Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(16)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(16)
Jennifer Blackwood

I was reduced to bargaining with a hunk of metal. Stupid Betsey.

The fabric of my sweater must have gotten caught in the internal mechanisms, because as the elevator arrived, the cardigan shot to the top of doorway in a mangled heap and a horrible ripping sound confirmed this accessory was toast. A mix of a wail and a groan edged up my throat as I stared at the article of clothing. I stood there, stunned. It was like one of those terrible videos on YouTube of men dancing in thongs—horrifying, and yet I couldn’t look away.

The doors flew open, and my cardigan dropped right in front of Jackson’s feet.

He pursed his lips and stepped around it like it was road kill. “Typical,” he said, his stupid pert nose pointed to the sky. “I told you, Betsey only gives what she thinks you deserve.” Then he was off to the conference room while I stood there, staring at the mound of black cashmere on the floor.

I gathered up the tattered fabric, squeezed it to my chest, and promised myself that I’d give it a proper burial in the bottom of my closet once I returned home tonight. Shoving the garment into my desk drawer, I followed Jackson into the conference room and took the only available seat at the oversize round conference table.

The other employees, who’d either ignored my existence or gone out of their way to avoid me the first week, were now smiling, and all said hello to me when I sat down. They didn’t bother saying hi to Jackson, which the grinch didn’t seem to notice, or he just didn’t care.

Brogan glanced over at me, and his eyes widened a fraction as his gaze dipped below my shoulders to the very low-cut top I’d had on under my cardigan. They quickly flickered back up to my eyes, and he cleared his throat and shifted restlessly in his seat. I couldn’t be 100 percent certain, but if I wagered a guess, that quick flit of movement to my chest erred more on the side of bang me than you’re breaking office dress code. Or that might have been a heaping serving of wishful thinking with a side dish of “I need to get some.”

Down girl. He’s your boss, not an office pervert.

He focused on the rest of the employees, who were talking amicably amongst themselves. As soon as he started talking they quieted down, and all seemed to be raptly listening. “Let’s get this meeting started, shall we?” His tone held an authoritative air while still remaining friendly. That is exactly how I would describe Brogan—commanding but also approachable.

“Melissa, what do we have on projections for the new year?”

She shuffled papers in front of her and said, “We’re slated to have at least forty new clients by next June.”

“Triple it.” Brogan said and nodded toward the guy sitting next to Melissa. “What do you have on our return on investment projections, Gabe?”

“I’m still working on it, but it looks like we’ll double our profits by the end of the fiscal year.”

Brogan nodded, pleased. “That’s what I like to hear. Have the numbers on my desk by Friday.”

Gabe smiled and gave a quick chin bob, which I assumed meant “sure thing” in dude talk.

He worked his way around the table, each person sharing their reports from their specific departments.

“What other news do we have?”

Someone chimed in on an idea to save Starr Media money by cutting services that were weighing the company down and not providing much in terms of profit.

“That’s a really great idea. Get on that as soon as you’re done with analytics.”

I glanced around the room in awe. Odd, everyone seemed happy to be there. Nothing like the classes I’d taken in college, where students stared at the clock the second their butts hit their seats. No one was on their phone, perusing social media. No one was flicking pieces of paper or focusing on their computers. Every set of blue, green, hazel, and brown eyes was cast toward our CEO, hanging on every word he said. The only exception was Jackson (surprise, surprise). Then again, if it didn’t involve making people regret the day they were born, I doubted it would elicit more than an eye roll from him.

After each member gave input on their division of the company, Brogan stood and smiled at everyone, the dimples making an appearance.

“Keep up the great work, team.” He clasped his hands together, and everyone pushed away from their seats and strolled out of the conference room.

As I gathered up my computer, I realized Brogan and I were the only ones left in the conference room.

He cleared his throat and asked, “Did you get what you needed?”

My head shot up to look at him. He was standing by the floor to ceiling window, light pooling around his features. “Needed?” If he’d read my thoughts at that exact second, he’d know that what I needed involved less articles of clothing and more chocolate (because chocolate is always the answer, no matter the question).

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