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Jason mumbled something.

"What?" she asked, tearing her eyes away from the list of movies playing.

"I said, I've been banned," he grumbled unhappily. "It's all political," he sniffed.

"Uh huh.......and your father?" she asked, already having a sneaking suspicion of what his answer was going to be.

"He's been banned since 1995," Jason said with a shrug.

"I see," she said, her lips twitching.

"In two years the band in Las Vegas will be lifted. We're planning a big trip," he said, looking at her hopefully.

Haley opened her mouth to remind him that they weren't going to be doing anything together in two years when she realized what he said.

"You've been banned from Las Vegas?"

"Not from Las Vegas, just from all the buffets," Jason said with a shrug as if it was no big deal.

"All the buffets?" she asked, unable to hide her shock. There had to be hundreds of buffets in Las Vegas.

"I guess they had a meeting or something. As I said before, it's all political," Jason said, gesturing for her to move up in line.

She was too stunned to say anything for a few minutes. She knew they loved food, but wow......

"What movie do you want to see?" Jason asked, pulling her from her frightening thoughts.

Haley quickly scanned the list, about to tell Jason to go ahead and pick when she spotted a movie she'd been waiting to see for a while. How about "To hell and back?" she suggested.

Jason frowned. "The one with Edward and Dana Pierce?"

She nodded.

"Fine," he said with an exaggerated eye roll, earning a smile from her. "A chick flick it is." He bought their tickets and headed for the concession stand. "I just need something to eat before I pass out."

He reached out to take her hand, only to drop his hand away. His smile became polite as he gestured for her to go ahead of him. Haley forced a smile as she stepped in line ahead of him, reminding herself that this was exactly what she wanted. She wanted to go back to being friends, even if it was only for a little while, so Jason readily accepting that was a good thing, she told herself.

After they bought their snacks, well Jason's snacks since she was still full, they found two seats in the middle towards the front. Thankfully the previews were already playing so Haley took the opportunity to get her head on straight. She really had to stop herself from wanting Jason to touch her, hold her, and kiss her.

They broke up. Jason obviously accepted it and so should she. It was for the best no matter how much it made her want to cry.

Chapter 24

"You didn't have to buy dinner. I could have cooked," Haley pointed out as they followed a waitress to the back booth in the fifties style dinner.

"You're not lifting a finger while you're on vacation," Jason pointed out, again. It was just another thing they were going to have to discuss, but later. Right now he was too busy showing Haley how much he cared about her. Over the last two days he was pretty sure Haley had started to forgive him.

By now she probably realized they shouldn't be apart. Now all he had to do was work on not screwing up again, not that he really thought he would. He'd been acting like the perfect friend over the past couple of days. At night he allowed her to decide the sleeping position and in the morning he bolted from the bed and took a very cold shower or went for a swim in the ocean. Then he spent the rest of the day finding fun things to do and keeping his hands to himself.

It was more difficult than he'd ever imagined, but somehow he managed to treat Haley as a good friend. There was no doubt in his mind that she was ready to go back to the way things used to be. Thank f**king god, because he didn't think he could last another day with this friendship bullshit.

She was his little grasshopper, plain and simple. Not being able to touch her and hold her was just wrong.

"Can I get you a drink to start off?" the waitress asked, throwing him an appreciative look.

"We'll take two Cokes, please," he said, directing his attention to the menu in front of him. He wasn't about to do anything to encourage the woman. Right now he needed to be able to focus all his energy on his little grasshopper and not some waitress in a tight pink shirt two sizes too small that hoped to warm his bed tonight.

"I'll go get those right now," she said in a seductive voice. Jason snuck a look at Haley, wondering if the waitress' obvious interest bothered her. If it did, it didn't show. Apparently once again Haley was too oblivious to care, which was probably for the best because he couldn't stand jealous women.

"I need to use the bathroom. Could you order for me if she comes back before I do?"

"Sure," Haley said, not bothering to look up from her menu. "What do you want."

"Two cheeseburger dinners," he said, not bothering to tell her how he wanted them or to ask for two extra sides. She knew what he liked.

Five minutes later he was walking out of the bathroom just as their waitress finished writing down their order. The waitress looked up from her writing pad and smiled at him. She said something else to Haley before walking over to him, smiling coyly the entire time.

"Your friend," she said, gesturing behind him to Haley who was watching them with bored interest, "said you might like the band playing over at TJ's. It's a Nickleback cover band. She said you could pick me up in two hours after I get off work, but if you give me fifteen minutes I could probably get the night off."

"Wait? What?" Jason asked, confused as hell. "She told you I was interested?"

"Mmmhmm," the waitress said, unconcerned that he was clearly pissed.

"Excuse me," he said tightly, stepping around her.

"I'll go ask about getting off early," the waitress announced, sounding giddy.

"Don't bother," Jason threw over his shoulder.

He walked over to Haley, placed his hands on the table, and leaned over until he was practically nose to nose with her.

"Tell me you didn't just try to set me up on a date with the waitress," he bit out, trying to stop himself from wringing her little neck.

"I didn't set you up per se, but I did tell her you might like the band and that you were single," she simply said, pushing her glasses up her nose.

"I'm single?" he repeated, his voice sounded hollow.

"Yes," Haley said, shifting her glance to the left and away from him.

He slowly pulled away from her and stood up. Swallowing hard, he asked, "Is that what you really want?"

"Yes," she said without the slightest hesitation, making everything suddenly crystal clear.

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