Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(10)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(10)
Jennifer Blackwood

In fact, after the fourth fumbled phone call, sweat rolled down the small of my back, and I prayed that a power outage would strike our building. Or a strategically targeted EMF. No need to be picky at this point. By eleven fifty-eight, I’d convinced myself that my shiny diploma could now function as toilet paper in case of an emergency. Calling my boss the devil and screwing up phone calls? Thin ice didn’t even begin to describe my current predicament. Maybe shaved ice? No, not even that. One single ice cube—that was melting on a hot stove.

200 miles from home in a strange city with a coworker who was annoyed with me at best, and a boss with more rules than my drill sergeant dad, it was looking like this job maybe wasn’t the adventure I had envisioned the real world would be. Just me, Dolce and Gabbana Overload Jackson, and the Antichrist. My own island of happiness. I’d get right on buying kazoos and party hats, but I was sure noise-makers were banned under some rule in the manual.

After I’d fumbled through a few more calls with agents, thankfully ones less angry than Gizzara, Jackson breezed through the elevator door at exactly twelve.

“Keep the company intact?” He took a sip from his Diet Coke and set it on his desk.

I folded my hands together and tried to remain as calm as possible when delivering the news. “There was an issue.”

His brows lowered. “An issue,” he repeated. “What kind of issue?”

“Jonathan Gizarra called,” I said slowly, bracing for how Jackson would take this.

His jaw tensed, and his Adam’s apple worked against the top button of his dress shirt. “And you put him through to Starr, right?”

I hesitated, thumbing the sticky note with his name between my fingers. “No. You told me not to bother him.”

“Oh my God.” Panic flared across his face, and he sat down at his desk and began typing madly on his computer. “Oh my God,” he repeated, this time more frantic than before. Blotches of red dotted the pale complexion of his cheeks and neck. “I will make this right, but you screw this up one more time and you’re out.” He pounded a few keys on the phone and pulled the receiver to his ear. “Go to lunch before I change my mind about firing you.”

I bit the inside of my cheek, pushing back the hot sting of tears, and grabbed my purse. It had been a long time since I’d disappointed someone. In fact, I was fairly certain the last time had been when I forgot to send a thank-you card to my Aunt Ruth in seventh grade, and my mom laid major guilt trippage on me. My livelihood at my first job that actually counted for something was currently being sucked down an industrial grade toilet.

Logic told me to spend my lunch outside of Starr Media, and I paced around downtown with my homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich until the jitters from the past thirty minutes subsided. I’d never really considered myself an anxious person, but between this job and my mom’s illness, it was enough to fray the nerves of Bob Marley.

By the time I returned to the building, my lungs could fully expand, and the constant urge to bash my head against something had subsided. Mostly.

Jackson’s lips curled into a sneer when I sat back down at my desk. “I fixed the problem. Next time try not to be”—he motioned toward me—“you.” He pointed to himself and cocked his head in an overly dramatic fashion, one that just begged for a slap in the face. “Think to yourself ‘what would Jackson do?’ That should be your new mantra.”

“Got it.”

“I made a list of people who you always put through to Starr. If you make it past next week, you’ll need it.”

“Thanks.” But that was a big if.

I managed to float under the radar for the next two days, keeping busy with file work and making myself scarce at the exact time I knew Brogan would be leaving his office for a meeting. Having access to his schedule came in very handy for keeping mortification levels to a minimum.

Fifty folders were spread out before me, waiting to be filed in the floor to ceiling shelving system. This was the closest I’d come to venturing into the office with my coworkers who performed various other jobs for the company. With the odd looks they gave me as they passed me in the lunch room last week, the chances of finding a friend here to grab drinks with after work were slim to none. Which was fine because I had Zoey, but having more than one friend in the city wouldn’t hurt either.

I was busy alphabetizing the clients’ folders in the depths of the cavernous file room when a voice cut through the silence.

“Jackson put you on file duty?”

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