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"What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, placing the ketchup back on the counter.

His other cousin Nate answered, "What he means is why is she here? Did you pay her? Did she owe you a favor? We're just wondering how you managed to get her here."

Aggravated, he snatched the ketchup bottle with more force than necessary and squeezed an insane amount on both burgers.

"She's my girlfriend, plain and simple," he said.

"Uh huh," his father said in clear disbelief.

Jason slammed the bun on top of the burger, forcing ketchup out the sides. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? Why is it so hard for you bastards to believe that she's my girlfriend?"

They took that as their cue to tell him exactly why they didn't think she was his girlfriend.

"She's too nice."

"Too sweet."

"Nothing at all like the skanks you normally date."

"She doesn't come off as a brainless bitch like the girls you took to the clubs."

"She doesn't annoy the shit out of us."

"Plus, there is that whole thing where you've never claimed to have a girlfriend before, never told us about her, and gave your mother and me the surprise of a lifetime when you announced her earlier. So, you can see why we're curious," his father finished with a shrug.

"Plus, she's clearly too good for you," Uncle Mark added for good measure. "That's my main reason for not believing this bullshit story."

Well, that.......hurt. Not that he could or would argue that she was too good for him. She was. There was no question about that. What really hurt was they didn't believe him. He was known for being an ass**le not a liar. There was a big difference as far as he was concerned.

His mother chose that moment to come in smiling. Thank god. She'd put an end to all this nonsense.

"Do you need help with those burgers, sweetie?" she asked, frowning down at the hamburger he squished into a pancake. She lightly tsked him as she threw away the burgers and started over.

"I'm glad you're here, Mom."

She smiled warmly up at him.

While looking at the men of his family he asked her, "What do you think of Haley?"

Her smile grew. "Oh, she's such a sweet girl. I'm so glad you brought her." Her smiled turned wistful. "I just wished you would date a girl like her instead of the girls you find at bars, sweetie. A woman like that is just what you need. I'm sure if you straighten your act a bit you'll get a woman like Haley one-"

The men laughed.

Jason held up a hand. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, woman, back up there a second. I bring a woman home and introduce her as my girlfriend and you're giving me a lecture on how to get her to go out with me? Are you serious?"

She blinked up at him. "Well, yes. I've heard about some of those girls you date, sweetie, and while I appreciate the fact that you've never brought them home to me, I would really like to see you with someone. It would be nice if you considered dating Haley. She's such a nice woman."

He thrust his hands into his hair. This was crazy. Was this what normally took place when a man brought a woman home to meet his family? He was pretty sure it wasn't. This was worse than when he met Haley's family.

"Shouldn't you be getting all excited and trying to push for marriage and grandbabies at this point?" he asked, not really wanting to encourage his mother to do that, but that's what happened when Brad brought Jill home six years ago to meet his family.

Megan looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know I probably would if you were dating her. She's a very nice woman and I think she would do you a world of good." She smiled excitedly. "Are you thinking of asking her out?"

"Why the hell would I have to ask my girlfriend out? She's already going out with me? What is wrong with you people?"

She rolled her eyes and playfully slapped his shoulder. "Oh, honey, you don't have to keep pretending. I'm glad you have a friend like Haley. Everyone thinks she's great." She tapped a finger to her chin. "Of course your Aunt Ruth has been pushing her towards Jeff for the past ten minutes and Chris and David have been trying to ask her out for the past hour. I mean clearly she's a catch. What I don't understand is-"

Jason cut her off. "Men from my own family are hitting on my girlfriend?"

"They've been hitting on your friend," his mother clarified in an annoyed tone as if he was the one messing with her mind. Seriously what was wrong with his family? Why was it so hard for them to believe Haley was his girlfriend?

"Actually," Trevor said a bit sheepishly, "I was going to ask her if she wanted to catch a movie and dinner after the party."

Jason's jaw dropped so fast he was surprised the damn thing didn't unhinge. He quickly recovered so he could threaten his cousin. "You stay the hell away from my girlfriend!" he said, pointing. He turned his finger on the rest of his family. "Just know that at this moment I hate you all." They rolled their eyes. His finger stopped in front of his father. He narrowed his eyes on his old man. "And I'm never sharing any more of Haley's baked goods with you!"

Jared gasped. "But...but....but...."

With that he stormed out of the kitchen. He just thanked god his friends were there for him, because clearly his family wasn't. Was it really so hard to believe that he could land a woman like Haley?

Chapter 17

"Let me get this straight," Brad said, putting his beer on the ground between his feet. "You took Haley to meet your family without any type of warning and you were surprised they didn't believe the two of you were dating?"


"Well, I can see why they didn't believe you," Mitch said as he snagged another beer out of the ice bucket.

"Oh, and why is that?" Jason asked as he stole the beer out of Mitch's hands.

Mitch grumbled something, but smartly let it go. He grabbed another beer and popped the top.

"Well, wasn't your mother getting on your case about settling down?" Brad asked.

"Yes, and you would think she'd be happy when I brought Haley home."

Brad nodded. "And for the past year hasn't she been threatening you with finding someone for you?"

"Yes, but-"

"And every time you went over there for dinner, party or cookout hasn't your mother had several women on hand to meet you?" Brad continued.

"Yes, but-"

"Did she have any women at the BBQ for you to meet?" Mitch asked.

"Five or six I guess," Jason said with a shrug of his shoulders. He hadn't really paid attention to any of them other than to duck the hell out of the way when they were looking for him. Just like every other time his mother tried to play matchmaker she'd chosen needy, well more like clingy, women who had no other interests other than themselves and finding a boyfriend.

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