Finally (Neighbor from Hell #12) - R.L. Mathewson

Prologue

Well, this was unfortunate, Charlie thought as she stood there, taking in the large man standing in front of her, noting that he was soaking wet, covered in flour, and what appeared to be cocoa powder, his tie was burnt, his shirt was destroyed and he had absolutely no idea who she was, which was understandable since he normally went out of his way to avoid her.

That was confirmed seconds later when that familiar expression that she was used to by now crossed his features, the same one that told her that he was trying to figure out where he knew her from as his gaze darted down to her shirt, the one that she wore every day to work, the same one with “Bradford Creations” printed across it. Frowning, he took in her curly chestnut hair pulled back into a ponytail before looking down at her Harry Potter watch and-

That was apparently enough to jog his memory.

“What can I help you with, Charlie?” Devin Bradford, her boss for the past five years and the reason why she no longer left food unattended in the break-room, murmured absently, frowning as he reached down and pulled a pink jump rope that had somehow managed to wrap itself around his legs off and tossed it aside.

“I’m not really sure,” Charlie mumbled, suddenly regretting not taking that two-bedroom apartment on Cedar Street that smelled like garbage, kitty litter, and other things that had turned her stomach when she had the chance as she glanced back down at the post-it note in her hand to make sure that she had the right address.

She did, which meant…

“You’re here about the in-law apartment,” Devin said with a pained sigh as he rubbed his hands slowly down his face.

“Maybe,” Charlie murmured, mostly because she really didn’t think that this was a good idea, not with her quitting and everything. Not that he knew that she was quitting, and since she didn’t plan on telling him until she was ready, she felt that it would be in her best interest if she got back in her car, drove to work, and spent the rest of the day hiding in her office with the hopes that he would forget this ever happened. Then again, maybe she was worrying over nothing, Charlie thought as she stood there, blinking up at the large man glaring down at her.

Maybe not, Charlie thought, when he said, “This isn’t fucking happening.”

“Okay,” Charlie said as she bit back a sigh of disappointment because she’d been counting on getting this apartment.

If she was going to make this work, and god, she really hoped this worked, she was going to need a cheaper apartment. She didn’t want to give up her two-bedroom apartment, but she didn’t really have a choice right now. Well, she did, but since she’d let Ben talk her into setting a deadline to get her company, that she was still trying to figure out a name for, up and running within the year, she had to do this. The only way that she was going to be able to do that was by saving enough money to make this happen, and that meant cutting back on her expenses.

She’d already canceled her cable, figured out a way to cut her cellphone bill in half, switched her car insurance, canceled all those memberships that she’d told herself that she would use one day but never had, Googled ways to cut her utility bills in half, set a budget and at some point she would start sticking to it, gave up those expensive creamy Frappuccinos with an extra shot of butterscotch and chocolate syrup that she liked so much, and fully planned on cooking more so that she wasn’t dependent on takeout. As much as she hated doing this, getting a smaller place would help her reach her goal faster. This apartment was three hundred dollars cheaper than the rest of the apartments that she was considering and would definitely help, but it didn’t look like that was going to-

“I quit!” the small woman covered from head to toe in flour and green glitter said as she tightened her hold around the tan handbag covered in black magic marker and ran for it.

“Shit!” Devin said, looking anxiously over his shoulder before glancing back at the small woman as she tripped over her feet and-

Quickly picked herself back up as she threw a panicked look over her shoulder, released a terrified scream that kind of freaked Charlie out