Home > The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(9)

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)(9)
Jennifer Blackwood

She squeezed me tight. “I’m here to psychoanalyze any time you need.”

Chapter Four

Starr Media Handbook Rule #224

Phones must be answered in a professional manner.

There came a time in every postgrad’s life where thoughts like “what the hell am I doing with my life?” and, “grad school in no way prepared me for this; I want a refund,” pummeled you harder than a torrential downpour during monsoon season. For me, that moment happened when Jackson disappeared through the elevator doors during lunch on my fourth day in the office.

I sat there in the quiet, the gravity of the situation hitting me full force. I was alone, the same as every other day this week. And for those terrifying thirty minutes, I had no clue what I was doing. The phone had yet to ring while Jackson took his break, and I was hoping that my lucky streak would continue for the duration of my employment at Starr Media. This was a Fortune 500 company, and at this moment, I was trusted with the phone. Me, the person who was terrified to call the pizza place down the street to order delivery. But my phobia would have to take a hike, because answering the phone was an unfortunate requirement of the boss’s assistant.

My lucky streak ended when the phone rang within one minute of Jackson escaping to lunch. I stared at the receiver and then gave a hopeful glance toward the elevator. Chances were at a firm zero percent that Jackson would come back and help me with the call.

You have your MBA. You can answer a damn phone.

Right. This was just like ordering a meat lovers special with double-stuffed crust—terrifying, but doable in the case of dire hunger, or in this instance, needing to keep a job. I squared my shoulders and picked up the receiver and answered the phone as Jackson had earlier this morning. “Starr Media, this is Lainey. How may I help you?” Okay, not horrible. I tapped my pen along the edge of my desk, needing somewhere to place this nervous energy.

“I don’t care if you’re the damn pope. I want Brogan Starr. Right now. Preferably his head on a stick.”

My hand froze, and I dropped the pen. Well, hello, ray of sunshine. “I—uh—sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

“Jonathan Gizzara.” There was a silent who the hell doesn’t know who I am? added onto the end of this statement. “My client Guy Wells is not happy with his recent ratings, and Starr will answer for this. Do you know what it’s like to be bent over and—” He continued with a slew of expletives and a few sexual positions a novice wouldn’t dare try in the bedroom.

Due to my lack of recent history in this department, this conversation was especially excruciating. At least someone was getting some, although I really didn’t need to hear about it in explicit detail. “Sir, as fascinating as the play-by-play of your sexual experimentation is, I don’t see how this pertains to Mr. Starr…”

“Not the sharpest cheddar in the cheese factory, are you, sweetheart?”

My molars ground together as I fought to keep my composure. On my off time, I’d tell this jerk just where to stick his cheddar cheese. But, since I did need a paycheck at the end of the month, I swallowed down my irritation. “Mr. Starr isn’t available right now.”

His voice climbed a few octaves. “What do you mean he’s not available?” I cringed and held the phone a few inches from my ear to save myself from early hearing loss. “Where’s that pissant, Jackson? He at least knows how your damn company works.”

“He’s at lunch right now. I’d be more than happy to leave a message for Mr. Starr.” I forced myself to smile as I said this, which helped keep my tone cheery and upbeat. Otherwise, I’d inevitably slip into sarcasm that I doubted Gizzara would appreciate. I’d learned that trick from watching Jackson during his hundreds of calls. He was all smiles until he ended the call, then it was back to his broody, insufferable self.

“You tell him that if he wants to keep his top-grossing clients and prevent a colossal shit storm of lawsuits he’ll be buried in until he’s fifty, he should pick up the damn phone.”

My pulse pounded in my ears, and the back of my neck flamed. Jackson had specifically told me not to disturb Brogan, but this sounded important. Against my better judgment, I added, “I’ll make sure to do that.” It may have come off a little snottier than intended.

The line went dead before I could tell him to have a nice day. I hung up and groaned, resting my head in my hands.

I’d aced Microeconomic Foundations, Marketing Management, and Management Communication Speaking, but did that prepare me for agents asking questions about their client’s ARPUs and threatening colossal shit storms? Uh, no, it did not.

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