Home > Misadventures with the Boss (Misadventures #12)

Misadventures with the Boss (Misadventures #12)
Author: Kendall Ryan

Chapter One

Piper

My Netflix account was judging me.

At least that was how it felt every time I had to insist Yes, Netflix, I am still watching Absolutely Fabulous, thank you very much. I imagined it asking even more invasive questions—questions my sister would ask if she were here.

Are you sure you want to keep watching?

Didn’t you move to New York City for all the exciting nightlife?

And, more importantly—what kind of twenty-something spends their evening watching so many old sitcoms?

I grabbed the throw pillow beside me, tucked it under my chin, and snuggled it close to my chest, ignoring the clunk of my phone as it tumbled to the floor. It wasn’t like anyone was going to call and ask me to hang out anyway. I was so new to the city that I was still surrounded by boxes that desperately needed to be unpacked.

But not tonight. Tonight, I was determined to sit like a stubborn bump on a lazy log and do nothing.

Raising the remote, I turned up the volume as the theme song faded and the show began. But just as the dialogue was really starting to heat up, my phone broke into the jazzy, happy tone I’d selected for one caller in particular—my sister.

Think of the devil.

I let it play on a bit, debating whether to answer. I then reached for the floor, snagged my phone from the carpet, and pressed it to my face.

“Hello?” I said, waiting for Hailey’s chipper voice to fill the speaker.

“Piper,” she deadpanned.

“What?” I asked, already feeling defensive and biting back a groan.

First mistake?

Answering the phone.

“Where are you right now? I don’t hear anything going on behind you. No music. No chatter. Tell me at least you’re at some gallery looking at glorious paintings and sipping champagne,” she demanded.

If things were quiet on my end, the same could definitely not be said for hers. As usual, bass-filled music blared behind her voice, getting softer as she moved through whichever Chicago bar was the flavor of the week. There were a lot of things a person could say about Hailey, but nobody could ever accuse her of not knowing her way around a party. To be perfectly honest, I was shocked I didn’t hear people chanting her name in the distance, begging her to join them for another shot.

She was like a people magnet, and I was…well, what’s the opposite of a people magnet?

Whatever the answer is, that’s me.

“I’m home.” I stared at the stack of brown cardboard boxes and forced a white lie from my lips because the truth was just too depressing to say. “Unpacking. And can you go outside or something? The music wherever you are is so loud.”

“Right.” I could practically hear her roll her eyes, but in a matter of minutes, the music had dimmed to practically nothing. “Why aren’t you out?”

“Who am I going to go out with?”

“I don’t know. You just go out. Find people along the way.”

I sighed. “I’m not like you. I don’t just enter a room and have people flock to me.”

“But aren’t you lonely?”

I bit my cheek. “I never said I wasn’t.”

“So what are you going to do? Just sit around your apartment and hope friends magically appear?”

“I just got a new job. I’ll meet people there when I start.”

Hailey blew out a frustrated sigh. “This isn’t like college or high school. You can’t just expect to hang with the people you see all day. We’re in the modern age, Pipes. You’ve gotta throw yourself into it. Take risks. Get wild.”

“What, like, join a chat room or something?”

“No, you weirdo. Use an app. All the dating sites have find-a-friend features,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Well, ideally I wouldn’t find my friends where people are also trying to get into my pants,” I said primly.

“And why not? I’m willing to bet nobody has gotten into your sensible slacks in a good long while, either,” my sister said with a snort.

“Hailey,” I warned, but she pressed on.

“Come on, everybody’s doing it,” Hailey said. “What could it hurt?”

My pride?

I should have said it aloud, of course, but just like everyone else, I had fallen under the magic spell that Hailey cast on everyone she met. I wanted to please her—to let her have her way. She was just so cool. So everything I wasn’t.

“Exactly,” Hailey said into the silence. “Even you can’t come up with a reason not to. I’m putting you on speaker so I can make you an account right now.” There was the sound of fumbling, and then my sister’s voice came back over the line again. “Okay, ready. You still have the same email address?”

Sucked into the whirlwind that was Hailey and at a loss to come up with a reason why I shouldn’t do this, I nodded, and then catching myself, I said, “Uh, yeah. Same one.”

“Great. Now we need to come up with a username for you.”

“How about Piper Daniels? My name,” I said dryly.

“Do you even internet?” Hailey said with a groan. “No, I think not. We don’t need stalkers tracking you down and trying to make dresses out of your skin.”

I winced and rubbed at my temple with my fingertip. “If you’re trying to convince me this is a good idea, you’re not doing a great job.”

Frankly, all of this was giving me a tension headache. I glanced longingly at the TV as she continued.

“Relax. We’ll root out the weirdos. Now focus. We need a screen name. Think something cute. Something that speaks to who you are as a person.”

I paused, but all I could come up with was Piper Longstocking. Between my freckles and my dark-red hair, it was a nickname that had come all too easy to the less-creative relatives in my family. I suggested this to my sister, and as expected, she scoffed.

“Jesus. God, no. Nothing about that screams sexy to me.”

“I’m not trying to scream sexy. I’m trying to find friends,” I reminded her.

“Well, we’re keeping our options open,” she hedged in a way that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. “Besides, there’s going to be a picture of you on the profile. I used that one from cousin Anna’s wedding.”

“The one where I’m sneezing?” I hissed, mortified.

“No. What do you take me for, woman? There’s another one. You look cute, trust me. Now, let’s focus this name on something you like to do or something about you. You’re all organized, right? What about something to do with that?”

“Planning Piper?” I suggested.

“I don’t like it. We need to make it sexier.”

“Hail—”

“I’ve got it. Okay. Typed and saved. Can’t change it now.”

“I’m afraid to ask,” I groaned.

“Oh, it’s nothing bad. Just, you know, roll with the punches.”

“And what punches am I rolling with?”

She mumbled at first, so low that I couldn’t hear her.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Fantasy Girl 29,” she said more clearly.

“What?” I yelped. “Are you serious? What kind of person is looking to be friends with someone who names herself Fantasy Girl 29?”

“What? You love fantasy stuff. You’re all into, like, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, so I thought—”

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