Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 28

Annie

Jack surprised me when he woke me up in the middle of the night by taking my nightgown off and telling me how much he missed me, my smile, my touch, me. We have fallen right back into our routine. I should practice what I know is sensible about our relationship, but my common sense leaves me when Jack is at home, and we’re together. I should play a little harder to get. I should be a bit less eager to spend every free second of my day at Jack’s apartment, making him dinner and falling asleep in his lap while he works at the table. All of this, our routine, should concern me. Because if this end, I will have to dig deep to be able to pick myself up and move forward. I’ve let him and us become my whole world. Jack has moved into my life, heart, and every waking thought.

“Uh-oh, you have a half frown on your face, sweetheart. What are you thinking about?” Jack asks me and interrupts my thoughts.

“Maybe I’m just picking up some of your bad habits.” I scowl like he’s doing right now. I kiss his frowning, serious face. I pull the blankets back for him to get into bed and join me.

He takes his glasses off, slides in, and kisses the top of my head while I get comfortable on his chest.

“Why were you frowning?” he probs.

“Just thinking about getting things organized and ready for the upcoming week at my apartment.”

“Hmmm, I’m gone four days this week, and things are happening fast with Silvia. We need to talk about you moving in here, full time. I hate when you leave to go back to your apartment, I want you here beside me, in this bed, our bed every night.” He starts his rhythmic, soft petting of my hair; he does it almost every night when we’re snuggled in bed.

My stomach drops, and I wiggle, moving as close to him as I can get. “We’ll talk about it when you get home.” I run my fingers through his soft chest hair and pat his chest.

“Tell me how you feel about moving in here with me?” He stops my hand and holds it to his heart.

“Honestly, Jack, I’d feel sick to my stomach paying rent on my place for six months-”

“I’ll buy out your lease.” He squeezes my hand.

“Stop interrupting me,” I squeeze back. I kiss his chest. “You leave in the morning. I’ll think about it, and we’ll talk it over this weekend when you get home.” I kiss his chest again, up his neck, and give him a quick kiss on his lips.

He squeezes me, and he kisses the top of my head. “Sweetheart, take this week and think about it, but, baby, you’re moving in with me. I want you here, in our bed, when I’m not here.” He picks up a strand of my hair and plays with it. I close my eyes and kiss over his heart. I never let myself, ever think, dream or fantasize about what the future ever had in store for me. I hated thinking about the future for a large part of my life. I couldn’t think about a future without my baby girl by my side. I knew she wouldn’t make it out of her teens, so the future, I always hated. I don’t know how or why I ended up here, beside a man who’s offering me a future full of hopes and adventures.

I fall asleep listening to Jack’s strong, steady heartbeat, feeling a sense of peace and a warmth I’ve never known to dream.

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