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“Oh, like you?” Mitch snorted. “You treat women worse than I do.”

Jason barely held back his temper. “No, not me. I’m not interested in her like that. She’s a friend, nothing more.”

“Yeah, okay. Keep telling yourself that, buddy. Anyone with two working eyes can tell you’re getting ready to pounce.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it. If I wanted her I would have had her by now,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Yeah, whatever,” Mitch mumbled. “She’s a grown woman. If she wants to go out with me she can. You have no say in the matter.”

“We’ll see,” he said, knowing if Mitch tried anything he’d beat the shit out of his friend.

“See what?” Haley asked as she squeezed into the small aisle, juggling her beer and a tray full of food in her arms.

“If the Yankees can get this game back under control,” Jason said smoothly.

“They will,” Haley said firmly. Jason had a funny feeling that if they didn’t she would go beat the shit out of someone.

She sat down next to him. He placed his piss warm beer on the floor and took hers while she settled her tray in her lap. He took a sip of her cold beer while she took a bite of her hot dog topped with sauerkraut. She closed her eyes as she savored the treat.

“That is really good,” she nearly groaned in delight.

“Give me a bite,” he said.

Haley nodded absently while she watched the game. She held out the hot dog for him. He took a big bite. While he chewed he sat back and couldn’t stop smiling as Mitch frowned at him. For the next ten minutes he held the beer for her to sip while she held food out to him.

Jason wasn’t even sure she realized what they were doing. Her focus seemed to be on the game itself. When their beer was empty he put it down and turned to find another beer vender.

“Oh shit!” Brad yelled as he jumped to his feet the same time Mitch did.

He turned in time to see Haley jump to her feet and then jump onto her seat, holding her hands out as she mumbled, “Oh no, oh no, oh no!” He jumped to his feet the same moment as something white slammed into Haley’s hands. She held onto the thing for dear life as she lost her footing from the impact of the ball and from several guys trying to grab it from her.

Before he could push the bastards away from her Haley was jumping up and down on her seat while hugging the ball to her chest. Her smile was intoxicating when she looked down at him and proudly showed him the ball.


He placed his hands together in front of him in a praying gesture and slightly bowed. “Very good, grasshopper.” He straightened up in time to catch her in his arms. He whirled her around as she hugged his neck tightly.

“I can’t believe I caught it!”

“You did great!” he said, kissing her cheek. The action was so sudden that it took him back. He carefully placed a very happy Haley on the ground. She sat down, still grinning while hugging the ball.

After a few minutes she said his name tightly.


“I think I broke my hand,” she whimpered.


“You sure you don’t want to go with us?” Mitch asked, giving her a puppy dog expression.

Haley forced herself to smile. She liked Mitch, not as much as Jason, but she didn’t see it going any further than friendship. Mitch was becoming rather persistent over the past week. It was getting kind of annoying.

She held up her hand and ice pack. “Sorry. I think I’m going to go relax. You guys go have fun. Hit the clubs or bars or whatever you guys do. No doubt Jason’s going to want to hit the all male review.”

While the other men laughed Jason stuck his tongue out at her. Haley looked at the front desk. “Ah, guys, did you remember to check in earlier?”

Jason waved it off. “We have the room reserved on a credit card. It will be there by the time we get back.”

Haley didn’t think it would be. Hotels usually had a tendency to give rooms away when the holders didn’t show up and since it was now nine o’clock she didn’t have high hopes that the room the guys reserved was still available. She didn’t say anything knowing it would come off as bossy and she was sick of being a worrier. She didn’t want to nag the guys and wreck their good time.

“Alright, have fun, guys,” she said before making her way to the elevator.

“Haley! Wait up!” Mitch called. She almost groaned.

“What’s up?” she asked him, feeling her patience fraying.

He shrugged. “I was going to ask if you wanted company. I know your hand must hurt so I figured I’d keep you company,” he said with a charming smile that probably worked on most everything female.

Her eyes shot past him to see Brad grab Jason by the arm and hold him back. What the hell was that about? She gave herself a mental shake and focused on Mitch.

“That’s really sweet, but I’ll be fine. I’m just going to watch a movie and go to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She didn’t give him a chance to respond before she headed off towards her room.

She might not have the best track record in dating, but she knew the womanizers by sight and Mitch was definitely a womanizer. She didn’t feel like being just another notch on any man’s bed.

A few minutes later she was closing her hotel room behind her. She walked to the first double bed and searched her bag for aspirin. Her hand was throbbing like crazy. When she couldn't find any she called room service for a bottle and a large ice cream sundae.

Twenty minutes later she was sitting comfortably in a bubble bath while eating a decadent hot fudge sundae. Her mind wandered to Jason and how good it felt to have him hold her most of the day. Then she reminded herself that they were just friends and forced herself to smarten up.

Nothing was ever going to happen between them. Jason was a buddy, a real good friend and she wouldn’t ruin that for anything in the world. Friendship was one of the things she valued most in the world and she would not risk their friendship. It wasn’t worth it.

Besides he was probably with some bimbo at the moment. The idea turned her stomach. She placed her half-eaten sundae on the floor and groaned. Sometimes friendship sucked, she thought as she dunked herself under the water so she could let out a frustrated scream.

Chapter 8

“Come on, guys! Let’s go back. Those women were hot!” Mitch said for the hundredth time since they'd left the club.

“No,” Brad and Jason said in unison.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult