Part #9 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
off, but she couldn’t do that, not with Mikey here.
Until this moment, she’d never really appreciated the difficulties that came with dating when you had a child. Those difficulties had become painfully obvious when she’d been forced to shove Reese out the window and dive over her bed and jerk on a shirt before her ten-year-old daughter walked into her room and got an eyeful.
It made her realize that she had to be careful, really careful, since the last thing that she wanted was for her daughter to get a glimpse into her childhood. When she’d found out that she was pregnant on that fateful day at the downtown clinic all those years ago, she’d made herself a promise that she would never subject her children to the type of childhood that she’d had, and so far, she’d been able to keep that promise.
But, with Reese here it was going to be difficult. He was kind, funny, sweet, and she loved him. There was no doubt in her mind that she was in love with him and that was the problem. She didn’t want to lose herself around him, especially in front of Mikey, which meant that she was going to have to behave herself, keep an appropriate distance from him, and of course, kick him out after the next movie was over, because under no circumstances was he going to spend the night when Mikey was here.
As she glanced over Mikey’s head to find him watching her, she felt her shoulders sag and found herself on the verge on whimpering pathetically, because she was half afraid that she was already addicted to him. Gesturing to Mikey to play another movie, she somehow managed to tear her gaze away from him and drowned her sorrows with a bottle of apple juice as she tried not to think of all the things that she was going to have to go without tonight.
There would be no snuggling, no falling asleep in his arms or waking up in new and interesting ways, and no tormenting him first thing in the morning, she realized with something close to a pout. She’d hate it, but for Mikey she would do anything.
So, when the second movie finally ended, she slapped a smile on her face and said, “Let me walk Reese to the door and then I’ll come tuck you in, okay?”
“Sure,” Mikey said with a shrug before she gave Reese a hug goodnight, switched the baseball in her hands for the one by the door and headed to the bathroom, leaving her there to explain to Reese that this was going to be more difficult than they’d thought.
“No worries, sweetheart,” he said, warmly as he leaned in and kissed her forehead. “Goodnight,” he said, and with that, he was gone and she found herself dragging herself to Mikey’s room, tucking her in and promising her pancakes in the morning before she took herself to the bathroom, took a shower, and then finally dragged herself the rest of the way to her lonely, sad room.
Pulling on the latest shirt that she’d stolen from Reese, she shut the lights off, climbed in bed and immediately realized that this just wasn’t going to work for her. Flopping over onto her side, she grabbed the remote and decided to see what was on television when her bedroom window was suddenly shoved open by that large tan hand that she would recognize anywhere.
More amused than anything, she watched as that hand struggled to get the window to stay up. It took several tries and a few muttered curses, but eventually he was able to get the window to stay open so that he could climb in through the window and land on her bedroom floor with an “Oomph.”
“Can I help you with something, Yummy?” she asked, curling up on her side to watch him.
“I came for my goodnight kiss,” he informed her as he pulled himself up and crossed the small room to lock her bedroom door.
“Reese-” she started to say only to have the man, who’d apparently thought this one out, cut her off.
“I’ll be gone before she wakes up,” he promised, clearly understanding the problem.
“I see,” she murmured. “Do I have to get naked for this goodnight kiss?”
Nodding, he reached behind him and pulled off his shirt as he kicked off his boots. “That really went without saying, sweetheart.”
Smiling, she pulled off her shirt and flung it next to the one he’d tossed aside, already calling it her very own. Throwing a nervous glance towards the closed door, she reminded him, “You have to be gone before she gets up.”
“I will, sweetheart,” he said, pushing down his jeans as he joined her on the bed. “I promise.”
“What are you doing?” Mikey asked, as she sat down on the bench seat that she’d declared was rightfully hers the other night when Sara had dropped her off and he’d resigned himself to sneaking into her mother’s room late at night and sneaking out early in the morning.
“Getting your mother’s bill together,” he said, staring down at the list that he’d compiled with all the receipts he’d collected over the past few months.
It was a small fortune, but he’d been able to cover it with the large settlement the judge had awarded to him after his brother had wiped the floor with Missy. She’d been forced to pay him everything she had and been placed on five years probation for grand larceny all because of that letter that she couldn’t help but share online simply because she’d thought it was funny.
“How much is it?” she asked, worrying her bottom lip as she helped herself to one of the large apple streusel muffins that her mother had whipped up this morning after he’d snuck out.
“Enough,” he said, chuckling as he looked at the total amount and sighed.
Between the appliances, wood, materials, windows, and all the other shit that he’d needed to complete this job she was looking at a nineteen thousand dollar bill. That didn’t include the money that he owed his cousins for helping, but he’d take care of that himself.
“You made mom cry, you know,” she said matter-of-factly as she nibbled on the streusel muffin.
“What?” he asked, looking up to find the little girl shrugging.
“She doesn’t know that I saw her,” Mikey said, giving him a look that he couldn’t quite make sense of.
“Do you know why she was crying?” he asked, already pushing his chair back to go check on Kasey.
“You made her happy,” she said, popping the last bite of streusel in her mouth before she jumped up and headed for the front door only to stop halfway there, run back and throw her arms around him and give him a bear hug. “The kitchen’s amazing, Reese. I gotta go! Uncle Eric is here! I’ll see you at my game tonight!”
And with that, she was gone.
He stood there for another minute, taking in the kitchen that he’d created for Kasey and looking for things that he could fix or change and for the first time in his life, he couldn’t come up with a single one.
It was perfect.
Absolutely fucking perfect, he thought chuckling as he walked out of the kitchen to do the same with the living room only to sigh when he glanced down the hallway to the rest of the house that didn’t match his perfect kitchen and living room. He walked down the hallway that needed to be gutted of the old horsehair plaster, warped floors and glanced into the bathroom he’d like to work on next before he continued the rest of the way to Kasey’s door only to find himself locked out.
Frowning, he knocked. “Kasey?”
“Just a minute!”
“Are you okay, sweetheart?” he asked, leaning against the door.
“Yeah, I just need a minute.”
When a minute passed and she still hadn’t opened the door, he decided to take a look at the bathroom to see if it would be possible to expand it by taking out the hallway closet, something that he could do later when he came back during his days off. With that in mind, he went to find his measuring tape.
“Why did you tell me to get my ass over here if you were going to lock your door?” came the curious question that had her jumping off the bed and rushing over to her locked bedroom door.
“Is Reese with you?” she whispered.
“Uh, no? Why are we whispering?” Sara asked, as Kasey decided to make sure the coast was clear.
Get the crap scared out of her when she spotted a familiar brown eye staring back at her.
“Are you going to open the door or not?” Sara asked, sounding amused as Kasey muttered under her breath about hateful bitches and threw the lock before opening the door, reaching out and dragging her best friend inside so that she could shut and lock the door before Reese saw them.
“Where’s Reese?” she asked, double-checking the lock before returning to her messy bed and the laptop that she’d been working on all morning.
“No clue,” Sara said, climbing onto the bed so that she could join her. “What are we hiding from him?” she asked, as she helped herself to Kasey’s bottle of apple juice.
“This,” she said with a smile as she opened her laptop and pulled up the file that she’d been working on and didn’t want Reese to see until it was ready.
Sara passed the juice back over to her and pulled the laptop onto her lap so that she could get a better look. “Holy crap, does he know about this yet?”
“Nope,” she said, worrying her bottom lip as she waited for Sara to finish looking at the website that she’d created for Reese on a whim.
“You did this?” Sara asked, shooting her a curious look.
“Mmmhmm,” she said, shifting nervously.
“It’s amazing,” Sara said, shaking her head in wonder as she went through the “Before” and “After” pictures of Kasey’s living room and kitchen. “He’s going to love it.”
“You think?” she asked, throwing the closed bedroom door another nervous glance.
“Yeah,” Sara said, nodding with a chuckle. “It looks amazing. The color scheme, fonts, and layout look great, but I do have one question.”
“And that is?”
“Is Officer Yummy planning on leaving the force to open his own business?”
She snorted at that as she took back the computer. “What? No! This is just so that he could have a website if he decides to do this on the side and he should definitely keep doing this,” she said, still unable to stop smiling when she thought about the beautiful kitchen and living room that he’d created for her.
“I agree, but if he’s doing this on the side then when is he going to be able to come see you?” Sara said, as she leaned back and helped herself to the rest of Kasey’s juice.
Sighing, she rubbed her hands down her face and shook her head as she admitted, “I honestly don’t know.”
“Kasey,” Sara said, sighing heavily, “please tell me that you’re not already trying to find a way out of this.”
“Oh, you mean now that I’ve found a great guy that I love spending time with and can’t seem to get enough of that I’m freaking out and trying to come up with a way to push him away before he breaks my heart,” she said, blinking. “Is that what you mean?” she asked, laughing when Sara flipped her off with a glare.
“I hate you,” Sara said before chuckling.
“You love and adore everything about me,” she said, returning her attention to the website that she was hoping to surprise Reese with.
“Only because I don’t know any better,” Sara said, grabbing the remote and turning the television on. “Where’s Mikey?”
Glancing at the right hand corner of her computer screen and checking the time, she said, “With Eric.”
“Is he still giving you the silent treatment?”
“Any idea what that’s about?”
“Nope,” she said, pissed that he was acting this way.
He was one of her best friends and to have him suddenly just drop out of her life like this made her feel sick to her stomach. She didn’t know what happened or why it happened, but she wasn’t going to waste the last few weeks that she had with Reese on it. She’d give him his space, let him figure out why he was so pissed and when Reese left, she’d slap the shit out of him.
“Was out in the hall the last time I knew,” she said, wondering if he’d be willing to pose for a picture for this website.
Probably not, she thought with a smile as she scrolled down the page and-
“Son of a bitch!”
-scrambled off the bed when the sounds of glass shattering followed that loud declaration.
Shoving Sara out of the way, she raced over to the door, fumbled with the lock and finally managed to get it open so that she could run down the hall, shove the bathroom door open and stumble to a halt when she saw Reese, standing there, holding what remained of her medicine cabinet, the one that she was pretty sure had been attached to the wall this morning, and looking incredibly guilty.
Clearing his throat, Reese carefully placed the ruined medicine cabinet on the floor, shoved it aside with his foot as he stood up and cleared his throat again as she took in the large hole in her wall where the medicine cabinet had once been and the cracked sink before looking back at the large man that was definitely making her dinner tonight.
Rubbing the back of his neck, he nodded as he slowly exhaled. “So, I’ll just get started on this today,” he said with a nod as he headed towards the door, pausing long enough so that he could kiss her cheek and mumble, “Sorry.”
“You might want to get a picture of this before he gets back here if you want a ‘Before’ picture,” Sara pointed out as Kasey turned around with a sigh and headed back to her room, resigned to spend the night over at Reese’s, which meant that she was going to have to put off finishing his website for another night.
“No, that’s just not going to work for us,” Sara said, sighing long and loud as she gestured for him to pick up the beach chairs that she’d somehow suckered him into carrying for her along with a cooler filled to the max and a bag of shit that he wasn’t really sure that she was going to need for a kid’s baseball game.
Ignoring his glare, she gestured for him to move the chairs five feet to the right. “That would be great if you put them over there. Thanks,” she said with a smile as she pulled out a one-dollar bill and stuffed it in his pocket with a wink.
“What’s wrong with the bleachers?” he asked, gesturing towards the bleachers to their right and left, the ones that had plenty of space for them and would give them a better view of the field.
“We don’t sit in the bleachers,” Sara said with a sniff as she pushed her designer sunglasses back up on her nose before once again gesturing for him to move the chairs.
“And why’s that?” he asked, moving the chairs over only to force himself not to strangle the woman when she gestured for him to move them back a little to the left.
Before she could answer, he was releasing a small grunt and smiling when the woman that had ditched them to go check on Mikey launched herself onto his back. “Why what?” Kasey asked, leaning forward and kissing his cheek before sliding off his back so that she could stand next to him.
“He wants to know why we don’t sit on the bleachers,” Sara informed her, once again gesturing for him to move the chairs a little more to the left.
Kasey blinked as she looked at the bleachers, where he realized that most of the women were either glaring at her or openly gesturing towards her and laughing, to the section of the field that they were claiming as their very own. “If we sit there then how would we ogle the umpire?” she asked, smiling as she waved to Mikey, who was still sitting on the bench while the rest of the players were warming up on the field.
“Well, that and the bitches on the bleachers would probably have a heart attack if Kasey sat with them,” Sara said, giving up on waiting for him to move the chair and sat down with a sigh as she reached into her bag and grabbed a fashion magazine before turning her attention to the cooler.
“This is true as well,” Kasey said, nodding as she gestured for him to sit down and once he did, she was sitting on his lap and laying her arm around his shoulders as she accepted the small bottle of apple juice that Sara was
“And why’s that?” he asked even though he already had a pretty good idea.
“Because they’re afraid that Kasey will screw their husbands,” Sara said with a shrug as she returned her attention to her magazine.
“This is true. I am a slut,” she said, nodding solemnly as she took a sip of her juice and watched the kids play as though she didn’t care what half the town was saying about her.
“You really are,” Sara said around a yawn.
“I just can’t seem to help myself,” she said dryly, looking bored as she took a sip of apple juice while he sat there, seriously wondering why she stayed in this town. Then again, she really hadn’t had much of a choice, he thought as he glanced at Mikey to find her smiling hugely as she grabbed her mitt and headed onto the field to join her team.
Delectable by R. L. Mathewson / Romance & Love have rating 4.3 out of 5 / Based on43 votes