Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 25


I walk to the bus stop catty-corner from Jack’s building downtown. He wanted me to drive his car, but I refused. I like to support public transit. The buses are clean, and it doesn’t take long to get anywhere.

I’m surprised when I see Jerry at this stop. It’s a rainy, cold day; he must not have wanted to take his bike out in this weather. I know he said he lived downtown. But I never thought about him living close to Jack’s location.

“Hey, hi. Do you live around here? Are you headed into work like me?” I ask when he ducks under the little shelter at the stop

“Yeah. What are you doing at this stop? I’ve never seen you here before.”

“My boyfriend works.” I point to Jack’s building, “There. I was over hanging out. I didn’t work with my cousin today, and Jill just called to ask me to cover for her tonight.”

I’m glad Jerry took my refusal for a date in stride. I told him I didn’t want to date anyone from work. I didn’t want to risk the chance of any awkwardness at The Stardust, a job I not only enjoy but need. Jerry makes excellent tips. He’s a nice-looking man who can flirt and woo the people hanging out at the bar waiting on their tables. The women really like him.

I yawn. “Goodness, I can’t wake up tonight.”

“I’ll make you some coffee when we get into work.” Jerry chuckles and leads me onto the bus. “Do you want me to put a shot of espresso in it?” he jokes.

I laugh, “Maybe, depends on how busy we are tonight.” I yawn again. “Gosh, I hate it being dark so early, I can’t wait until spring arrives.”

“Me too, though I like the darkness earlier at night. It helps me relax and unwind my thoughts, and I tend to fall asleep earlier.”

“That’s true,” I dab under my watery eyes.

Jerry shake’s his head at me and half-smiles. He’s quiet most of the time at work when we’re all cleaning up for the night and chit-chatting about our lives. He hasn’t offered up a lot about himself at work, like most of us have. All I know is that he’s divorced but still stays at his ex-wife’s place to spend time with his only child, a boy who’s still pretty young.

When he's not staying with his ex and son he lives with his mom to help her out. I know his divorce is new, and he didn’t want it at first. He’s a junior high science teacher who works as a bartender at The Stardust four nights a week and occasionally on weekends. He’s sometimes can sound bitter about his life, but he’s a hard worker, and that says a lot of good things about a person.

I yawn again. “I’m making you an espresso as soon as we get to work, darlin’.” He bumps my shoulder, smiles, and takes a seat beside me on the bus.

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