Delectable, p.28
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       Delectable, p.28

         Part #9 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  noting that the snow was really starting to come down faster.

  “I’m sorry, sweetie,” Sara said even as she finished off the rest of Kasey’s juice.

  Kasey waved it off with a sigh. “It’s fine.”

  “Really? Is that why you’re getting fat?” Sara asked, blinking as she stole the bowl.

  “Yup,” she said, wishing that she had the energy to get off the couch, but she was honestly too tired to do much more than glare at the woman that had stolen her cookie dough.

  “Your ass is looking especially large these days,” Sara pointed out with a smile.

  “Bitch,” she said with a small smile as she shifted to get more comfortable.

  “Still not sleeping?” Sara asked, as she set the bowl down on the coffee table and got up to get another drink.

  Kasey took advantage of this opportune moment to stretch her legs as she curled up on her side so that’s she could stare numbly at the television, resigning herself to being a cliché.

  “No,” she said, answering Sara’s question when she returned to the living room carrying two bottles of apple juice.

  “Have you taken anything to help?” Sara asked, as she waited for Kasey to move her legs so that she could sit down.

  “I’ve tried over-the-counter medication, tea, warm milk, reading Mikey’s history book, but nothing helps,” she said, reaching back and grabbing the quilt that she had hung over the back of the couch and pulled it over herself, resigning herself to laying there and waiting for Mikey to get home from school.

  “Maybe you should read some of Eric’s tax returns,” Sara said, smiling as she returned her attention to the bowl of cookie dough.

  “I would if he was talking to me,” she said, feeling sick to her stomach just thinking about him.

  He hadn’t spoken more than a few words to her in months and those were only a quick greeting, a word about Mikey, and that one time that he’d told her that he was moving out. That was it. After more than ten years of friendship, he was gone without a word.

  “What happened?” Sara asked, giving her leg a reassuring pat.

  “No clue,” she said, really in no mood to deal with that today.

  “Maybe you should ask him.”

  “I don’t want to talk about Eric right now,” she said, sighing as she stared at the television, wondering why she was watching a show on pool maintenance.

  “Then what shall we talk about?” Sara asked cheerfully as she snatched the television remote and changed the channel.

  “Nothing,” she said, shrugging as she continued staring at the television.

  “Understandable,” Sara said, unusually considerate, making Kasey frown as she snuck a peek at her best friend to find her watching television as she absently continued to eat more cookie dough, making Kasey wish that she’d made two bowls.

  Actually, she kind of wished that she’d made brownie batter, she thought with a heartfelt sigh. She could whip some up in no time, but that required her getting off the couch and right now, she really wasn’t interested in getting off this couch.

  “So, I was thinking,” Sara said, making her smile, because she knew that Sara couldn’t help herself, “if it’s a boy, we should name him Reese’s Pieces or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”

  “I hate you,” she said with a snort of amusement as she placed her hand over the soft swell of her belly, wondering when Reese was going to visit so that she could tell him that this thing between them was a hell of a lot more complicated now, because this was one thing that she absolutely refused to tell him over the phone.


  “I fucking hate this job,” Reese said, shaking his head in disgust as he watched the suspect in the back of his cruiser vomit.


  This, of course, was after the little bastard had pissed himself on purpose. He really fucking hated his job more and more with each passing day. Before his life had gone to hell, he’d been able to tolerate it, finding things that he liked about his job, but now…

  “I can see why,” Darrin said with a sympathetic wince as the little bastard pressed his face against the barrier separating the backseat from the front, opened his mouth and-

  “Yeah, I really fucking hate this job,” he said, rubbing his hands roughly down his face.

  “The paperwork alone on this one…” his brother said with a chuckle that had Reese shifting his glare to his brother. “And to think that I almost made this arrest.”

  “You shoved me towards the bastard when he started stripping naked,” he bit out with one last glare before shifting his attention back to the bastard violating his cruiser.

  “I did it out of the goodness of my heart,” Darrin said, shifting next to him as the bastard in the back of his cruiser-

  “Oh, Christ,” Reese said when it became obvious what the bastard was doing, because there was no misinterpreting that look on his face.

  “I don’t think an air freshener is going to help with that,” Darrin said, as Reese swore soundly, seriously wondering why he was here, freezing his ass off while some piece of shit took a dump in the back of his cruiser.

  “I should have banged out,” he said, shaking his head and wishing that he’d called in sick so that he could have beat the storm and gone home to see Kasey and Mikey instead of doing this.

  “You’re out of sick days,” his brother pointed out, which of course was the only reason that he was here.

  He’d used up all of his sick days and vacation days at the start of all this bullshit to clean up the mess that Missy had left for him. As he stood there, watching the sick bastard bounce up and down in the back of his cruiser, he couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was doing here.

  Nodding, he found himself saying, “I think I’m done here,” which of course was the moment that the asshole in the back of his car decided to up his game and somehow managed to work his pants down and-

  “Yeah, I’m definitely fucking done here.”

  Chapter 51


  “I’m fine, Mikey. Please go back to bed,” Kasey said, closing her eyes as she tried to breathe through the nausea. But, since that seemed to make it worse, she settled for curling up on her side and regretting her decision to wait until tomorrow to pick up the anti-nausea medication her doctor had called in for her.

  “You said that an hour ago!”

  “And yet, you’re still up,” she said, wincing when the effort caused her stomach to rebel.

  “Probably cause you keep getting sick?” Mikey suggested as she tried to open the bathroom door, but it was still locked and it would remain that way until she was sure that she wasn’t going to start crying, because she honestly wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take.

  During the day she was exhausted and could barely do much more than make sure that Mikey got up for school, pass out on the couch before eating everything in sight until Mikey came home and it was time for her to drag herself off the couch, make Mikey something decent for dinner, help her with her homework as she waited for the morning sickness that only plagued her at night to kick in to make her sleepless night even more special.

  There was truly nothing like spending the night hugging the toilet to make her appreciate the little things in life, she thought miserably as she contemplated dragging herself into the large garden bathtub that Reese had installed for her when he’d remodeled the bathroom. Even though her back was pressed up against it, she decided that it was too far away.

  “Can you open the door?”

  “Can you go back to bed?” she countered.

  “Probably not,” Mikey admitted, making her laugh weakly.

  “Go to bed, Mikey. I’ll be fine.”

  “That’s what you said last night,” Mikey pointed out, making her sigh, because it was only a matter of time before she was going to have to sit down and discuss a few things with her daughter.

  For now she just wanted to wait for
Reese, but since they were having the worst winter in ten years and it didn’t look like she was going to get a chance to see him before spring, she might have to rethink holding off on telling him. Granted, she’d had her chance to tell him a few weeks ago during his last visit, but with Mikey with them every waking minute and the fact that he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off her when they were alone, she hadn’t really had much of a chance to tell him anything. As she lay there, curled up on her bathroom floor, sick to her stomach, she couldn’t help but laugh, because she’d once again screwed up her life.

  Honestly, she should have learned her lesson when she found herself pregnant at fifteen, but here she was, three months pregnant with her second and third child, unmarried, dealing with morning sickness that left her begging for death every night, and she hadn’t even told the father that she loved him yet.

  Yup, she was really doing a great job.

  Now when she told Reese that she loved him, he was going to think that she was only doing it to get him to marry her and that was the last thing that she wanted. After what that bitch had put him through, there was no way that he wasn’t going to think that she was playing him, too. Whether she told him that she loved him or not, this probably wasn’t going to end well for her.


  “Go to bed. You have school in the morning,” she said, moving to lie down on her back until a fresh wave of nausea told her that wasn’t a very good idea.

  “No, I don’t.”

  Frowning, she returned to her side, pretty sure that it was Tuesday. “What do you mean you don’t have school tomorrow?” she asked, wondering if she should risk trying to roll over onto her stomach.

  “There’s like two feet of snow outside. They canceled school hours ago,” Mikey said, trying the door again.

  “When?” she asked, because she was pretty sure that she would have remembered that since it meant that she could stay curled up in her bed for most of the day tomorrow.

  “Midnight,” her ten-year-old, who should have had her butt in bed at that hour, said.

  “What time is it now?” she asked before adding, “And why are you still up?”

  “It’s after two.”

  “And you’re up, because…” she said, prompting her child to give her a good reason not to ground her little butt.

  “Because you’re sick again,” Mikey said, trying the door, again.

  Closing her eyes, she sighed heavily. “Go to bed. Everything’s fine.”

  Or, at least it would be in a few hours when the morning sickness that should rightfully be dubbed “Evening Hell,” went away and in its place came the insatiable hunger that she couldn’t seem to satisfy no matter how much food she managed to consume. She couldn’t remember it ever being this bad with Mikey, but maybe that had something to do with the fact that she hadn’t been carrying twins then.

  “Then you should have no problem with opening the door,” Mikey said stubbornly, earning a weak smile as Kasey decided to see if laying on her stomach so that the cool tile could help only to once again roll back onto her side as she tried to survive another wave of nausea.

  “I’m not opening the door,” she said, deciding that it might be for the best if she tried to get in that tub after all.

  “Then I’m not going to bed,” the little stubborn pain in the butt shot back.

  “Mikey,” she said in warning as she moved to pull off her shirt, but quickly reconsidered it and decided to leave it on when she couldn’t get her trembling arms to cooperate.

  “What’s going on, mom?” Mikey demanded, trying to sound firm, but that slight quiver in her voice told her exactly how scared she was and Kasey couldn’t have that.

  “Hold on,” she said, slowly pushing up on trembling arms until she found herself sitting up, dizzy, and on the verge of collapsing.

  “Okay,” Mikey said, as Kasey closed her eyes and slowly exhaled as she willed her head to stop spinning.

  When a few minutes passed and the dizziness and nausea didn’t subside, she found herself falling back onto her side with a groan. She closed her eyes as her world spun out of control, barely aware of the click of the bathroom door opening or the strong arms wrapping around her, picking her up and-

  Gasped when she found herself in the tub with ice-cold water hitting her from three different angles. Sputtering in outrage, she opened her eyes to find the traitorous bastard shaking his head with an annoying tsk.

  “I leave you alone for one minute and look what happens,” Eric said with a sad shake of his head as he pressed the back of his hand to her forehead.

  “What are you doing here?” she asked, weakly swatting his hand away.

  “Mikey called me,” he said, adjusting the water temperature so that comforting wet heat was now permeating every inch of her body.

  “Traitor,” she mumbled with a relieved sigh, thankful that her daughter was too damn stubborn to listen to her.

  “She told me that you’ve been sick every night for the past three weeks,” he said, standing up to kick off his shoes and toss his wallet and keys on the counter before climbing into the tub with his clothes on and shifting her out of the way so that he could sit down and pull her into his arms.

  “Give or take a week,” she mumbled as she curled into him, grabbed hold of his wet shirt and held on as the nausea continued to assault her.

  “Aunt Sara’s on the way, too,” Mikey announced as she hurried into the bathroom and quickly joined them in the tub so that she was sitting by Eric’s side and holding her hand.

  “This is a really big tub,” Eric noted as he leaned down so that he could make sure that she was okay.

  “It’s an awesome tub,” she mumbled with a sniffle, surprised at how happy she was to see him even as she decided that she would throttle the bastard if he tried leaving again.

  “Reese let me help with the tiles,” Mikey bragged as she gave Kasey’s hand a squeeze.

  “Whatever,” Eric said with a sniff that had her smiling.

  “You could have helped too if you hadn’t thrown a hissy fit,” she pointed out, shifting to get comfortable and although she was happy that he was at least talking to her at the moment, she really wished that it was Reese holding her.

  “I didn’t throw a hissy fit,” Eric argued with a heavy sigh.

  “Then what would you call it?” she couldn’t help but ask as she lost herself to the hot water slowly making her world right again.

  “Getting out of the way so that you had a chance,” Eric explained as he petted her on the head. “You’re welcome.”

  “Getting out of the way for what?” Mikey asked, making her smile.

  “To give her a chance to get over me,” he said with a heartfelt sigh and a reassuring squeeze. “It had to be done.”

  Opening her eyes, she tilted her head back and out of the way of the hot water spraying down at them to look at him. Letting her bottom lip tremble just a little, she said, “You knew?”

  Nodding solemnly, he said, “Yes.”

  “You knew my secret shame?” she asked, adding a little more tremble to her lip and a sniffle.

  “That you were madly in love with me? It was really hard to miss, Kasey,” he said with a smile as he tweaked her nose.

  “Wait,” Mikey said with a frown, “I thought you were in love with Reese.”

  “So did I,” came the rather angry growl, drawing their attention as one to the man standing in the doorway, looking incredibly pissed.

  Before she could say anything, and she really wasn’t sure how to explain this one, Eric, the traitorous bastard beat her to it.

  “Oh, thank god you’re here! She won’t leave me alone! I’ve never felt so used in my life!” he cried hysterically, which wouldn’t have been so bad if Mikey hadn’t felt the need to come to her defense.

  “We’re helping mom with the morning sickness,” Mikey said, nodding solemnly and making Kasey close her eyes with a groan as she came to the realization that her daughter was a world-
class eavesdropper and that there was definitely no way in hell that Reese was going to trust her now.

  Chapter 52

  “I’m going to bed now,” Mikey said, nodding as she shifted a worried glance towards her mother, who was still curled up in the tub, but at least she wasn’t in Eric’s arms anymore.

  “Me, too,” Eric said, wiping his face with a towel.

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