Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(5)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(5)
Jennifer Blackwood

“Good. Wouldn’t want to get canned your first week,” he singsonged as he pressed the button to the elevator.

No pressure or anything.

Just as the elevator doors opened, another employee rushed through the hallway, almost sprinting to my desk. Phil? Or maybe it was Darrel? All the names from the earlier tour blended together. “I need these signed by Mr. Starr within the next forty minutes or this client is going to terminate services.” He shot a nervous glance toward the closed door and sucked in his blotchy cheeks as he held the manila folder out to me.

Jackson had given me strict orders to not contact Starr, no matter what. “Did you email him?” I asked.

A bead of sweat trickled down the guy’s forehead. “Yes. No answer.”

Okay, this was so not in my wheelhouse, but I knew someone who could help…

Jackson stepped into the elevator, either failing to hear the conversation happening ten feet from him or just plain ignoring his coworker’s plea. Either way, poor Phil/Darrel/Whoever was in for a huge disappointment when he learned that second assistant privileges didn’t extend to things like talking to the person who I’m actually assisting.

“Jackson, wait!”

But the doors slammed shut, and I was on my own.

Crap.

Chapter Two

Starr Media Handbook Rule #332

Staff at Starr Media must dress professionally at all times.

I’d lucked out and not had a single call during Jackson’s lunch. Phil had managed to get Mr. Starr’s signature, no thanks to me, just as Jackson made it back from break. He breezed through the elevator, sipped the contents of his Diet Coke can through a straw, and leveled me with a glare.

“Thirty minutes. Don’t be late,” he said, flicking his hand toward the exit.

I pushed back from my desk and beelined it to the elevator. Once I left the building, I took a big gulp of Seattle air. I was still getting used to the weather here. Although it rained in Portland, Seattle air was stuck on a seemingly constant mist setting.

Instead of picking up Luigi’s, I opted for the safer option of the sandwich shop next door. As a precaution, I decided to get my turkey Panini sans onions, even though those weren’t on the list of prohibited food items. Just to make sure I wouldn’t be late getting back to my desk, I brought the sandwich back up to the break room, which was empty—surprising since twelve seemed like it’d be prime lunch-eating time. In fact, everything about this side of the office was eerily quiet. Maybe I’d watched too many office sitcoms in college, but wasn’t there supposed to be laughing and joking around? People taking coffee breaks around the water cooler? Reality was a huge buzzkill.

This morning’s tour of the company flashed like a montage in my head as I remembered everyone’s bored expressions and total lack of acknowledgment. I hadn’t thought about popularity since high school, but this felt an awful lot like being demoted to the bathroom stall during lunch time.

I sat down at the table and unwrapped the Panini and frowned. Breadsticks would have hit the spot. Although, no amount of breadsticks was worth giving up a steady income, not even Luigi’s. Still, I gave a spiteful glare to my sandwich.

Just in time to take me out of my garlic grieving, someone walked into the break room. The first thing I noticed was his hair. You could tell a lot about someone based off the length and style. And the clean-cut, lightly-styled golden brown hair that the guy in the plain black tee sported spoke volumes. It said “I look like I’m not trying too hard, but I carefully crafted this look of perfection for at least fifteen minutes this morning.”

The second thing I noticed was this guy should be reamed for violating the dress code policy. Not that I was complaining—because, really, those tatted biceps deserved to be on full display at all times.

I mentally catalogued everyone I’d spotted during Jackson’s drive-by office tour. He most definitely wasn’t part of that whirlwind of name-drops, because I’d remember those high cheekbones. And those tattoos. His arms were covered from each wrist with intricate markings, disappearing under the sleeve of his T-shirt. Some were words, some were pictures I couldn’t quite piece together without creepily staring at him. Decidedly, all were hot as hell.

He smiled at me and walked over to the water cooler. He procured a teabag from his pocket, plopped it into his black coffee mug, and filled it with water. The glug glug glug of the cooler cut through the silence, and I quickly swallowed my bite of turkey sandwich, preparing myself for if this guy wanted to talk—unlike the last five people who took one look into the break room, saw evidence of human life, and booked it to the elevator before I could even manage a hello. For people working at a social media agency, they were oddly…antisocial.

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