Love Thy Neighbor(9)

By: Belle Aurora



Ever since that day, Nik started introducing me as his brother. And I really do consider Nik and Max my brothers.

One day in gym class, Nik happened to see my scars and bruises. He asked me about them but I took off. I didn’t come home for a week. When I finally returned, Mama cried with relief. I’d never had someone be worried about me. She told me I was grounded and to never scare her like that again.

I smile at the memory. I took my punishment without a word. Mama’s tears of love were worth a week of chores.

Mama likes Nat. She told me to get off my ass and ask her out.

Yeah.

Quite frankly, I’d rather have fire ants nibble at my balls.

So the shrew is my new neighbor.

Kiss my grits.

I smirk.

At least the view will be nice.





Chapter Two

Befriended by a Ghost





I make it to work just after nine.

Being kept up most of last night didn’t help me any. I heard my alarm, but my body acted of its own accord and pressed snooze.

Four times.

I dragged my ass out of bed and don’t even remember showering. Somehow, in my comatose state, I managed to put together a half decent outfit and drive myself to work. I walk through the door and Mimi looks up from the counter. Her eyes widen and she declares, “Wow. You look like shit.”

I flip her the bird and she chuckles. I walk into the studio and yell out, “Gather.”

Tina and Lola approach Mimi and I at the counter looking a little wary.

Oh, chicas. You have no idea.

Tina says softly, “Oh, honey. You look ill. Are you okay?”

I reply, “No. Not okay. Not in the slightest.”

Lola looks concerned, puts a hand on my shoulder and asks, “What is it, Nat?”

My mouth waters when I spot Tina’s chocolate peanut butter cupcakes behind the counter. I grab one, unwrap it and shove the whole thing in my mouth. I close my eyes in bliss and moan.

My mouth is full so my response is a little garbled. “I had a run in with my neighbor last night.”

Mimi smirks. “Already getting into trouble? Babe, you gotta wait at least a week for that.”

Tina enquires, “What kind of run in?”

Lola’s eyes widen and she whispers loudly, “Oh, no.” Then she guesses, “Loud sex?”

I swallow my cake, fire imaginary guns at Lola and utter, “Bingo!”

Tina sympathizes, “Oh, sweetie. You love sleep! That sucks!”

I scoff and run my hands down my face. “You have no idea, guys. Three freakin’ times. I was up til three am before I decided to go over there. So this pretty little woman answers the door and she looks nice enough. Just as she’s about to apologize, her man comes along.”

Lola grimaces. “Asshole. He’s an asshole, right?”

I lower my face and chuckle through my reply, “You don’t know how right you are. Only we know this asshole.”

Mimi’s face scrunches in confusion as she asks, “Who?”

“Yeah, who?” Tina asks.

I take a step back, put my hands out by my sides and clear my throat. “My new neighbor is Ghost.”

All three women gasp loudly and Lola covers her mouth with her hands. I nod slowly.

Oh, yeah. That just happened, ladies.

Tina sputters, “Wha- I- He- How?”

Mimi can’t control herself, she bursts out laughing. Lola’s lips twitch. I narrow my eyes at them and wonder why I’m friends with these girls.

Tina and Nik found out about Ghost and I by accidently hearing us in the conference room the night we did it. I told Mimi and Lola one day at work when they questioned why Ghost and I never talk anymore. I don’t like secrets. I prefer to be honest with people. Sometimes, I’ve been told, I can be brutally honest. But I can’t change who I am.

Lola straightens and says softly, “That sucks, babe.”

Mimi chuckles. “Yeah. That sucks ass. Sorry.”

I scowl at Mimi. “You don’t sound sorry, hag.” She laughs harder and I fight not to smirk. Mimi treats me like my sisters do. That’s awesome because I miss them, and Mimi makes me feel at home.

Tina wraps me up in a hug and whispers, “Oh, honey. I’m sorry. That must be hard for you.”

I lie. “No. It isn’t. It would just be really great if I never saw him. Avoiding him is best.”

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