Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 42

Jack

“How’s she doing today?” Ben asks me for the second time since he stopped at the house.

“She’s still like a zombie.”

“Jack, Sophie is scared to death. Make sure you answer her back when she texts you, please. She’s freaked about bad shit happening to people she knows and loves. She already considers Annie her aunt. I would have chosen to lie about what happened, but Leslie is turning it into a friend’s survival lesson. I can’t even think about some fucker touching what’s mine. Right now, I have Leslie and Sarah Jane staying at my house. They let that fucker out on bail because his Mom is on her death bed.”

“What the fuck are you talking about Ben? They let that fucker out of jail on bail? You’re keeping Leslie at your place because we need to be worried about safety, or are you fucking her? I wasn’t aware of either one of those things.”

“What the fuck is your problem? I know this scared you, and you’re stressed with work-”

“Jesus fucking Christ, I need to move to New York Ben, now, as soon as possible. I was planning on asking her to quit all of her fucking jobs and move with me.”

“So, what’s the problem? She can still move with you. ”

“Ben, my design is inked and confirmed. I need to live there and concentrate full time. I have my company here handled and set with projects. I can handle my work here by weekly telecommunication. I may need to live in New York, full time, for up to two years working on Silvia. I’m going to ask her to uproot and leave her family and friends to move with me so I can work nonstop. Ask her to go to dismal fucking fake cocktail parties and functions that I’m obligated to show my face at in the coming months. Those parties are full of vapid, artificial people. And I pray it doesn’t turn her away from me or worse yet, she discovers she likes that shit and wants to stay there.”

I look up and see Annie standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“You have to move to New York full time?”


Annie

“You let me go on, all last night, about only working at the bakery. About how I want to quit The Stardust to spend more time with you. I went on and on about Meg. About giving Aunt Betty and Uncle Terry some time away, out of the paint store. You, you, you let me ramble and ramble Jack and didn’t mention ONCE you were moving to New York.”

“Us, we are moving to New York for two years.”

I stare at him, trying not to cry. “When do you need to be back?” I ask. I’m suddenly bone tired.

“Two weeks.” His habitual thinking, concentration frown/scowl, makes an appearance on his handsome face.

“Can you do me a favor, if we’re allowed to, I’d like to stay at the apartment tonight. I want to help Meg tomorrow morning in the bakery. Can you call and see if it’s okay to go back?”

He nods, letting me know he heard me. “Thank you. I’d like to go as soon as possible so that I can lay back down.”

I go upstairs and take a shower. Life’s a wild ride. I’ve fooled myself into thinking I was prepared for being on my own or for a life with Jack. I started preparing myself for Jenny’s passing from the time she was two months old. She made it almost nineteen years. Laura was in poor health when I met her. I was lucky to have her with me for as long as I did. I know after this incident, I’m not prepared for anything at all. I’ve been working my fingers to the bone to settle all my debts. I thought after that was done and under control, everything would be easier. I know now, I’m not capable of making any more decisions. Somehow I’ve found myself on a merry go round, spinning round and round but not going anywhere. I feel so lost and utterly alone.

I cry and let the water wash my tears away. Life can throw at me anything it wants as it always has, I’ll get by. I need to sleep, maybe I’ll sleep for days, and Jack can frown and be grumpy and upset all by himself. I cry harder. In two weeks, he’s leaving me.

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