Hazel Pierce

Chapter 7

is the one who draws my eyes. ”What did you think about them? ”.

I don know why but that sounded like a loaded question I won be answering…

I sit up, booting up my laptop. Im saved. Ive never been so happy to see Jen. Yes, I smile at the others, setting off a round of smiles, groans, and sighs.

”Focus, people, lets get to work! Dave has everyones assignments, and I have a meeting later today, so I expect the first batch to be done by then! ”.

We watch as Jen briskly heads into her office. Tessa jokes about her and our other two workaholics, making us snicker. The other two don find it funny. Carla, Perry, Tessa, and I receive another warning from Jen before quieting down.

Deadlines for our team are slightly different than others. They tend to motivate us, but I didn expect the six of us to be…the most productive in marketing. Noah has three teams under him, each comprised of six, with a team lead. Jen is ours. The company itself is pretty laid back. The owners have a set number of profits they wish to reach every year, and as long as the company doesn fall under it, they are satisfied, but advancing above those profit lines gives us bonuses. Ive mostly kept my nose out of their numbers and such. So far, I haven gotten the urge to genuinely dig into the business side of things. I thought the environment itself would have ticked my brain off. Ive been doing my position without giving anything else a second thought.

Today we focused on our work, and lunch arrived in no time.

”Lunch, people. ”.

I raise my eyes to Jens corner office. Ive always found the positioning odd. Her visitors have to walk past us, which causes a brief distraction for this group. Ive never done it…but they judge the lone walker all the way. My…guilt in the scenario is…its…funny. Jens open glass door usually kills anything before they…not I…get out of hand.

Collectively, theyve earned the black sheep title, but I guess now Im adding my own…spice to the mix. I used to wonder why Noah placed me with them, but…theyve grown on me. I stretch in my seat as the hall behind me comes to life with the lunch crowd.

”Anyone going to the cafeteria? ”. Perry heads over to one of the counters…designated for bags.

Since I have an appetite today, I think Ill join her. When I stand and stretch, Dave looks up at me.

e going? ” – I nod, scanning his face. Why does he look so worried? – ”…Ill join you two. ”. He stands, gathering up his lunch bag at the same time Tessa is up collecting her things.

e all coming. There is no way Im going to miss this drama. ”…

That draws my eyes to her. ”Why would there be – never mind, I don want to know. ”. I lean down, digging my card out of my bag, and once we
e all…gathered, Perry leads us to the cafeteria.

Ive been to it once or twice…when I started here. The place is usually crowded…so Ive learned to avoid it when flying solo. Its the main reason I volunteered to join Perry, but on our way there…some pretty decent looks are thrown our way. I was hoping everything from that party would have blown over…I guess the weekend wasn enough time to erase all of that. Some…of these…gazes…feels like school all over again. Tessa…smirked the entire way, and the others didn seem to notice…or care. We all are guilty by association now.

Once we arrive, I take in the bustling crowd. The gourmet meals draw a pretty big group. With our lunch break being an hour and a half long, a crowd usually lingers here…but Im bummed my lunchtime isn the same as Lens. Even though he isn talking to me right now, I can help but imagine what we could do in that tim –

Someone bumps into me, interrupting my thoughts…… ”What the hell!? ”.

”You watch it! ”.

I look down…the…short man doesn even turn back to apologize. He bumped me so hard that I stumbled. Spencer grabs my arm, suggesting I let it go……

”Its fine, Hazel. Little dick and his friend are in a hurry to play. ”.

We snicker at Carla as the man beside him pauses, tightening his shoulders. The short man finally turns to look at us, and hes bright red. I can tell if he is angry or embarrassed.

”What was that? ”.

Dave steps in between them and us, holding up a hand. ”Just go. She wasn talking to you. ”.

The man looks between us, but the main three have already moved on. Tessa…has picked the center table in the cafeteria and settled down with Carla and Spencer. Dave lets out a long breath when the two men take off. Perry and I smile, following behind him over to the others.

”You four are worse than my kids. ”.

I didn do a thing there, but I keep that to myself. Dave takes a seat shaking his head at Tessa. She took that as a compliment.

”Perry and I are heading to the line. ”. I grab hold of her arm but pause at the heavy eyes Dave is throwing me.

”Hazel…please…no fighting. ”.……

”I don fight, so well be fine. ”. I get expressions from all of them suggesting they don believe me…… I roll my eyes, allowing Perry to lead us to one of the lines.

”What are you going to get? ”.

”Probably something light. ” – As Perry eyes the menu…Im trying to ignore it, but its bothering me… We
e seriously being…stared at… – ”Perry, you see them staring too, right? ”.

She nods with the slightest smile. ”It looks like I happened to join a famous team. ”.

I smile, hearing her giggle. Its the cutest thing Ive ever heard. I can help but cling to her tighter. ”You like it here, though? ”.

”Well…yeah. The workload is heavy, but you guys work through it as a team. The company gives breaks, bonuses, and even group vacations. I can find any fault in it. ”.

Perry smiled with every word, lighting up even more. I have no doubt that she loves this place.

”Thats her, and Im guessing shes into girls. ”.

”Her style would suggest so. ”.

”Shame, cause she looks good face to face. ”.

I don have to glance over to know they are talking about me….. This…Ive been through enough. What they
e saying doesn bother me, but it brings up…memories…memories I would rather forget. ”You know Perry. ” – I release her, rubbing my thumb along my middle finger. – ”I don have much of an appetite anymore. Go on without me. ”.

Before she can respond, I hastily move away, making my way to the cafeterias courtyard. More prying eyes greet me once I do…… I didn do anything that would warrant all this attention. My heart picks up with every gaze I meet…. I keep moving until I leave the grounds altogether.

Since the outdoors usually helps me settle down, a nearby park is my destination. I drop down on the nearest bench, taking the time to catch my breath. My heart is racing faster than Id like, but its not as dire as it could be. Fayes voice would do wonders for me right about now. After searching for my phone for a few seconds, I remember its back in my bag. I groan, leaning over, talking myself down.

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