Excerpt from Misunderstood: A Neighbor from Hell YA Novel
Coming December 26, 2020
The good news was that she probably didn’t have to worry about writing that book report anymore, Mikey thought as she took in the large man glaring down at her.
“Start talking,” Uncle Trevor said, not really looking all that happy to find her curled up in his son’s bed, which was understandable since she wasn’t exactly supposed to be here.
“I missed you?” she said with a hopeful smile only to add, “so much,” when he narrowed his eyes on her.
“What did we talk about, Mikey?” he asked, sighing heavily as he folded his insanely large arms over his chest while he waited for an answer.
“That making Jonathan cry for my own amusement is wrong?” she said, ignoring the gasp of outrage from the other side of the room.
“For the last time, little girl,” Jonathan snapped as he shoved his blankets aside and got to his feet, “I had something in my eye!”
“You know what? We’re over!” Jonathan bit out as he grabbed a change of clothes from his bureau and stormed off towards the door only to add, “Over!” again as he slammed the door shut behind him.
At Uncle Trevor’s questioning look, Mikey said, “He’ll be back,” with a firm nod that had him opening his mouth to say something only to close it when Jonathan walked back into the room, looking calmer than he had a few seconds ago. With a helpless shrug, Jonathan said, “I forgive you.”
“For getting you stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel or for making you cry because I was bored?” Mikey asked, mostly because she liked clarification. She didn’t bother asking him if he forgave her for making that video since she doubted that he would ever forgive her for doing that.
Then again, since he didn’t know that she’d made a video…
It was probably for the best if she didn’t mention it at the moment.
His eyes narrowed on her as he said, “There was something in my eye,” before he took a shuddering breath and waved it off as though it was of little consequence. “For the sake of our relationship–”
“Ah, we don’t have one,” she pointed out only to have him continue as though she hadn’t said anything.
“–I’m willing to forgive you.”
And with that, Jonathan turned around and walked away, leaving her sitting there, shaking her head in disbelief as she turned her attention back to Uncle Trevor to find him rubbing his hands roughly down his face as he said, “I really just can’t with that kid.”
“Understandable,” Mikey murmured, nodding solemnly as she glanced down to find Sebastian on his back with one arm thrown over his face, fast asleep on the bed next to her.
God, he looked exhausted, Mikey thought even as she couldn’t help but smile. He’d stayed up all night, helping her get through her book and when she’d been too tired to make out the words, he’d taken over, reading to her while she’d curled up next to him with her eyes closed as she’d lost herself to the soft timbre of his voice as he’d made the story come alive.
At some point, she’d fallen asleep only to wake up to find his arms wrapped around her, holding her close. When she’d tried to roll over onto her side, he’d growled as his arms tightened around her and pulled her closer until she gave up trying to roll over onto her side and snuggled in closer only to fall asleep within minutes. He really was a demanding bed hog, Mikey thought, biting back a sigh when she once again turned her attention back to Uncle Trevor to find him watching her, looking as though he was debating his next words.
Finally, he said, “Mikey, I really don’t think this is a good idea.”
“What’s not a good idea?” she absently asked as she shoved the blankets off her and swung her legs over the side of the bed as she reached over and grabbed her book that wasn’t as bad as she first thought, off Sebastian’s nightstand.
“Sleeping in the same bed with Sebastian,” he said with a pointed look at them.
“Would it help if I told you that I hadn’t planned on sleeping over, but that boy,” and this is where she paused so that she could point a damning finger at Sebastian, “wouldn’t let me borrow a dictionary without an interrogation?”
Frowning, Uncle Trevor asked, “Wait. Why don’t you have a dictionary?”
“Because my religion forbids it,” she said with a firm nod that had him narrowing his eyes on her.
“But your religion is okay with you sleeping in the same bed with a teenage boy?” he countered.
“It does when I have a book report due on Monday,” Mikey said, holding up the thick book.
“And you couldn’t have asked your parents for help?” he asked as she slipped her feet back into her sneakers.
“Not if I wanted to get a passing grade,” Mikey admitted with a sad shake of her head that had his lips twitching.
“I see,” he murmured, looking thoughtful before asking, “And how exactly did you get in here?”
“I feel that it would be in my best interest not to answer that question,” she said, tossing the book on the bed so that she could reach down and grab the sweatshirt that really was quite comfortable and pulled it on.
“And I’m assuming that you’re not going to tell me how you got out of your house without your parents knowing either?” Uncle Trevor asked, clearly understanding her need for survival.
“You assume correctly,” Mikey said, sighing in relief as she grabbed her book.
“And I also assume that you’re going to want to go tell your parents about this before I get a chance to,” he said, making her wince.
“And just out of curiosity, when will that be?” she asked, licking her lips nervously as she started to slowly move closer to the door, really hoping that he was kidding.
He wasn’t kidding.
“When I’m done talking to my son,” he drawled with a look that told her that she better moving her butt and since that seemed like a good idea at the moment, she nodded, cleared her throat, and murmured, “That’s probably not going to end well for me.”
“Probably not,” Uncle Trevor murmured as she stood there, debating her options only to decide that she really didn’t have a choice in the matter. With that in mind, she nodded to herself, murmured, “Okay,” for some reason and turned around and did what she had to.
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