Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 37


“Why don’t you move back here full time, look at this skyline?” Eli looks out over the city from the rooftop bar, overlooking Manhattan.

I scoff, “No, thank you. Not a fucking chance in hell.”

He studies me for a moment, “You seem different this go around. Is it because we’re older, or does it have to do with Annie? She’s not your usual type. She’s a house painter, not a cut-throat lawyer who enjoys ripping men’s balls off.”

I smile at his dig at his wife, Hannah. “She’s far from that.”

“She’s attractive, and she seems sincere. I still don’t get why you are flying in and out of here every week for any woman. It’s not like you, especially for one you’ve started dating a short time ago. She’s a house painter for Christ’s sake, Jack; I’m sure she’ll quit that job and move to New York with you. Who the hell wouldn’t?”

I don’t bother explaining — some things, he and Hannah can’t understand. They love the rat race, the glitz, and the glam of being successful in this city. I ignore his comment.

“Jack, it’s our chance to prove The Spalding was not young, dumb luck. Once again, we have risen to the top. It’s not about who we knew, or who pulled strings or grease palms for us to be considered. We earned it. We deserve it. It’s our time to prove we are so fucking good that they are lucky to have us. Instead of how we are shitting our pants because it’s here, another mark, the skyline forever changed by us, two assholes. ”

I sigh, I know what he’s saying. We need to prove ourselves on the grand stage, and it’s time to show the world our visions and cement our marks. We need to leave zero doubt. Our first go-around, we dealt with bullshit gossip, speculation on how we won The Spalding. There was gossip over everyone and everything that touched that structure, trying anything to make us doubt ourselves. He’s right. We need to prove ourselves and shut down the critics who tried to fuck with us the first time.

“Jack, man, it’s time to stop fucking around. You know you need to hang in there and get through the bullshit that comes along with this. You can disappear after, but you need to live here and do this thing right. It’s too important to me, both of us, all of us, not be fully committed to this project.”

“I know I need a couple of weeks. When I fly home next week, I’m staying for two weeks to get things at home and work ready for me to be gone full time.”

He releases a breath and takes a drink, “Thank you, Jack. Sorry to say this, but if she doesn’t support you, you need to cut her loose.”

I scowl at him. I take a drink and decide to ignore him because he knows nothing about my life with Annie. I want her to be here beside me. I hate walking into my hotel suite, after a long tiresome day of meetings, and not see her face. I need to sublease an apartment. I’ll find something that Annie will be comfortable in. Christ, I don’t know if I can convince her to quit her jobs and leave her new family along with Sarah Jane and Leslie. She can pick out any place in the whole fucking city to live, and I don’t give a shit where I only want her with me. We need to figure out a way; it’s only two years.

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