Perfection, p.40
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       Perfection, p.40

         Part #2 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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Page 40

 

  "What's so funny?" Hank demanded.

  "Nothing," he said, hoping the man would just go away and bother someone else.

  "Look, I've offered to find someone else, but she wants to meet you. I guess she met you through a friend last year and was hoping to see you again. Can't you please come out with us tonight?" the man begged, which was really embarrassing. "I'll even pay. Please, Trevor, you don't know how long I've waited to take this girl out. If you could just-"

  "Fine," he snapped, anything to get the man to shut the hell up. Plus a free meal was a free meal. No Bradford in his right goddamn mind would pass on a free meal.

  "Thanks, man. You're a lifesaver," Hank said, further embarrassing himself.

  "Uh huh," Trevor said, absently as he returned his focus back to getting the floor down before the weekend.

  "Hey, did they call an ambulance?" someone yelled. Since it had nothing to do with him, he ignored it.

  "No, she went back to the office with Jared," Hank said as he finally got his ass back in gear and returned to work.

  Now that got his attention. "What are you talking about?" he asked even as he continued to nail down the floor boards.

  "That tenant of yours," Hank said, shrugging. "About an hour ago she fell outside. Mark said it looked like she slipped on some ice, but I thought it kind of looked like she passed out. "

  He looked up to glare at the man. "Why the hell didn't you tell me she got hurt?" he demanded, grabbing another nail and driving it into the floor with a little too much force.

  Hank frowned. "Why would I? She was fine and Jared's looking after her. "

  Trevor opened his mouth to tell them he should have been told, but just barely stopped himself. As far as the guys were concerned Zoe was just his neighbor and part-time employee, which is exactly how he wanted it. Whenever he saw Zoe he gave her a barely there nod and that was it. He never acknowledged in any other way. When he went into the office he kept it professional and Zoe did the same.

  They hardly went out in public together and if they did they acted like acquaintances and nothing more. At first he'd been a little nervous that Zoe wouldn't be able to go through with it. He'd been pleasantly surprised when he realized that she was more than capable of keeping their personal business private. She never hounded him like his old girlfriends did, never text messaged him, which he truly appreciate, and only called to ask him what the hell he'd forgotten to add to her shopping lists.

  "I don't think she was fine," John added as he carried in two by fours and joined in the conversation. "It did look like she passed out. I'm not sure what's going on there, but she just left the office in tears. "

  "She was crying?" he forced himself to ask as he fought back the urge to drop everything and run after her since he had a pretty good idea what one of the problems was, but he forced himself to remain on his knees and grab another board and another nail.

  "Yeah, as soon as she was able to get that piece of shit car of hers going she was out of here," John said, stacking a pile of wood near him.

  "I see," he murmured, forcing himself to stay right where he was when everything in him screamed to go after her.

  "I hope she's alright," Rick, an all around decent guy and someone he suspected had a crush on Zoe, said.

  "I'm sure she's fine," Trevor forced out, not wanting to encourage the guy, especially before he was done with Zoe.

  Chapter 21

  "Zoe?" he called out as he shut the front door behind him.

  Seconds later Toby came running out of Zoe's apartment to greet him, carrying that damn pink princess toy that he'd hid a half a dozen times now, but the damn dog still managed to find.

  "Hey, buddy," he said, shifting the grocery bags into his other hand so he could reach down and pet the dog. "Where's our girl?"

  Toby released the toy so that he could bark in the direction of Zoe's apartment. He gave the dog one last pat and walked into Zoe's apartment, frowning when he didn't find her. She usually wasn't too hard to find after work. She was either reading, watching television or running around their apartments cleaning and fussing.

  He put the bags down and, cringing, grabbed the new baby pink leash Zoe bought last week. "You want to go for a walk?" he asked even as the dog stood up on its hind legs and tried to jump into his arms. "I'll take that as a yes," he said, chuckling as he clipped the dog leash to his, god help him, matching baby pink collar, and took the dog for a quick walk. He swore if one more person called his dog "a pretty girl" again he was going to spank Zoe's ass.

  Ten minutes later he was walking into Zoe's bedroom with the bags and Toby on his heels. It didn't take him long before he realized that Zoe wasn't in her bedroom. The soft sobs he heard coming from the bathroom clued him into her location and tore at his heart. Why did she affect so much? he wondered even as he headed for the bathroom.

  "Zoe?" he said softly.

  "Go," a soft sob, "away. "

  Sighing, he pushed the door open and walked inside, not at all surprised to find her sitting in the tub with her knees drawn up to her chest. When she saw him she tried to avert her gaze as she wiped her tears away with the back of her arm.

  "What's wrong?" he asked, placing the bags on the floor next to the tub as he knelt in front of it and pushed a wet strand of hair behind her ear.

  "I've just had a very bad day and want to get some sleep now," she mumbled, sounding truly miserable.

  "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked, turning the faucet on to add fresh hot water to her bath. He picked up the large pink plastic cup she kept by the tub and proceeded to wet her hair as she sat there, resting her chin on her knees.

  She shrugged.

  "I heard you took quite a fall today," he said, squirting some shampoo into his hand and massaging it through her hair.

  "It was just an accident," she said, sniffling.

  He didn't believe that for a damn second, but he bit his tongue. Screaming at her wouldn't help, besides it would kill him if he was the reason for her tears. So for a few minutes he didn't say anything as he rinsed her hair and washed her body.

  Without a word he drained the tub and held up one of the extra large fluffy towels he knew she liked. She gave him a small trembling smile as she stood up and allowed him to wrap her up.

  "Why don't you sit right here?" he said softly, leading her over to the chair by the bathtub. "I'm going to take a quick shower and then we can talk, okay?"

  Worrying her bottom lip even as more tears streamed down her beautiful face she gave him a reluctant nod. He turned his back on her as he quickly stripped, knowing she probably wouldn't appreciate the hard on he was sporting at the moment. She was so damn exhausted and he knew it was his fault, but they had another matter he'd ignored for way too long that they needed to deal with tonight.

  After a quick shower he wrapped a towel around his waist and sat down on the edge of the tub. Zoe sat on the chair, looking so damn miserable that it made his chest ache. Shoving away useless feelings that wouldn't help either one of them out, he reached into one of the bags and grabbed the two small bottles of orange juice, glad to find that they were still cold.

 
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