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Playing for keeps, p.18
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       Playing for Keeps, p.18

          part  #1 of  Neighbor from Hell Series  by  R. L. Mathewson / Humor / Romance & Love
Page 18

Since this morning when her grandmother had called asking him to join her family for dinner tonight Haley had been on edge. He wasn't sure if she was pissed because her grandmother had called him before her or what. All he knew was that when she overheard her grandmother ask him to join them at dinner she went a little insane.

It hadn't mattered that they were standing in line at the bakery. Haley jumped up and tried to snatch the phone out of his hand. He'd been too surprised and admittedly laughing his ass off when she tried to take him to the ground to give it much thought. Of course it did surprise him that her grandmother wasn't shocked to hear her granddaughter scream all sorts of threats of violence to him.

Jason really didn't know what the hell was going on, but he liked Haley's grandmother and didn't want to disappoint her by saying no, so of course he accepted the invitation and tried not to wince when Haley kicked his shin.

From that moment on she'd been royally pissed at him. She'd ordered the last four apple fritters knowing he looked forward to his apple fritters every Friday and didn't offer him one. Even worse, she gave away his delicious treats during the morning meeting. He spent the entire meeting glaring at the bastards who ate his fritters.

It only got worse after that.

During their lunch break not only did she refuse to eat with him, but she somehow managed to steal his lunch and toss it in the trash and made sure there were no delectable treats in the staff refrigerator for him to steal. When he went to buy lunch in the student cafeteria he discovered another lovely surprise.

She'd somehow lifted his wallet.

By the end of the day he'd been so pissed and hungry that he decided she was damn well going tonight whether she wanted to or not. When he arrived home he wasn't too surprised to discover that Haley had barricaded herself in her room. That was more than fine with him. It gave him plenty of time to recoup his strength. After devouring everything in her fridge he broke into her room.

She'd put up a good fight, but eventually he managed to drag her into the living room where she pretended to hurt her ankle. When he released her to check she shoved him, knocking him flat on his ass, and took off for the backdoor. She made it as far as the kitchen sink before he was on top of her.

"Are you still mad at me?" he asked as he turned into the parking lot of Harrington's, the five star restaurant her family was dining at tonight. He was glad he finally found his wallet during their little wrestling match since this meal was most likely going to give his credit card a workout.

Haley sighed heavily, shifting to look at him. "No, I just don't want to do this. "

"Really? I couldn't tell," he said drily.

"I'm really sorry," she said, as he pulled up behind a short line of luxury cars.

He shrugged, thinking she was apologizing for starving him. That reminded him that they'd need to stop by the grocery store after this to refill her fridge otherwise she might be pissed to discover that he left her with only three eggs, a jar of olives and some expired girly yogurt that he wouldn't touch with a ten foot spoon.

"I'm sorry if I hurt you," she said, sounding serious.

He had to bite back a smile at the thought of his little grasshopper kicking his ass. "I'll, ah," he just barely stopped himself from laughing, "I'll survive. "

She nodded regally. "I know. I held back. "

"And I really appreciate that. "

*************

"You know you're going to starve here, right? Even I have to hit the drive thru at Burger King after coming here," Haley pointed out desperately as Jason dragged her from the safety of the car.

Jason simply sighed, wondering if she really knew him at all. As if the prospect of eating two dinners would upset him. Puhlease.

"Fine," Haley said, giving him a sly little smile as she stood up, straightening her lavender shirt and dark skirt. "If you take me home right now I promise," she said in a sultry tone, reaching up to run her fingertips down his tie, "that I will fulfill every single sexual fantasy you've ever had and some you didn't know were possible. "

With a bored sigh he simply grabbed her arm and gently tugged her towards the front entrance, ignoring the valets as they choked on their tongues. If he thought for one second that she was serious he would have hauled her ass back into the car and been going ninety to the nearest pharmacy all while he had his hand shoved up her skirt.

Not that he really wanted to do that.

Much.

"B-but I'm offering you sex! Lot's and lot's of sex!" Haley hissed urgently as they stepped into a lush foyer.

"You would have had more luck offering me meatloaf, my little grasshopper," he informed her, catching her arm as she tried to make another escape.

Haley exhaled heavily as she pushed her glasses back up her nose. "I was going to offer that, too. " She gave him a hopeful smile. "What if we go home and I cook-"
"Too little too late, my little grasshopper. Besides, there's nothing in your fridge to cook anyway. "

She frowned up at him. "But I just went shopping the other day. "

"I got hungry," he simply said, ignoring her adorable little glare.

"You better not have touched the last piece of pumpkin pie," she warned.

He had to laugh at that. "It was the first thing to go," he informed her as they stepped up to the maître d's podium. She sent him a glare that promised all kinds of retribution. Where Jason could eat just about anything, and often did, his little grasshopper was a pumpkin pie junkie.

"Welcome to Harrington's. My name is Elizabeth, how can I help you?" the woman asked them both as she sent Jason an inviting look that let him know he'd be getting offered more than just appetizers tonight.

He looked down at Haley, wondering if she caught the look and what she thought, not that he wanted her to be jealous or anything. He had to smile when he caught Haley gazing longingly at the exit sign.

"It won't be that bad," he said, taking her hand into his, mostly to keep her from bolting again.

"Yes, it will," she sighed pathetically.

Jason turned his attention back to the woman who was now frowning unhappily at their entwined hands.

"We're joining the Blaine party for reservations at six," he said, tightening his grip on Haley's hand when he felt her trying to pull away.

"Right this way," the woman said with a tight smile.

As they followed the woman through a richly furnished sitting room Jason couldn't help but wonder why Haley settled on the losers that she did when she was clearly used to so much better. He'd seen some of the losers she'd dated over the years and doubted they'd pulled out their wallet for much more than Denny's and even then only if they had a coupon.

She should be dating someone who was willing to bust his ass to show her how much she meant to him. He'd have to work on it with her, but that was for later. Right now he had to focus on dragging her alongside him.

**************

"What are you doing?" Jason asked, smirking as he glanced down at her.

"Nothing," she said quickly as she tried to discretely shift so that Jason was blocking her from the left side.

"Doesn't look like nothing," Jason noted, quickening his pace, probably to annoy the hell out of her.
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