Fire amp brimstone, p.27
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       Fire & Brimstone, p.27
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         Part #8 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  Melanie was definitely on her own when it came to changing diapers, she decided as she gave Mojo one last scratch behind the ears, stood up and carefully stepped over the large dog.

  “What did Lucifer win?” Melanie asked her, reminding her about Lucifer’s terrifying request.

  “I don’t want to talk about it,” she muttered miserably as she headed towards her bedroom.

  “That bad?” Melanie called after her.

  “I said that I don’t want to talk about it!” she yelled over her shoulder.

  “You could have just said that instead of being a bitch!”

  “I just did!” she snapped as she walked in her room, shut the door behind her, dropped down on her bed, buried her head beneath the pillow and decided that yes, yes she was going to hide here like the coward that she was, because there was no way that she was going to be able to come to terms with the fact that Lucifer Bradford had just proposed to her.

  Well, demanded might be a better term, she mused only to end up shaking her head a few seconds later when she decided that blurting best described the terrifying suggestion that had sent her running.

  *-*-*-*

  “So, what did you do to scare off our little Rebecca?” Melanie asked when he finally managed to make it across the hallway without his knees threatening to give out on him.

  “Nothing,” he said, swallowing hard as he stumbled into their kitchen, threw the refrigerator door open and grabbed the first thing that he saw, which just happened to be a can of frosting.

  “Umm, what are you doing?” Melanie asked, sounding somewhat amused.

  “I don’t know!” he admitted, grabbing a spoon from the drawer and viciously stabbed it into the can of frosting.

  As he shoved a large spoonful of frosting in his mouth, Melanie sat there, staring at him. “Should I go get Rebecca?” she finally offered when it became clear that he’d lost his fucking mind, again.

  He’d already figured out that he’d lost his fucking mind when he’d opened his mouth to suggest that Rebecca should serve him dinner, naked and on her knees only to hear himself demand that she marry him. It definitely hadn’t been intentional and it sure as hell hadn’t been pretty since he’d sort of shouted at her.

  When he’d spotted that pregnancy test in her hand this morning his mind had automatically clicked into gear, knowing exactly what he needed to do and what was expected of him. He’d been raised to believe that getting a woman pregnant meant a trip up to New Hampshire to make things right. It might not be the way things were done anymore, but he didn’t a damn. He was raised to take of his family and he would have done just that if she’d been pregnant.

  It had actually scared him at just how easily he’d accepted what needed to be done. Marrying Rebecca hadn’t seemed like a punishment, a chore or even an obligation. It had just felt…right, if that made sense. When his brother had walked into the exam room and explained that she wasn’t pregnant, had left him feeling…confused.

  It took him a bit to realize that he was actually disappointed that he didn’t have to make a quick trip up to New Hampshire to make things right. He’d tried to resign himself to the fact that it wasn’t meant to be, that it was too soon, and that there was plenty of time, but no matter how much bullshit he’d told himself or how hard he tried not to think about it, dragging her up to New Hampshire to make her legally his had been at the back of his mind all day.

  He wanted her, needed her, and the idea that he could have her had been fucking intoxicating. When he’d made the bet with her, using it to get her to marry him had been the last thing on his mind, but when he thought about making her his, he just couldn’t help himself.

  He’d blurted it out in a half shout, which he would be the first to admit had been a terrifying moment and then sat there, staring at her as he tried to remember how to breathe. Rebecca for the most part had stared back, looking as though she was trying to make sense out of what he’d shouted at her.

  When it had become clear that he wasn’t taking it back, she’d stood up, shook her head, muttered, “Unbelievable,” and walked away leaving him there, trying to figure out what had just happened. He was still trying to figure it out, which was probably why he shouldn’t be here right now. Not until he figured out a way to do this right, he realized, because blurting it out definitely wasn’t the right way to propose to the woman that you loved.

  “I’m gonna go now so I can fix this,” he said hollowly, nodding in agreement at his own words as he hugged the can of frosting to his chest and stumbled out of the apartment, telling himself with every half-stumbled step that everything was going to be okay.

  Chapter 51

  “I think you broke your boyfriend,” Melanie announced with a sigh as she walked into her room and dropped down on the bed next to Rebecca.

  “Don’t care,” Rebecca muttered beneath the pillow where she’d planned on staying for the rest of her life since everything outside this room no longer made sense to her.

  “Are you going to tell me what happened?” Melanie asked, stealing her pillow so that she could get comfortable on the bed, forcing Rebecca to grab the other pillow and stuff it angrily beneath her head as she laid there trying to make sense of the world.

  “Are you going to tell me who knocked you up?” she countered with the hopes that it would end this conversation.

  “Aidan,” Melanie said with a sigh as she shifted to get more comfortable. “Your turn.”

  “Aidan?” Rebecca asked, frowning with confusion as she tried to figure out who that was, because the only Aidan that she knew was-

  “Yup, the annoying bastard,” Melanie said, nodding her head while Rebecca laid there, staring at her friend as though she’d lost her goddamn mind, mostly because she’d lost her goddamn mind!

  “What the hell are you talking about? You hate him!”

  Melanie nodded in agreement. “Which makes this situation so wonderful, huh?” she said with mock amusement, making Rebecca’s stomach drop.

  “Does he know?” she asked, rolling over onto her back so that she could stare at the ceiling with Melanie as she reached over and wrapped her hand around Melanie’s.

  “No, but he will just as soon as I figure out how to tell someone that I hate that I’m carrying his child. Should be another Hallmark moment,” she mused as Rebecca lay there, realizing that her situation was just petty bullshit compared to Melanie’s. At least she was in love with Lucifer, which was a hell of a lot more than Melanie had apparently.

  “Do you want me to go with you when you tell him?” she offered, not really looking forward to what promised to be an incredibly awkward moment, but for Melanie she would do it.

  “No, I’ll figure it out eventually,” Melanie said with a shrug as they continued to lay there, staring at the white ceiling. “Now it’s your turn. What did Lucifer do?”

  “He sort of proposed,” she said, testing the words and not really sure if shouting them at her counted as a proposal.

  “Wow,” Melanie said, not really sounding surprised. “Was it romantic?”

  “Not really,” she said, laughing as she thought about that horrified expression on his face a split second after he’d shouted at her.

  Sighing, Melanie gave her hand a squeeze. “It’s for the best anyway. I was going to ask you to move out anyway,” she said with a shrug.

  “I see,” Rebecca murmured, thinking about Lucifer and how it would feel to spend the rest of her life with him and when she didn’t panic or feel sick to her stomach, she smiled.

  “You’re going to marry him, right?”

  She shrugged. “If I don’t get a better offer.”

  Melanie nodded in agreement. “He’s really lucky to have you.”

  “I know,” she said, nodding solemnly as she sat up.

  “Where are you going?” Melanie called after her.

  “To get some information,” she said, heading for the door even though she had absolutely no idea what she was looking for or who she sho
uld talk to. She just knew that she needed to figure out a few things before she made Lucifer the happiest man alive.

  *-*-*-*

  “Umm, exactly what are you doing back here?” Aidan asked as he sat there, staring down at his beer while Jason and Trevor sang their rendition of “War” with the help of Lucifer’s mother.

  “I-I tried to make her leave,” their father said, sitting there, looking horrified as he watched his wife sing her heart out.

  Shaking his head, because he had no fucking clue why he was here, he grabbed his brother’s beer and finished it off. Before he’d swallowed the last drop, he was signaling for another round.

  “I just needed a place to clear my head,” he said, deciding that the waitress was taking too long and swiped his father’s beer.

  “And you willingly chose a karaoke bar to accomplish that?” Aidan asked as he searched the plates covering the table for a morsel of food that might have escaped someone’s notice, but there was nothing left.

  “That and I got your text,” Lucifer said, gesturing for a second round of appetizers when the waitress dropped their beer off, which is probably why it took him a few seconds to realize that Aidan was frowning.

  “What text? I didn’t send you a text,” he said, pulling out his phone only to shake his head with a muttered, “Fucking assholes,” before he shot a glare at the two large bastards on stage.

  “So, I’m guessing that you didn’t need my help to drag mom out of here,” Lucifer said dryly as he rubbed his hands down his face and groaned.

  One day he was going to kill those bastards.

  “Well, I wouldn’t say that,” Aidan said, gesturing towards their mother who didn’t appear as though she was going to willingly give up that mic anytime soon.

  “I thought you would have left after dinner,” he said, deciding that talking about absolute bullshit was better than focusing on his latest fuck up.

  “We tried,” Aidan bit out, looking close to losing his fucking mind, which he honestly couldn’t blame him for.

  Christ, he’d only been here for a few minutes and he was already close to losing his fucking mind. He wasn’t sure how he would handle three hours stuck in this place.

  “That was so much fun! Let’s do another one!” their mother said, gushing with excitement as Jason and Trevor led her back to the table.

  As soon as they saw him, their expressions turned calculating. After they helped his mother to her seat they sat down across from him.

  “Well, well, well, look who we have here,” Jason murmured as Trevor grabbed his beer and took a sip.

  “We’ve been waiting for you,” Trevor said, placing his beer back on the table so that he could gesture to the waitress for more food. With a confused look on her face, she scribbled something down and headed back towards the kitchen.

  “Uh huh,” Lucifer said, really not caring until Jason opened his mouth and let him know that his night was far from over.

  “Our other guest should arrive in just a few minutes,” Jason said, grinning.

  “Then the fun can really begin,” Trevor said, not smiling, but looking just as pleased.

  “You called my girlfriend?” he asked, deciding that it would be for the best if he clarified things first.

  “Texted her,” Jason said, relaxing in his chair as he gestured towards the other end of the table.

  “Telling her what exactly?” he asked as he shifted his gaze to the other end of the table just in time to see his mother drag his father, who looked absolutely terrified, towards the computer set up next to the stage, most likely to pick a song that would haunt them for the rest of their life.

  “That we didn’t want her to miss the fun,” Jason said right around the time that a Backstreet Boys’ song came on and he heard his father mutter, “Please kill me.”

  Nodding, Lucifer shifted his attention back to Trevor and Jason, deciding that his father was on his own and asked, “You realize that I’m going to kill you, right?”

  Jason snorted at that. “I’ve known that since you were two and tried to shove me into oncoming traffic.”

  “As long as we have an understanding,” Lucifer murmured absently as he suddenly found the woman that he loved jumping onto his lap with a satisfied sigh and a smile that really said it all.

  She was going to fuck them all over tonight.

  Chapter 52

  “God, there are just so many possibilities,” she said, smiling as she looked around the table, letting all the possibilities race through her mind.

  It was just like Christmas morning…

  “I will give you a thousand dollars if you drink this,” Aidan said, placing a large glass of beer in front of her and as much as she would love an ice-cold beer to make this night absolutely perfect she was going to have to pass.

  “I’m good,” she said absently as she shifted her attention to the stage, noting that Mrs. Bradford seemed to be having the time of her life while Ethan stood there, frozen on the spot, pale and looking like he was either going to pass out or puke.

  Possibly both.

  “Two thousand,” Aidan said, a bit hysterically.

  “You’re really willing to risk my health just so that you could get out of some quality time with your family?” she asked, shaking her head in mock disgust even as she had to wonder if they had anything on tap that she could have.

  “In a heartbeat,” Aidan said, and she didn’t doubt him for a second.

  “We’d just drag you back here,” Trevor said with a wink as he sipped his beer before Jason added, “Again.”

  “Bastards,” Aidan muttered, finishing off his beer as she sat there, trying to decide where to begin.

  There were just so many possibilities…

  “What are you doing here?” Lucifer asked, reminding her that she’d actually come here for a reason.

  “I came to talk to you,” she said, shifting her attention to Jason and Trevor, who just sat there, watching her with a look that she knew all too well.

  It was the same look that she got when she was about to screw someone over only this time it was aimed at her, which just wasn’t going to work for her.

  “So talk,” Lucifer said, wrapping one arm loosely around her waist as he signaled the waitress and asked for two Cokes, which was probably for the best. Although, to be honest she wasn’t sure that she was going to be able to get through this conversation without a little liquid courage.

  “We have an audience,” she reminded him as she shifted on his lap so that she could put her arm around his shoulders.

  Shifting her gaze to Aidan, she realized that she might have to sacrifice him. Not that she had a problem doing that since the bastard had knocked up her best friend and abandoned her. Yes, she was aware that he didn’t know, but that didn’t matter to her. Melanie was her best friend so she owed her, her loyalty no matter how crazy and irrational her reasoning may be.

  “Why don’t we go home and talk about this?” Lucifer suggested, but she wasn’t having that, not after getting a second chance to see this thing through.

  “No,” she said, shaking her head as she finally shifted her attention to Lucifer, “this is fine.”

  “I don’t want to talk about this with the nosy bastards listening in,” he said, pushing a strand of hair out of her eyes so that he could cup her face in his hand and gently trace her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb, nearly making her give up her plan.

  “We’re not listening in,” Jason said, gesturing for them to continue.

  Biting back a smile, because she was definitely going to fit in well with his family if he ever got the nerve to propose to her again, she decided that it was time to get things moving. If she left it up to him, she knew that he would do everything in his power to make the moment absolutely perfect and that wasn’t what she wanted.

  She just wanted him.

  “We can talk about this later,” she said with a reassuring smile as she scanned the large restaurant, taking in all the possibili
ties.

  “We should talk about this now,” he said roughly, looking like he was going to be sick, which was probably a good reason to put this talk off for a little while.

  At least until he stopped looking like he was going to be sick, which she had to admit was a tad insulting. Not that she was going to let him back out of his proposal, intended or not, he was hers.

  She opened her mouth to tell him that there was nothing to worry about, because she’d decided to bestow upon him the honor of marrying her when he opened his mouth and let her know that he was going to be difficult.

 
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