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prejackpot t1_iy8f33i wrote

At the bar in Eppley Airfield, Ash pulled up the Wainwright file on his iPad to go over it one more time. He’d been working on this takeover bid for months. Every i was dotted, every t was crossed. All that was left to do was to change the date back to where he’d originally set it: December 25th. Then he emailed it to his assistant. “Change of plans. Let’s ruin Christmas after all.”


At first Ash worried the man sitting down next to him had read over his shoulder, but he was gesturing at the bartop, where Ash had been absent-mindedly spinning Briana’s engagement ring.

“She said no? On Christmas eve? I’m sorry, man.”

“Probably for the best,” Ash said. He spun the ring again. “At least I don’t need to wear the matching pajamas with her family tomorrow morning.”

“I hear you,” the other man said. He gestured to the bartender, pointing to Ash’s scotch and holding up two fingers, and then slapped his hand down on the bartop like he was laying down a winning poker hand. Under it was another engagement ring. “It still hurts, though.”

Ash made a sympathetic wince. “What are the odds?”

“When your good-hearted girlfriend decides she misses her tiny hometown right before Christmas? I’d say the odds are pretty high.”

“The city isn’t for everyone,” Ash raised his glass.

“You get it,” the other man clinked his tumbler against Ash’s and took a long drink. “Anyway, you know what they say. They travel the fastest-”

“-who travel alone,” Ash finished the quote. “Kipling. A man of taste, I see.”

“Wealth and taste,” his new friend smirked. “Lucas Wainwright,” he offered his hand.

Ash took it. “Not the Wainwright Group?”

Lucas’s grip was tight. “The very same.”

“Ashton Jones,” he introduced himself. “I’m at Cerebellum Capital.”

He watched recognition dawn on Lucas’s face. “No shit?”

“No shit,” Ash lifted his glass again in a salute. “I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other.”

“Let’s see, your investors don’t have the stomach for what it’s going to take, your reputation is already in the gutter, and oh yeah, we’re fighting to save the insurance company my grandad built from nothing. You’re going to lose, my man,” Lucas clapped him too hard on the shoulder, but his arm stayed there when he was done. “But until then,” he added. “I wouldn’t mind it.”