Playing for keeps, p.31
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       Playing for Keeps, p.31

         Part #1 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson  
Page 31

 

  "Shouldn't you be getting all excited and trying to push for marriage and grandbabies at this point?" he asked, not really wanting to encourage his mother to do that, but that's what happened when Brad brought Jill home six years ago to meet his family.

  Megan looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know I probably would if you were dating her. She's a very nice woman and I think she would do you a world of good. " She smiled excitedly. "Are you thinking of asking her out?"

  "Why the hell would I have to ask my girlfriend out? She's already going out with me? What is wrong with you people?"

  She rolled her eyes and playfully slapped his shoulder. "Oh, honey, you don't have to keep pretending. I'm glad you have a friend like Haley. Everyone thinks she's great. " She tapped a finger to her chin. "Of course your Aunt Ruth has been pushing her towards Jeff for the past ten minutes and Chris and David have been trying to ask her out for the past hour. I mean clearly she's a catch. What I don't understand is-"

  Jason cut her off. "Men from my own family are hitting on my girlfriend?"

  "They've been hitting on your friend," his mother clarified in an annoyed tone as if he was the one messing with her mind. Seriously what was wrong with his family? Why was it so hard for them to believe Haley was his girlfriend?

  "Actually," Trevor said a bit sheepishly, "I was going to ask her if she wanted to catch a movie and dinner after the party. "

  Jason's jaw dropped so fast he was surprised the damn thing didn't unhinge. He quickly recovered so he could threaten his cousin. "You stay the hell away from my girlfriend!" he said, pointing. He turned his finger on the rest of his family. "Just know that at this moment I hate you all. " They rolled their eyes. His finger stopped in front of his father. He narrowed his eyes on his old man. "And I'm never sharing any more of Haley's baked goods with you!"

  Jared gasped. "But. . . but. . . . but. . . . "

  With that he stormed out of the kitchen. He just thanked god his friends were there for him, because clearly his family wasn't. Was it really so hard to believe that he could land a woman like Haley?

  Chapter 17

  "Let me get this straight," Brad said, putting his beer on the ground between his feet. "You took Haley to meet your family without any type of warning and you were surprised they didn't believe the two of you were dating?"

  "Yes!"

  "Well, I can see why they didn't believe you," Mitch said as he snagged another beer out of the ice bucket.

  "Oh, and why is that?" Jason asked as he stole the beer out of Mitch's hands.

  Mitch grumbled something, but smartly let it go. He grabbed another beer and popped the top.

  "Well, wasn't your mother getting on your case about settling down?" Brad asked.

  "Yes, and you would think she'd be happy when I brought Haley home. "

  Brad nodded. "And for the past year hasn't she been threatening you with finding someone for you?"

  "Yes, but-"

  "And every time you went over there for dinner, party or cookout hasn't your mother had several women on hand to meet you?" Brad continued.

  "Yes, but-"

  "Did she have any women at the BBQ for you to meet?" Mitch asked.

  "Five or six I guess," Jason said with a shrug of his shoulders. He hadn't really paid attention to any of them other than to duck the hell out of the way when they were looking for him. Just like every other time his mother tried to play matchmaker she'd chosen needy, well more like clingy, women who had no other interests other than themselves and finding a boyfriend.

  Both of his friends sucked in a breath. "Shit. "

  "That must have pissed Haley off," Brad said.

  "I don't think she had time to notice. Not with half the men in my family hitting on her," Jason bit out angrily.

  "That's f**ked up," Mitch said.

  It was pretty f**ked up. No one listened to him. It was one of the most annoying parties he'd ever been to. When he wasn't trying to get away from some really annoying clingy woman his mother had invited with the sole purpose of marrying him he was busy getting into arguments with whatever bastard in his family was asking for Haley's phone number.

  Like every single other time Haley was completely oblivious to it. Every time he pulled her aside to talk to her about it she just laughed until tears were rolling down her cheeks. When they returned to the room it was obvious that she had cried and every man would glare at him. They acted like Haley needed protection from him.

  It should have been painfully obvious to everyone in the room how he felt about Haley. He made no secret that she was his world, not that anyone believed him. Why was it so hard to believe that he'd straightened out for Haley? He didn't think there was anything difficult about it. Even if he wasn't constantly hugging her, putting his arm around her, holding her hand or trying to kiss her he told them, but had that stopped any of those bastards from trying to make a move on her?

  "Your family probably thought you brought Haley there as a decoy to get your mother to stop harassing the hell out of you about settling down and to use her as an excuse to avoid those women," Mitch pointed out.

  Jason crushed his empty beer can and tossed it into the bucket in the corner of his deck. It should be obvious to everyone that he'd changed. Hell, a year ago he would have had Mitch toss that beer can up in the air so he could shoot it with his paintball gun. Didn't it strike any of his friends as odd that not only did he toss it into a bucket but his deck and patio furniture were also cleaned and repaired, his lawn freshly mowed and the inside of his house was clean? Those were big goddamn changes in his book.

  "That's what I was thinking," Brad said, tossing his can at the bucket and missing. It landed on Jason's freshly cut lawn. Jason gestured angrily for him to pick it up. With an eye roll Brad did just that.

  "Whatever. This is really boring sitting around here talking about relationships like we're a bunch of women," Mitch said. "Let's get the hell out of here. " He stood up, waiting for the other two men to follow.

  Brad and Jason shared a look, shrugged and got to their feet. What the hell, it wasn't like they had anything better to do since Jill was off with a client and Haley was off hitting yard sales.

  "Great, let's go hit the strip clubs," Mitch said merrily.

  "Whoa there, Skippy," Jason said, coming to a sudden halt. "That shit isn't happening. "

  "What the hell do you mean?" Mitch asked, sounding like a petulant child. "I want to go stare at hot chicks getting naked. "

  "I'm out as well," Brad announced, not that it was really necessary. The man hadn't been to a strip club since he met Jill.

  "Come on, it's Tuesday. It's all you can eat hot wings at the Hot Bunny Club. We can go there, fill up, and get a few lap dances. We can hook up with Candy and Mandy afterwards. What's more fun than stripper sex?"

  Jason could only look at his friend dumbly for a moment. Mitch was serious, really serious.

  "Have you forgotten about something?" Jason asked calmly, more calmly than he felt.

  Mitch looked truly confused when he asked, "What?"

 
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