This week has been really crazy. Some family stuff has come up and made writing difficult. I’m pretty behind on TTTC, but I wanted to share another chapter with you! Enjoy!
Piper let his head flop onto his desk. The clock had finally struck noon, meaning lunch time, but Piper knew he wouldn’t get away that easily. He’d come sliding in just behind the big bosses, just in time for them to not know he was late. He’d seen the way Bobby glared at him, but there was nothing Bobby could say as they gave the men in suits a tour of the lab and showed them the formulas they were working on.
Piper could tell it was all way over their heads, but they acted impressed, and made sure to shake his hand as they left. Bobby had flitted behind them all the way out, allowing Piper the time to sneak to his desk and crumble into a heap.
“Bro, what the hell happened this morning?” D suddenly appeared over the top of Piper’s cubicle.
Piper sat up quickly, his eyes blazing. “You didn’t remind me they were coming!” he hissed.
Daniel laughed, throwing his hands up. “Should I remind you to wipe your ass too?” he asked. He shook his head. “Come on, man, put a reminder in your comm next time.”
Piper scowled down at his desk, feeling his heart jump into his throat as the lab door slid open. He tried to look busy as Bobby walked into the room.
“Miller!” he barked, causing Piper to jump.
He turned slowly in his chair, forcing a smile. “Yeah, boss?” he asked, trying to play it cool.
“You were late,” Bobby growled, crossing his arms over his rather rotund middle. “That’s the second time this month.”
Piper shrugged. “It happens sometimes, boss,” he said. He knew he’d said the wrong thing when Bobby’s face turned red like the tomatoes he used to look at in books as a kid.
“You’re goddamn lucky you’re so smart, Miller,” Bobby hissed angrily. “Otherwise, I’d have kicked your ass out of here months ago.” He lumbered closer, intimidating as he towered over Piper. He lowered his voice. “You think you’re immune because you’re some sort of prodigy, but three strikes and you’re out, Miller.”
Piper was leaning back in his chair, his eyes focused on Bobby’s face. Truth be told, he didn’t have a lot of respect for the man, but he was scared of him. “Sorry, boss,” he said quietly.
Bobby was scowling darkly as he leaned away. “Youngest scientist in his class,” he muttered to himself. “Still a dumbass.”
Piper’s eyes felt huge as he watched Bobby exit the lab.
“At least he let you off easy,” D said, appearing over the top of Piper’s cubicle timidly.
Piper started to agree with him when the doors suddenly slid open again and Bobby charged back in.
“And one more thing, Miller,” Bobby all but yelled. “You’re staying late tonight!”
Piper caught sight of the maniacal grin on his face as he turned. “Tonight?” he demanded, jumping to his feet. “But, I can’t!”
Bobby waved his hand, silencing him. “You’re working on the machine tonight or you won’t have a job tomorrow, understood?” he barked.
Piper slunk back, knowing Charlie would be furious. “Yes, boss,” he said, letting his hand rest on the top of his desk. Once Bobby vanished for good, he groaned, sinking into his chair and pressing his hands against his face. “She’s gonna kill me.”
Daniel was still barely peeking over the cubicle wall. “Why?” he asked.
Piper rolled his eyes. “It’s our ‘six-month anniversary’,” he said, air-quoting the words.
Daniel suddenly grinned. “Bet she even had something sexy to wear, too,” he said teasingly.
Piper groaned again, leaning back in his chair. “I can’t believe this.”
Daniel leaned his arms against the top of the wall. “Is six months even a thing?” he asked.
Piper shrugged. “Hell if I know,” he snapped. He turned in his chair, looking at a plate-glass wall. Beyond it, a door opened into a room the size of a closet, blinking panels of lights winking back at him. “I just don’t want to be in there with that thing.”
D followed his gaze. “It’s not operational,” he said slowly. “Nothing to worry about.”
Piper gritted his teeth, a bad feeling in his gut. He knew that he should always trust his gut, but this time the need for a job out-weighed the weight in his stomach. “I dunno, D,” he said slowly. “Something’s not right with the numbers.”
Daniel sighed then, swiveling around in his chair. “You and your damn numbers,” he grumbled. He looked up at the clock. “Guess you have five hours to figure it out.”