Playing for Keeps / Page 4

Page 4


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He was just pulling on the tee shirt she'd left him when he heard her scream, “No! Don’t do it!”

Jason was out of the bathroom in less than a second, running towards her ready to kill whatever bastard was trying to hurt her. He came to skidding stop in front of her.

She smiled sweetly as she said, “God, I love you.”

His brows nearly shot through his hairline as his heart pounded. Shit, this was worse than he thought. She hadn’t been avoiding him all these years because she was shy. No, she was head over heels in love with him. Shit. This was awkward, especially since he was stuck here until an exterminator could come out here. Now he hoped it was soon.

Really soon.

He opened his mouth to say something only to find himself gestured impatiently out of the way with a dough covered wooden spoon. He stepped back frowning, afraid of getting dough all over him, and wondering what was wrong with the woman professing her love for him one moment and shooing him out of the way the next.

“Never come between me and the man I love,” she said, snapping him out of his thoughts.

Jason followed her gaze and chuckled. “Derek Jeter?”

She frowned as if questioning her love for the man was stupid. “Of course.”

He couldn’t help but grin. Damn. How had he missed this? She had a huge television. Bigger than his even and that was really saying something since his television was the one thing he'd really splurged on.

“That’s a really big TV for such a tiny woman,” he said teasingly.

“Well, how else am I supposed to watch my games and feel like I’m there?” she countered back. “Plus, this way I get to see my future husband better.”

“Does he know?” he asked, looking back at her.

She scrunched her face up adorably. “Not yet, but I can wait,” she said with a smile that made her face go from utterly adorable and sweet to heartbreakingly beautiful in less than ten seconds.

Damn.

He shifted his feet awkwardly for a moment while she watched the game with rapt attention.

“Are you a Red Sox fan?” she suddenly asked.

“Hell no!” he said, insulted by the question. He may live knee deep in Red Sox territory, but that didn’t mean he was a betraying bastard. Yankees were his first love and would be his last.

She sighed with obvious relief. “Thank god.” She sent the game one last look of longing before returning to her kitchen counter where he noted with a chuckle that she had a small flat screen with the game playing. This woman really loved her Yankees, or at least one in particular.

What the hell was it with women and Derek Jeter?

He took a moment to look around her house. The damn bees were still covering all of her windows, but his attention was elsewhere. Her walls were covered in Yankees memorabilia. He wasn't too surprised when he spotted a signed photo of Derek Jeter above the television.

“Looks like we’re stuck inside until after dark,” she said, pulling his attention back to the kitchen. “The exterminator said he has to wait for the nest to calm down. That will happen when the sun goes down. He’ll come and spray them and remove the nest if he can.”

He ran his fingers through his damp hair and sighed. “I guess you’re stuck with me for a little while.”

She shrugged. “It’s fine. There’s a good game on so it should help pass the time.”

“True,” he agreed.

“I’m making homemade pizza. I hope you don’t mind. I was planning on ordering pizza today for the game, but with the bees and all…..,” she trailed off, shrugging.

“No, that sounds great. I’m sorry that I’m intruding," he said, feeling like an ass. This woman spent the last five years avoiding him and now he was being forced on her by Mother Nature.

“Not a problem,” she said and he got the feeling that she was lying. She never liked to be around him before. Whenever he stood too close to her at work or went to sit next to her she found an excuse to move. Now she was forced to have him in her house. That couldn’t make her all that happy. His eyes drifted off to the television when she sighed dreamily. Then again her attention was elsewhere at the moment.

“Beer?”

"What?" he asked a little confused.

“Beer,” she said, gesturing towards the fridge without taking her eyes off the television.

“Oh,” he said with a chuckle as he retrieved two bottles. He handed her one and she took it with a mumbled thanks and then a few choice words for one of the players.

Jason leaned back and watched the show. Not really the game, but Haley as she cooked and ranted. Soon it became obvious if the vegetables were going to get cut and not mangled every time she didn’t agree with a call he’d have to do it.

For the next six hours they cooked, watched the game, laughed, swore and screamed at the television, ate and got into an hour long fight with the exterminator over the insane amount he wanted to charge them before the argument shifted to the game. By the end of the night Haley seemed to have come completely out of her shell around him and he counted himself fortunate to have another buddy. One who actually knew the stats without messing up or having to look them up. Not like several of his friends he wouldn’t mention. It didn’t hurt that she was incredibly hot. That was just a bonus.

A nice bonus, but a bonus nonetheless for his newest buddy.

Chapter 3

"Is this 32 Long Point Road," the short husky man who smelled like he bathed in a gallon of cheap cologne and garlic asked as he climbed out of the beat up Taurus parked across Haley's driveway.

Now, normally Jason would either just ignore the ass**le or give him a quick nod and continue minding his own business as he pulled the keg of beer out of his backseat, but not today. Today he was going to do his normally shy neighbor and co-worker a favor. After yesterday he was pretty sure this wouldn't piss her off and send her back into hiding.

Okay, maybe he wasn't a hundred percent sure, but he just couldn't help himself especially when the jerk actually shoved a condom in his pocket and gave Jason a conspiratorial wink.

Fuck it.

At that moment he didn't care if this sent her running for the hills and she slapped a restraining order on him, he was getting rid of the ass**le.

"You're not here for Haley, are you?" he asked, pulling out the keg and setting it on the ground.

The man frowned. "Yeah, why?"

Jason made a show of cringing as he looked quickly back at Haley's house as if he was making sure she wasn't watching them.

"I really don't think that's such a good idea," Jason mumbled.

"Why not?"

He gave the man an "Are you kidding?" look and had to stop from laughing as the man shifted nervously.

"Surely you know....," he said, purposely letting his words drift off.

"No, my friend set me up with her," he said, shooting a nervous glance towards Haley's house. Did the curtain just move?

Jason rubbed the back of his neck, sighing wearily. "It's really not my place, but I'm not sure this is such a good idea."

"What?" the man practically whined.

After a pause he shook his head. "I'm sorry, but I really don't like talking about it. All I can tell you is that you really need to be careful." He gave the man a pointed look as he stressed, "Really careful."


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