~~Present Day, Seoul, South Korea, 202x~~
“And? Why do I need to be the one to go to the U.S. branch?”
“Because… the Editor-in-Chief is asking you to go! Andrew, why are you being so difficult?!” the deputy editor-in-chief sighed in exasperation at his employee’s stubbornness.
“Difficult, me? Ha! Why do I, the star editor, have to leave my comfy job in Seoul to go suffer in the States?! I’m not even that great at English!” the 29-year-old editor huffed in annoyance.
“You’re not good at English?! You were born and raised there; what nonsense are you spouting? It’s pretty much a promotion! You’ll be able to work with the best-selling—”
“Ha! Best-selling? He’s a has-been! This is the same as getting demoted! No! No way am I gonna leave for the States!” Andrew shouted as he stormed out of his boss’s office.
“Argh…! What am I going to do with that idiot?!” he groaned, tsking at the retreating editor.
Andrew Nam, the rising star editor of SONAMU, frowned as he sat down on his desk, seething with anger. Why was he picked out of the fifty editors in this publishing firm?! He groaned, resting his head on his desk; Andrew just wanted to cry. Getting sent to the States was like a death sentence!
He was finally able to establish his career as an editor after six, grueling years! It’d be a waste to see his hard work go down the drain! If they were going to send him to the States, why didn’t they do so sooner? Why now?! And how was this a promotion? He was going to be in charge of a forgotten author!
He turned his head to the side, grumbling to himself. Though… he didn’t mind going back to live in LA. Andrew did miss his older brother who was still living in the States with their parents. The editor rolled his eyes at the thought of his parents—he hoped he never had to encounter them if he ended up getting shipped off to the U.S.
Andrew sighed as he lifted his head and rested his chin on his desk while glowering at the deputy editor-in-chief. His boss stared back, unfazed at Andrew’s antics. He smirked as he drew the blinds of his office closed. Andrew scoffed, rubbing his face in annoyance.
Standing up, Andrew was about to go get a cup of coffee, when he noticed from the corner of his eye, someone staring at him. Peeking over his back, Andrew saw the editor-in-chief, his uncle, motioning with a hand to have him come into his office. A huge sigh escaping his lips, the editor trudged his way over. He was so not in the mood to hear his uncle’s insistent nagging.
Andrew rolled his eyes as he sat down across from his uncle, who was signing off a document. After a split second, the editor leaned over on the desk declaring, “I don’t want to be sent away! I’m doing well here!”
“Hmm. Well, why not? When you first arrived at the company, six years ago, that’s not what you said, if I remember correctly. You wanted to head back to the States as soon as possible, no?”
“I—Ugh. That was before… I knew about Korean culture!”
His uncle finished rolling up a magazine as he bopped it on his nephew’s head several times, each time a bit harder. “Who are you trying to fool? You’re Korean! That ‘excuse’ won’t work! Also… didn’t you say you were looking for that boy you liked in college?”
“… Y-You still remember that?! Er, I-I mean… I totally forgot about—”
“Yeah, yeah, sure you did. I see you carrying that four-leaf clover keychain all the time.” The editor-in-chief responded, rolling his eyes. He picked his ears with his right pinky, not listening to the lame excuse his nephew was making.
“… A-Anyways! I’m not going! I’ll lose my position to someone else if I leave now! Besides, going back to Los Angeles doesn’t guarantee that I’ll even meet him again…” Andrew muttered, his cheeks a bright shade of red.
“So? You need to start somewhere. Come on, they really need your help over there. His editor pleaded with me to send my best editor. You’re the only one who can help manage him.”
“Pfft. I know what you’re trying to do, samchon*. I’m not stupid. I’m not going!”
“I’m just trying to help you find your first love. All your relationships have been lukewarm, haven’t they? Don’t you want some ‘passionate’ love?” his uncle teased, remembering his nephew’s exact words when he had first arrived in Korea.
“… Ugh. Oh please! Worry about yourself! You’re already 50 and you still haven’t married!” Andrew grumbled, rolling his eyes at his boss/ uncle.
“… You little brat!” his uncle grabbed Andrew’s ears and pulled on them as the editor screamed in pain for help. The employees outside rolled their eyes, ignoring Andrew’s plea for survival. This was an everyday occurrence between the editor-in-chief and his nephew— they were used to it by now.
The editor-in-chief smiled as he let his nephew go, triumphant. “Well… if you’re not planning on dating your first love… Then maybe this will be a good motivation? Here, have a look at his face. Handsome, right? Just your type~!”
His uncle handed him a book titled, When Spring Comes to Play. Andrew raised an eyebrow as his uncle motioned for him to open the hardback cover, a smug look on his face. Rolling his eyes, Andrew opened the cover, not expecting much. His eyes bulged in surprise as he buried his face into the book, closely studying the photo of the author.
“…? What? You know him? Well, he did attend the same university as you… Wait.” His uncle glanced at his nephew with a mischievous smile growing on his face. “Is Yohan Yoo your first love?!”
“Samchon… I’ll do it! Send me off to Los Angeles!” Andrew exclaimed as he stood up from his seat while slamming the book on the desk, causing a pile of books on the desk to topple over onto the floor.
Far up in the night sky, a mysterious woman in traditional Korean clothes (reminiscent of the Silla* dynasty), smiled as she watched Andrew happily walking into his apartment. Her long, black hair flowed lightly behind her, sparkling in the moonlight. She smirked in amusement at Andrew’s gleeful behavior, while the tiger in a red and white hanbok*, grunted besides her in dismay. She glanced over at her pet and rolled her eyes at his annoyance.
“Ha… What is it, now?”
“… I still think you should have rejected his request. Why are you even helping him anyway? He's only a human.”
“Do you expect me to defy my own king, little one? You’ll never become a deity if you keep hating that old fart, you know. Besides… who says I’m listening to his favor?” she muttered the last part to herself before petting the tiger’s head.
“Argh! He killed my sister, in favor of some stupid bear! Urgh. I have no intention of helping mere mortals who are descendants of a bear and a god!”
“Oh hush! That’s been what… over 5,000 years ago? Your sister was the one who couldn’t finish her task to become human! If she had been patient, she would have become a human too! Stop being dramatic and get ready for our departure!”
“Departure? Where are we going?!” he asked, baffled at the goddess’s abrupt plans. Where was she planning to go now?! He hated traveling outside of Korea!
He gasped in shock as plum blossoms started to scatter in the wind. What in the world was she doing?! Why was she making those trees bloom in the middle of September?! The tiger hurriedly tugged on the goddess’s sleeve, panicked that they would be discovered.
She looked behind her and smiled sweetly, ignoring her pet’s worried glance, “To America, of course! I have a wish to fulfill after all!”
*Samchon: Korean word for uncle.
*Silla: One of the Three Kingdoms of South Korea from 57 BC- 935 AD
*Hanbok: Korean traditional clothing; consisting of a top and a skirt (for women) or a top and pants (for men) made out of silk.
**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.**