Fire amp brimstone, p.24
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       Fire & Brimstone, p.24
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         Part #8 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  “He’ll fit us in,” he assured her, tossing the banana peel in the trash.

  “Good,” she said woodenly with a nod as she headed for the door. She opened the door and paused. “You coming with us?” she asked Melanie, who was now lost in the world of computer code.

  “To see that annoying asshole that was obviously dropped on his head as a child?” she asked, not bothering to look up from her computer.

  “That would be the one,” Rebecca said, sounding distracted while he stood there feeling like he’d been hit by a mac truck.

  “Yeah, I’m good. Thanks.”

  Nodding, Rebecca turned around without another word and headed out the door. Taking another deep breath, he walked after her.

  “I’d better see a ring on that finger by the end of the week!” Melanie called after him.

  He didn’t answer her as he closed the door behind him, because there was nothing left to say. If that test came back positive, he’d be putting the birth certificate that he’d found in her room to good use and making a trip up to New Hampshire in just a matter of hours.

  Chapter 45

  “It’s okay,” Lucifer said, placing her back on the chair and helped her bend forward, “just breathe.”

  Shaking her head, she tried to calm down, tried to take a deep breath, but every time she tried she kept seeing that pregnancy test telling her that she was pregnant. That had been close, too close, she realized, making the panic that had settled in on the way here worse.

  She was an unmarried, unemployed waitress with no insurance, no job prospects and absolutely no idea how to change a diaper! She wasn’t ready to have a baby yet. Not even close. She was still trying to get her act together and…and…

  “It’s going to be fine. It was a false positive, sweetheart,” Lucifer promised as he knelt by her side and put his arms around her. She opened her mouth to tell him that she knew that everything was going to be okay, but nothing came out so she settled for shaking her head urgently, praying that he would understand.

  “These things happen, Rebecca,” Aidan assured her, taking a knee by her other side. “Sometimes the home tests give a false positive. It’s rare, but it does happen.”

  Still unable to talk, she settled for nodding.

  “Are you okay?” Lucifer asked as he kissed the top of her head, probably hoping that she wouldn’t start hyperventilating and screaming about baby wipes and Huggies diapers, again.

  She shook her head, not sure that she would ever be okay again.

  That had been close, too close, she told herself, deciding that from this moment on that she would refrain from pre-marital sex. Then again, since having a ring on her finger wouldn’t save her from the unbearable pain of shoving a nine-pound bundle of joy out of her body or from having to learn how to work a diaper, she decided that perhaps it was time to look into joining a convent.

  The only thing stopping her from doing just that was the knowledge that the rest of the nuns would probably turn on her within a day or two after it became painfully obvious that the whole vow of silence thing wasn’t going to work for her. Since death by angry, bitter nuns wasn’t exactly enticing, she was just going to have to swear off sex altogether, she decided.

  Sex just wasn’t worth the pain of finding out how why she’d seen so many parents over the years gag when they’d attempted to change a diaper. It was definitely something that she could live her entire life without experiencing first hand.

  Of course with Melanie due to have a baby there was probably a good chance that she was going to be forced to face her fear, she mused, only to decide that she would hold off on babysitting until after the kid was potty trained. It was definitely for the best, she decided even as she tried to figure out how she was going to break the news to Lucifer that she was now going to lead a life of celibacy.

  He wasn’t going to take it well, but then again, she really couldn’t blame him since she was probably the best that he’d ever had. Once he realized that he couldn’t have her again, he’d probably go into a deep depression before coming to the conclusion that a life of celibacy was the only way to live. Then they could spend their nights playing Tetris and reminiscing about just how good it used to be.

  “There’s always a chance of becoming pregnant, slim as it may be, on birth control. The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is to use condoms in addition to the pill,” Aidan explained, making her sigh in resignation, because there was that too.

  She supposed that was the way to go since she probably wouldn’t have had the heart to deny Lucifer the pleasure of-

  “What’s going on in that devious mind of yours?” Lucifer asked, cutting into her benevolent thoughts and making her realize that at some point in the last few minutes he’d stopped holding her and had begun watching her.

  “Nothing. Why do you ask?” she asked, wondering if she should let him know how close he’d just come to a life of celibacy so that he could thank her.

  “Because I know that look.”

  She blinked. “What look?”

  Instead of answering her, he got to his feet, careful to keep his eyes on her almost as though he didn’t trust her.

  That hurt…it really did.

  “Do either one of you have any questions?” Aidan asked as he went over her chart and signed the bottom.

  “No,” she said, glaring at Lucifer as she contemplated sticking her tongue out at the paranoid bastard.

  Aidan nodded as he closed the folder and tossed it on the counter before he shifted his attention to Lucifer, who was still watching her a little too closely.

  “You working tonight?” Aidan asked, already moving on while she sat there struggling to get over the biggest scare of her life.

  “Patrick’s scheduled to work,” Lucifer said, sounding bored.

  Seriously? Did neither one of them care how close she’d come to reenacting the scene from Alien? Selfish bastards, she thought, shaking her head in disgust until the action caused her head to recommence with the spinning.

  “Then come to dinner tonight,” Aidan said, really making her wonder how many patients tried to kick his ass.

  “Fine,” Lucifer said, sounding a bit distracted, which would explain why he gave in so easily to something that he normally tried to avoid.

  Not that she knew why.

  If she had a family that wanted to see her…

  Well, she had Melanie’s family, who had always treated her like one of their own, but it wasn’t the same. They loved her and always included her in family dinners, holidays and birthdays and made her feel welcome, but they’d never called her on her shit, told her when she was messing up like they did with Melanie. Not that she normally complained when it meant that she could join in the fun and torment Melanie, but it would be nice to belong, to really belong.

  Then there was her family…

  They avoided her at all costs and seemed to be going out of their way to let her know that she wasn’t important to them. Which was fine with her, because she’d rather not have to deal with them for any reason.

  “Do you think that you can walk to the truck?” Lucifer asked, pushing her hair out of the way so that he could see her face.

  She probably could, but…

  “I would prefer to be manhandled,” she said with a sniff since she’d felt that she’d more than earned it after the scare that he’d given her.

  “You’re going to vomit if you try to walk,” he guessed correctly.

  “Without question.”

  *-*-*-*

  “Can you sit up?” he asked, hoping that she was going to say no, because he wasn’t sure that he was ready to go inside and deal with his family, their questions and the bullshit that they were going to put him through for bringing Rebecca with him.

  “Probably,” came the muffled response while Rebecca continued to absently trace circles on the leg that she was using as a pillow.

  Not that he was complaining since it gave him a reason to sit there. They were pro
bably going to miss dinner, but maybe that was for the best. He’d rather get this talk out of the way so that he could get back to the Fire & Brimstone and get his mind off of things for a while.

  “Are you okay?” she asked with a heavy sigh as she gave up on playing with his knee and rolled over onto her back.

  Staring out the window, he nodded. “I’m fine.”

  “You haven’t said anything about what just happened,” she pointed out, drawing her knees in to get more comfortable on the bench seat of his truck.

  “Neither have you.”

  “I was too busy having a nervous breakdown,” she explained.

  “We should go inside,” he said, carefully pulling his hand away, but she wasn’t letting him off that easily.

  Tightening her hold on his hand, she placed it right back on her soft belly. “We need to at least pretend to talk about this,” she stubbornly said, but he knew that talking about this was the last thing that she wanted to do.

  While he wanted nothing more than to lose himself in the Fire & Brimstone, she was probably dying to go home, shove Melanie off the couch and distract herself with horror movies and Hershey Kisses. Maybe he should put this off for another night and take her home so that she could do just that.

  “What exactly do you want to talk about?” he asked, suddenly feeling exhausted and not even the idea of digging into his mother’s cooking could get him to move.

  “I’m not ready to have a baby yet, Christopher,” she said softly as though it was something to be ashamed of.

  Smiling down at her, he said, “Neither am I, but,” he said, adding that “but” in there no doubt to scare her before he continued, “even if things had turned out differently, it would have been fine.”

  She snorted at that. “That’s easy for you to say.”

  He chuckled as he leaned his head back against the seat. “What worried you more, the diapers or the delivery?”

  There was a slight pause before she admitted, “The diapers.”

  “We would have survived,” he teased, even as he had to admit that the idea of changing a diaper terrified him.

  “Okay then. That’s all I wanted to know,” she said with a relieved sigh and a firm nod as she sat up and reached for the door handle only to end up shooting him a questioning look. “Umm, where are we exactly?”

  “Hell,” he said, reaching over to turn off the truck, “we’re in hell.”

  Chapter 46

  “Maybe we could do this some other time?” she suggested somewhat hysterically as she tried to dig her heals in and stop Lucifer from dragging her inside to face his family.

  “You’ve already met them,” he said, clearly not understanding her current moral dilemma.

  “Yeah, so then I don’t need to come tonight,” she said, trying to push his hand off hers so that she could turn around and make a run for it.

  “And pass up a chance to help my father torment me?” he said dryly, making her pause, because there was that…

  God, she loved tormenting him.

  Giving herself a mental shake, she renewed her efforts to break free, but the large bastard kept walking, taking her with him.

  “I have things to do!” she said, giving up on trying to fight it and decided to try reasoning with him.

  “Like?” he asked in a tone that said it all.

  The bastard didn’t think that she had a life!

  How dare he?

  “I have a lot of stuff to do!”

  “Like what?” he asked, throwing her a knowing look that was just not appreciated!

  “Like stuff. Now would you let me go?” she demanded, absolutely refusing to go inside and-

  “Life what?” he asked teasingly as he stopped walking so that he could interrogate her on his parent’s walkway.

  “If you must know, I had a very busy night planned,” she snapped, yanking her arm free so that she could cross her arms over her chest as she explained exactly how busy she was.

  “A romantic night by the television with Mojo drooling everywhere?” he teased, causing her eyes to narrow.

  “No, I had plans to attend an orgy tonight and thanks to you, I’m going to be late,” she said with a huff as she turned around, giving him her back and started to walk away.

  “Well,” he said with a sigh as he easily caught up to her and took her hand so that he could lead her back to the front door, “I’m afraid that they’re going to have to get along without you.”

  “That might be difficult,” she said with a groan as she found herself once again being led towards the house.

  “And why’s that?”

  “Because I was the only woman attending,” she said, loving the way he chuckled.

  “Yeah, that might make things difficult,” he said with that smile that did funny things to her.

  “I was also supposed to bring the lube,” she admitted with a forlorn sigh.

  “Ouch,” he said, shooting her a wink.

  “Are you going to let me go?” she asked, feeling hopeful.

  “Not a chance,” he said, making her shoulders sag as he continued leading her to the front stairs and to what promised to be a really uncomfortable evening.

  “Does it not matter to you that I don’t want to go?” she asked even as she tried to resign herself to a night of hiding in the bathroom and avoiding making eye contact.

  “No, but it does piss me off,” he said, sighing when they reached the front door.

  “Which is why I’ll be waiting in the car,” she said brightly, hoping that he’d go for it.

  “Nice try,” he said, using his hold on her hand to bring her closer so that he could kiss her.

  Desperate, and realizing that she was seconds away from being forced to go inside and face his mother, who probably knew about the pregnancy test and the knowledge that she’d been having her way with her son, Rebecca did what she had to do.

  “I’m sorry!” she said, wincing as she picked up her foot, slammed it down on his instep and took off running the second that he let go.

  “Forgive me!” she yelled over her shoulder as she ran as fast as her legs would take her, praying that she’d managed to hobble him for as long as it would take her to make it to Main Street and flag down a taxi.

  *-*-*-*

  “I,” gasp, “hate,” another gasp, “you,” Rebecca finally managed to get out as he carried her back to his truck.

  “Stop. You’re making me blush,” he said dryly as he carefully loaded the violent woman into his truck.

  He considered using the child safety lock to stop her from running away again, but there really was no need since she’d barely made it two hundred yards before she’d fallen to her knees, gasping for air and begging him to put her out of her misery to save her from the leg cramp that had brought her escape to a swift end.

  When she fell over onto her side, still panting like she’d run a marathon instead of less than half a block, he gave her a patronizing slap on the ass and shut the door. Shaking his head, he walked around his truck and climbed in, careful of Rebecca’s head. After pushing a strand of hair out of her face, he started the short ride back to his parents’ house where his parents, Aidan and the two annoying bastards that he couldn’t seem to shake were waiting for them.

  “Dying,” the little bully gasped from where she lay beside him.

  “Uh huh,” he said absently as he put the truck in park and shook off the slight throbbing in his leg.

  The tap at his window let him know that his short reprieve was over and that it was time to face what promised to be a very long and painful night, but that was to be expected the first time you brought a woman home to meet the family, especially his family. Biting back a groan, he rolled down his window.

  Smiling, his father focused on Rebecca, who was currently trying to lower herself to the floor where she probably planned on hiding for the rest of the night, but it seemed that she didn’t
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