They loaded their arms up with all the plates Haley made and headed for the front door. Jason kicked the door lightly since his hands were full.

The door was opened by an older woman with pepper hair. She took one look at Jason and smiled.

"It's my baby boy!" she announced loudly to the crowd in the house as she cupped his face and pulled him down to give him a sound kiss on the cheek. She stepped back and noticed Haley. Her expression went from excited to stunned in a matter of seconds.

Jason smiled sheepishly. "Mom, this is my girlfriend, Haley Blaine." He gestured with the plate of brownies. "Haley, this is my mother Megan Bradford."

"It's very nice to meet you, Mrs. Bradford," Haley said, feeling a little awkward with his mother standing there gaping at her and her hands too full to offer to shake the woman's hand. Not that his mother seemed to be able to respond or anything at the moment. Actually, Haley was starting to become a little worried.

"Girlfriend?" Megan finally choked out.

"Yeah, why do you sound so-" Jason started to say only to be cut off by his mother.

His mother turned her head and yelled into the house. "Jared!"

Haley shot a nervous look at Jason who was muttering something about putting his mother into a nursing home that only served green Jell-O. She looked back at the door in time to see an older man, who was clearly Jason's father by the almost identically features, step into the doorway. He smiled when he saw Jason.

"What's going on?"

"Mom's freaking out," Jason said. "Any chance we can get in there before my girlfriend's arms fall off?"

The man noticeably started and looked at Haley and then did a double take.

"Girlfriend?" he asked in clear disbelief.

"Yes! Girlfriend!" Jason snapped, but his parents didn't seem to notice because they were staring at her like they couldn't believe such a person existed. On top of that her arms were starting to feel like they were about to drop off.

"Ah, about to drop the cupcakes," she mumbled as she tried to readjust the three plates in her arms.

"Oh, sorry," Jared said, reaching out and relieving her of the cupcakes while his wife grabbed the plate of peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies from her.

Jared looked from her to the plate in his hands. "Where did you buy these? They look good," he said as his hand expertly snuck beneath the plastic wrap. Ah, like father like son, Haley thought. She looked him over quickly. The man was clearly in shape, a good sign for Jason since the man couldn't stop eating.

"I made them," Haley said, feeling a little embarrassed by the attention.

"You made these?" Jared asked with a cupcake in his hand.

She nodded.

"She's a great cook," Jason announced proudly.

Jared took a big bite, closed his eyes and made a yummy moan sound. In seconds he had the entire cupcake devoured. He reached out and snagged the second plate of cupcakes from Haley and headed back into the house without a word.

"My cupcakes!" they heard him snap at someone. Haley just barely stopped an eye roll. Definitely like father like son.

"Hey, old man, she made those for me!" Jason yelled, charging past his mother to go after the cupcakes, leaving Haley with Megan who was still staring at her.

"Um," she gestured to the car. "I have two more plates of cupcakes. I didn't think those two would survive the trip over here," she said, feeling foolish. Perhaps she should go hang out in the car until after the party was over. Seven hours in a car with nothing to do sounded better than being gawked at.

Megan's eyes narrowed on her. "You're really his girlfriend?"


"This isn't just some sick game he's playing?"

"Uh, there something wrong?" She was really starting to feel self-conscious.

"Nothing other than you are the first woman he's ever brought home and you'll have to forgive me if I seem a little surprised. For a moment there I thought hell had frozen over." She put her arm around Haley's shoulders as if they were old friends. "Now, let's go in there and give a few dozen people the shock of a lifetime."


"Mom," Jason growled in warning.

She ignored him. Again. He leaned forward and tried to grab the photo album off Haley's lap only to have his hand slapped away by two women.

"Damn it, mom! This is supposed to be a barbeque. Shouldn't you be mingling and being a good hostess or something instead of sitting here and embarrassing me?"

"The hell with the barbeque! I've waited over thirty years for my only child to bring home a woman and I'll not be denied!" Several people around his mother smartly moved back while he just glared.

"Ah, you look so cute-"

"Naturally," he said with a sniff.

"-playing dress up in your mother's clothes," Haley said with an evil little smile. He turned his glare on her. She simply smiled sweetly and returned to the pictures from hell.


She ignored him pointedly and laughed along with his mother.

"Haley? Do you want to go get something to eat?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, I could go for a burger and potato salad, thank you," she said dismissively before laughing at something his mother pointed out.

"Oh, that sounds good. I'll take the same. Thank you sweetie, oh, and get us each another soda since we seem to have run out," Megan said, gesturing to their empty cups without looking away from that damn album he was going to have to torch.

Where the hell was the adoration and love? His mother normally babied him. Hell, at this point she normally was getting him a third plate of food and a drink. Let's not forget Haley who should be loading up a plate for herself with food for him to steal. What was wrong with his women?

He walked into the kitchen where food covered every surface. As he made up their plates his father, who was licking icing off his fingers, walked into the room with two of Jason's uncles and three of his cousins. The bastard hid the cupcakes and wouldn't share. When Haley made the mistake of mentioning the two plates of cupcakes still in her trunk he ran for them with his father close behind. The man actually tackled him to the ground, stole his keys and his beloved cupcakes.

"Those were without a doubt the best cupcakes I've ever had," his father announced happily.

"We wouldn't know since you wouldn't share any of them, you greedy bastard," Uncle Chuck said.

"I don't share," Jared said simply.

The men rolled their eyes.

"So," his cousin Trevor said as he leaned against the wall with his arms crossed over his massive chest, "how much did you pay her?"

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult