Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 49


“I’m not coming back after lunch,” I tell Eli before he walks out of my office.

“Why the hell not? You said Annie’s better.”

“Sit down a minute, please.”

I cut to the chase. “I’m proposing to Annie tonight and hoping I can convince her to say yes and to marry me as soon as we’re finished here with Silvia.”

The look of shock that crosses his face makes me smile. “Congratulations, man. You always have managed to surprise me, Jack. Good for you, I hate to say this, but I’m glad you are waiting until the building is up and completed. I know Mick and Marybeth will be surprised as well. Marybeth will be a bitch, and it will get a little awkward again but know I’m happy for you. I’d never thought I’d see the day. She’s not a pushover like I thought, nor is she after what you can give her. Hell, she could have chosen any place here to live, and she didn’t. Good luck, Jack. I look forward to visiting Ohio. Let’s go to the site this morning and grab lunch before you leave. I take it you’ll be working from home tomorrow?”

“That’s the plan. Give me fifteen, and I’ll meet you out front.”

I call Ben as soon as Eli closes my door.

He answers, “Quick text messages that you and Annie are alive are not enough, Jack. For my sanity, at least take the time to answer all of the questions Leslie and Sophie ask you. Leslie finally got a hold of Annie this morning. You don’t know anything about Mom yet, do you?”

“No, and sorry, I didn’t take the time to think about what Leslie’s odd questions meant. What did Mom do?”

“Are you sitting?”

Shit. “Yes, why?”

“Mom has been dating a man, Dick Blakes, on and off for a few years. He is moving to Ohio with her, and they plan to live here seven, eight-month out of the year. He also has family in Ohio.”

“Where are they living?” I ask, even though I already know the answer.

“You know where, Jack. Their things arrive next week. She sold her condo down there, and they bought one together. She showed the girls pictures online, and I’m still in shock. Are you going to explode? Why are you so quiet, what do you think we should do?”

“Nothing, good for her.”

“What the hell, Jack?” My answer surprises him.

“Good for her, Annie and I are happy in the city. Mom and whatever his name can live there until we decide we want to on down the road. I’ll bully them into moving into my condo when that time comes.”

“Who are you? Our mother is Blanche Devereaux, and she’s moving a man into our house for fuck’s sake.”

“Listen, I’m proposing to Annie tonight, I need to go and pick up the ring and try to get a little bit of work done. Hang in there, and I’ll help you when I can. I’ll call you later to chew your ass out for not telling me about Leslie, you asshole.”

“Wait! You’re proposing marriage to Annie?”

“Yes, I’m sure Leslie will fill you in tomorrow. Talk to you later.”

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