Christmas from hell, p.4
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       Christmas from Hell, p.4
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         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  There were a few times that he’d seriously considered screaming at her as he throttled her neck for whatever bullshit she’d inflicted upon him, but one look at her mortified expression was usually enough to help him keep his mouth shut, turn around and walk away before he did something that would land his ass in the slammer. Not that he would regret it, because heaven fucking knew that he wouldn’t, not after the bullshit that she’d put him through over the last twelve months, but he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he told her what he really thought of her.

  She was a royal pain in the ass and he couldn’t fucking stand her.

  Every time he saw her, he would turn around and walk the other way, more like run, but sometimes even that wasn’t enough to save him from the bullshit that she put him through. He still couldn’t understand how such a tiny woman could cause so much damage. He’d lost track of the injuries that she’d inflicted upon him over the past year, but some of them like the fire, the dumpster incident, the skunk, when she hit him with her car, and the time that the little brat thought it would be a good idea to surprise her grandfather by repainting the house for him and Duncan had somehow ended up covered in five gallons of grey paint, a nail through his foot and one of his eyebrows burnt off simply because he’d made the mistake of walking too close to the property line, those memories would stay with him forever.

  And now after the incredibly fucked up day that had landed him in the emergency room with a concussion, ten stitches, a suspension and a migraine from the painkillers he now had to deal with whatever bullshit she’d gotten herself into once again. He didn’t bother asking her what happened or why she hadn’t climbed out from beneath his cousin’s truck yet simply because he didn’t give a flying fuck. He also didn’t want to hear how it happened, because honestly, he felt that ignorance was probably the safest bet when it came to Necie Dixon.

  He ignored the way that his stomach rolled, kneeled down, put his arms around her small frame and-

  “Ouch! Ouch! Oh, my God, ouch!” the small woman that had too much power to ruin his day screamed, instantly making him go still even as he shook his head in disgust, because really, he should have known that she’d make something that should have been simple into a huge fucking ordeal.

  “What’s going on?” his father asked, coming up behind him.

  Before he could answer, the woman that was for some reason clinging to the back tire, muttered, “C-cart,” reminding him of the reason that he could now add limping to his list of bullshit offenses for the day.

  “Oh,” his father said, not really sounding all that concerned when he should be fucking livid on his behalf, “that large silver cart that slammed into Duncan’s leg?”

  There was a slight pause before she whispered, “Yes,” sounding embarrassed, which was probably understandable considering who he was dealing with here.

  “I’ll grab it for you,” his father offered with a shrug and a yawn, sounding bored while Duncan was stuck there, kneeling on the ice covered pavement with the annoying woman that refused to give him a fucking break in his arms.

  “T-that would be great. Thank you,” she said softly before screaming another one of those, “Ouchies,” that had him muttering a curse, because it was clear that she wasn’t going to allow his night to end until she’d completely destroyed the very last ounce of what was left of his sanity. “It’s actually the order that I made for Danny and Jodi. So, if you could bring it over there that would be-”

  “What order?” his father asked, suddenly sounding very alert for a man who’d been on his feet since four this morning, having spent the last five hours working on him and helping out in the emergency room that had been grossly understaffed.

  “Desserts mostly,” Necie said with a wince as she tried to discretely push him away with one arm while she used the other to hold onto the tire.

  “Let go,” Duncan said firmly, but she simply squeezed her eyes shut tightly and stubbornly shook her head as she continued to hold onto that damn tire.

  “Not going to happen,” she said with that same stubborn shake of her head.

  Sighing heavily, because he really didn’t need to deal with this tonight, he moved to release her and ask his father to deal with this bullshit so that he could go to his room and crash for the night, but his father wasn’t standing by his side any longer. No, that traitorous bastard was at the end of the driveway trying to put Uncle Jared in a headlock while Jason kicked out Trevor’s knee, jumped over the large bastard only to get knocked on his ass by Danny and Darrin as they all raced to get to that service cart first. Shaking his head in disgust at himself, because he couldn’t really blame them since Necie Dixon was probably the best baker that had ever mastered a stove, he focused his attention back on getting her safely inside.

  As much as he would love to walk away and leave her before she could cause him any more misery, he just couldn’t. He wasn’t the kind of guy to walk away from someone who needed help. It wasn’t how he was raised and it just wasn’t who he was. He was the dumb asshole who risked his ass to help someone guaranteed to fuck him over.

  “Let go,” he said, closing his eyes briefly as the nausea from the medication and concussion threatened to knock him flat on his ass.

  “No, that’s okay,” she said quietly as she tightened her grip around the tire and curled her body around it, testing his damn patience and making him rethink his decision to help her out ever again.

  It would be so easy to just get up, walk past the bickering assholes now that they’d discovered a tray of cupcakes, head in through the back door and go up the back stairs to the attic that he’d turned into his room a few months. He’d flick the lock and sleep for the next week or so since he had nothing better to do, but unfortunately for him, he knew that he probably wouldn’t get more than thirty winks tonight, if that.

  Insomnia fucking sucked.

  Months long after his brother had learned to walk again and Jodi had given birth to the twins, taking an insane amount of pressure off his shoulders and he still couldn’t fucking sleep. He’d tried everything, changing his shifts at work, moving his room upstairs, tripling the insulation, blacking out the windows, and he even bought one of those white noise machines with the hopes that it would help, but nothing worked.

  Every now and then he’d pass out and catch a few minutes of sleep, but it never lasted and it never left him feeling revived. Instead, it left him feeling even more exhausted than before. He’d talked to his brother about it a few times and even accepted a prescription or two hoping that it would help, but nothing had. The drugs that his brother prescribed had only made things worse. He’d considered talking to his father about it, but he kept putting it off, telling himself that it would get better and that this was just a phase that he was going through, but it wasn’t and he knew it.

  He also knew that admitting to his father that he was having problems was going to make this fucking problem all-too real. Admitting that he was having problems was also going to get him taken off the truck and placed behind a desk, a job that he wasn’t ready for. So, to protect his job and his sanity, he kept his mouth shut, made sure never to bitch about how exhausted he was or the fact that he was afraid that his father was going to tell him that this wasn’t just a phase.

  That fucking terrified him.

  It was also his problem to deal with so he kept his mouth shut, kept his problems to himself, did his job, helped his family when they needed him, and saved the aggravating woman next door from herself when she needed it. From the looks of things, she definitely needed it.

  “Let’s get you inside before you catch pneumonia,” he said blandly, using the same words and tone that he would use on any patient as he reached for her only to once again have the annoying woman make his life more difficult than it really needed to be.

  As usual, but tonight he didn’t have the fucking patience to deal with her bullshit so he ignored her muttered protests, put his arms around her and-

  Ne
arly lost his footing when she started screaming and blindly slapping at his head, shoulders, arm and chest with her free hand, basically hitting him wherever she could reach as she squeezed her eyes shut on a gasp and tried in vain to lock her arm around the large tire. Ignoring her muttered demands to leave her alone, he tightened his hold around her, stood up and-

  Rip…

  “Oh…..God….,” she muttered on a pained gasp as she bit her lower lip and turned a very interesting shade of pale pink.

  “You’re fine, Dixon,” he said, calling her by her last name. He refused to use her first name since it could mistakenly lead her to believe that they were friends, because that was the last fucking thing that he needed was for her to think of him as a friend.

  Instead of arguing with him, she squeezed her eyes shut tighter and shook her head stubbornly as she folded her arms over her chest. She didn’t say anything and for that, he would forever be grateful. Since she wasn’t trying to get out of his arms, wasn’t screaming for help or anything else that would require him to put her down, he started to head for his house only to realize that she might take that the wrong way. Not wanting any misunderstanding between them, he turned around and headed towards her house where her grandfather, a man known for his temper and his soft spot for his granddaughter, stood waiting for them with his large arms crossed over his chest and his curious, almost amused, gaze locked on them.

  When Mr. Dixon moved to the side without being asked, Duncan took that as a sign that the old bastard wasn’t going to shoot his balls off for touching his precious granddaughter. With a nod, he walked past the old man, through the insanely large commercial kitchen that took him by surprise and headed through the door. Figuring that she would probably be on the second floor, he turned towards the back stairs only to pause when he spotted the bedroom off the kitchen, what was considered the servant’s room in most of the old large houses and apparently by the looks of things, it was Necie’s room.

  Deciding that trying to make conversation with her was not only pointless, but a bad idea, he continued to ignore her little grunts of pain and headed for her room, pausing only at the door long enough to close it behind them with his foot. Once he had the door shut, he set to work, needing to get her fixed up and out of there before she could do any more damage to him.

  When he laid her on her bed and managed to pry her arms away, he accepted the fact that this was easily the worst Thanksgiving that he’d ever had and God, he couldn’t wait for it to fucking end.

  Chapter 4

  Don’t puke, don’t puke, don’t puke, don’t-

  “Let’s see what kind of damage we have here?” Duncan, the man that filled her thoughts more than he probably wanted to, said with a bored sigh as he gently placed her on the bed and gently grasped her arm to move it to the side, but she wasn’t ready to see the extent of the damage yet.

  She wasn’t ready to find out if she still had a boob or if it was-

  “Oh, fuck me,” Duncan said, sounding very un-Duncan like and taking her terror up another notch, which of course inadvertently forced her to open her eyes so that she could see the extent of the damage to her boob herself so that she could make the decision to try and save the boob or if it was for the best to just have the boob completely removed. Judging by the stinging pain down the side of her boob, she realized that the choice may no longer be hers.

  Swallowing hard, and really doing her best not to lose her dinner or pass out, she forced herself to look up at Duncan and nearly lost it when she saw him openly cringe at whatever it was that he was looking at, bringing her anxiety up another notch and making her realize just how badly she didn’t want to lose her boob.

  She’d never been vein, or had much of a reason to be, but she liked her boobs.

  There.

  She’d admitted it.

  She actually cared if she lost a boob, especially because she’d stupidly lost her footing on a patch of ice all because she was too busy making sure that the man staring intently at the mangled remains of her breast, wasn’t outside where she could make another unforgettable memory to add the list of horrors that she’d put him through over the past year. Only this time she was going to lose a boob because of it.

  Swallowing hard as she told herself to stop being a baby and face this thing head on, she stared at his handsome face for a few more seconds before she shifted her attention to her torn sweatshirt, the tee-shirt beneath it and the remains of her favorite gray sports bra and sighed with relief.

  Her boob was still intact.

  Thank God.

  “I don’t think you’re going to need stitches,” Duncan said, using that same tone that he always used when he was forced to talk to her. It wasn’t rude, but then again, it wasn’t exactly friendly. It was the kind of tone that you used when you were forced to deal with someone that you couldn’t stand, and so far, she’d only ever heard him use that tone on her.

  “It’s fine,” she said with a little distracted shake of her head as she pushed his hand away so that she could pull her torn shirt over her cut to cover herself as she sat up. She was relieved that it looked like she was going to be able to keep her breast, but absolutely humiliated that the man that she’d foolishly fallen in love with was seeing her like this and was clearly unimpressed with what he saw.

  “No,” he said, gently brushing her hand away so that he could take another look at her mangled boob. “It doesn’t need stitches, but it definitely needs to be cleaned up and bandaged.”

  She shrugged away from his grip. “I’ll take care of it,” she promised, averting her eyes away from him, too humiliate to look
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