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Chapter Eighteen


“I don’t give a fuck what I’ve lost for an investment,” I snarled. “I can sell the property I already acquired, or hell, I can donate it to Bermoose. This development is off the table. Now, is there something productive you wish to discuss, or can I head home?” I just got back to Boston a few hours ago. I never should’ve agreed to meet Phillip at the bar. All I wanted right now was to drink until I couldn’t think. Phillip was getting in the way of both.

I had plenty of alcohol at home, and right now, that’s where I wanted to be. My place was my solitude. And if I couldn’t be with Anne, I didn’t want anyone’s company. She’s told me where I stand. The doghouse would be a step up. I couldn’t get her cold eyes out of my mind. As soon as she learned what I’d done, a brick wall went up. Any feelings she may have held for me vanished.

“I’ve never seen you walk away from a deal before. And for the record, this is your third shot of tequila. You usually drink beer or bourbon. I take it you told Anne about what you were doing, and she wasn’t…receptive,” Phillip said.

“That’s an understatement. She hates me, and rightly so,” I said, downing another shot.

“You might want to go easy on those,” he suggested.

“What’s it to you? I’m calling a cab anyway.” That’s as responsible as I was prepared to be after the day I’d had. I’d been this angry before, but never at myself. Phillip warned me, but I didn’t listen. I thought Anne’s freedom to follow her dreams would be worth the price. Now I’m not so sure.

“Andrew, she might be angry now, but I’m sure given time, she will come to realize you were doing what you thought was best.”

“And what was that, Phillip? She believes I lied to her,” I barked.

“Which you did,” he stated.

“No. I…omitted a few things, but never have I lied to her,” I corrected.

“I’m sure that makes her feel so much better. Lying, or hiding. Gee, Andrew, do you know a single thing about women?”

I knew everything I needed to keep them at a distance. When it came to having a…relationship, well, I had no fucking clue. “I blame our parents for that.”

Phillip nodded. “I agree. They weren’t exactly ideal role models for a healthy and functional relationship.”

“You think? It’s why we’re all married to our careers. Wealth and success is all any of us strive for,” I growled. “Do you know she accused me of that and I couldn’t even deny it? How fucking sad is that?”

“Did you learn anything?”

I shot him a look, and I swear if we weren’t in a bar, I might just knock him on his arrogant ass.

“Yes. I learned that I’m an asshole and that she deserves much better than me,” I snarled. It was the truth. Anne was the sweetest, kindest person and I fucking hurt her.

“You’re not looking at the entire picture. I’m not saying you’re not an asshole, but based on everything you told me, your intentions were good.”

“You’re just saying that because you and I are alike and you don’t want to admit you’re a piece of shit, too.”

Phillip chuckled. “Possibly. But for the record, I’m a much bigger asshole than you’ll ever be.”

“How so?” I asked.

“I would move forward with the deal. But obviously, you’re in love with this girl.”

“I never said that,” I snapped.

“Let’s see. You are walking away from a billion-dollar deal and sitting in a bar getting drunk. Sounds like love to me.”

I looked at him and said, “Maybe you’re right. You might be a bigger asshole than me.”

Phillip said, “Well, this asshole is cutting you off. Time for you to get your ass home. Whether you want to or not, you still have a business to run and a meeting in the morning.”

I had totally forgotten about that. “Might need to reschedule,” I said as I stood up. My head spun. That last shot had tipped the scale, and I was drunk.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to ride with you?”

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