"Why do you-"

With an exasperated roll of her eyes she snapped, "Because the tee shirt is cute. Now can I please go to work?"

"Cute?" he repeated as if he couldn't believe what he heard. "There's nothing cute about those bastards."

"Except their shirts," she pointed out, biting back a smile at his horrified expression.

He looked like he was about to say something else, but then threw his hands up in the air and finally walked off in disgust.

So nice to make friends on the first day, she thought dryly as she hurried inside the trailer. Just as she placed her purse on the desk Jared stepped out of his office. Zoe's eyes automatically sought out the clock. Her stomach churned when she realized that she was a minute late.

She'd always hated being yelled at by her bosses, but she had a feeling that being yelled at by a Bradford was going to be ten times worse. This really was not the best way to start her first day.

"Good morning, Zoe," Jared said, smiling, making her even more nervous.

"Good morning, Mr. Bradford," she said, trying not to shift nervously.

"It's Jared," he reminded her, still smiling as he headed for the kitchen counter and poured himself a cup of coffee. "Would you like some?" he asked, holding up the coffee pot.

"No thank you, sir," she mumbled.

He rolled his eyes, shaking his head good naturedly as he walked back towards his office. "It's Jared, not Mr. Bradford and certainly not 'sir'. Just relax, Zoe. You'll do fine," he promised with a wink.

"Okay, thank you," she said, forcing a small, albeit, nervous smile.

"Yell if you have any problems," he called out from his office.

Zoe slowly exhaled the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and walked towards the fridge to put her lunch away.

"You can't put that in there."

Great. Not even five minutes into her first day and she was already screwing up. She felt her cheeks burn as she turned around. "I'm sorry. I thought it was the employee refrigerator," she explained to Haley, who was walking, well more like wobbling, towards her.

"Oh, it is," Haley said, smiling. "But if you put it in there it will be gone within ten minutes." Zoe watched as she pulled several ice packs from the freezer. "I have a system for this," she said.

Curious, Zoe followed her to the desk and watched as Haley sat in the chair and unlocked one of the large bottom desk drawers, revealing a really large box of tampons. Zoe felt her lips twitch as Haley shot her a mischievous smile.

"I've tried other things, but in my experience tampons are the best deterrent for the food thieves, although cleaning supplies have been known to work in a pinch," Haley explained as she handed Zoe an ice pack. In an unspoken agreement they both hurried to place the ice packs in their bags and placed them in the large drawer, shutting and locking it seconds before Jason came storming into the office.

"What are you doing?" he demanded, eyeing them suspiciously as they huddled behind the desk.

"I was just about to show Zoe the computer system," Haley said, smiling sweetly up at her husband as she turned the computer on.

"Look," Jason said, running his fingers through his short mussed hair, "I didn't want to do this, but she," he pointed an accusing finger towards Zoe, "has a Red Sox tee shirt and thinks it's cute."

Haley blinked. "They are."

"They...what....what the hell?" Jason sputtered, pressing a hand to his chest in what Zoe was quickly beginning to recognize as a typical Bradford overreaction, even if it was cute to watch. It was funny how she never really thought of large muscular men as cute before, but after meeting the Bradford men there really was no other way to describe them, well other than studly and hot that is.

"Can we get back to work now?" Haley asked, sounding innocent, but Zoe didn't miss the woman's lips twitching or the humor sparkling in her eyes. Something told her that this woman truly enjoyed torturing her husband.

"For god sake's, my little grasshopper, you love the Yankees more than I do! What the hell is going on?" He turned accusing eyes on Zoe. "How dare you brainwash my wife?" he hissed.

"Are you going to leave so that we can get some work done?" Haley demanded, turning her attention to the computer.

"No," he said stubbornly, folding his arms over his chest, glaring at them.

"Buttercream frosting," Haley said softly, never taking her eyes away from her computer screen.

Jason licked his lips as he looked his pregnant wife over hungrily. "Tonight?" he croaked out.

"If you're good," Haley said, with a small shrug. "But you have to leave-"

"Bye," Jason said quickly, cutting her off and rushing out of the trailer just as fast as he came.

"I'm really sorry about him," Haley said, looking at her over her shoulder, giving Zoe a sheepish smile.

"I thought you weren't going to apologize for him," Zoe reminded her, smiling. There was just something about Haley that made her relax, which was a little discomforting since she couldn't remember the last time she felt relaxed at work.

"You're absolutely right, but he does entertain me so," she said on a dreamy sigh.

"A sign of a good husband," Zoe agreed.

"Exactly," Haley said, beaming.

As much as she was enjoying talking with Haley she couldn't help the nagging feeling that she should get back to work. At her old job idle chit chat was not tolerated and since Zoe had been there for three years the concept of solely focusing on work was well ingrained.

"What should we go over first?" Zoe asked, hoping the abrupt change didn't dampen the easy going comradely they seemed to be sharing. She hadn't had many friends in her life over the past couple of years and talking with someone as kind as Haley was a nice treat for her.

"Sure, I'll show you everything, but it will of course be up to you how you want to handle everything," Haley said, still smiling warmly, Zoe noted with relief. "I've only been filling in over the summer so that Dad had some help. I really haven't been able to get a system going so however you want to do this is totally up to you."

"Okay, that sounds good," Zoe said, practically jumping to the side as Haley stood up and waddled past her.

"Have a seat."

"Are you sure?" Zoe asked, a little uncomfortable with the idea of taking a pregnant woman's seat.

"Definitely," Haley said, placing a hand on her stomach as she made her way around the desk. She walked over to the sitting area and proceeded to grab a chair and drag it.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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