Delectable, p.9
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       Delectable, p.9

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

  Resigning himself to the hour of bullshit ahead, he turned to follow her and couldn’t help but smile when he spotted his delectable neighbor sitting in the booth by the back window, glaring at her daughter and his new BFF, who were sitting separately several booths away, looking at menus, and pointedly ignoring her.

  Feeling his lips pull up into a predatory grin, he gestured to Mikey. “You boys remember Mikey, right?”

  “Dad won’t let us play catch with her,” Johnny said, looking excited.

  “For good reason,” he said, absently touching the damaged side of his face.

  Nodding, Sebastian said, “I’d give anything to throw like her.”

  “Maybe she can give you some tips,” he said, already shoving the boys in that direction.

  “But-” the waitress said, gesturing towards an empty booth near the hostess station.

  “We’ll be joining our friends. Give both checks to me, please,” he said, not really caring that the glaring woman probably wouldn’t be happy with his company.

  “Mikey, you remember the boys, right?” he asked, shifting his attention from the woman, who he couldn’t wait to torment, and smiled at the little girl that was nodding.

  “Eric,” he said, noting the man’s glower before shifting his attention back to the woman that was no longer glaring, but openly panicking as she wrestled with a menu, trying to open it as she did a piss poor job of hiding behind it.

  So. Fucking. Adorable, he thought with a heartfelt sigh as he shifted his attention back to Mikey and Eric. “Would you mind a little company this morning? I wanted to talk to your mom about the renovations,” he said, already shoving the boys towards the booth.

  With a shrug, the boys sat down and helped themselves to menus as Mikey absently nodded and returned her attention to her menu all while Eric watched him with a curious expression that he didn’t really care about, not when he had an adorable little thing blushing behind him.

  “Excellent,” he murmured, making his way to the woman that was trying to hide behind an upside down menu and most likely praying that he went away, but since that really wouldn’t work for him, he swiped a menu off a nearby table and sat down across from her.

  “What would you recommend?” he asked, as though she wasn’t currently trying to inch her way towards the end of the bench and make her escape.

  When it became obvious that he wasn’t going away, she grumbled something as she dropped her menu on the table and glared at him.

  “Everything here is delicious,” she said with a glare as he sat there, watching her and murmured, “It definitely is.”

  *-*-*-*

  Oh. God, she thought, sitting there staring at the man that was devouring her with his eyes as she struggled to come up with a suitable response only to sigh with relief when Mary, their waitress who incidentally hated her, walked over.

  “Good morning. I’m Mary and I’ll be taking care of you today,” she said, pointedly ignoring Kasey as she glanced at Reese and-

  Frowned?

  “Good morning, Mary,” Reese said, thankfully shifting his attention to their waitress and giving her a chance to clear her head and think of something, anything, to get out of this before she did something mortifying.

  “What are you in the mood for?” Mary asked after a slight hesitation and a quick look over her shoulder towards Pam and Jenny, who were standing by the cash register, watching them, which had Kasey rolling her eyes even as she shifted closer to the edge, deciding that hiding in the bathroom for an hour was the only sensible solution when the bastard answered.

  “I don’t think it’s on the menu,” Reese said, shooting her a wink that had her blushing, damn him!

  Deciding that they needed to clear a few things up, meaning that she was going to make a bigger ass out of herself, she said, “Mary, could you give us a few minutes?”

  “Sure thing,” Mary said in a daze, throwing Reese a curious look as she walked away.

  “Desperate to have me all to yourself?” he murmured with a knowing look that was going to get him kicked.

  Deciding not to take the bait, she cleared her throat and said, “Reese-”

  “I thought I was Yummy,” he said, cutting her off with a smoldering look that left her flustered, that is, until she saw it.

  His lips twitched.

  She narrowed her eyes on him as a sinking suspicion crawled up her spine.

  He was playing with her.

  The bastard was actually playing with her!

  Oh, thank God! she thought just as quickly, nearly sagging with relief, because she honestly wasn’t sure what she would have done if he’d been serious. This she could handle, she thought with a sigh as she returned his smile, more than ready to play this game as she signaled for Mary.

  “I think we’re ready to order.”

  Chapter 14

  “Look, Yummy, I know you want me and I really can’t blame you, but I’m not interested,” she said with a heartfelt sigh as soon as their waitress walked away, making his lips twitch, but not for the reason that she thought.

  She was full of shit, but since it was more than obvious that he made her nervous he was going to have to play along.

  “Are you trying to tell me that you’re not madly in love with me?” he asked, drumming his fingers against the table as he watched her, noting that the woman who blushed and hid from him was gone and in her place was the woman who loved to tease him and called him “Yummy.” As he watched her, he couldn’t help but wonder which one was the real Kasey.

  “Yes,” she said solemnly with a nod, “I’m afraid that’s the problem.”

  “Really?” he said, blinking, “Because I’ve already named all ten of our children.”

  “What are their names?” she asked, playing along.

  “Thomas, Scott, Dennis, Andrew, Patrick, Jennifer, Melissa, Tobias, and Zachary,” he said without hesitation.

  “That’s only nine.”

  “Did I forget little Nathaniel?” he asked with a rueful shake of his head.

  “I believe you did,” she said with a smile.

  “It’s an unforgiveable oversight,” he said, making her laugh, which pleased him.

  “I’m sure he’ll forgive you,” she said, her eyes sparkling with amusement.

  “We’ll never know,” he said with a heavy sigh.

  “No,” she agreed, “I guess we never will.”

  “Unless you’re ready to admit that you want me?” he asked, earning another smile.

  “And give you false hope? No, no I couldn’t do that to you,” she said with a sad shake of her head that had him chuckling as he glanced over his shoulder to check on the boys only to find Eric glaring in their direction.

  “What did you do to piss them off?” he asked, shifting his attention back to the woman who intrigued him more than she should.

  She shrugged. “I wouldn’t let him call in sick so that he could help with the renovations.”

  “And Mikey?”

  “I’m making her go to summer camp so that she doesn’t waste the entire summer sitting on the bench,” she said with a yawn as she leaned back when their waitress appeared with their food.

  “Ah,” he said, accepting a plate from the waitress and moving it aside so that she could put the rest of his order on the table.

  “Can I get you anything else?” their waitress asked, shifting nervously as she shot another glance over her shoulder at her entourage that was waiting for her, which normally would have caught his attention, but right now his attention was focused solely on the woman sitting across from him.

  “I think we’re all set,” he said, eager to have Kasey all to himself again.

  “Yell if you need anything,” she said with one last lingering look before finally walking away.

  “She wants you,” Kasey said, reaching for the bottle of syrup.

  “But, I don’t want her,” he said with a pointed look at Kasey, which earned him a chuckle and an eye roll.

  “Because you’re desperately in love with me?” she teased with an easy smile as she grabbed the bottle of maple syrup.

  “Desperately,” he agreed with a wink and a chuckle that seemed to please her as he plucked the bottle of syrup from her hands and poured it on his pancakes and French toast.

  “That’s what I was afraid of,” she said, nodding solemnly.

  “Is this where you let me down easily?”

  “Yes, I’m afraid that I don’t have a choice,” she said with a sniffle.

  “What about the children?” he asked, matching her solemn expression as she stole his orange juice and took a sip.

  “I think that with time, a new puppy, and of course a rich step-daddy that buys their love that they’ll be able to move on someday,” she said with a wistful sigh as she finished off his orange juice and signaled for the waitress, who promptly turned her back to her and walked away.

  “I don’t think she likes you,” he murmured as he signaled for another waitress.

  “Well, we can’t all be Yummy, now can we?” she said with a sad shake of her head that ended with a chuckle and a wink as a new waitress walked over and took their order for more orange juice.

  “I’m sensing a story behind that,” he said, gesturing with a forkful of pancakes in the direction their waitress had scurried off to.

  Pursing her lips, she shook her head. “Not one worth sharing.”

  “It’s not good to keep secrets in a relationship,” he said with a forlorn sigh as he took a bite.

  “Then, I’m afraid that we’re doomed from the start, Yummy,” she said, helping herself to a bite of his food, which he took as an invitation to steal her bacon.

  “It’s a damn shame,” he said with a sad shake of his head as he popped the last piece of bacon in his mouth.

  “It really is.”

  “Now what will we do?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder to make sure the boys were okay only to look back and find Kasey, once again, finishing off his orange juice.

  “Somehow find the willpower to move on,” she said with a wink as she pushed the rest of her breakfast towards him.

  “I guess we don’t have a choice,” he said, finishing off her toast.

  “We really don’t.”

  “Our love was doomed from the beginning.”

  “It really was,” she said, nodding in agreement.

  “I guess the only thing to do is to move on and finish this renovation that you started,” he said, pulling out his wallet.

  “It’s for the best,” she said, reaching for her purse, but one glare from him had her rolling her eyes even as she said, “Thank you.”

  “You
re welcome,” he murmured absently as he looked over his shoulder to signal for the bill and check up on the boys, who were laughing at whatever Mikey said while Eric continued to sit there glaring in their direction, which reminded him…

  “What does Eric do?” he asked, returning his attention back to Kasey, who was staring wistfully at the empty glass of orange juice. Chuckling, he picked up the empty glass and signaled for a refill, absently noting that she had a bit of a juice addiction.

  “Besides annoy me?”

  “Yes, besides that,” he said, chuckling as he sat there, enjoying the most relaxing conversation that he’d ever had with a woman.

  “He’s an accountant,” she said, squishing her face up adorably at the admission.

  “Sounds fun,” he murmured absently, searching her features for any resemblance to the man in question and coming up short.

  “Well, he seems to really hate it,” she said, chuckling as she stacked their plates and pushed them out of the way.

  “And he’s your brother?” he asked, still wondering about that.

  “No, he’s Michael’s little brother and my best friend,” she said with a fond smile that had him nodding absently as he considered his next words.

  “And Michael is Mikey’s father?”

  “Yes.”

  “I see,” he murmured, not really sure how he should take the news that she was living with a man, but before he could ask any more questions their waitress was there, placing a large glass of orange juice in front of him and shooting him a wink as she said, “It’s on the house, Officer Bradford.”

  Chapter 15

  “What was that about?” Kasey asked with a pointed look at the trio of waitresses who were hovering around an iPad, laughing.

  “Nothing to worry your pretty little head about,” Reese said with a smile that didn’t quite meet his eyes as he held the door open for her and the kids.

  “Is this the point when I should drop the subject and move on?” she asked, feeling uncharacteristically generous this morning as they headed towards the parking lot with Mikey and Eric in the lead and the boys already heading towards a large black pickup truck that she assumed was Reese’s.

  “Yes, yes it is,” he said with a heavy sigh as he pressed his hand against the small of her back and gestured towards the truck in question.

  “I guess I can do that,” she said magnanimously as she smoothly stepped away from his touch only to find herself once again heading towards his truck when he placed his hand back and steered her towards the boys, who were suddenly racing back towards them and yelling, “Dad!” as a large SUV pulled into the parking lot.

  “It’s for the best,” he murmured, suddenly dropping his hand away and grabbing the boys before a minivan trying to back out of a spot could hit them.

  “Be careful,” he said with a pointed look at the driver as he released the boys safely on the sidewalk so that they could race the rest of the way and slam into Trevor as soon as the misguided man made the mistake of climbing out of his truck. With a nod in Reese’s direction, he had one of the boys thrown over his shoulder and was heading inside the diner with the rest of his brood in tow. Zoe barely managed to say, “Hello,” before the smallest boy dragged her inside. Once they were out of sight, Reese was back to his manhandling ways.

  “Umm, I have a ride,” she pointed out when Reese once again started leading her towards his truck only to end up frowning as she watched Eric and Mikey drive by only slowing down long enough to send her a well-timed glare before completely abandoning her, which really shouldn’t surprise her.

  But, still…

  “And they seem really excited about spending some quality time with you, but on the off chance that they’re not coming back, why don’t I give you a ride?” he suggested, opening the door and gesturing for her to climb in.

  “They’re so damn fickle,” she said with a heavy sigh and a shrug as she moved to climb in only to find herself swept off her feet and set down on the bench seat before she had a chance to blink.

  “Umm, thanks?” she said, not really sure what the proper etiquette was for being manhandled.

  “You’re welcome,” he said, shooting her a smile as he closed the door and quickly made his way around the truck as she sat there, reminding herself to relax.

  “Do you need to go anywhere?” Reese asked, as he climbed into the truck.

  “Not until tonight,” she said with a shrug, silently congratulating herself on surviving this encounter with him as she turned her attention to the radio, needing a distraction from the incredibly handsome man sitting next to her that was seriously screwing with her sanity.

  “What’s going on tonight?” he asked, pulling out of the parking lot and headed back home.

  “Taking Mikey to the carnival,” she said with a shrug, although she really wasn’t sure that she wanted to share her cotton candy with the little traitor, not after this recent betrayal.

 
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