She wondered if that was hereditary as she ate more popcorn and finished off her Coke, which lead to other questions about his diet. How much food did he actually consume in a day? What was his food bill like? God, she’d probably die of a heart attack if she ever found out. She…

Oh, no.

“Are you okay?” Lucifer asked as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat, trying her best to ignore the violent cramping tearing through her stomach.

“Yes,” she lied through her teeth, giving him what she hoped was a reassuring smile as she sat back and folded her arms over her stomach, hoping that he didn’t notice the move.

He looked at her for a few more seconds before he reluctantly returned his attention to the big screen, but she wasn’t fooled. She could tell that he was keeping an eye on her.

When that position didn’t help, she shifted a little bit to the right and winced when that made it worse. She tried telling herself that this wasn’t from gluten, but she was all-too familiar with the cramping and nausea surging through her body.

As discretely as possible, she pulled out her phone and Googled, “movie theatre popcorn,” hoping that her hunch was wrong. It wasn’t. Apparently regular popcorn cooked in real butter, air popped or in oil was safe, but movie theatre “butter topping,” wasn’t. It not only didn’t contain real butter, but bleached flour was one of the first ingredients, which explained quite a bit at the moment.

“What’s going on?” Lucifer whispered, leaning in close to her as she sat there, trying to ignore how badly her stomach hurt and the way that the movie theatre suddenly felt like it was a hundred degrees hotter than it had been only a few minutes ago.

“Nothing,” she whispered back, telling herself that she could make it through this move.

Apparently, she was a lying bitch, because she’d barely lasted five more minutes before she was slapping a hand over her mouth and running for the bathroom, ruining their first, and probably only, date in a matter of seconds.

Chapter 25

“Mr. Bradford?”

“What is it, Patrick?” Lucifer asked as he tossed another folder on the stack of folders currently taking over a corner of his desk.

“I can take care of that if you want,” Patrick offered, letting him know that it was that time of night again when he normally settled in to catch up with work before going upstairs and trying to sneak in an hour or two of sleep before he had to get up in the morning, but not tonight.

“That would be great, Patrick. Thank you,” he said, already heading for the door and barely registering the look of shock on Patrick’s face.

He considered going over what needed to be done, but he had somewhere to be. Besides, this was Patrick’s job and he should know what needed to be done by this point. Telling himself that everything was in good hands, he headed to the back door, punched in his security code and went upstairs, hoping that he hadn’t already fucked this up again.

He should have never left her side, but the stubborn woman had insisted that they call it a night. She’d been embarrassed about what happened at the movie theatre. Not that he could really blame her, because he couldn’t. He only wished that she’d given him a head’s up that she was going to be sick so that he could have warned her that she was running into the men’s bathroom.

Live and learn, he thought with a sigh as he let himself into her apartment, not exactly surprised when he spotted Melanie curled up on the couch, wrapped in a pile of blankets and playing on her computer while she nibbled on some kind of baked good.

“The men’s room, huh?” she said without bothering to look up from whatever she was doing on her computer.

“Hell of a good time,” he said dryly, grabbing two glasses and filling them both with ice before helping himself to a six-pack of Coke.

“I bet,” she murmured absently while he was forced to step over Mojo, who at some point in the last thirty seconds had dropped down behind him and started snoring.

Without another word to Melanie, or an explanation of what he was doing in her apartment, he headed towards the back bedroom, making note of the sounds of a shower running. He stepped into Rebecca’s semi-chaotic bedroom and closed the door behind him so that he could strip down to his boxers since comfort was important.

By the time that he was stripped down to his boxers and climbing into the small bed, Rebecca was walking into her room, looking absolutely miserable in her oversized The Walking Dead tee shirt. When she saw him waiting for her, her lips pulled up into a shy little smile that made him feel like a fucking king.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, not quite able to meet his gaze and letting him know that she was still embarrassed about earlier, but she would have to get over that, because he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Finishing our date.”


“You didn’t have to do this,” she said as she lay down beside him and desperately tried not to think about what happened two hours ago.

One thing was for certain, she decided as she accepted a glass of Coke from him and took a small sip to settle her stomach, she was never going to that movie theatre again. Not because she’d been banned or anything, but simply because self-preservation demanded that she never set foot in that place again out of the fear that she would die of mortification.

“Yes, I did,” he said as he took the glass from her and placed it on the nightstand and then before she could ask, he was placing his hand gently on her stomach.

She groaned with relief because one touch from him did what a hot shower, three Advils and a Coke hadn’t been able to do. Her stomach didn’t stop hurting, but at least she wasn’t on the verge of crying anymore.

“What do you want to watch?” he asked as he pressed a kiss against her temple, making her stupidly want to smile.

He really was a sweetheart, she thought as she settled in closer to him so that she could swipe the remote from out of his reach. Definitely a sweetheart, she thought as she turned on the television and went to Netflix, making sure that she didn’t get stuck watching sports or something sports related.

“Horror movie?” he asked with a heavy sigh that said it all.

“Yup,” she said with a nod as she found a particularly gruesome movie and hit Play.

“Of course you’d pick another zombie movie,” he murmured as he settled in next to her and closed his eyes, taking the coward’s way out.

At least that’s what she thought until she took a good look at him. He looked exhausted, but that wasn’t anything new. He always looked tired…and grumpy, but tonight he looked like he’d finally reached his limit. He really needed to cut himself some slack and let someone else help him, she thought as she lowered the volume on the television and cuddled up next to him, wondering why he was so hard on himself.

Fire & Brimstone was a huge success. In her opinion, it was the best restaurant in town. It had taken some time, but it now had the highest reviews online, was constantly packed and had the best food and staff in town. It was also packed every night of the week and in her opinion, could probably use an edition or a new location to help manage the demand. She liked the fact that he was always trying to change it up to stop it from becoming boring, but at some point he needed to realize that he’d struck gold with the Fire & Brimstone and stop being so damn hard on himself.

As she lay there next to him, she couldn’t help but smile as she looked at his handsome face. She wondered if anyone would believe her if she told them that he was actuall

y kind and funny. They probably wouldn’t believe a single word out of her mouth and that was actually okay with her.

She liked being the only one who knew that he wasn’t an asshole, but a seriously sleep deprived man with a possible problem with OCD. It made her feel special as well as entertained her when she watched as everyone paled whenever they heard his name.

It really was the little things in life that made her happy, she thought as she leaned closer so that she could kiss him goodnight. She brushed her lips against his as gently as she could so that she didn’t wake him. As she pulled back she couldn’t help but smile as Lucifer followed her, keeping his lips on hers.

“What are you doing?” he whispered against her lips, sounding half-asleep.

“Saying goodnight,” she whispered back as her head touched the pillow and Lucifer shifted so that his lips never had to leave hers.

“What if I’m not ready to say goodnight?” he asked, teasing her bottom lip.

“You’re exhausted,” she reluctantly reminded him since there was nothing that she wanted more at this moment than to repeat what they did last week in his truck.

Christ, she couldn’t even think about his truck without

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult
Articles you may like