Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell 1) - Page 25

Listen Audio

While they sat there hip to hip asking questions he reached back and casually rubbed a circle on Haley’s lower back. He almost groaned when he felt her tremor. Outward she was cool and relaxed. She laughed with the kids and never had any problems carrying on with her questions. He only stopped rubbing her back when she handed him more chocolate, which only happened when she caught him cheating.

The lunch bell rang. Haley held up a hand. “Alright, guys. You’ve studied hard all year. I want you go home, review and then I want you to relax. This is just a test, guys. Just remember that and you’ll do fine. Remember everyone that earns a passing grade of at least eighty will be joining me next week on the last day of school for a make your own sundae party.”

Jason glared at Haley. First chocolate and now ice cream. What else was she withholding from him? He held up his hand to stop everyone from leaving.

“The same deal goes for my class,” he said.

“Copycat,” Haley mumbled.

“Damn straight,” he said as he waved the students to leave.

They got up and left while he reached over and grabbed the bag from Haley. He settled it on his lap and started snaking away. Haley grabbed the bag from him and dropped it in her desk drawer, locking it.

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, cause that will stop me.”

“Behave. If there’s any left by the end of the day you can have more,” she said as she put her things away. She paused by the door and tried her best to look stern as she said, “That chocolate better be there after lunch, mister.”

“Of course,” he readily agreed.

She threw him one last look of warning before she headed off towards the cafeteria for lunch duty. He’d be right behind her since they had the same schedule. Only he had one thing to do before that.

After making sure that she was gone he knelt down and picked the lock with two paper clips he found on her desk. Seconds later the lock clicked and he stole the booty and headed for his room, sighing. When would she ever learn?


“I still don’t understand your problem,” Mary said.

Haley scowled across the booth at her friend. “What’s not to understand? Somehow, someway I managed to find myself in a serious relationship without the relationship.”

“That sounds…….different,” Mary said. After a short pause Mary asked, “What the hell do you mean? I thought you and Jason were just friends.”

“We are! It’s just that……” She sighed heavily as she fiddled with the label on her beer. “He doesn’t date anymore. He doesn’t even show any interest in another woman. When we’re out he sends women away telling them he’s not interested.”

“Well, that’s sweet-“

“When guys approach me he throws his arm around me and gives them looks that scare the hell out of them. Last night when we were out with Mitch at the movies some guy in line stood too close to me and Jason got into a shouting match with the guy.”

“He’s just being protective-“

“He treats me like his girlfriend. He’s always touching me and cuddling up with me. We sleep in the same bed every night. We try sleeping positions like they were sexual positions!” she hissed quietly, hoping the loud jukebox music blocked out her voice to the rest of the bar patrons.

“And you don’t like any of this?” Mary guessed.

“Like it? I love it! Except I want more. God, I can’t stop thinking about him and having him so close but not close enough is killing me. I am so pathetic,” she mumbled sadly.

“Does he know?”

“No. If he did he’d step back. He doesn’t want a girlfriend. He wants a friend, a sister.”

“Doesn’t sound that way to me.”

“Trust me. There’s no chance in hell Jason Bradford is going to change his ways for me.”

“Well not if you don’t give him a chance he won’t.” Mary reached over and took her hand. “You’re in love with him aren’t you?’

Haley wiped at her eyes. “Let’s talk about something else.”

“Fine,” Mary sighed. She stirred the tiny red straw in her ginger ale and looked around the bar. “There are a lot of really cute guys here tonight.”

Haley followed her friends gaze and nodded her agreement. There were a lot of cute guys here tonight. That brought up another interesting question. If she decided to date and take the guy home would Jason get pissed? If she started dating someone she couldn’t sleep in the same bed with Jason anymore. It wouldn’t be fair and it would make everything weirder. The fact that she didn’t want any other man but Jason holding her didn’t help.

She inwardly groaned. Tonight was about relaxing after a long day of review. She wasn’t here to moon over Jason Bradford. Tonight she was here to have a few drinks, play a game of pool, and relax.

“Ah, Haley, maybe we should go somewhere else. How about we rent a movie and get some pizza and head to my place?” Mary asked, sounding nervous.

Haley frowned at her. “We’ve been waiting an hour for the pool table and we’re up next. Besides I’m not done with my beer. What’s wrong?”

Mary looked down at her drink and nibbled her lip for a moment. She looked close to tears.

“Mary?” Haley said softly.

Mary shook her head and sobbed lightly, but didn’t look up.

Loud laughter drew Haley’s attention to the door. Her eyes narrowed dangerously.

“That son of a bitch,” she snapped.

“Haley, please don’t make a big deal out of this. Let’s just go-“

Haley was already on her feet and headed towards the small group near the bar. She pushed her way through the group until she was face to face with Mary’s ex-fiancé and the voluptuous blonde snuggling up to him. She snorted. It wasn’t even the same one he left Mary for. He was pathetic. She really wished she had spoken up years ago about how much of a loser he was.

“What the hell do you want?” Ted practically sneered.

She shrugged. “Nothing much. Just wondering if you’re going to grow some balls and help Mary. You remember Mary, don’t you? The woman you dated for four years, cheated on constantly, asked to marry, and then knocked up all before you dumped her for a stripper? Well, I was just wondering if you were planning on manning up anytime soon and helping Mary with the medical bills for this pregnancy. Just thinking it might be nice if she could afford to keep your kid in diapers and formula. I’m kind of funny like that.”

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult