Project ELE
head: You didn't notice. You don't want to give me a tardy. I guess my Jedi mind tricks worked because he stands up and addresses us as a group. "Good afternoon everyone. We will only be having a short meeting today as I have a lot to do. I have some good news though. We have finally gotten approval to allow you a free day once a week. These days will be staggered throughout the team and should be handed out next week. Now it's important that you know that you can lose your free day if there are any performance issues, reprimands or excessive tardies." I swear his eyes settle on me again for just a second and I hold my breath until he moves on. "With that said, get to work." We all turn to leave and he moves back to his desk.
    I pull up my assignment list for today. Looking at the screen I do a double take. When I realize that what I'm seeing is accurate I stomp over to Alec's desk. Waving my tablet in my hand I ask, "There must be some mistake."
    Alec looks up at me and continues typing as he talks, which sort of impresses me but mostly annoys me. "I'm sorry, what exactly are you referring to?"
    "I'm referring to the twenty-five assignments that you've given me." I huff out but add a "sir," at the end.
    He cringes at the 'sir' part but then replies, "There was no mistake." He looks back at his computer and continues typing rapidly.
    I've noticed an unexplained edge between Alec and I over the past month so I usually try to steer clear of him when I can. Not today though, I won't be dismissed that easily. "No!" It slips out before I can think better of it.
    He stops mid type and stands up from his chair facing me. "Excuse me?" He places both of his hands on his desk and leans forward so that his green eyes are within inches of my face.
    I stand my ground. I'm not going to back down. "This is more than double my usual assignment count and double the workload of any other runner. That isn't fair."
    He raises his eyebrow and with a gleam in his eye he says, "Life isn't fair, Willow."
    I always figured that Alec wouldn't remember my name since I've never heard him speak it out loud. I don't let my astonishment or the interesting tingle I felt when he said my name deter me.
    "So you are punishing me for working fast?" I ask fuming.
    "This is not a punishment. You have a time frame that you work and we are simply filling that time frame."
    "Well then I will just slow down and work at the same speed as everyone else." I throw my hands up in the air to further show my dissatisfaction.
    He cocks his head sideways. "Look, I know that you finish your work early and then help your friends. You don't think that things like that go unnoticed do you? Like I said, this is an hourly job not an assignments based job. You will do what is asked of you."
    I roll my eyes and huff out a disgruntled "Whatever!" Then I take my tablet and my first delivery parcel and head out the door. I swear I heard him yell out something about insubordination but I didn't stick around to listen. What's he going to do, fire me?
    Just to spite him I work faster than I ever have and still finish thirty minutes ahead of everyone else. I walk in through the door and hand him my tablet so he can upload the signatures for the deliveries I made. I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror to the right of his desk. Some curls have fallen loose from my ponytail and my cheeks look pink from exertion.
    Alec looks at me appraisingly and if I didn't know better I would think that look showed a hint of admiration and perhaps something else. He plugs my tablet in, types some stuff on his keyboard then unplugs the tablet and hands it back to me. "You can go ahead and leave now that you're done."
    I've never been allowed to leave earlier than the end of my shift so I look at him for an explanation. When one doesn't come I turn and walk out.
    That night after dinner I lie down to try and get some shuteye but have a hard time falling asleep. I replay the conversation we had and worry that

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