Playing for keeps, p.38
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       Playing for Keeps, p.38

         Part #1 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson  
Page 38

  "Baby," he said, keeping his tone gentle, "if I had known you were a virgin I would have done this differently, but I can't regret this. " He took a steadying breath. "I'm in love with you Haley. "

  "Ow!" he said when his little grasshopper kicked him in the shin. "What the hell was that for? I told you I love you and you attack me?"

  "That's for being a jerk! You wait until you screw up to pull out the big guns? How about telling me that and making love to me because you love me and not because you felt you had something to prove?"

  He nodded solemnly as he reached out for her. "That sounds reasonable. Let's go inside and I'll do this right. "

  "Are you crazy? You think I'm going to let you touch me after what just happened?"

  "I'm really sorry about this," he said, reaching for her again.

  "You actually thought I could hurt you? That's worse than anything you've done here tonight," she said, gesturing wildly towards the pool. "It should have been more than obvious that I loved you," she mumbled, wiping frantically at the tears streaming down her face.

  Jason felt his heart break as he watched her. "Haley, I'm so sorry. "

  Haley ignored his apology and he couldn't say that he really blamed her at the moment. "You were so busy trying to prove that I wasn't playing you that you didn't think. "

  "What are you-"

  "Jason, I'm not on birth control and you didn't wear a condom," she said, cutting him off.

  "Oh shit," he mumbled. He'd f**ked up in so many ways tonight he wasn't sure where to start, but he knew which f**k up was the most important.

  "Oh shit is right," Haley snapped, opening the sliding glass door and stepping inside.

  He'd never forgotten to wear a condom before. Not once. He licked his suddenly dry lips. "Haley, we have to talk. "

  "You should have thought about that before," she said, turning her back on him.

  "Haley, please don't do this. "

  "Just leave me alone, Jason," she said, shutting the door and locking it.

  She was just mad, he told himself as he waited for her to come back and give him another piece of her mind. He'd f**ked up big time, but they'd both known from the beginning that he was probably going to do that.

  After a few minutes he was sure she'd realize that he never really believed she could hurt him. He loved her. She had to know that he wouldn't love her unless he trusted her. She just needed a few minutes to cool off.

  When a few minutes turned into thirty minutes he forced himself to move. He just needed to apologize to her. He hopped over the small picket fence separating their properties and made his way to her window more than ready to beg and plead if that's what it took to get her to listen to him when the sound of her quiet sobs caught his attention.

  "Haley?"

  No answer.

  He stood there wondering what the hell he should do. Suddenly crawling into her room and pleading with her didn't seem like such a smart idea. She needed time to think, probably more time then he'd given her.

  "I'll be in my room when you're ready to talk. So, just yell or call when you're ready," he said loudly, feeling like a useless idiot and not having a damn clue what to do. He left, hoping she'd come to him when she was ready.

  ******************

  Haley spent half the night crying and waiting for Jason to crawl through the window and hold her. When she realized that wasn't going to happen she grabbed a pillow and a throw blanket and headed for the couch, unable to sleep in her own bed without Jason.

  She couldn't believe how much this hurt. She'd been an idiot to think she could prepare herself for this moment. Losing Jason was hard enough, but the way he'd hurt her. . . . . .

  In one night she'd apparently lost so much, her best friend, boyfriend, her virginity and her heart. On top of that it appeared she'd lost a few of her friends, which she really could care less about if truth be told. There was a reason after all why she kept putting off girl's night and it had very little to do with Jason. They'd been a part of the old Haley's life, the pushover version of herself where she never spoke up for herself and let others push her around. A few months ago when they started hassling her about Jason and letting her know they couldn't believe Jason settled for someone like her she should have cut them out of her life, but hesitated. She didn't like hurting anyone's feelings and apparently Jason didn't know that about her.

  How could he have thought she would do that to him? She could just imagine what Amy and her friend Kate, well mostly Kate, could have said to upset him, but what she couldn't understand is why he didn't talk to her first.

  Admittedly it was a conversation they should have had in the beginning, but that didn't excuse his behavior. He'd set out to seduce her consequences be damned. It hadn't mattered if she had her reasons for wanting to wait or how she felt for that matter. He'd only cared about himself.

  She wished she'd realized that sooner, especially before last night. All these years wasted and for what? A horrible experience she could never take back. For that alone she would never be able to forgive Jason.

  *************

  "You're out of eggs," Mitch yelled.

  "I don't care," Jason said, never taking his eyes away from Haley's front door.

  Around three this morning he'd realized he'd f**ked up this situation even more by not going to her. He spent the next two hours going over every single moment from the night before, trying to figure out exactly when he'd f**ked up and made a list. After he made sure he hadn't missed anything he folded the three page list, front and back, and stuffed it in his back pocket and came outside waiting for Haley so he could start apologizing.

  He contemplated waking her up, but then he'd have one more thing to apologize for so he settled for waiting on his front step. A half hour ago Mitch decided to join him after he spotted him waiting outside on his way home. It hadn't taken long for the other man to figure out that he'd f**ked up.

  "Are you going to sit out here all day?" Mitch asked, stepping out the front door. "I'm starving. Let's go get something for breakfast. By the time we get back Haley will be up and you can go grovel. "

  Jason stubbornly shook his head. "I'm not leaving until I talk to her. Besides, I'm not hungry. "

  "Holy Christ," Mitch mumbled, crossing himself.

  He ignored Mitch and focused on Haley's front door. A few minutes later it opened and Haley stumbled out. Jason was on his feet within seconds and heading for her. He really wasn't sure how much longer he would have been able to wait before breaking into her house and begging for her forgiveness.

  "Haley, I. . . . ," he trailed off when he spotted the large duffle bag she was half carrying, half dragging. "What's going on?"

  For the first time in months Haley's face didn't light up when she saw him. She pushed her glasses back up her nose and went back to pulling the bag.

  "I'm going away," she said, sounding sad.

  "For how long?" Jason asked, feeling as though his entire world was crashing down around him.

  "A week," Haley said, walking past him as she dragged that damn bag.

 
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