Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(12)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(12)
Jennifer Blackwood

I nodded, and before I could say anything else, she was gone in a pink blur heading in the direction of the copier.

Two hours later, I grabbed my salad from the fridge and headed to the correct staff room, cringing when I walked past Brogan’s personal eating area. How stupid did he think I was, eating in there the whole week after I’d had the nerve to insult him? And why the heck was I still employed? Because unless he’d had a brain aneurysm, a guy who wrote a 300 page manual of painfully detailed rules (none of which, curiously, mentioned his personal lunch room) should have fired me ten times over by now.

I still couldn’t get the flex of his muscular arms as he gripped his coffee or his adorable dimples out of my mind. If he were just some random guy at a bar, I’d definitely let him buy me a beer or three before taking full advantage of him in my queen size bed back at my apartment. That said, he wasn’t a random guy at a bar. He was my boss, and according to rule twenty-seven, completely off-limits.

Um, reality check, girl. Who’s to say he’d be interested in you or your mouth that decidedly should never open around him?

Right. Duh. The rule was no big deal, because obviously my imagination was fifteen steps ahead of reality.

In the actual staff room, employees lounged in the chairs, smiling, talking, and looking happier than I’d seen them the first day. I was starting to think that people were only miserable whenever Jackson was in a ten-yard vicinity. I could get on that bandwagon, for sure.

Zelda was on the end with an empty chair beside her. She beamed when she saw me, and patted the chair. “You came!”

I gestured around me and gave a wry smile. “I made it to the right place this time.”

“Everyone, this is Lainey, Jackson’s second in command.” She pointed to a guy in a mustache shirt with a goatee. “This is Eddy.” She motioned next to him to the guy in a beanie and thick black-rimmed glasses and said, “Clarence.” And the two people sitting next to them she introduced as, “Tina and Ashley.”

A few of them looked fairly familiar, and I was certain the girl in the polka dot dress had given me mad side-eye when I was in Brogan’s coffee station yesterday. “Nice to meet you.” I clutched my salad harder and forced a smile, praying that I’d have a warmer welcome than the one I’d had when Jackson gave me the office tour.

They all chimed in at once with, “Welcome,” and “Great to have you on the team.”

Relieved at their greetings, I pulled the chair out and sat down, digging into my salad.

“Thanks.”

“Did Jackson not tell you about the staff room again?” The guy with the goatee shook his head and gave a knowing look to the other people in the room. “Typical.”

I nodded, and they all groaned. That made me feel infinitely better than I had a few seconds ago. At least I wasn’t the only person to be duped by him.

“Number one tip—besides don’t listen to Jackson’s negative garbage, obviously—is to get on Glinda’s good side. She is the copy guru and can fix any problem.”

The guy nodded toward Zelda and said, “She’s the tech queen. Any glitch in your system, she can have it fixed within an hour.”

Zelda blushed and repositioned her glasses on the bridge of her nose.

“Just don’t surf porn on the work computers. Someone did that last month and caused a system-wide virus. Starr wasn’t too happy when he turned on his computer and found a bunch of vaginas on his screen.”

They all laughed at this.

“Good to know.”

I sat back, finally feeling comfortable, for the first time in a week.

Chapter Five

Lainey Taylor Rule of Life #2

Never trust Betsey.

The bustling chaos of tourists, businessmen and women, and locals getting in a midday workout flooded downtown. As I’d only commuted to the office before and after standard working hours, I avoided most of this traffic. There was something satisfying about being lost in the shuffle, just another person with somewhere to be, something to do. Here, I could be anonymous, discard the label of Professional Worrier over my mom’s health and financial spiral, and just let go for a few minutes.

I’d successfully made it through the two-week mark at Starr Media, a miracle that I think took Jackson by surprise. Heck, I was surprised.

The conversation with my mom last week still lay heavy on my chest, and I’d wished there was something I could do besides work my unpolished fingers to the nubs. Even with Zelda’s protests, I’d decided to do lunch on my own today. Thirty sacred minutes to sort through my thoughts about Mom.

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