Christmas from hell, p.8
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       Christmas from Hell, p.8

         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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  Chapter 8

  Monday, November 30th.

  Nothing was worth this, not even a chance to finally eat at the Fire & Brimstone, he decided, rubbing the back of his neck as he stepped back down from the small porch and headed back towards his house.

  He should have just told his brother to fuck off when he had the chance. Now he’d be lucky to make it back to his house without the little disaster crossing his path and leaving him with another concussion or maiming him for life because she felt the need to take the trash out at eight at night.

  This had been a really stupid idea, he told himself with a sigh and a shake of his head as he headed back next door, deciding that no meal was worth this bullshit. He was halfway across the Dixon’s driveway when a very familiar and very enticing scent stopped him in his tracks.

  “Double fudge brownies,” he said, scenting the air to make sure that he wasn’t imagining things.

  “Oh, hell,” he heard Mr. Dixon mutter with a heavy sigh as Duncan turned around and headed towards the back of the house, careful of the black ice coating the driveway, to find Mr. Dixon huddled on the back porch, holding a brown paper bag and looking guilty as hell.

  “Are you okay?” Duncan asked, sending Mr. Dixon a questioning look as he watched the old man noticeably swallow as he placed the paper bag behind his back.

  “Yes, yes I am,” Mr. Dixon said as though he hadn’t just been caught with a shitload of sugar, “why do you ask?”

  “Because you’re outside without a coat or gloves and it’s below freezing,” Duncan pointed out, curious to see how the old man was going to try and play this one off when everyone in the neighborhood knew that sugar, butter, salt and everything yummy was off limits to him.

  His granddaughter had made damn sure that everyone knew that those “minor misunderstandings” that had landed the old man in the hospital had been anything but, and if anyone in the neighborhood felt the urge to share baked goods with him that they should seriously reconsider that urge or she’d show up at your door to have a “talk” with you.

  Since he didn’t want the little pain in the ass showing up at his door, sobbing and bitching about her grandfather’s poor, weak heart, he decided to do what needed to be done.

  For all their sakes, of course.

  “Hand it over,” he said, holding out his hand and wiggled his fingers in demand.

  To Mr. Dixon’s credit, he didn’t pretend to misunderstand. “Fifty dollars.”

  “Fifty dollars?” he repeated, sure that he’d misheard, because otherwise that would just be…

  Sad.

  “A hundred,” Mr. Dixon said, not missing a beat.

  Shaking his head in disgust, because he really didn’t have time to play these games, he walked over, reached around the much smaller, yet intimidating man, and snatched the large bag of brownies away from him.

  “Are you sure that you want to do that?” Mr. Dixon asked as he narrowed his eyes dangerously on him.

  “Absolutely,” he said with a look that told Mr. Dixon that he should have known better.

  “This isn’t going to win you any points with Necie,” the old man snapped as Duncan turned around and headed back down the short set of stairs with the bag of brownies, deciding that this bullshit wasn’t worth finally being allowed into the Fire & Brimstone.

  “I think I’ll survive,” Duncan said dryly as he headed back towards his house, careful of the black ice since the last thing that he needed to was to break his fucking neck and have to depend on the little pain in the ass for help.

  Speaking of the little pain in the ass that seemed to make every single one of his days, oh so special.

  “What are you doing?” the woman that brought such joy to his life demanded as she stopped in front of him and-

  Lost her footing on a miniscule patch of ice and grabbed onto him, forcing him to save the little brat from falling on her ass. Once he had her steadied, she mumbled a, “Thanks,” and quickly backed away from him with one of those blushes that normally irritated him, but tonight…

  He had to actually admit that it made the little pain in the ass look adorable. She always blushed when she saw him. That was nothing new, but for some reason right now he couldn’t look away from those rosy cheeks, green eyes and messy wavy black hair pulled back into a messy bun. She just looked so damn adorable and that was his cue to get the hell out of there, grab an ice pack, pop another painkiller and call it a night, because if he was actually starting to think of her as anything other than a little pain in the ass then this fucking concussion was worse than he’d originally thought.

  Deciding to outright ignore her, because that’s usually what he did when he was trying to avoid her, he stepped around her and-

  “He was bringing me fudge brownies,” the son of a bitch that he was going to kill, said, fucking him over for absolutely no reason, which for a second made him wonder if it was possible that the man was part Bradford. He quickly dismissed it due to the fact that the man couldn’t handle his food, something every Bradford could do from birth.

  He opened his mouth to tell Necie that her grandfather was full of shit, but she seemed to have forgotten that he was even there, because all of her attention seemed to be locked on the elderly man who’d fucked him over and was currently sneaking in through the back door.

  “Get back here, old man!” Necie yelled, pushing past him as she stormed towards the back door. “I know they’re yours!”

  “No, they’re not!” Mr. Dixon yelled back even as Duncan heard the unmistakable sounds of a deadbolt sliding locked.

  Instead of getting upset or demanding that her grandfather open the door, the little terror narrowed her eyes on the back door, her little hands curled into fists and he would swear to his dying day that she snorted in disgust. “Because that’s really going to save you,” she said, shaking her head in disgust as she turned around and once again pushed past him, mumbling something about boiled chicken and steamed potatoes for a month while he stood there, holding a bag of brownies and wondering if his father and cousin had even bothered to check out the neighborhood before buying the house for Danny and Jodi.

  Probably not, he thought with disgust as he decided to call it a night and head home to grab some milk so that he could devour the brownies that-

  “Thanks,” Mr. Dixon said, right about the time that the bag was suddenly ripped from his hands.

  “Hey!” he snapped as he turned around to retrieve his bag of brownies, but for an old man, Mr. Dixon was surprisingly fast. He was up the back stairs, inside the house and setting the lock before Duncan could blink.

  For a minute, he stood there in shock as the loss of the brownies hit. His initial response was to go after the old man and demand his brownies back, but he knew that it was not only pointless, but would end with him spending more time than he wanted to with the little pain in the ass, which was the last goddamn thing that he wanted.

  With a silent farewell to the brownies that were never meant to be, he headed back home and within minutes, regretted not going after those damn brownies.

  *-*-*-*

  “No, fucking way,” he said, shaking his head as he glared down at his small sister-in-law as she glared right back up at him, doing her best to intimidate him, but he was beyond intimidating and at some point she’d figure that out.

  “Yes,” she said firmly, intensifying her glare as though that was going to somehow make him change his mind.

  “Not happening,” he said with a shake of his head as he reached past her and grabbed a sandwich off the large tray that she’d made for what he liked to refer to as Phase Two when Phase One, that was the glaring, didn’t work. She’d try to butter him up with food.

  “He won’t go,” Danny said from the other side of the table where he held a sleeping baby boy in his arms and was eating one of the sandwiches that Jodi had made to bribe Duncan.

  She didn’t bother trying to bribe Danny, because it was pointless. All she had to do was give hi
m one of her sweet little smiles and the man was putty in her hands. Then again, he was sure that all the sex she gave him had something to do with it.

  Sex…

  He should probably be concerned that he couldn’t remember the last time that he had sex, but sadly the only thing on his mind right now were those sandwiches and that bag of brownies that old bastard had stolen from him. He should go back over there and-

  “Please, come with us, Duncan!” Jodi said, stretching out the please as though that would somehow make him agree to come on this asinine trip with them.

  “No,” he said, taking a bite of his sandwich before he continued.

  “It will be fun!”

  He didn’t bother arguing with her, because she was probably right. Going snowboarding for a week would probably be a lot of fun, but right now he wasn’t in the mood for fun or to be around his family. He’d been suspended over total bullshit and all he wanted to do was to lay around, watching shitty movies, the occasional sports game, and enjoy the peace and quiet while he allowed his anger to marinate.

  That was really all he wanted for Christmas.

  “The temperatures dropping faster than last year,” his brother pointed out, causing Jodi to lose that smile and shoot him a frown.

  “What does that have to do with anything?” she asked, looking adorably confused while Duncan stood there, sighing with relief and mouthing, “Thank you,” to his brother for saving his ass.

  “It means that they might have to call him in for duty,” Danny said, helping himself to another sandwich as Duncan did the same.

  She frowned at that once again looking adorable, but not as adorable as the pain in the ass neighbor, he absently thought as he grabbed the bag of chips. “But, he’s suspended.”

  “Doesn’t matter,” he said, shaking his head as he grabbed a can of Coke and passed it to his brother. “If they need me, I’ll get called in. It’s as simple as that,” he said with a shrug, hoping that it didn’t come to that because it would mean that the shit had hit the fan.

  No matter how badly he wanted to return to work, and God, did he want to return to work, he didn’t want to do it like that. He wanted his boss to call him, apologize and tell him to get his ass back to work. Until that happened, he wasn’t planning on doing anything else but moping around the house, hanging out with his nephews in their nursery or fucking with his brothers’ heads when the mood arouse.

  Since his brothers were leaving town for a week along with his nephews, it looked as though he would be spending the next week moping.

  Chapter 9

  Tuesday, December 1st.

  “I really hate leaving you, sweetheart,” her grandfather said, sighing heavily and laying it on kind of thick, at least in her opinion he was.

  But, then again, he was under the impression that he was about to get a week where he didn’t have to worry about anyone watching his salt and sugar intake. He was going to his sister’s house for their traditional family Thanksgiving meal, a tradition that had started by his parents so that they could still enjoy one of their favorite traditional meals as a family after their siblings started to move away and start families of their own.

  Every year, a week or two after Thanksgiving her Great Aunts would take turns hosting a second Thanksgiving meal so that the family could get together, catch up and reminisce about the wonderful memories they had of growing up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Last year she’d been able to go only because it had been their turn to host the dinner. This year, Aunt Betty was hosting the dinner, a real pushover and someone that her grandfather fully expected to spoil him.

 
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