~~Present Day, 202x, Los Angeles, California~~
Yohan stretched his arms, yawning as he groggily sat up in his bed, exhausted from staying up so late the other night. His bleached, blond hair was disheveled as it stuck up in the weirdest and unexpected parts of his head as his grey pj’s hung over his toned muscles loosely. He squinted his eyes at the bright, warm sunlight hitting his face from the small crack between the drawn curtains.
Groaning, Yohan crawled out of his bed and padded over to his large window, opening the curtains with a flick of his wrist. He hissed like a vampire as the sunlight hit his pale, porcelain-like skin. Yohan allowed his tired, blood-shot eyes to adjust to the natural light before letting out a loud yawn again. Cracking his neck and other joints, he trudged off to the bathroom to wash up.
Ten minutes later, Yohan emerged from his bathroom, towel-drying his fluffy, bleached hair as he glanced at the clock—it was almost 9 am. Stretching his limbs, he made his bed while humming to himself, feeling energized after his refreshing morning shower. He still had a few hours before his editor was set to come by his house, giving him ample time to work on his next chapters.
With light steps, Yohan bounced down the stairs to the bright, sunny kitchen to make some morning coffee for himself. Running a hand through with his damp hair, he glanced around, checking his clean, sparkling living room for any signs of untidiness. With a satisfied nod, he turned back to his freshly brewed coffee and took a sip of the bitter, but very aromatic liquid.
“At least she won’t nag about keeping my place neat… It was worth asking that idiot to clean after me.” Yohan muttered as he shuffled towards the living room, his coffee in hand.
Sighing happily, he plopped onto the sofa, content with how his morning was going.
Bzz, bzz Yohan’s phone vibrated on the dining table next to him. Without taking his eyes off from his laptop screen, he reached for his phone, unlocking it with his right thumb. He peeled his eyes away from the screen and glanced down at his phone. It was a message from his editor and college sunbae*, informing him that she would be coming a bit earlier than expected.
Yohan glanced down at the time on his phone— it was now nearly 1pm. Has it already been four hours since he started writing? Ugh, time goes by too fast… he groaned, setting his phone down onto the table again.
Feeling hungry, Yohan rubbed his flat stomach, before stretching his arms— releasing the tension his body was in from being hunched over for so long. With a satisfied sigh, he headed towards the kitchen to make some lunch before his editor arrived. Scanning the refrigerator, he decided to fix himself an egg salad sandwich with the leftover boiled eggs from last night.
He had just set his lunch down on the dining room table when the doorbell to his house suddenly chimed. Yohan groaned as he stood up from his seat, traipsing towards the door.
“Why are you here so early?” Yohan grumbled, holding the door open for his guest; his stomach growling in hunger.
“Caden*~ I’m here! I decided to stop by your place a bit early since my other author bailed on me. How’s it coming so far? You excited to write again?” Sharon Kim, his editor, asked while glancing at the plate of food on the table. She licked her lips; she had skipped lunch and was starving.
“I guess? Come on over and make yourself comfortable. Did you have lunch yet? Want me to make you a sandwich?”
“How’d you know I was hungry, hehe? Where’s your draft? Let me take a look.” Sharon sat on the chair as she looked up at him expectedly.
“Here, eat while you work. I’m going to make another one.” he responded, handing the laptop and sandwich over to his editor, before heading off to the kitchen.
The novelist came back a few minutes later with another plate of sandwich. His editor was engrossed in reading that she hadn’t noticed his return. He smirked, sitting across his sunbae before scarfing down the smooth, rich, fluffy sandwich. This was exactly what he needed! By the time Sharon was done reading, he was wiping his mouth with a napkin, his plate empty. She raised her eyebrows at his clean plate as she picked up her half-eaten sandwich.
“So, what’d you think? Is it to your liking?” Caden smiled smugly, resting his left cheek on his palm, while gazing at his favorite editor.
“Which one? The story or the sandwich?” Sharon asked, between munches.
“Hmm, good question, haha. I meant the story, but… how’s the sandwich?”
“You want to be my husband? I’ll make sure you get the best promotions for your novel!” she replied while laughing at his disgruntled expression.
“Ugh, no thanks. I’m good with the single life. So? How’s my new novel?”
“Well… considering that you haven’t written a book in almost three years... I’d say it’s pretty darn good! Though, it needs a few adjustments.”
“Really? I expected you to say that it’s horrible… Hmm. Enjoy your lunch while I look it over again.” Yohan smiled, reaching for his laptop.
Yohan scanned the initial chapters of his draft, slightly frowning. Yohan stuck his mouth out into a small pout— he really wanted to incorporate those scenes and details, but how? They seemed so off from the overall plot! He groaned as he stared at his laptop in annoyance.
Sharon smiled, watching Yohan while eating. She was elated that he was back to writing! Until three years ago, he had been a best-selling and most sought-out novelist. However, Yohan had suddenly shirked away from the limelight and disappeared without a trace. Everyone had naturally forgotten about him, except for a few loyal fans who were patiently waiting for his comeback.
He had only recently contacted her out of the blue, with an idea for his new project. Sharon had no idea what made Yohan want to write again, but she was glad to have him back.
Yohan glanced up, noticing that the editor was done with her food and was staring at him smugly. He cleared his throat, feeling awkward under her gaze. Was there something on his face…?
“Er… I see what you mean. I don’t know how to bridge these ideas though…”
“Well, that’s why I’m here to help!”
For the next two hours, Yohan and his editor had narrowed down his ideas, incorporating them into his story without much difficulty. Yohan smiled as he closed his laptop, content with his meeting with Sharon.
“Okay, I think we got most of them down… If you have more questions, feel free to contact me! Although…” the editor paused, glancing at Yohan, “Caden, do you have any plans on dating any time soon?”
“… Why are you asking…? Sunbae, I’m not interested in dating you, if that’s what you’re trying to ask.” he sighed, ruffling his hair with his hand. Not this stupid joke again…!
“No one asked—and that’d be disgusting, by the way… Ew! Anyways, considering that this is a romance novel, your descriptions of the main characters falling in love seem forced... Why not consider dating for a change of pace and inspiration?” she suggested, before laughing lightly at Yohan’s disgusted face as she stood up.
“… That’s the stupidest reason I’ve ever heard. Now off you go. See ya.” he grunted, walking Sharon over to the entrance of his townhouse.
“Fine, fine~ I’ll leave. Make sure you email me your drafts, all right? Bye!” she waved at him, a fond smile lighting her face as she headed towards the front gates.
Yohan smiled and waved back as he turned and closed the door behind him. Sighing, he made his way out to the terrace on the second floor, feeling somber and gazed up at the clear, blue sky that was dotted with billowing, white clouds. Yohan closed his eyes and breathed in the surprisingly clean air, basking in the warm sunlight.
“… Dating, huh?”
*Caden: Yohan’s legal/ American name; I will be using this name interchangeably later on in the upcoming chapters.
*Sunbae: Korean word for ‘senior’; commonly used in work or school settings if the person is older or has seniority
**NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.**