Hazel Pierce

Chapter 8.1

”Not hungry? ”.

I peek up at Noah. ”Im not in the mood. ”. After leaning over again, I focus on my breathing to make sure this doesn get out of hand.

”I can tell. ”.

He settles beside me, and we don speak for a moment, allowing me a chance to calm my thoughts. Its been a while since Ive felt this…specific anxiety, but thankfully nothing else accompanied it. After a few more minutes, it has run its course. I let out a long breath relieved that was it.

”You shouldn let it bother you so much, Haze. ”.

”I know. It doesn …its just…Im reminded of stuff from before. ”.

I sit up, letting my head drop back to look at the sky. The day is nice and cool for the end of summer. The slight breeze feels freeing. I roll my head to Noah, hearing him shifting around. Hes mirroring my position.

”How did those two figure out your accounts? ”.

Looking back at the sky, I mull over, telling him it was…Faye… Ill keep them separated as long as I possibly can. ”Has it…spread? ”. Im a little scared to hear the answer.

”What do you think, Hazey. Pierce is a legit social media star…. Even if shes never done interviews, promotions…or any other social media stuff. ”.

I roll my eyes. That sounded like a dig more than an answer. ”Its nothing but a bunch of pictures…and videos. I…understand how marketing works, but Fa…I don do anything special on there. ”.

Noah chuckles. ”As much as you try to ignore it, Haze, you have a natural beauty that isn off-putting. ”.

I sigh, remembering that shallow phase I went through. It was very short-lived but was helpful. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, and considering I didn know what I was doing…that didn help things. I was never conceited, but when I saw something I liked…I was never denied. That…changed somewhat when I entered college. I wanted relationships that were more than just…sex.

”I can help being born like this…. This social media thing will bring me…problems. ”. I hope this blows over….. Len said it was fine at that moment, but we still haven talked about it.

”How about this. You have permission to verbally put them in their place, but Ms. Pierce, you have to be professional about it. ”.

I smirk. ”You give me lessons, then Ill think about it. ”.

”Fine observation, Pierce, since Im the model of professionalism and all. Now, for the ass-kissing, Ill give you those lessons at a one percent discount. ”.

I snicker at him, closing my eyes. Noahs temper is just as short as Fayes. Though he yells more than she does. Faye tends to be…destructive. I do feel calmer now. ”If I could get rid of the past…I wouldn be so bothered. ”. A yawn escapes my lips. Im tired…I wonder if I can sleep.

”…I know what you mean. ”.….

Often enough, Noah says something like that, with a hint of regret. It always bothers me, but he never tells me when I ask. I don push him, though, since I have my own secrets. An ominous silence always follows his statement, and as we reach it, I can seem to keep my eyes open.

”Clarissa, just do what we say! ”.

”But Moth ” –

SLAP! ”Don talk back to your mother. ”.





Rumb –

I jolt awake. I…fell asleep…and went straight into a nightmare…… Another reason why I hate memories. I can feel myself trembling just from hearing their voices. I lean over, taking deep breaths to slow down my accelerated heart. It takes some decent minutes before I actually start calming down. Twice in one day…this isn a good sign for me.

When I glance around, I find Noah still sitting beside me. Hes leaning forward as well, showcasing all his concerns. ”What time is it? ”. I get to my feet, shaking off the rest of my jitters.

”Oh, you
e a little over an hour late back from your break. ”….. Noah casually stands beside me like its not a big deal!

”Damn, Noah, why didn you wake me? ”. My legs start moving, taking long strides to the courtyard.

”Because you were peaceful…until the end there. ”.

I freeze in place. Noah knows a little about the…problems I have…but nothing about the nightmares. I think he thinks I have terrible anxiety, which I do, but the reasons behind it, I don have a clue what he thinks is the cause.

”Don worry. I already informed Jen that I pulled you for an assignment. ”.

He sounds like he wants to be praised. I glance at Noah…sure enough, his, I did good look is on full display… I sigh, moving again. ”At this point, I would prefer being punished. ”. Special treatment…will undoubtedly bring me more unwanted attention.

”You could always get those lessons. ”.

I shake my head, trying not to laugh at him. Noah is so close behind me that I can feel his feet nearly tapping my heel. ”That would be hell. ”. Which it would. I broke that fold years ago. Proper…mannerism…anything in that category I avoid.

We rush through the courtyard, and it looks like another group is having lunch.

Noah moves up next to me when we enter the cafeteria, snickering. ”Oh…I heard you like that…pain. ”.

I glance at him, matching the smirk I already know is there. We are childish, I know. ”I like to give it, not receive it. There is a difference, which Im sure you know all about. ”.

Noah chuckles as we exit the cafeteria. ”Sometimes, I can tell where your jokes end or begin. ”.

I laugh at how innocent he tried to sound. ”Riiight. ”.

Noah uses his key fob when we reach the elevators, giving us an express ride to our floor. ”Relax, I already let Jen know I pulled you. Don look so rushed…look more tired or annoyed. ” – He busies himself…messing with my hair… I hit at him knocking his hands away…I really don have to fake annoyance. His face lights up at my reaction. – ”Peeerfect! ”….

I grimace, hearing that purring. The elevator opens, and we march out. ”Never…and I mean never, Noah, say that again. ”. I shudder hearing it replaying in my head.

Noah bumps me as we reach my teams office. ”All you had to do was laugh. ”.

”It wasn funny. ”.

Noah bumps me again as I reach my desk. I hold back from teasing, knowing everyone is watching as I avoid their gazes, lowering myself down into my seat.

Noah keeps walking to Jens office as I get to work. He returns a second later, knocking on my desk. ”Work work. ”.

I notice…the alarming grin on his face when he marches off… What is going on with him? Between Faye and Noah…he is the worst when making plans. Times and locations are either wrong or can change at the drop of a hat. Its a full-blown pain in the ass if hes in charge. I focus on my work, letting go of that future headache.

”Thirty br –

”Where were you pulled to? ”…..

Jen couldn even finish before Tessa started the interrogation. I look up at her, seeing Spencer, Carla, and Dave waiting for an answer……. Perry has already left her seat.

”Did you hit someone? ”.

”…What?! ” – I frown at Carla, wondering why thats the first thing she thought. – ”Do I really look like I can control myself? ” – I look around at them…they all avoid my gaze….. – ”Seriously, guys! ”.

”In our defense, if we didn see Piss Pot…I mean. ” – Tessa clears her throat. – ”Pierce Pot, we probably would had went in your favor. ”.

I sigh, laying on my desk, ignoring that little dig. ”They are just clothes from a lifetime ago. ”.

”Well, thats not true. Some of your most recent pictures were over the weekend, and Dear, you looked edgy street still. ”.

I turn my head to Spencer. ”Faye made me! Even so, I don hit people for no reason….. ”. I have to say Im offended that they even thought I would. It…usually doesn bother me when people make assumptions, but they should know by now that Im not violent. I couldn be…even if I tried….. My stomach growls loudly…that appetite has returned with ferocious intent.

”Didn eat? ”. I sit up, frowning at Dave.

”…It seems he really did pull you to…work. ”….

Spencers sarcastic ass…Im about to respond when a plate drops down in front of me.

”…I…figured youd get hungry later…so I got this for you. ”.

I smile wide at Perry before jumping to my feet, wrapping my arms around her tiny frame. ”Thank you! ” – I kiss her cheek. – ”Thank you! Im so treating you to something later. ”. After I plant a kiss on her other cheek, I release her. She blushes, moving away as I drop down in my chair and dig in.

Tessa lays on her desk…so I can slightly see her. ”Your ass is too easy, Hazel. All it takes is food to get you up. ”.

”I don think shell ever remember her diet. ”.

I half glance at Carla, hearing how mild she was. Figures, her phone would have her preoccupied. Spencer and Dave snicker…I ignore them, enjoying the delicious sandwiches before me.

After…our eventful break, we work for a few more hours until our shift ends. The others rush out, but I take my time this evening. Since I haven checked my phone since this morning, there are two people Im dying to hear from. I scroll through it as I head to the elevators.

Faye, first and foremost, is flipping out since I haven responded all day. ”Text me n let me know ur ok!!!! ”.

”Misplaced my phone. Im fine!!!!! ”.

”Use sum1 else next time! Damn child tryin 2 put me n early grave. ”.

”Sorrrrrryyy mom 🙁 It wont happen again. Promise! ”.

Lens messages I pull up next. As I step into the elevator, Im smiling already. His new message notification does that to me. ”Have a good lunch. ”. ”Heard some things are u okay? ”. ”Want to have dinner tonight? Ill cook. 😉 ”. This man doesn know how much I love him. It looks like his cold spell has ended quicker than I thought. When I step out of the elevator heading to the time clock, I freeze seeing his last message. ”Nvm. ”.

I immediately hit the button to call him. My heart is knocking against my chest already. He doesn answer, so I redial, but the call goes straight to voicemail. I punch out and call again only to have it go to voicemail…hes purposely doing it. What did I do to upset him…now? I rush out of the building, knowing well have to talk this time….. That thought alone…is making me antsier.

After Ive flagged down a taxi, I hesitate on whether I should go home or…to his place. Len doesn like when I show up unannounced, but this…I need to talk to him. My phone rings as I slide into the cab. I slam it against my ear, already moving my lips. ”Len, Im –

”Wrong man. ”.

I grunt. I don want to talk to Noah right now. ”Im busy, can yo –

”My girlfriend is excited to meet you. Since you owe me for today, make your way to xxx. ”…..

Noah…cutting me off again…its…I don like it. ”I don owe you anything! You should have woken me up! ”.

”No, Im not responsible for another adults actions. ”.

I grit my teeth, gripping the phone. ”Then why cover for me? ”.

”So you can owe me. ”.

The lightness in his voice… ”Noah, if you were in front of me – Whats the address Im coming. ”. When he tells me, I hang up, relaying the address to the cab driver.

e here. ”.

I glance up from my phone at the rearview mirror, locking eyes with the driver. My gaze moves to the window at the valet men standing outside the restaurants entrance. I spent the whole ride calling Len, but he still didn answer. With how antsy Im feeling right now…I think itll be destructive if I see him anyway. Dealing with Noah has now become my primary mission.

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