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."

The man's eyes widened as his mouth dropped open. He took several steps back, shooting nervous glances towards Haley's house. When he reached his car he said, "I, uh, just suddenly remembered I have somewhere I'm supposed to be." With that he practically jumped into his car and sped away.

Jason chuckled as he made his way to Haley's front door. He knocked on the door and wasn't too surprised a moment later when there was no answer. He pushed aside his disappointment and knocked again.

Just great.

It seemed last night had been a fluke and his shy neighbor was here to stay. He really liked spending time with Haley last night, more than he thought possible. Feeling like an idiot he headed back to his house and keg.

A loud wet hacking cough had him pausing halfway down her small walkway. The front door slowly opened as Haley said, "I'm sorry I took so long," another hacking cough, "to answer," another cough, "the," cough, "door. But, the doctor said I was still," several loud and disturbing coughs later, "contagious, so I--Oh, it's only you," Haley said with a relieved sigh.

His lips twitched as he took in her outfit. On her head was one of the ugliest puke green knitted hats he'd ever seen. Her oversized ratty bathrobe was worse, but the large wadded up ball of tissues in her hand was a nice touch. There was no doubt in his mind that she was faking it. Considering that he'd hung out with her last night and she'd been the picture of health. Right now she looked well enough, just frumpy in those oversized ratty clothes.

"Love the hat," he said, smiling as he walked over to her.

Laughing, she pulled the offending hat off and chucked it at him. He caught it before it hit him in the face. "What's this all about?" he gestured towards her getup with the hat.

"Nothing," she said quickly.

"Looks like date repellant to me."

With an innocent doe-like expression she said, "I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm sick," cough, "really sick." And just to backup her story she sniffled.

It was sad, adorable, but sad.

He couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes and chuckling. "It's just sad that you can't just admit that you were ditching the love of your life. But, as much as I'd love to listen to your sad little denial I'm afraid I have to go since you're sick and all."

"I am," she stressed. "Really sick. I might very well be dying as we speak," she said as she pushed her cute little glasses back up her nose.

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