Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(11)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(11)
Jennifer Blackwood

I had actually finished my work, but when Jackson saw that I had a few extra seconds to do things like breathe and squeeze in a thought like I might make it through today without ODing on caffeine, he didn’t waste any time wheeling over a cart of files and telling me they needed to be categorized according to last name and the year they signed.

I glanced up from my work to find a woman who was maybe in her late twenties, wearing a Pepto-Bismol pink sweater and zebra print rimmed glasses. She smiled down at me and said, “Zelda.”

It took me a few seconds to process. Was that her name or was she professing her love for the fictional character?

The woman must have noticed my bafflement because she added, “My mom was really into playing the video game when she was pregnant with me.”

I blew my bangs out of my face and extended my hand to hers. “Lainey. No cool anecdotes about my mom’s pregnancy, although she did eat a lot of bean burritos.”

Zelda grinned, and her lip piercing glinted in the fluorescent lighting. “How are you liking it here so far?”

“Besides making an ass out of myself in front of Brogan Starr and pissing off an agent?” I cringed. It had been all I could think about for the past two days. I’d tossed and turned last night, trying to come up with the perfect thing to say to make this blow over. Unfortunately, the only thing that came to mind was changing my name and moving far away from this city—because that surely wouldn’t be a pain in the ass or get me any closer to paying Mom’s bills. So, mortification it’d be. “Everything is going okay, I guess.”

“Happens to everyone—the pissing off agents part. They’re impossible to please, so don’t beat yourself up over it.”

I nodded. I suspected that she was telling me this to make me feel better, but I’d take it. “Just getting used to everything.”

She leaned against the copy machine and gave me a warm smile. “I haven’t seen you in the staff room. You should come join me. I take my lunches at noon.”

“I take mine then, too, but I think I’m the social pariah.”

Her brows furrowed. “Weird. I didn’t see you in there this week.”

“I was there. And so was Brogan. When I made an ass out of myself.”

“In that staff room?” She pointed to the room across the hall from the file room.

This was news to me. Nowhere on the Jackson Office Tour From Hell was there mention of staff rooms. Emphasis on the plural. “No. The one across from my desk in the front of the office.”

Her face screwed into an awful grimace, but she quickly covered it with a chuckle. “That’s Brogan’s area. No one uses it but him, unless we’re out of creamer.”

I covered my face in my hands and groaned. Why hadn’t anyone told me this? “I was wondering why people were looking at me so weird!”

Of course Jackson wouldn’t, because in his mind I wasn’t sticking around long enough to fraternize with other coworkers. This whole hazing thing was going to come to an end the second I started learning more about the company.

“Come hang out with me today, and I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

The first genuine smile I’d had in days edged at the corners of my lips.

“Can I ask you something?” I flipped my thumb across the folder in my hand, one question gnawing at me ever since my horrible first meeting with Brogan.

She nodded. “Sure.”

“Does the staff have a nickname for Brogan?”

Her brows scrunched together, and her tongue ran across her lip ring. She stood in silence for a moment, most likely wracking her brain for an answer. “Like what?”

“The Antichrist?”

Her lips quivered as a smile broke out on her face. “The what?”

“Antichrist,” I said, a little more hesitant this time.

She bent over at the waist, clutching her knees, laughing. It took her a few seconds to compose herself. She straightened and wiped the stray tears running down her cheeks with her sweater sleeve. “No. Brogan’s an amazing boss. A little eccentric with all the rules, and scary as hell when bothered during one his deadlines, but everyone here loves him.”

Yeah, everyone but Jackson, apparently. And, of course, he was the one that had trained me. Not the other fifty employees that thought Brogan was a decent boss. I smothered the urge to crawl underneath all the paperwork and not come out until everyone left for the day. “Good to know.”

“Well, I have to get these to the copier before a meeting.” She waved her stack of papers in front of her. “Come hang out at lunch, okay?”

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