Jenna's twenty years old and seems to have hit a dead end before anything's even begun for her. Luke's seven years older and still in the same boat - despite their differences, perhaps they both have some answers to each other's problems.


4. 3

The next morning before work I feel miserable at breakfast. I told my dad that the cleaning guy was mean to me and I feel like everyone hates me but he told me to just get over it. I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but it’s getting to me. It’s humiliating to go to work every day and be judged, rightly so since I can’t actually do any of it.

And it continues to be a real bruise to my ego when I walk into the canteen to grab some coffee and a whole table of people go quiet before laughing. Or when clients call complaining that I don’t know what I’m doing. Or when I break the printer again and it reminds me of how embarrassed I was the first time. A month in and it’s just not getting any better and the worst part is I just don’t feel like myself. I spent the last couple of years pretty confident until I came here.

One day I get there over an hour early, thinking that if I just get most of my work done straight away it’ll take the pressure off. I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. Perhaps this is the step I needed to take and it’d be worth my hair looking like shit if I didn’t find this job so difficult. I’m walking along to my dad’s office, so caught up in how impressed with myself I am that I don’t notice the massive bucket of water on the floor. I trip straight over it, spilling it all over the carpet and all over myself as I fall.

“No!” I groan, getting up.

“Oh are you fucking serious?” It’s the cleaner again and my cheeks heat up both out of embarrassment and anger.

“Is this yours?” I try and sound angry but it doesn’t quite work seeing as it was such a dumb question with an obvious answer.

“No, your father just likes keeping buckets of dirty water outside of his office, what do you think?”

“I think it’s dumb that you even put that there.”

“I put it there for ten seconds and you managed to fuck up.” he moves me out of the way and starts trying to mop up a little. “Next time try your best to watch your step kid.”

“Next time try to do your job right.” I fire back, stepping past him into my dad’s office but I just feel stupid.

From then on it’s like a rivalry. Not a friendly, healthy rivalry but the kind where we just make each other angry. I’m not to the point of caring that I’m dreading seeing him or anything but when I do see him I just want to punch something. Preferably him. He’s always doing things wrong and nobody bats an eyelid but he bitches about me to everybody.

My friends notice that something’s up with me. Took them a few weeks but to be fair I haven’t been able to see them a lot. Me and my oldest friend Kimberly are over at our best friend’s house, Michael who we made friends with in year seven and they’re letting me vent to them about work. It started with me just being like “yeah I don’t like the people there” and twenty minutes later I’m still rambling on.

“And there’s this one fucking guy-”

“Ooooh, he cute?” Michael raises his eyebrows, a grin on his face. He’s been boy mad since he fell in love with Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire.

“Man, he’s like thirty.” I wrinkle my nose. “And really mean. Like, everybody’s mean but he makes it really personal.”

“He could make it personal with me-”

“Michael shut up!” Kimberly throws a pillow at him as I groan.

“If you saw him you’d be disgusted in yourself.” I know it’s an exaggeration but it feels good to bad mouth the cleaner. So good, in fact, that I actually decide to bring it up properly to my dad the next day at dinner.


He chuckles. He’s in a good mood today. From what I could understand of all the business talk in the office, some big deal went through. “Daughter.” 

“Look, I really can’t deal with everybody being so mean at work.” He laughs, shaking his head.

“Jenna sweetie, they’re not being mean. We all can’t help but laugh a little. You’re truly not very good at your job.”

“Alright.” I frown. “But people are mean! That cleaning guy-”

“Luke?” he frowns, shaking his head. “Luke’s just a grumpy guy, he’s not directing it at you specifically. Honey you’re just way too sensitive. This is the real world, get used to it.”

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