There was absolutely no doubt in her mind that if she took him back he'd dump her ass in a matter of weeks just so that he could be the one to make that decision. It was better for everyone that they ended things now. This way she was only disappointed in Jason and didn't hate him, although maybe that would be for the best as well.


She paused in the bathroom doorway and sighed heavily as she took in the steaming bubble bath Jason had drawn for her in the deep claw footed bathtub. He even set out a towel and her favorite tee shirt to change into afterwards.

"Stupid jerk," she mumbled, once again stopping herself from melting. She just had to remember that this was all a game to him and she'd be fine.

Chapter 22

"You f**king moron."

Jason couldn't argue with that. He'd seriously screwed everything up and desperately needed to find a way to fix it, which is why he called in the big guns.

His father.

"Tell me this is some sick joke," his father said warily.

"I wish I could, Dad," Jason said, looking over his shoulder at the small cottage as he walked along the edge of the water.

For the past three hours he'd been out here pacing, trying to figure out what the hell he should do. Finally he came to the conclusion that he was in way over his head here and needed someone with a history of charming his way out of f**kups with women and only one person came to mind.

His father f**ked up more times with his mother than should be humanly possible. Not that his father screwed around on his mother. She'd simply kill the man if he ever even thought of it. No, his father could be an arrogant, hardheaded bastard that drove his mother to the brink of insanity countless times over the years.

"Let me get this straight, you let some dumb bar bimbo convince you that my poor sweet little Haley," his father said, making him shake his head ruefully. Haley managed to wrap his father around her little finger with those cupcakes and bought his undying love with fried chicken, potato salad and M & M cookies. The man's obsession with food was really pathetic.

Thank god he didn't have that problem.

"-could ever do something so heartless? Then you go ahead and screw it up instead of talking to her? What in the hell is wrong with you?" his father practically yelled, making Jason hold Haley's cell phone a good foot from his ear.

"I know I messed up, Dad," Jason said once his father stopped yelling. "Look, I need help figuring out how to fix this."

"You don't deserve my Haley," his father simply said.

Jason barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes. His father was such a food slut.

"Has it occurred to you that if I don't fix things with Haley that she'll never make you that Boston cream pie she promised you?" he said, knowing the way to get his father to focus was to threaten his food.

His comment was met with a short pause.

"Okay, this is what you need to do," his father said, all business now. "You need to back off and stop apologizing."

Jason frowned. "Stop apologizing?" That didn't sound right.

"Mmmhmm, no need to keep reminding her how big of an idiot you are. She already knows, trust me. Right now you need to work on being there for her. Don't pressure her. In fact I would suggest you work on reminding her how much you care about her and how good you are for her."

He nodded slowly. "I could do that."

His father snorted his disbelief.

"I can," Jason stressed, promising himself that after Haley took him back that he'd get her to make him a Boston cream pie just so he could rub it in the old man's face.

"Just try not to f**k this up, because if you cost me Haley I'm disowning you," his father said before he hung up.

Jason placed the phone in his pocket and headed back to the cottage, deciding there was no time like the present to get started. He'd remind her how good they were together and why she adored him. It shouldn't be too hard. In fact, he was certain that one little problem was going to guarantee that she couldn't live without him.

He stepped into the kitchen just as Haley stomped angrily into the room wearing nothing but her "Geek" tee shirt. She threw him a glare and muttered something about his balls that he decided to ignore as she headed for the refrigerator. She grabbed an ice cold soda and sipped it as she glared at him.

She looked exhausted, he noted as he leaned against the counter. He had to stop himself from grinning. This was going to be so easy.

"Couldn't sleep?" he asked casually, already knowing the answer. She needed him and she damn well knew it. This was going to be the way he stayed close to her while he did his best to convince her to forgive him.

Haley pushed her glasses up her nose, took a sip of Coke and simply flipped him off as she walked out of the room.

Great. He was already f**king this up, he thought, walking after her. She slammed the bedroom door shut in his face. After counting to ten, twice, he knocked on the door.

"Go. Away."

Sighing heavily, he opened the door just in time to see the bathroom door slammed shut. He walked over to the bed and sat down.

"Haley, I-"

"Look, Jason, I really can't do this with you right now," Haley said, not bothering to open the door to face him, making Jason wonder if her pushover tendencies were once again showing up. That wouldn't be good for either one of them. He needed her to deal with him, not simply avoid him. "Let me finish getting dressed them I'll give you a ride to a hotel."

"No," he said firmly. There was no way in hell he was leaving. They were going to work this out whether she liked it or not and he had a feeling she didn't.

"Fine," she grated out. "Then I'm leaving."

Oh hell no.

If she left now there'd be no stopping her from leaving his ass for good. There was no doubt in his mind that she didn't intend on giving him a ride home now, which would mean that he probably wouldn't get home until tomorrow afternoon. By then she could be anywhere doing her best to convince herself that she could do better, she could, but that wasn't the point. He couldn't let her walk away from him, not now, not ever.

He threw a quick look at the door before rushing over to Haley's little backpack that she liked to call a purse. He tore through it until he found what he needed. No doubt this was only going to piss her off more, but desperate times called for desperate measures. He pocketed her wallet and quickly checked her discarded pants, stealing the money she had in the front pocket, and her car keys before rushing out of the room.

It only took him a minute to find the perfect hiding spot, one of the dozens of decorative baskets lining the ceiling. There was no way in hell Haley was going to reach it never mind find it. After a minute he decided to add her cell phone as well. He shut it off and added it to the pile and covered his tracks.

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