Junming fiddled with the sleeve of his long-sleeved shirt, avoiding looking directly into Sinjin's eyes. “I want to find a quiet bridge. Less foot traffic and stuff. I narrowed it down to three bridges…”
He trailed off as Sinjin turned back to her screen, fingers busy at work smashing the keyboard. Grimacing, he wondered whether she was ignoring his request-
“Which three bridges?”
Her matter-of-fact voice yanked his focus back. He stumbled over his words, “The ones- I mean, South Avenue 6. Near the park.”
“Uh-huh. Give me a minute here.”
More smashing of keys ensued. Intrigued by what she might be doing, he shuffled closer and leaned over the divider. As he did, she lifted her grey hoodie up and over her unruly curls. Her hand reached for the monitor on instinct, tilting it away from him.
“Oh sorry.” He took a hurried step back, realizing she might not be comfortable with people in her space.
“Not to be rude,” she mumbled in a half-distracted voice. “But it’s better that you don’t see where I’m getting my sources of information.”
“Right, of course not.” He gave a nervous chuckle. His brain on the other hand was screaming “Is this illegal?!”
“And no, it’s not illegal,” she added.
His eyes widened. Oh my god, did she read my mind??
“And no, I did not read your mind. This is the normal reaction I’ve gotten.” Her matter-of-fact voice made it sound spookier than it was.
“O-Oh, o-okay,” he stammered. He forced another shaky laugh.
She glanced up at him. “I’m only protecting my intellectual property. Grayson wanted me to add my tool into RomCon but meh. I want my ownership.”
Junming sucked in a breath. Wow. He admired the woman’s pluckiness. It was one thing to be on a first-name basis with the boss, and another to decline the boss’s offer to put her work into the RomCon app. He gasped audibly, the words escaping his lips before he could help it. “You’re awesome, wow.”
Her head jerked up in surprise. The dumbfounded look on her face contrasted sharply with her almost emotionless voice. “Umm, okay. Thanks. You said your name was Junming, right?”
“Okay.” She bent down again. “Looks like the bridge at Centerfold is your best bet.”
“Got it. Thanks, Sinjin.” He smiled with gratitude.
Sinjin stretched her hand over her desk and picked something he couldn’t quite see. When she turned to him, he realized she was holding a name card. “Here. My email and office phone number are on it. Shoot me an email anytime you have a problem. Or call if it’s urgent.”
He took the card with two hands and thanked her again with enthusiasm. Unlike her cool exterior, he found her to be a very helpful soul. Beaming, he grinned at her. She quickly looked away and placed her headphones back around her ears.
Not wanting to spoil the tentative friendship that they had, Junming knew that it was a good time to take his leave. He waved goodbye to her before retreating to his cubicle. In his cosy little space, he could now go ahead with arranging his client’s scenario.
This time, he needed the help of the Transportation ConGroup. After entering the location of the Centerfold bridge, he found a lady named Ingrid Bjorke listed as the top volunteer. He told her exactly what he wanted - someone to ride a bicycle past his client and her boyfriend - and she agreed to perform the service. Her time was flexible too, which was an added bonus.
It didn’t take Junming long to coordinate between his client and Ingrid. The contract was drafted up, signed, and approved by Valerie in less than half an hour. With nothing left to do, he leaned back and stretched his arms with a contented groan.
Happy that he completed the task in record time, he looked at his model rocket sitting proudly on display. His eyes trailed up and down the length of the beautifully made rocket. He could never be bored with examining every detail of the craft. Looking at it brought him joy that he could not explain.
A soft ping disrupted his attention. His gaze fell to the flashing icon on his email inbox. He opened it. It was an email to all staff sent by Mr. Black. His throat turned dry as all kinds of humiliating scenarios passed through his mind. Maybe Mr. Black was about to criticize him publicly, or worse, fire him!
Then, he read the subject. A relieved sigh escaped from his lips. It was a weekly survey to garner feedback about the RomCon app. Well, if it was from Mr. Black, he’d better buckle down and give the survey all his attention. And then, he would figure out the blueberry ice cream situation.
He sucked in a long breath. One task at a time. That’s how you get through life.
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)