Hazel Pierce

Chapter 1

From the moment I woke up this morning, I knew today would be one of those days I wouldn be as productive as I should be. The ambient sounds of the office are drowned out as my mind wanders to the more pressing issue…Lens first day. Worrying and stressing have been all Ive managed to accomplish since arriving to work. Whatever Ive been working on for the past two hours…will not be –

How is it going for him? Will we have the same lunch? Does…he like it so far? Hopefully, he isn having any issues….. Im…Im sure hes doing…fine. This place catches you off guard if you allow it. Since it unexpectedly got me to fall…maybe…maybe Len will love it too. I hope thats the case…because the alternative…is the worrying side. If he has an unfavorable reaction to this place…Im sure its going fine. Ive never really been at home with office work, but it seems the charms of a small company have won me over. That chest tightening feeling hasn made an entrance since Ive been employed here.

Marsh Corporation is a holding company with only two subsidiaries. For some reason, we
e handling some marketing for those two. Houndwell, the small construction and building material company that performs well, and Orco, the popular and the bigger of the two, have a firm hold in the food industry. The wide range of snacks and drinks makes the Corporation some real money. My team mainly deals with them, handling the launches of new products. For me, landing –

”Hazel! ”…

Im one of those individuals who freeze as their heart does a hundred-meter dash. My eyes move up to the right of my desk as I talk down that pulsating rhythm. Jen, my teams supervisor, is leaning down on the corner of my desk…… ”Huh? ”. Of all days Im distracted, she picked today to come over here. Jen looks like shes already about to blow up…which means shes caught me.

This short-tempered supervisor yells more than any person Ive ever met, but its in one of those nonoffensive ways. Shes one of the workaholics of this team, whos stern…well, mostly. Jen has this really adorable flustered side that this team exploits from time to time. Since shes always so professional, its easy to slip jokes in and watch her squirm. I don think she takes the things this team does personally… On cue, laughter from my team members has her forehead veins pulsing. At least a few of them are trying to hold it in.

”You didn hear anything I said, did you? ” – Jen straitens up, folding her arms. – ”Because you work so well, I didn take you for the airhead type. Mr. Jett is ready to see you. ”.

She stares down at me, waiting for me to protest. Its more like a glare…and that part in the middle didn need to be mentioned. I ignore the extra snickers keeping my eyes on her. ”Why does he need to see me? ”. Those veins start flexing…I slowly rise from my seat, then Jen gives me a look that reads, just go…I sprint out of the office.

I wonder what this is about as I make my way down the massive hallways. Since he didn text me, it must have something to do with work. I sigh, not having the energy to deal with Noah this morning. Sleep has been hard for me to come by lately…now that I think about it, the last peaceful night I had was around my college graduation…four months ago….. That number shouldn surprise me, but it does. Its not totally unheard of…with my many mental issues, but having it last this long is…concerning. This insomnia is the only thing currently giving me problems, so I hope it balances out soon. Exhaustion has a lasting effect on my overall health.

When I reach Noahs office, I stand there for a moment readying myself. Hopefully, he isn lively this morning. Sighing, I tap twice on the door.

”Come on in, Hazel! ”…..

I can feel his excitement through the frosted glass door…I sigh. The scent of pastries hits me the moment I crack the door open, and my eyes roam the bright, sleek office for them as I step inside, closing it behind me. Masculine should be the word for the style of the room. Plenty of light pours into the floor-to-ceiling windows…Noah just prefers dark heavy-looking furniture with a modern flare. He snags my attention, leaning against the front of his desk with his arms folded. This is one of my two friends.

We met during my junior year of college about two years ago. There was something familiar about him when I approached him during an unofficial school event. Noah was initially…uncomfortable. I was still in that phase where I didn fully know how to read into interactions. I did something to make him uneasy but couldn figure out what Id done. After another awkward pause, I was about to move away when he apologized and did this whole lets start over. From that moment, he and I became inseparable.

Noah found it funny that I was twenty-three at the beginning of my third year. He thought I had poor grades…and I didn tell him any different. When I moved to the States at sixteen, the schooling here placed me two grade levels below my age, and if you add that year I took off after high school, I was one of those older freshmen. We were only two years apart and at different stages in life. Noah had already been working here for a few years…I wouldn have predicted that Id join him two years later. Well, he persuaded me. I had no idea I was going to end up under him. Noah is too silly for me to take seriously as the head of the marketing department. I do give him credit for his work ethic. Hes good at his job.

A fresh wave of that intoxicating aroma hit me as I study Noah. He looks excited about something, which drains what energy I had. His default facial feature is a crooked smirk that changes depending on who hes talking to. Noah is attractive in the physical anesthetic sense to a lot of women. Tall and slim with that…suave thing going for him. Noah takes pride in his appearance, which places him on my ego bus. In my orbit, some people battle him for the drivers seat. The longer my eyes linger on Noah…why is that smirk growing….. I don know what game hes playing.

My eyes move to the coffee table hosting those delicious pastries. Ive already hovered closer, quickly taking my pick, dragging one of the buttery soft goodness to my mouth, but I stop short of biting it. This is a trap. ”Noah, what is all this? ”. He doesn usually buy me these unless Ive asked, and I haven . When I turn to him, hes flashing me his playful smile.

”Oh nothing, just guessed you skipped breakfast again. ” – Noah pauses, dragging his eyes slowly over me.

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