Christmas from hell, p.20
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       Christmas from Hell, p.20
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         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  Saturday, December 12th.

  God, he was so fucking tired, but then again, it seemed as though he wasn’t the only one, he thought with a smile as the beautiful woman sitting in the large leather chair, using the desk as a pillow as she continued to lightly snore the early morning minutes away, was just as exhausted.

  He considered waking her up, but he was surprised to realize that he knew that she would be off in only a few minutes. Apparently over the last year while he’d manage to memorize her schedule so that he would never miss the days when she was on the grill, he also inadvertently memorized her entire schedule.

  As soon as the last flame was put out this morning and his relief showed up, he’d jumped in his truck, telling himself that he was going home, grabbing a shower and sleeping for the next two days straigh, but instead he came here.

  To see her.

  She was so damn beautiful, he thought with a wistful smile and a chuckle when she let out a small little snore that was somewhat fitting. He glanced up at the clock and debated whether or not to wake her up now or let her get a few more minutes of-

  “Oh my God!” the small woman that he was probably more than halfway in love with if the fact that he couldn’t stop thinking about her meant anything, screamed as she jumped up from her chair, tripped over her own two feet, and then the chair, fell to the ground, jumped back up and ran past him, mumbling, “Not my muffins, please not my muffins!”

  Curious, and admittedly somewhat entertained, he forced his tired body to get up from the really uncomfortable chair and followed after her as she ran, skidded, tripped, ran and finally skidded to a stop in front of the first set of ovens. He watched as she went to grab the heavy-duty oven-mitts only to go still as she scented the air with the cutest little frown that he’d ever seen.

  He watched as she stood there, scenting the air as she slowly turned around, no doubt looking for the source of where the scent of smoke was coming from. When she saw him standing there, covered from head to toe in soot, he realized that he should have at least taken a shower at the station and changed into his clothes before he came here, but it had been too damn long since he’d seen her.

  He hadn’t been able to wait.

  And apparently, she didn’t give a damn that he smelled like smoke and sweat, because she got the cutest little smile on her face when she realized who was standing there, for her. After a moment, a blush crept up her face and her smile turned shy.

  “What are you doing here?” she asked, forcing herself to glance away from him and busying herself with straightening the containers and spices on the large metal prep table that stood between them.

  He put his hands in his pants pocket as he cocked his head to the side while he studied her and admitted, “I came to drive you home after your shift.”

  Her hand stilled over an assortment of stainless steel containers, but she didn’t look up at him. “You came to drive me home?”

  “Yes,” he said without hesitation.

  Of course, he didn’t mention that he was planning on taking her to his house since her grandfather apparently was on a warpath for his balls, something that he’d have to take care of later. Right now, all he wanted to do was to take her home, take a hot shower, crawl in bed behind her and hold her as he finally got some sleep.

  “Where did you go?” she asked, returning to straightening out the canisters and acting like his answer didn’t matter.

  “The fire over in Wakefield,” he murmured as he hungrily watched her every move.

  “Oh,” she said, her blush deepening and telling him everything that he needed to know.

  She’d missed him.

  Probably not as much as he’d missed her, but damn if it didn’t make him feel good to know that he was missed by a beautiful woman, who drove him out of his fucking mind. It was honestly the best feeling in the world.

  Well, the second best feeling in the world, he corrected himself as he remembered just how good it felt to be inside her.

  *-*-*-*

  “I’m just going to grab a quick shower,” Duncan said as he brushed his lips enticingly against hers one last time, making her heart race as she tried to tell herself not to panic.

  Everything was okay, she told herself as she watched him, wearing only his boxer shorts because his sister-in-law was still sensitive to the scent of smoke so he’d stopped by the laundry room and stripped down before bringing her up to his room, grab a towel from the closet and walk into the bathroom, closing the door behind him while she sat there on his bed trying not to freak out.

  She was going to have sex again, she realized, shooting a nervous glance over at his locked bedroom door, half expecting someone to break in at any moment and flip out. Okay, so that someone that she was expecting was her grandfather and it wasn’t so much as flip out as it was to tear Duncan apart with his bare hands.

  God, she was nervous.

  Should she be this nervous?

  She didn’t think so, definitely not after she’d already had sex with him once, but then again that hadn’t ended well, now had it? She’d announced that she was in love with him, he freaked out, Grandpa came in and all hell broke loose.

  Could she really go through with that again? she wondered as she stood up and hurried towards the door, deciding that no, no she couldn’t survive going through something like that again. She just needed to think, she told herself as she unlocked the door, poked her head out and looked down at the attic stairs that suddenly looked a lot steeper than they had before.

  Swallowing nervously, she shifted a nervous glance over her shoulder and when she made sure that the coast was clear she carefully stepped out of his room onto the small landing, closed the door behind her and quickly made her way down the stairs like the coward that she was. When she opened the door that led to the second floor and didn’t see or hear anyone, she quickly stepped out of the stairwell, closed the door behind her and practically ran for the stairs.

  She was halfway to the kitchen before she realized what she was doing. By the time she was poking her head inside the large empty kitchen, she’d decided that this was exactly what she needed to clear her head. She just needed to think this over and figure out what she should do. She considered calling her grandfather, but since that would probably just lead to Duncan’s untimely death, she decided that she was just going to have to work this one out for herself.

  Even though common sense told her that it was incredibly rude to invite herself to use someone else’s kitchen, she couldn’t have stopped herself even if she’d wanted to, and right now she definitely needed this. She was so freaking nervous that she was actually trembling by the time that she found everything that she needed.

  She was so nervous that it actually took her twice as long as it usually did to whip the batter up. By the time she had the pan nice and hot, the butter sizzling to let her know that it was time, she was no longer alone.

  He’d found her.

  *-*-*-*

  “Do you want some help?” he asked, forcing himself to take a seat behind the kitchen island when all he wanted to do was go to her and pull her into his arms. He wanted to kiss that spot where her neck and back met while he reached around and slipped his hands beneath her shirt so that he could palm her large breasts, but she was nervous and so was he.

  He didn’t know what she was to him yet, wasn’t sure about how he felt about her, and he didn’t want to scare her off before he could figure it out. He wanted her to come to him, wrap her arms around him and kiss him in a way that gave him all the answers that he was searching for.

  So, for her, he kept his ass in that chair and his hands to himself. It was probably the most difficult thing that he’d ever done in his life, but for her, he did it.

  “No, I’ve got it,” she said, keeping her back towards him as she ladled some batter into the hot pan, immediately filling the air with the scents of buttermilk pancakes, letting him know that his time alone with her was about to be cut short so he got to the poi
nt.

  “I’m not going to rush you into doing something that you’re not ready for, Necie.”

  She paused over the pan as she quietly admitted, “I have no idea what I’m doing,” making him grip the edge of the granite kitchen island top until his hands hurt, because he knew that going to her right now would only scare her away and he couldn’t risk that.

  “Neither do I,” he admitted just as quietly, feeling foolish and giddy at the same time.

  He was nervous, he realized with a chuckle that earned a delightful little glare from the woman that he’d missed more than anything over the last few days. He’d never been nervous about a woman before. His first kiss had been nothing to him, just a meeting of the lips that had excited him like any normal teenage boy, but that had been it. It had been the same after the first time he’d bedded a woman. He’d enjoyed the act, fucking loved the release, but she could have been any woman and he knew that it wouldn’t have made a difference to him.

  With Necie…

  He chuckled again as he finally gave up fighting it and went to the small angry woman yielding a spatula in a way that told him how close she was to shoving that spatula through his gut if he said one more word that pissed her off.

  Knowing that he was probably seconds from being skewered by a spatula, he pulled her into his arms, kissed her nape and said, “I have no idea where this is going or what we’re doing, but I don’t want to stop.”

  After a few seconds he felt her relax in his arms as she turned around in his arms so that she was facing the stove. Keeping his hold loose on her, she carefully, yet quickly, flipped all the pancakes.

  “I don’t either,” she whispered so softly that he’d almost missed it, but once he realized what she’d said, he couldn’t help but say, “Thank God.”

  Chapter 25

  Later that night…

  “You’re not going.”

  “Yes,” she said, picking up the little black number that she’d been dying to wear for at least two years now and held it in front of her body, “I am.”

  Grandpa snorted, obviously deciding that she’d issued a challenge. Since she was already nervous enough, she decided to put a stop to this before it got out of hand. “Then I guess I’ll have to call your doctor and leave him a message,” she said off handedly as she shifted the black dress to the side and held up the light pink dress that she’d also been dying to wear.

  As expected, Grandpa cocked an eyebrow at that, trying to look innocent and intimidating all at once. It was seriously wasted on her, because they both knew that she would never make a threat that she wasn’t ready to follow through with, especially when it came to his health.

  “Oh? And why would you do that?” he asked in that cold, crisp tone that had sent more than one busboy running, crying for his mother.

  Instead of getting into an argument with him, she simply said, “Black Jack’s,” as she met his eyes in the mirror, daring him to try and deny it.

  He met her glare with one of his own as he said, “You set me up.”

  “Uh huh,” she said, returning her attention back to the decision at hand, which dress was she going to wear on her first date in three years.

  “You did,” he bit out angrily, probably expecting her to cry or argue with him so that she’d miss her date, but that wasn’t happening.

  Not tonight.

  “You left the receipt in the van,” she said, before adding, “You wanted to get caught.”

  When he opened his mouth, most likely to tell her some bullshit story like it wasn’t his, she added, “You paid with your credit card and signed the receipt.”

 
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