Page 12 of Hero Next Door

“Tell me about your hot neighbor.” Delia nudges me in the side and winks at me. “How is he?”

All of a sudden, an iciness trickles down my spine. My neighbor, Theo, he tried to talk to me this morning and I was… well, really quite rude to him. I didn’t even think of it at the time, I was too swallowed up by anxiety and exhaustion to even think about it. So much so that I forgot about the whole thing until now, but it’s all coming screaming back. He was so sweet to me, so polite, on his way back from a hard shift with the fire fighters judging by the smell of him, and I barely answered him, I practically pushed him out of the way, I was awful.

“Oh no.” My head flies forwards and smacks on to the canteen table. “I just remembered that he tried to talk to me this morning and I was too freaked out about work to chat back. He must think that I am so rude…”

“I’m sure that he doesn’t,” Delia tries to reassure me right away. “He’s a fire fighter, so he works in a high pressure environment. He will get it. Everyone gets like that when work is too much.”

“But I am a personal assistant to a horrible man. He saves lives. It isn’t the same…”

I groan once more, shame washing over me. I have to fix this. I don’t want my new neighbor to hate me, and not just because he’s good looking, but because he’s sweet as well and he’s been nothing but nice to me. I might not be able to be his friend, but I don’t have the energy to be his enemy either. I want him and his girlfriend to at least say hello when they see me. I don’t want them assuming that I am the worst kind of person.

“I need to buy him some chocolates or something, take them around tonight,” I moan to my friend. “I have to say sorry because honestly it was so bad. I feel like an idiot. I just hope that I get out of here early enough. Just because I came in to the office at the crack of dawn, it doesn’t mean that Mr. Jones will let me go home at a normal time.”

“You do worry too much,” Delia laughs as she hugs me. “I bet he didn’t even notice.”

But now that I’m thinking about it and I am trying to remember the stark details of our exchange, I can see hurt in his eyes, hurt because of me. I never want anyone to feel that way because of something that I have done.

“Anyway…” Delia continues, not sensing my internal dilemma at all. “I will smuggle you out at the end of the day. Hide you and help you escape. We can sneak passed the reception desk and no one has to know.”

“If only.” I roll my eyes in an over the top dramatic fashion. “You know that Mr. Jones likes to keep an eye on me at the end of the day. He doesn’t ever want to give me the chance to get out of here without another conversation with him.” Actually, that sounds weirdly like obsession, now that I’m thinking about it. “Nice try though.”

I don’t want to express my fears about Mr. Jones to Delia because she already thinks that I am paranoid about Theo. I don’t need to add to that. The last thing I want if for people to think that I am the one losing my mind. I have enough issues on my plate without adding that in to the mix. I’m sure that I’m wrong anyway and my boss is just an asshole. No need to get all worked up because of him.

Chapter 6 – Theo

What the hell? I blink a few times, trying to work out what is going on. One minute, I’m in bed dreaming about the beautiful red head making me feel absolutely amazing, and the next moment, she’s in front of me looking like a dream come true. I don’t think that I am still asleep, but I’m, not totally convinced that I’m awake either.

I woke up to knocking, properly woke up anyway, or so I thought. Now I’m not quite so sure.

“I’m sorry, Theo,” she starts, with an adorable blush consuming her cheeks. Her face might as well be the same color as her hair, she is definitely back to be her sweet normal self, nothing like the grump I came across this morning. “I was so rude to you this morning. I was having a terrible time with my boss and I just…”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” I reply breezily, not letting it show that I was bothered at all. “I know how stressful work can be, I hope that whatever the issue was, you managed to sort it out.” Her face falls. “Uh oh…” I lean my body up against the door frame and shoot her a lop sided smile. “Anything that you want to talk about?”

Tags: Mia Ford Romance