Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(3)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(3)
Jennifer Blackwood

See? Fast learner.

“No problem.” I even managed to plaster a smile on my face, just to show how delighted I was to be here. Which wasn’t too far from the mark, because nothing made me happier than a steady income fresh out of grad school, especially when I could put more toward Mom’s medical bills and, okay, the occasional use of my one-click finger for online shopping.

Twenty pages later, I decided to take a break and get Jackson’s coffee. I glanced his way as I walked toward the elevator, and caught myself before I could shake my head at his slouched figure. His feet were propped on his desk as he fiddled with something on his phone. Cell phone use during work hours was prohibited—as stated in rule forty-seven. But I guess that rule didn’t apply to first assistants.

The elevator opened and Jackson shouted, “Soy milk. Extra hot or you’re fired!” before the doors closed.

My job now rested in the hands of a barista and their ability to heat blast the shit out of Jackson’s latte. Excellent.

I slumped against the metal bar at the rear of the elevator and rested my head against the wall. An upbeat eighties song droned over the intercom, and it reminded me of something Mom would lip sync to in the car. A sad smile wobbled at the corners of my mouth. It was pathetic how much I missed her—I mean, a twenty-four-year-old should be okay living a couple hundred miles from her mom. As it was, a whole month apart proved I was a total mama’s girl, especially given her current condition. Before I could pull out my phone to give her a quick call, the elevator doors sprang open, and I hustled out the door to get Jackson’s latte before I gave him any reason to fire me on my second day.

By nine thirty, I’d made it back to the building and learned that downtown really did have a Starbucks on every block. Being technologically savvy (or as my mom liked to say, “addicted”), my fingers itched to take a snapshot of downtown Seattle and post about my first week at Starr Media. I frowned, remembering the strict policy prohibiting posts about the company on personal social media. Pretty much, working at Starr Media was the equivalent of being part of Fight Club. Heavy emphasis on the first rule.

As I entered the elevator, I chanced a glance at the mirrored wall and cringed. The misty Seattle air upped the frizz factor of my curls, and my thick mass of hair was quickly transitioning from a “before” to an “after” shot in a Chia Pet commercial.

I blew a stray piece out of my face as I balanced the to-go container with Jackson’s and my coffee and tapped my foot impatiently, waiting for my floor. For such a large building in the heart of downtown, the elevator moved at a banana slug pace, the digits of each floor flashing overhead as it ascended. When it finally got to the fortieth, I took a second to adjust my grip on the coffee container and my purse and made my way out. Both feet had just made it past the opening when the door zipped shut behind me, almost taking my purse in the process. I let out a yelp and stumbled forward, spilling a bit of coffee in the process. Holy mother of Moses, it was like I was in a giant arcade crane game. I straightened my jacket and adjusted the coffee cups, shaking off the incident. For an archaic elevator, it definitely made sure the door hit you on the way out.

Jackson looked up from his computer and smiled when he saw the coffee in my hands. “Looks like you just learned a lesson from old Betsey.”

“Who’s Betsey?” I handed him his drink.

“Our beloved elevator.” There was a silent duh added on to the end of that. “And here’s a hint: she only bites people who deserve it.” He pursed his lips then took a pull from his soy-hope-he-choked-on-it latte.

I looked at the elevator again, my heart still beating frantically against my chest. “Good to know.”

Why wasn’t that in the manual? Rule #768: Do not stand in elevator more than two seconds after the doors open. You will get chomped.

Someone with so many rules should include something on the carnivorous elevator.

I cupped my own coffee in my hands and took a deep pull of my triple shot espresso.

“When do I get to meet Mr. Starr?” I stared at my desk, which only had a manila folder with Craig Willington’s information, my large stack of liability papers to be signed, and the employee handbook. I’d imagined my first few days on the job to be chaotic, buried in paperwork (the exciting kind, not the signing-my-life-away kind), like I’d seen in all my favorite TV shows, but it was much more anticlimactic in real life. If my life were a hashtag right now, it’d be #whompwhomp.

If I were able to post about my job, that is.

“He’s already in his office and doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

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