Was he the only one that realized that he'd been insulted here? This was bullshit. He was a f**king great catch. Plenty of women, much to his horror, wanted to marry him. He was just about to tell them that when something caught his attention.


A little snort of laughter.

He turned his glare on the Haley as she shook with silent laughter. They were disrespecting his manliness and she was laughing at him? What the hell?

"Haley dear, are you alright?" Mrs. Blaine asked.

Haley it seemed could only nod.

"Oh, I just had a wonderful idea!" Martha, Rose or whatever the hell her name said excitedly. "Robert's here. Why don't we invite him to join us? You know how fond he is of Haley."

Who the hell was Robert? Jason wondered as he followed Mr. Blaine's eyes to the table they'd passed earlier and landed on the blond bastard who'd smile at Haley. He had perfect blonde hair, an average face and wore an expensive tailored suit that probably cost more than all Jason's clothes put together. When the man sent a warm smile in Haley's direction he decided he hated the bastard.

"Let me get a server to ask him to join us," Mr. Blaine said, already gesturing for a waiter.

Judging by Robert's suddenly smug smile he knew exactly what was going on.

"No, Dad, that's okay," Haley said, all humor gone as obvious terror took over. "He looks busy."

"Nonsense," Mrs. Blaine said. "You know Robert always makes time for you. He's such a sweet man. For the life of me I don't understand why you ended things with him."

"If you had listened to me years ago you'd be married and settled and not wasting your time on foolish pursuits," Mrs. Blaine added, making Jason's jaw clench.

"She'll never do better than Robert. That's for certain," Martha said, sending him a bored glance before turning her attention back to Robert.

"I'm not interested in Robert," Haley said quickly, watching as the waiter walked towards her father. "Dad, I-"

Mr. Blaine waved off her concerns. "I think this is the best thing for you, Haley," he said before giving the waiter the message for Robert.

He realized that Haley truly did not want Robert to join them. That knowledge somewhat appeased him. Somewhat. These people were the biggest snobs he'd ever met in his life and not just because they looked down their noses at him, but because they looked down their noses at Haley. She didn't deserve any of this.

"Dad, I wish you hadn't done that," Haley said as the waiter walked away. "I'm not interested in Robert. I've told you that before."

"It wouldn't hurt you to give him another chance, sweetheart," Mrs. Blaine said.

Seriously, did any of them even consider that he was Haley's date? Not that he was, but still it was f**king insulting as hell. If Haley wasn't one of his best friends he'd consider doing something to tell her family right the hell off, but she was and he couldn't or she'd stop cooking for him and he wasn't risking that. What his little grasshopper could do with a chocolate chip cookie.......

He pushed back in his chair. Telling her family off might not be a choice, but that didn't mean he couldn't rescue his little grasshopper. He took her hand into his as he stood up, not missing the dirty looks her family sent their entwined hands, and gently pulled Haley to her feet.

"Dance with me?" he asked softly, nodding towards the small dance floor filled with a half dozen couples.

Her eyes darted back to her family and widened when she spotted Robert heading her way.

"I'd love to," she said, practically dragging him away from the table.

*************

When Jason pulled her into his arms she felt herself relax for the first time in an hour.

"You want to tell me about him?" Jason asked, expertly maneuvering them around the other couples on the small dance floor.

Chewing her bottom lip nervously, she watched Robert take Jason's vacated seat. He said something to her father and both men looked over at them.

"He was my high school boyfriend. We broke up senior year."

"And he wants to pick up where you left off?" Jason guessed.

"No," Haley said, absently drumming her fingers against his shoulder, "he wants to perfect his record."

At Jason's frown she shrugged. "I refused to sleep with him."

She felt the muscles in Jason's shoulder go tight as he narrowed his eyes first at her, then to Robert before looking back down at her.

"How can you be sure that's all he wants?"

"He told me," Haley said simply. "He's not interested in anything more than adding another notch to his belt."

"What an ass**le," Jason muttered, earning a few gasps from the women around him. She could tell he was just barely holding back an eye roll.

As much as she hated being here tonight, and god did she hate being here tonight, she had to admit that it was nice not being totally alone. Having Jason with her made this night almost tolerable. He'd even managed to make her laugh, not on purpose of course, but she'd been unable to stop herself from laughing at his shocked expression when her family dismissed him so easily. Her family's treatment of him had pissed her off more than the way they'd treated her.

She should just leave. It was obvious that they weren't really wanted here and she wasn't about to have Robert forced on her so could spend the next two hours discretely removing his hand from her leg or trying to ignore the sexual innuendos he'd whisper in her ear.

Plus, she really didn't want to sit around while they treated Jason horribly for another minute. He was a good friend and deserved better treatment than that, especially since he'd been nothing but kind to them no matter how rude they were to him.

They both looked over in time to see Robert stand up and head in their direction. Great. This night was about to get worse.

Jason grinned that sexy grin of his as he leaned down and whispered, "Let's get the hell out of here."

He really was the best friend ever, Haley decided as they made their escape.

Chapter 12

“I’m sorry, Mr. Bradford,” Eric, one of his normally best students, mumbled quickly as he averted his eyes away from Jason’s murderous glare.

For the past three weeks he’d been biting everyone’s head off. His normally easy going façade was completely gone now. It didn’t make any sense. He’d been getting the best sleep of his life and Haley had quickly become the most important person in his life. He couldn’t imagine living without her. He didn’t want to.

No matter what they did during the day at night they came together. Not in the way he would like, but he was still able to find peace at the end of a long day. Two weeks ago they both gave up on rushing out of the other’s bed to go shower and change their clothes in the morning. Now he had toiletries in her bathroom and some closet and bureau space and she had the same in his house.

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