Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell 1) - Page 46

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No one in her family understood why she wanted to make it on her own, least of all Grandma. Haley knew her grandmother meant well and that she was worried about her, but she really wished she'd stop pulling stunts like this one. There was absolutely no doubt in Haley's mind that her grandmother had paid for more than half the rental price.

Well, there was nothing she could do about it right now. More importantly, she was too damn tired to be pissed. Sometime this week she'd go into town and ask around to find out what a rental property in this area went for. Then she'd send her grandmother the difference.

"Are you sure this place only cost a thousand?" Jason asked, placing a half dozen grocery bags on the table.

Haley looked over her shoulder and sighed. One more problem to deal with. She pushed her glasses back up her nose and pulled her cell phone out of her front pocket. "Look, why don't you call one of the guys to come pick you up?" It would take a good five hours for someone to get here. Hopefully she'd sleep through Jason's wait.

"Why would I do that?" Jason asked as he emptied the bags and started to put the food away.

"Because you're not staying here," she said bluntly.

He snorted.

"I'm serious, Jason," she said, stepping forward, blocking him from putting the ice cream away. He simply sidestepped her and put it away.

"I'm not going anywhere, Haley."

"Look," she said, taking in a deep calming breath, "I'll give you a ride right now to one of the hotels we passed along the way. You can stay there until someone can come get you."

"I'm staying right here, Haley, until we work this out," Jason said firmly.

"You're not staying here. First of all, I paid for-"

"Here," Jason said, cutting her of, as he slapped a check onto the white oak kitchen table. "I'm paying for the cottage so there shouldn't be any problems."

Jason was the only person besides her grandmother she knew that still carried checks in his wallet. She picked up the check and frowned when she saw that he intended to pay the entire amount.

She held the check out to him. "I'm not taking this."

"Yes, you are," he simply said as he headed back into the living room. "If you tear that up I'll just write you another one when we get home."

Haley folded the check and stuck it in her back pocket. One more argument to have later, she thought miserably. Right now she was too tired to care. She walked into the living room and headed for the small hallway to the right, deciding she'd get her bags after her nap that would hopefully give her the energy to deal with this nonsense.

She headed for the only door in the hallway and almost ran into Jason as he was coming out.

"Sorry," he said, stepping to the side so she could walk into the room. "I was just bringing in the bags."

"Thank you," she mumbled, feeling more exhausted than she could ever remember. She hadn't slept at all last night and the night before they'd stayed up late watching movies and cuddling.

"You look tired, baby," he said, reaching up to touch her face only to drop his hand away at the last second. "Look," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, "why don't you go relax. We can talk everything over later."

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him there was nothing to talk about, but that would only start an argument so she simply nodded, closing the door behind her.

She looked over the small Cape Cod style bedroom and nearly groaned. This place would have been perfect for a romantic getaway if Jason hadn't gone and ruined everything. She threw a look of longing towards the bed before heading for the bathroom. Although she'd like nothing better than to curl up on the double bed, she desperately needed to soak in a hot bath. It didn't matter that it had to be ninety degrees in the small cottage. She was still sore between her legs from last night and knew she wouldn't be able to sleep until she took some aspirin and soaked in a hot bath for a while.

It was just another reminder of what he did last night. She still couldn't believe he'd hurt her like this. Despite Jason's flawed dating past she'd trusted him, more than anyone. He was the only person that never took advantage of her "doorstep" tendencies.

He'd been kind, sweet and considerate with her and never tried to manipulate her into doing something she didn't want to do. When they were intimate he'd never once pushed for more than she was willing to give him. That alone had made her love him even more. Too many times in her past men had gone out their way to coerce her into taking a step she wasn't ready to take.

When she'd refused they tried to sweet talk her, manipulate her, guilt her, until they finally got pissed. More than one man had ended things with her when she wouldn't sleep with him. She'd been called a bitch and a tease more times than she cared to remember. The fact that she'd been upfront about her sexual comfort level hadn't mattered.

There had been several men that ended things as soon as she told them she wouldn't have sex with them, but others thought she was lying, teasing them, or setting up a challenge. When they eventually realized she hadn't lied things would end, they'd turn cold and mean. Some had hung around a little longer hoping to change her mind, but she never did.

That is until Jason.

His reaction had been anything but typical or expected. Instead of arguing or questioning her, he'd readily accepted what she told him with a smile and a little teasing. Every time they became intimate she'd prepared herself for Jason to push her into having sex, but he never did. Not once. Even those times when she knew he was dying to take her he hadn't. He'd grit his teeth and accept whatever she offered him, which was why she felt comfortable and ready to make love to him last night.

Taking the next step with Jason had felt so natural last night. It wasn't until after his little announcement that she regretted what they'd done. He'd done it because he thought she was playing him only to end up playing her. Last night he'd manipulated her into sleep with him to prove something and then actually had the balls to announce it like it was no big deal.

She wiped away a tear. It was a very big deal to her. She'd waited all her life for the right man and the right time only to be used by the man she thought cared for her. He said he loved her last night, but he really didn't. There was no question that he cared for her a little, but love? No. Last night proved beyond a doubt that Jason wasn't capable of loving her. If he loved her he wouldn't have treated her so callously.

The simple truth was, Jason was stubborn. It was the reason why he slept with her to prove something and the same reason he hid in her car and was being bullheaded about this breakup. She doubted he'd ever been dumped before and he probably wasn't handling it well. Jason liked to call the shots when it came to women and having his shy little neighbor dump him probably grated on his ego.

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