She threw up her hands and let them drop by her sides. "I'm not a good cook. Okay? Are you happy now?"

He looked between the plate of muffins he swore just moved and her tee shirt that needed to be incinerated and shook his head. "I'm truly at a loss for words here," he muttered.

Zoe blew a strand of hair out of her face as she continued to glare at him. "Is there a reason you came knocking on my door at six-thirty in the morning besides to remind me that I can't cook?"

Trevor blinked. "That's not enough?"

She growled and he couldn't help but smile.

"Actually, I came back to tell you to move your car and to find out why the hell you left your window down last night," he said, moving to fold his arms over his chest when something caught his eye.

His stomach growled viciously as he reached over and snatched an iced honey bun off her counter and ripped it open.

"Please help yourself," she said dryly.

"Thanks," he said, taking a huge bite of the delicious treat. As he ate the snack he did his best to appear innocent as his free hand slowly made its way back to the pile of individually wrapped baked treats that she foolishly left lying on the counter for anyone to steal.

With an eye roll, she stepped past him and pushed the treats his way. "Just take them."

"Thanks," he said, grabbing them and not giving her a chance to change her mind.

As he ripped open a cherry pie and dug in he watched as she grabbed a plastic shopping bag and held it out to him. "Put them in here," she said.

His eyes narrowed on her and the bag. "Why?" he asked cautiously, afraid she was trying to steal his treats.

Just what kind of sick game was she playing?

"Forget it," she said on an exasperated sigh, heading back to her cabinets. As he snacked away he watched her go through each cabinet and pull out yummy treats that caused his poor neglected stomach to rumble.

A few minutes later when all his treats were long gone and he was downing her last Coke, she handed him three shopping bags full of junk food.

"What's this?" he asked, taking them.

"I've decided to go on a diet," she said, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

He visibly winced, remembering what he said last night and feeling like an ass**le all over again. "If this is about what I said last night I'm really so-"

"It has nothing to do with you," she said, cutting him off. "I've just decided to make some changes in my life."

Guilt was a real bitch, he decided.

"Are you going to my uncle's for an interview?" he asked, hoping she would so that he could get rid of some of this damn guilt he had over insulting her. He still didn't know what the hell he was thinking. He'd never been that rude to a woman before and he'd dealt with some real bitches over the years. If his aunt ever found out what he said.....

Oh shit, he really hoped she didn't tell his aunt.

Zoe shrugged. "It's worth a shot."

"You don't sound too sure," he noted, leaning a hip against the counter.

"I'm not expecting a good reference from my old boss," she sighed. "I don't think I'm going to find a job anytime soon so you might want to start looking for a new tenant."

That wouldn't work for him, he realized as he looked around the surprisingly clean kitchen. Not only would he still feel like an ass**le for what he said, but then he'd be stuck with either his cousin living here or some tenant that annoyed the shit out of him. He wasn't about to lose his perfect tenant, not if he could help it.

"How about this?" he said as Zoe picked up the plate of muffins and thankfully tossed them into the trash, "if my uncle doesn't hire you, which I'm sure he will," he'd make sure of it, "then you can work for me."

"Doing what exactly?" Zoe asked, washing the plate and putting it in the dish strainer.

"Cleaning, laundry, running errands, taking care of the lawn, shit like that," he said, feeling quite proud of himself for coming up with the idea.

She narrowed her eyes on him. "Would I have to cook?"

God no....

"Um, no that's okay," he said quickly.

"How much an hour?" she asked hesitantly.

"Eight bucks an hour?" he suggested, liking the idea more and more. It would certainly free up his load and let him enjoy what little free time he had. This could definitely work for him. Too bad she couldn't cook. "Actually, even if my uncle does give you the job you can still have this one to earn extra money."

He could tell the prospect of having extra money appealed to her, but she was trying not to let him know.

"Ten dollars an hour," she finally said.

"That's highway robbery!"

"No, that's the price for going near your dirty drawers."

"Fine," he said on a long drawn out sigh, pushing away from the counter. She did have a point after all. "You can start after your interview."

"Okay," she said, nodding. "What do you need done?"

"I need you to go grocery shopping, do a load or two of laundry and a little light cleaning," he said, trying not to frighten her with the truth. She'd learn soon enough what hell awaited her and by the time she'd discovered the truth she'd already be set on earning some extra money. Plus she was desperate for work, so she really shouldn't be complaining about his pigsty. Instead she should thank him.

"That doesn't sound too bad," she murmured, pulling out a pen and a pad of paper. "Write down what you need and I'm going to need money for the grocery shopping," she said, sounding embarrassed.

"Don't worry about it," he said, taking the pen from her and writing his list down quickly. "You never told me why you left your window down last night," he reminded her.

"The window came off its track again and I think it broke inside of the door," she said, trying to peek over his shoulder at his list. "I'm going to have to bring it by the garage today."

He should just let her do that, but he knew how much those places charged for that shit. "No," he said, shaking his head and handing over his list so he could pull his wallet out. "I'll fix it over the weekend. Until then place a few towels and a trash bag over the car seat when you're using the car otherwise let it dry out. You can use my rug cleaner to suck the water out of it this afternoon," he said, handing her his grocery money. He really needed to move his ass now or he'd be late.

"Thanks," Zoe mumbled absently as she frowned down at his grocery list. "You didn't write anything."

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