“What would you like for dinner? Chicken, duck, or me?”
A pair of strong, hairy arms encircled the woman’s waist. “You and the duck sounds good.”
The woman giggled, twisting around in the man’s embrace. She tapped her spoon on his nose. “Don’t be greedy.”
“You will do just fine now,” he whispered against her ear. His garlic breath blossomed like a rafflesia flower on her pimpled skin.
She pushed him away, a pout on her lips. Turning to her boiling pot of herbs, she adjusted her short apron around her even shorter skirt. “Not now, dear. The soup isn’t finished-”
A high-pitched yelp left her lips as his hand reached under her skirt and groped her round behind. The spoon dropped from her hand into the pot of soup with a plop. She moaned in undeniable pleasure.
“N-Not now,” she panted. “T-The soup!”
“Forget the soup,” he growled, his hands already busy doing all the work of lifting up her skirt and pulling his pants down.
Biting her lip, she waited as he positioned himself behind her and in one thrust, entered her. A long, muffled moan tore itself from her throat. Glistening beads of sweat rolled off their skin and down into the pot as the soft bubbling of the soup mixed with-
The pleasure sounds erupting from the laptop’s speakers had Junming gulping nervously. Seated in a transparent box designated the “Get Cozy Meeting Room”, he lifted his gaze from the erotic movie playing on the screen. A scan of his immediate surroundings showed no one nearby.
He let out a short breath of relief. Turning his eyes back to the man and woman writhing on screen, he loosened his tie a smidge. He wouldn’t have worn one if he knew that he would be watching this type of movie on his first day of work.
Keeping an eye on the activity on-screen, he almost leaped out of his skin when the door to the meeting room opened. A woman wearing a bomber jacket over a sleek, all-black outfit walked in. Her heels clicked on the floor as she slid into the chair beside him. “Sorry for the wait.”
Junming’s cheeks reddened. Flustered, he bumbled over his words. “R-Right. No rush, I mean.”
She eyed him for a long second that had him fidgeting in his seat. Then, her gaze dropped to the screen. Her drawn eyebrows lifted in a perfect arc. “Oh, you got to this part.”
She hit pause on the video. The awkward sounds ceased. “Well, I hope you enjoyed that.”
Junming flushed. He waved his hands around frantically. “N-Not at all! W-What I mean is that you asked me to watch it, so I didn't know-”
She let out a soft snicker and shook her head. “I’m messing with you. Relax.”
Mustering a wry smile, Junming nodded. His heart still raced from embarrassment but he managed to maintain his composure.
She cleared her throat. “Okay, I’m sorry I had to do this in the wrong order. You were supposed to see the introductory slides first to get you orientated into the company. Then, watch that video as an example of what a client might ask you for. But you’ll get the gist of it soon.”
Fishing out an eggplant-shaped thumb drive, she plugged it into the laptop. Junming’s mind instantly dropped down the gutter at the sight of the eggplant sticking out of the USB port. Images of the earlier “movie” flashed in front of him, complete with sound effects. He sucked in a breath.
Stop that, he scolded himself. Biting down on the inside of his cheeks, he shifted on his haunches as she clicked on a file. A PowerPoint slide filled the screen with the large words “Welcome to RomCon” as the title.
She faced him, gave a perfunctory smile, and launched into a practiced speech. “So first, I would like to say welcome to our little startup here. We’re a pretty lean team with four employees but we’re looking to expand very soon. I’m Valerie Kim Hyeon and I’m the manager here.”
“Nice to meet you, Valerie. And I’m so excited to be here!” Junming gushed, eager for the distraction from the eggplant thumb drive.
“That’s good to hear.” Valerie’s lips curled up in amusement. She clicked to the next slide. “As you probably know, our CEO is Nick Rich. He and his best friend, Grayson Black, who’s the CTO, conceived of this startup right from their shared apartment bedroom.”
Junming looked at the pictures of the CEO and CTO on the slide. Both of them were in their mid-thirties and - in Junming's eyes - were very handsome men. From the pictures, he sensed a fun, extroverted vibe from Nick Rich in contrast to the quiet cool of his CTO, Grayson Black. Junming thought that the two bosses would make a cute couple but quickly waved it away.
Valerie pointed at the picture of Grayson. “The CTO was the one who created a streamlined site that connects all romance enthusiasts to build a crowdsourced dating platform. This brings me to my next slide.”
She clicked to the next screen. “As you know, RomCon is a company that revolutionizes dating and relationships.”
The slogan of RomCon was printed in big, bold words on the slide. Junming knew it by heart. He beamed as he recited it to himself.
What if we told you that romantic scenes in movies can be re-enacted in your life? From meet-cutes and meet-angsts to surreal dates and ultimate airport runs, we do it all! Our ConCoct agents are there to help you through anything and orchestrate YOUR romance movie in real life!
What a beautiful concept that was.
(Author's Note: Other novels you may be interested in!)
Hopeless romantic Yu Junming is over the moon when he lands a job at the RomCon startup as a ConCoct agent. From meet-cutes to ultimate airport runs, he must re-enact surreal romantic scenes to fit a client’s dreams. Sadly, he botches his assignments and learns the hard way that romance needs a dash of practicality.
Despite his track record, he’s soon tasked to help his boss, Grayson Black - a die-hard cynic who dislikes him at first sight - to find love. Through disastrous dates, the two men grow closer and realize there’s more to each other than meets the eye.
Junming fantasizes of seeing even more of Grayson but he also finds himself drawn to Fernanda Morales, a spunky and eccentric undercover reporter who masquerades as a RomCon client. When Fernanda unexpectedly ends up heartbroken after an awful date, she falls for Junming. Pitiably ignorant of her mission to dig up dirt on RomCon, Junming is stuck between two people and a hard place called reality.
(Book cover done by Joanne Kwan: https://tapas.io/dashalutris
Banner done by Frappe7: https://www.instagram.com/frappitto/?hl=en)