"Wait!" Zoe said, practically running around the desk to stop her. "Let me do that for you."

"Thank you," Haley said, smiling sweetly as she followed Zoe back around the desk. She switched her comfortable office chair out for the sturdy waiting room chair. Haley looked like she was going to argue, but Zoe wasn't having it. She gestured for the woman to sit down in the comfortable chair.

With a muttered, "slave driver" that startled a surprised laugh out of Zoe, Haley sat down. She couldn't remember the last time that she laughed at work. Zoe had to admit it felt nice and she hoped it was a sign that things were going to improve.


"Haley, could you take a look at this printout. Something isn't adding up. I just got off the phone with Robinson and that jerk is giving me the runaround again. Could you look this over and see......," Jared's words trailed off as he looked up from the large pile of ledgers and folders he was carrying when he spotted Haley curled up on the couch, sleeping.

Zoe cringed as she stood up, ready to defend the poor woman who struggled until ten minutes ago to keep her eyes open. Normally she would have woken Haley back up, but the poor woman was pregnant and obviously exhausted and Zoe hadn't had the heart to wake her. Instead she'd been keeping an ear out so that she could wake the poor woman before she got caught sleeping on the job.

Unfortunately by the time she heard Jared's approach he was already in the room speaking a mile a minute and she couldn't wake Haley without drawing attention to the fact that Haley was sleeping. She knew the man had an obvious soft spot for his daughter-in-law, but that didn't mean he'd appreciate her wasting company time and money.

Her stomach coiled with dread as Jared placed the stack of books on the corner of her desk and approached Haley. She shifted nervously as she tried to decide what she should do. In her old job she would have just kept working and minded her own business, but Haley had been really nice to her, not that Jared hadn't, but she just couldn't stand by and let the woman get in trouble for this.

She opened her mouth to make an excuse for Haley when Jared shocked the hell out of her by leaning over and pressing a kiss to the top of Haley's head. Zoe watched in shock as the large man gently removed Haley's glasses and pushed an errant strand of hair out of her face.

"Poor thing is exhausting herself," he mumbled, sighing before he stood up and walked quietly away from Haley. He ran his hand through his hair as he exhaled slowly, looking deep in thought.

After a moment he looked up at her and gave her a small smile. "I hate to say this, Zoe, but I'm not sure that Haley is going to be able to train you and I'm afraid my wife's been out of the office for so long that I don't think she'd be much of a help."

Zoe nodded, wondering what the plan was going to be. She hoped she wasn't about to get canned.

"She has a photographic memory," Haley muttered drowsily, slightly startling her since she thought the woman was asleep. "And she catches on very quickly. She was able to fully take over the job two hours ago." She yawned loudly before adding, "And she caught us up on everything."

Jared's eyebrows arched in surprise. "Seriously?"

"Mmmhmmm," Haley grumbled seconds before soft snoring filled the room once again.

Worrying her bottom lip, Zoe nodded. She still remembered the moment her last boss realized how fast and efficiently she worked. He smiled just before he added his daily workload to hers. After that he shoved anything and everything on her that he didn't want to do and took the praise for her work.

At first she went along with it because she foolishly thought that he'd at least mention her role in all the work. She also thought by helping her boss out that she'd be on the fast track to a management position. Six months into her job she realized she wasn't going anywhere and all the raises that her boss was getting should have been hers. When she'd confronted Ted, her ex soul sucking boss, about it he merely shrugged it off and added more work to her load and a few dozen write ups to her file.

After that she learned to keep her mouth shut and do her work and his without complaint. Actually, now that she thought about it she wondered how he was managing his work now that she wasn't there to do it. With a small sigh she realized that he probably just pushed it off onto someone else.

"Do you think you could look this over and call the bank to have them fax over another copy?" Jared asked, sounding hopeful.

"Of course," Zoe said, not only because it was her job, but because for the first time in three years she had a boss who asked her to do something instead of slamming more work on her desk as he gave her a dirty look. It was a rather nice change, she thought as she picked up the thin packet.

"I would really appreciate that," Jared said with a warm smile. His eyes shot to the clock. "But it can wait until after your lunch break. I'll cover the phones for you," he offered and before she could thank him he walked back into his office, leaving her stunned.

She got a lunch break? she thought with a smile, but then her eyes landed on Haley. Maybe she should-

"I'm going to call Jason to come get Haley," Jared said, popping his head out of his office long enough to tell her.

"Okay," Zoe said, taking a seat behind her desk. By the time Jason stepped into the office she'd already gone through the packet, making notes of the figures that didn't add up.

He stepped into the office quietly, wiping sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm, acknowledging her with a smile and a nod as he walked over to where his wife slept.

"Hey, my little grasshopper, are you ready to go home?" he asked in a hushed whisper as he laid his hand over the swell of Haley's stomach and gently caressed his unborn child. The gesture was so sweet and romantic that Zoe found herself biting back a content little sigh. She might question his sanity, but she sure as hell couldn't question his devotion to his wife.

"Go away I'm working," Haley mumbled, absently swatting at her husband as she tried to snuggle deeper into the couch.

"I see," Jason said, chuckling softly. "And you're doing a really great job of it, but it's time to go home."

"I'm too tired to go home," Haley said around a small yawn.

Jason leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to her mouth. "I'll carry you."

Haley was quiet for a moment before she responded. "Do I have to be awake for you to carry me?"

He chuckled. "No."

She sighed heavily. "Fine. You may carry me then," she said regally, not bothering to open her eyes.

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