“Wish me luck, George.” My shoes hit the pavement of 15 Central Park West, and I know this is it. I tug at the knot of my Lorenzo Cana charcoal silk. Her favorite. At least that’s what she says every time I wear the damn thing. Today it feels like a noose around my neck. Choking me. Taunting me to turn and run while I have a chance. I can broker multi-million dollar deals, butt heads with Trump and his cronies, but this one little deed, the utterance of four simple words, has me sweating like Fat Bastard in a Santa suit. Is it worth it? Damn straight it’s worth it. She’s worth it.
George closes the door behind me as only George can do. Noiselessly.
“Ain’t no such thing as luck, Mr. Jamison. Either the woman loves you, or she doesn’t.”
My hand slips over the obscenely expensive lump in my jacket pocket for the millionth time that morning, seeking some type of palpable reassurance of the decision I’ve made. Pffft. Of course she loves me. Who wouldn’t? I’m Collin Edward Jamison III. Heir to the largest real estate development firm in New York City. Manhattan’s Most Eligible Bachelor...
George raises an eyebrow as he waits for my reply. He’s expecting me to say something like that. Something cocky and self-absorbed. But George knows as well as I do that Annette Bradshaw is the love of my life. This time, he’ll have to settle for the truth instead of a smart-ass answer.
“She loves me.”
Shit. Now what?
“Are you sure you don’t want me to wait? In case she chases you off with her briefcase?” George winks and lets loose a throaty James Earl Jones chuckle, the kind that seems to start in his toes before working its way up to his deep baritone vocal cords. I can’t help but smile.
“I don’t plan on needing your services until later in the day, George.” I shoot him my own wink. “Much later. Miss Bradshaw and I will have a bit of .... celebrating to do.” I pat the lump one more time, then head for the door to Annette’s building.
George’s booming voice stops me in my tracks, the same way it did when I was eight years old and he caught me pissing in my mother’s rose bushes. I turn, expecting George to give me one more tidbit of unsolicited fatherly advice, or at least a May the Force be with you. After all, it isn’t every day that a man asks a woman to marry him, and George’s advice was the closest thing I’d be getting to anything fatherly. Instead, I find him holding out a brown paper bag.
“You forgot your bagels ... and I think you’re gonna need your strength, Mr. Jamison. Celebrating takes a lot of energy.” George guffaws at his own joke and shoves the bag at my chest, but I block the assault before it crushes the Lorenzo Cana. Her favorite. Those two words follow on the tail of “Lorenzo Cana” as automatically as the succulent memory of her wearing nothing but that charcoal silk and an I’m gonna make you beg for mercy look in her chocolate brown eyes the day she gave it to me. The thought elicits a delicious but inconvenient tug in my groin. At least I don’t feel like I’m choking anymore.
“Thanks, old man.”
“Old? What do you mean, old, you little pipsqueak?” George puffs his chest out like a rooster in a henhouse. “I’ve done more celebrating on a daily basis for the last thirty years than you’ll do in the next sixty.” George struts around the Mercedes to the driver’s door. “As a matter of fact, I think I’m gonna head on home and do some celebrating myself, since you won’t be needing my services for the day.”
I chuckle. “You do that, George.”
George slides into the driver’s seat and, for the first time in recorded history, slams the door of his beloved Mercedes. Holy shit! Seems I ruffled the old man’s feathers.
I turn and face the nineteen-story tower as George drives away, take a deep breath to calm my nerves, pat the lump in my pocket one more time, and smile.
She loves me.