Grayson crossed his legs. “That’s not what you said last time.”
His partner lifted an eyebrow at him, pausing for a moment to decipher his words. “I think the company’s been doing well but it’s time for the next step.”
“Pray tell.” Grayson’s tired eyes only yearned for sleep. He had been in meetings for almost five hours now. “Nick, just make this quick.”
“Okay, okay.” Lifting his hands up, Nick leaned back in his ergonomic armchair. “The problem is our growth has been too slow.”
Grayson nodded. Despite his efforts as CTO to take the development of the RomCon app to a new level, they were still relying on word of mouth and small advertisements to gain clients. Plus, their crowdsourced volunteers were few and far in between.
He had already been in a meeting earlier in the morning with the ConDuit engineers to iron out some troubling issues with the server loads. It took many grueling hours to fix it and it completely distracted them from their set of deliverables for new features.
“We need more crowdsourced volunteers and sponsors,” Grayson said.
“Yes, that.” Nick steepled his fingers. “And sponsors will only join if we promise them more business. So it’s a cycle.”
“And I assume you have an idea.”
Nick smiled. “I do.”
Grayson rubbed a hand across his sharp jaw. Irritation grated at his nerves. One of Nick’s annoying habits was to take his own sweet time revealing his grand ideas. From the time he knew him in graduate school, Nick had always been like that. He had endured it when they used to be an item but now that Nick was CEO and he was CTO, he didn’t need to anymore.
“Get to the point,” he snapped.
Nick lifted an eyebrow. “Someone’s grumpy.”
Frowning, Nick turned serious. “Are you doing okay, Grayson?”
“Better than ever.” Grayson rested his elbow on the armrest and leaned his head on his hand. He saw no point in prying into each other’s personal affairs now that Nick was married to a lovely lady. It would only complicate matters given their history together.
Nick sighed. “Well, okay. Let me know if you need to take leave though.”
“Don’t worry, I will. What’s your idea?”
“Yes, my idea.” Leaning forward, Nick’s grin grew so wide it could split his cheeks. “We need client testimonials.”
“We have those-”
“I know, I know. But we can enhance them further if our system can automatically add in links to the sponsored products that were used during the client’s experience.”
Grayson’s lips thinned into a line as he considered the usefulness and feasibility of what Nick was suggesting. After a moment or two, he nodded. “We can make that happen but it’ll take time.”
“Also,” Nick added with a raised finger. “I’m thinking of introducing the idea of RomPoints. Our app’s currency.”
“I’m guessing the volunteers will be paid in RomPoints?”
“And that’s why you’re my partner, Grayson.” Nick chuckled. “Right on the dot.”
Grayson smirked. It was a good idea, although he wondered what RomPoints would be used for. Nick would have thought about that, of course. But it would certainly be something to motivate people to volunteer in recreating the romantic environment needed for clients’ requests.
In theory, volunteers were romance enthusiasts helping out of the goodness of their hearts. It was that concept that attracted many of their shareholders to invest in RomCon. But Grayson and Nick knew better. No one ever did anything out of pure goodwill.
“What will RomPoints buy them?” Grayson asked.
“I think we can have three parts to it.” Nick tapped his mahogany desk with his finger. “It can either be used to engage RomCon’s services once more, redeemed for sponsored vouchers, or used to buy advertisement space.”
Grayson tapped his cheek as he ruminated on the idea. The three parts Nick suggested served multiple purposes. It would help boost their clientele - if you volunteered to help others, you could engage RomCom services for free and get other freebies. Plus, it incentivized sponsors to join their crowdsourced efforts.
“It’s a solid idea,” Grayson agreed with a tilt of his head. “Needs refining but it could work.”
“Splendid.” Beaming, Nick leaned back in his seat. “Let’s brainstorm on this more and I’ll update the shareholders on the direction we’re taking.”
Lifting an eyebrow, Grayson said with a hint of dread, “Today?”
“Yeah. I’ll be having a meeting with them later on in the night.”
“And I suppose you want me to come up with a rundown of how this would be implemented in the app.”
“Oh, a short write-up will do.” Nick waved a hand.
Frustration washed over Grayson. He brushed a thumb across his lips, pushing down the urge to lash out at Nick. Despite understanding the position Nick was in, he detested having to do things at short notice. A thousand and one things were on his plate and he had to shove all that aside to make way for Nick’s new task.
He got up from his seat, adjusting the cufflinks on his sleeves. “I’ll work on that today.”
As Grayson headed for the door, Nick called out, “And if you need anything, let me know. I’m here to help.”
With one hand on the doorknob, Grayson turned to see a sincere smile on Nick’s face. A portion of his frustration melted away. He sighed, his eyes closing. “Sure. Thanks for the thought.”
Just business guys doing business guy stuff. There’s definitely more than just a work relationship there, and that history between them seems more than _just_ friends. Wonder if it’ll cause problems for them down the line? 🤔
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)