dark, messy hair. My heart pounds so loud, and hard I’m surprised it’s not echoing throughout his house.

I watch his eyes look over my shoulder, to his blueprint plans on the table then back, into my eyes. A smile spreads over his face, and those adorable dimples of his decorate his cheeks. My stomach flips. I know he’s thinking about fucking me on his blueprints, on this table.


Jack

Annie’s bright blue eyes widen when she catches onto where my thoughts have strayed. She takes me off guard when she leans up and into me to kiss me. I growl like a madman. I pick her up and sit her on the table and grind my dick into her center. I do what I’ve been fighting since I saw her in the goddamn school gym. I hold her face and kiss her hard. I know I need to slow down for Annie. I slow the kiss and kiss down her neck and under the collar of her blouse that’s gaping open, exposing her delicate collarbone. “We’ll fuck on my blueprints to celebrate when it’s inked and a done deal.” I kiss her mouth again, trying to be soft. She laughs nervously, pats my face, and rubs my stubble. I give her room to stand up. I take her hand. “I’ll give you a tour, and I’ll show you where I store all my weed and porn nowadays.”

She laughs and shakes her head at my teasing. Her hair is down tonight. I’ve only seen it down a few times. It’s dark, thick, and messy, hanging around her face and her cute, little pointy chin. Christ, the fucking things I want to do to her, she has no idea. I want to take sweet Annie and make her all dirty.

I shake off my thoughts, “How about I give you a tour in the morning.” I grin when I see her blush. I lead her over to my couch to sit down. “Would you like more wine?” She sits and tucks her legs under ass. I grabbed another beer for myself and put the bottle of wine that I opened out on my coffee table.

She smiles and teases me, “Are you trying to get me tipsy?”

“I don’t think I need to, sweetheart,” I point out.

She rolls her eyes, “I’m still trying to process that you’ve designed two buildings on one of the most well-known streets in the world. I’ve never been to New York and know nothing about architecture, but I know of Park Avenue. Hmm, what things do I know about Park Avenue? Okay, Grand Central Station is on Park Avenue. I’m pretty certain the Waldorf Hotel has a Park Avenue address, and I’m one hundred percent positive that Felix and Oscar lived on Park Avenue. Oh, The Helmsley Building is on Park Avenue. My goodness, Leona Helmsley, was a witch. That was a great made for television movie. Tell me about the first building you designed on the famous street or uh, avenue.”

“I was thirty-five, working for Rinzin Architecture firm out of their Manhattan office. They encouraged us all to submit our drawings and plans for a new high-rise apartment complex. They chose my designs and supported everything. It’s prime real estate in New York, and I was proud to be chosen. I’m thankful my Dad was alive and well when it happened.”

“You don’t work for that firm any longer?” she asks.

“No, I left shortly after 1083 Park Avenue was completed. I moved back to Ohio and created this, my firm.”

“And now a museum? You should be very proud of yourself. Your achievements must be beyond most people’s wildest dreams.”

“It is,” I smile. Damn, I need to taste sweet Annie again.

She smiles at my cockiness. Her cheeks are flushed from the wine. Her expressive eyes, such a vivid blue, are vibrant against her creamy skin and dark hair. I sit my beer down. “Come on, Annie. It’s time for a tour of the bedroom.”

She surprises me again when she accepts my hands and flings herself up and into me. I catch her under her ass. She puts her hands in my hair, “Good, I’m ready for my tour of the bedroom Jackson.” I growl when she drawls out my full name.

“Annie, I hope you know what you’ll in for with me. I’m not sweet, kind, and gentle like you. I hope you’re ready for me, for this.”

“I’m ready; I’m so ready.”


Annie

I kiss him trying to tell him I didn’t think he’d be a soft and gentle lover. I don’t want him to be. I’m attracted to his rough, grumpy, impatience dark exterior. I know it’s not the only side he has, but I can’t deny that I get really turned on by that part of him too.

I need to keep my heart in check and enjoy this for what it is and what it will become. His world is a far cry from mine and always will be. I’m grabbing this time, however long with him because I want him and I want and need this. To feel, to touch, to get lost in him. I pull his hair when he lays me down on the bed softly. I scratch his scalp and tug. His hair feels like I imagined, soft and lush. “I don’t want you to be soft with me, Jackson.”

“Good, Annie, I’ve fought this attraction to you long enough. I don’t think I can be gentle with you right now.” He unbuttons my blouse, and I can see my chest rising and falling. My chest heats when his eyes move over me for the first time. He slides his hand down my stomach and unbuttons and pulls down my jeans.

“Take your clothes off, Jackson.”

“I will sweetheart, but I want to see you first. I’ve thought about you lying, all sweet, soft, and warm in my bed.”

I shiver from his words and the look the on his face. I feel sexy and wanted, God, I want him now. He takes my hand and sits me up. He kisses me softly then he bites my bottom lip hard. I gasp surprised. He smiles and licks where he bit me. He unhooks my plain cotton lacy ivory bra. I’m sure it’s not what he’s used to, but I think it’s cute, versatile, and comfortable enough to sleep in when I do. I suck in a breath; he kisses my nipples and licks down my belly. He stops when he gets to my matching cotton underwear.

“Mmmmmm, sweetheart, I can see how wet you are.” He sticks his nose in my center and hums.

He slides my panties down. I want his mouth between my legs, but I’m also aware that I’m not neatly trimmed and manicured down there. I’m not Chewbacca, but I can’t help but be mindful that my routine down there happens with cheap disposable razors and an old pair of dull scissors.

“Where did you go, sweetheart?” He puts his finger in me and leans up to kiss me. Yes, this is what I need. Don’t think; I just want to feel.

He breaks our kiss but keeps fingering me. His eyes take me in. Starting my with my eyes that I know are full of lust, down to his fingers entering me and my hips moving, trying to keep him inside me.

“Now, you’re back with me, sweetheart.”

I’m about to explode. I’m completely naked, and he is still dressed. “Please, Jackson, take your clothes off,” I beg.

He nips my lip, pulls his fingers from me and puts them in my mouth for me to taste. “Annie, so sweet and real. I can read every thought that crosses your mind. They are all right there in your big blue eyes, sweet Annie.”

He pulls away from me to stand up. He takes his shirt off, and I’m mesmerized by his strong, muscular chest, it is broad and defined. He unfastens his jeans and pulls them down; his legs are long and thick. I roll to the side of the bed so I can touch him. I take him in my hand then bend to take him in my mouth. I look up at him, and his eyes look black, no longer brown. He grabs my head roughly, thrust his hips, he hits the back of my throat, and I gag.

“Annie,” he says before he tosses me up on the bed and grabs a condom from his bedside table.

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