Run, Girl (If You Can) Chapter 375 - Office Politics
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The next morning when Keeley dropped her children off a preschool Kaleb was excited and Violet was reluctant but she didn't fuss because of her father's promise. That was one battle down for the day but the real one hadn't even begun yet.
Aaron was reluctant to part with some of the cookies but she managed to persuade him by promising to bake something else later in the week. She had put some in two different plastic baggies to give to her research a.s.sistants.
When she arrived, the secretary and Dr. Butler greeted her more warmly than they did the other employees and she felt even more awkward than yesterday. Maybe she should ask them to stop the special treatment. It was only going to make Kate think worse of her.
Keeley wasn't used to this sort of environment in a lab. She had always been friendly with her coworkers before. She and Erica were pretty good friends even though they didn't have much time to meet up since they had worked together for years in Dr. Kim's lab.
Kate flatly refused the cookies, saying they must have been store bought because all people like Keeley knew how to do was buy things. A tic burst on her forehead at that. This woman didn't have any idea what she was talking about!
She felt a slight surge of affection for Shawn, who accepted them graciously and said he would take Kate's portion to share with his family later. His son loved chocolate chip cookies.
No matter what Keeley did, she could not get her female research a.s.sistant to so much as be polite to her for three days. It wasn't until then that she found out why.
Shawn's wife worked nearby so they always took their lunch breaks together. Keeley found herself sitting alone and desperately texting her husband, Jennica, Valentina, her father…anyone who would respond so she didn't feel so stupid sitting by herself every day.
On this particular day, another scientist leading a small research team in another lab decided to sit with her.
"You must be new; I haven't seen you around before this week," he said with a smile. "I'm Mason Graham. I'm researching a new type of blood test to find specific autoimmune disorders."
She was relieved that someone here didn't seem to know she had gotten in through shady means and held her hand out for a shake. "Keeley Hale; I'm researching using gene therapy to cure cystic fibrosis."
"Gene therapy, huh? Only the bravest scientists dare to try that since it's so controversial. Is that what you wrote your dissertation on? I heard Dr. Butler was bringing in rabbits for somebody using gene therapy so you must have already done mice."
This man was a sharp one. He managed to guess that so easily.
"It is, yes. I haven't been able to go further for a while because my children needed me at home," she explained. "I'm looking forward to diving back in. I love researching even though it can be tedious."
Mason cracked a smile. "Tedious is a great way to describe it. But I love it too. It's in my blood; both of my parents were college professors. I decided I preferred being in the lab to teaching though."
Keeley was the same way. She had only planned to be a professor at first because she thought it was the only way she would be able to choose what to research. She had never been a fan of the days she had been forced to teach the lesson as a TA.
Jumping straight into research without having to become a professor wouldn't have been possible without Aaron. She was grateful for that, even if it meant she had to deal with judgmental people like Kate.
"I prefer the lab too. I feel like I practically lived there during my PhD. I've missed that while taking care of my kids. Of course, now that I'm here I miss them too. My daughter has been a bit fussy about going to preschool since she's used to having me around all the time."
Was she rambling? A little. But she was so excited at meeting someone new and non-hostile that her natural chatterbox tendencies were coming out.
As she talked, she felt a familiar chill aimed her way. It wasn't quite as intense, but this was definitely the sort of ice Aaron used to give off when he was angry. n.o.body could be as intense as he was though.
Turning her head to see who it was she wasn't terribly surprised to find Kate staring daggers in her direction. A puzzle piece clicked into place. Maybe she didn't hate Keeley for no reason.
Kate had been transferred over from another research team she liked better…was it Mason's? Keeley eyed him appraisingly as he asked generic small talk questions about her children, since she brought them up.
Mason appeared to be in his early to mid-thirties, had a slightly receding hairline but still an impressive amount of dark brown hair, and wasn't wearing a wedding ring. Her husband was infinitely more handsome but she supposed he could be considered good looking.
If Kate liked him and had been transferred away because of Keeley, she could understand why she was being so resentful. Dr. Butler seemed about ready to lick her shoes if she asked. It might be possible to ask him to transfer her back.
She would much prefer having someone on her team who wasn't deeply resentful of her. But how could she bring this up in a way that wouldn't backfire and get Kate in trouble?
Asking her husband for a second opinion when she saw him tonight might be a good idea. Aaron didn't have the best interpersonal skills when it came to friends.h.i.+ps but he knew how to manage office politics better than anyone else she had ever met.
Feeling rea.s.sured that the problem could be solved, Keeley talked freely about her children. They were a comfortable topic for her since she spent so much time with them the past few years.
"You said they're both in preschool. Are they twins or just close in age?" Mason asked.
"They're twins. Kaleb is very outgoing and love all things to do with sports even though he's too young to be signed up for most of them. He was very good at the toddler-aged soccer cla.s.s we signed him up for. Violet is more on the shy side. Honestly, she reminds me more of her father every day."
"Your husband is shy then?"
Shy didn't seem like the right word to describe Aaron since he always seemed so aloof and above everyone to other people. But after seeing how similar Violet was to him Keeley had to admit that he probably was shy. He simply hid it well.
Keeley smiled. "Only a little bit. He isn't like that around me."
Run, Girl (If You Can) Chapter 375 - Office Politics
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Run, Girl (If You Can) Chapter 375 - Office Politics summary
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