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Read online or Download Elements of Retrofit (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by N.R. Walker

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Thomas Elkin , #1
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Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?

A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his fortieth birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.

Cooper Jones, twenty-two years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.

Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.



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    Read an Excerpt



    Looking out of my office window over the darkening New York City skyline, I could see my reflection in the wall of glass before me. Beyond the expensive suit and shoes, there was grey hair at my temples, my once-black hair was now salt and pepper, and there were creases at the corners of my eyes.

    Forty-four years old. Forty-four. How did that happen?

    It seemed like I’d missed half of my life. In many ways I had.

    The light on the intercom flashed. “Mr Elkin?”

    My receptionist was fifteen years older than me and had been my receptionist for ten years, since the day I’d started at the firm, and yet she never faltered in her professional etiquette.

    “Yes, Jennifer?”

    “Ryan is on line two. Would you prefer I take a message?”

    “No, it’s fine,” I told her. “I’ll take it.” I pressed the speaker button. “Ryan?”

    “Hey, Dad, yeah, it’s me.”

    “Anything wrong?” I asked. It was unusual for him to call the office. “Still coming for dinner?”

    “Yeah, yeah, it’s all good. Just about dinner,” he hedged, “I was just wondering if you’d mind if I brought someone?”

    This surprised me. Since his mother and I had separated, it’d taken a while for things to get back to normal between us.

    “Yes, of course, that’s fine,” I told him. “Someone special?”

    “Oh no, nothing like that,” he said with a laugh. I could hear muffled voices in the background. “Just ran into an old buddy from school. He just got into town, he’s by himself and I told him he could have dinner with us.”

    “Okay, that’s fine,” I said. Ryan was very social, and growing up, he had forever had a crew of friends who lived at our place as much as their own. I’d quite often get home late to a den of high-school kids pretending to be asleep. I looked at my watch. “See you soon.”

    I disconnected the call and pressed Jennifer’s line. “Can you please order dinner for three to be delivered to my home address?”

    “Certainly,” she replied. “Thai? Italian? Japanese?”

    “You choose.”

    “Very well.”

    There was a soft click in my ear and I went back to staring at the evening skyline for another half an hour, before packing my laptop into my satchel and walking out of the door. Jennifer gave me a polite smile. “Japanese, delivered to your door at seven-thirty.”

    I smiled warmly at her. “Thank you, Jennifer.”

    “Have a good weekend, Mr Elkin,” she said, knowing I’d be working all weekend. I worked most weekends. “I’ve taken the liberty to have lunch ordered for you tomorrow. Security will bring it up.”

    “Don’t know what I’d do without you.”

    She smiled proudly. “Have a good evening, Mr Elkin. Give Ryan my best.”

    “I will.”

    I took the elevator from the top floor of executive offices down to the executive marble lobby, walked a block to the executive marble lobby of my apartment building, took the elevator to the executive suite on the top floor.

    Expensive. Polished. Predictable.

    Those three words just about summed me up.

    I’d been preoccupied lately, unsettled and lacking something. I’d quite often catch myself staring out of the window for some lengths of time, not able to recall a single thought. Maybe I needed a vacation. Maybe I’d take one after this next big contract was done.

    I loved my job as an architect. Loved it. I loved the lines in structure, the quiet confidence in well-built, historical buildings, and I loved the superiority and functionality of modern design.

    I loved my apartment, had some good friends and I even had an amicable relationship with my ex-wife, all things considered. My relationship with my son was better, good even. We’d had a rough patch when his mother and I first separated five years ago, but now at twenty-two years of age, he could see all sides of the situation and had made peace with it. With me.

    I’d changed into jeans and a button-down shirt and poured my first glass of wine when there was a knock at the door. I checked my watch, and knowing the doorman would have sent Ryan straight up, I called out, “It’s unlocked.”

    “Hey, Dad,” Ryan yelled from the door. I could hear him mumble something else and I remembered he was bringing company. My top-floor apartment was a large, open floor bachelor pad and the kitchen ran along the inside wall, out of line of sight from the front door.

    “In the kitchen,” I replied. “You boys want a drink?”

    Ryan walked in, followed by a face I didn’t recognise at first. “Dad, do you remember Cooper Jones?” Ryan asked, by way of introduction. “We went to high school together.”

    The name yes, but he didn’t look a thing like I remembered. Gone was the gangly, awkward teenager, replaced by a fit-looking young man. He had messy short brown hair, a wide smile and mischief in his hazel eyes.

    “Yes, I remember,” I said, extending my hand for him to shake. “You just grew up.”

    Ryan rolled his eyes. “That’s what happens, Dad, when you don’t see someone for five years.”

    Cooper shook my hand firmly. “Nice to meet you, sir.”

    “Can I get you boys a drink?” I asked again. “Dinner will be here in about half an hour.”

    I had my wine, they opted for a beer, and Ryan told me how Cooper’s family had moved to Chicago and how he’d lost touch with him through college, but Cooper had come to New York City for the summer. He’d literally checked into his room and gone in search for something to eat when he ran into Ryan on the street who then pulled out his phone and called me to see if he could tag along for dinner.



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