Tensions are running high on the 14th floor of the Sun Group Building in the small office of the recently formed digital publishing division of Xanadu Publishing. Shen Qiqi, the creator of the popular new Webtoon, Bai Wants Romance, nervously fidgets sitting on an uncomfortable wooden chair from IKEA across from a visibly agitated woman, Kang Xue. Recently transferred to this division Kang Xue was put in charge of Shen Qiqi after her former agent quit citing mental health issues. Her supervisor reasoned that since they are friends she could control Shen Qiqi’s unprofessional behavior.
The phone on the cluttered desk is ringing. Kang Xue ignores the incessant ringing when she sees the caller ID. Dammit! Why me? She looks at her best friend across the desk.“The deadline is today Qiqi, can’t you at least lie to me? Say the arc is almost finished..I only need a little bit more time…something I can tell the editor?”
Looking at the unsightly expression on her best friend’s pretty face, Shen Qiqi regrets coming into the office instead of calling with the bad news.
“Shen Qiqi! Can you stop crying! You are an adult!” Kang Xue tosses the crying girl some tissues across her messy desk.
Sniffle..sniffle.. “I had it almost completed and..and…”
When Kang Xue raises her voice several people in the cramped office look in their direction. Frustrated she snarls, “Hey!” She grabs a small Pikachu plushie off her desk and flings it at a young man at the next desk who is gawking at them. “Don’t you have work to do!” She hands Shen Qiqi a bottle of water, “Okay sweetie, calm down..continue.”
Shen Qiqi wipes her small nose.“I.., I lost my laptop.”
“Didn’t you back up your work?”
Shen Qiqi crumples the tissue in her cold sweaty palm as she stares at Kang Xue then lowers her head…in a timid voice she responds..”Ah..well, nooo.”
A line appears between her exquisite eyebrows as Kang Xue glances at the clock on the wall, “Do you know where you might have left the laptop”
Shen Qiqi looks up at her angry friend then bites her bottom lip and blinks her eyes a few times summoning the courage to tell the story. “Well, don’t get mad Xue when I tell you. Really, in a way it was a..well..a work related disaster.”
??? Kang Xue’s face turns bright red. She leans forward across her desk, clenching her teeth, “Shen QiQi! I don’t have time for this! We need to find your laptop or find a way to delay the witch without you or me being fired!”
Shen Qiqi takes off the large black framed glasses she is wearing and rubs her misty almond shaped brown eyes. “Xue, let me finish. I was working at the coffee shop on 65th street. You know the one that has the best matcha cake. We went there last week with Yang Yi. There was this really handsome.. I mean…” Her red rimmed eyes light up and she grabs her friend’s hand in both of her small hands.”Super handsome man. I noticed him when he walked in the door. He was wearing a tight fitting black t-shirt and camouflage pants. He was very tall, probably 190 cm..” She blinks her eyes a few times and leans in further across Kang Xue’s desk, “Seriously Xue, his legs were so long…”
Kang Xue interrupts as she snaps the pencil in her hand. “So you saw this handsome guy and then forgot your laptop at the coffee shop? We can call the shop and see if the laptop is still there.” Kang Xue breathes a sigh of relief and picks up the phone, as she is dialing the number of the coffee shop Shen Qiqi replies, “Well no. Let me finish the story. I thought he would be perfect for Tang Yan.”
Kang Xue’s deep brown eyes have a murderous gleam as she glares at Qiqi. The red pencil in her hand snaps. You don’t have the second arc finished you idiot! Shen Qiqi continues, “He looks like he is in the Military. The man has well defined muscular arms. Shen Qiqi’s brown eyes light up, “ I could tell he has an eight pack under the tight t-shirt. His jet black hair is cut short and his face is angular, long nose, thin lips. I mean he looks like the perfect mode!l He even had dark soulful Peach Blossom eyes.” I would say I think I am in love but..Xue seems super angry right now.
So, I started to sketch him when he sat down. Unfortunately, another man joined him, blocking my view. I was so pissed off! Do you know how long I have been looking for inspiration for that character!”
Kang Xue stares at her friend then sighs, it is no use… the girl is very beautiful and talented but a complete idiot! Out of touch with reality..She takes out two pain relievers from the desk and hastily swallows them, then unscrews the top of a water bottle chugging down the water. Shen Qiqi is still describing the handsome man down to the way he wrapped his jadelike hand around the coffee cup. Kang Xue finally says. “Where do you think your laptop could be?”
“In his Land Rover.” Shen Qiqi points to her bandaged knee. “The handsome guy drove me to the hospital and I forgot the laptop in the backseat of the car.” Forgetting she is furious with her friend’s unprofessional attitude, Kang Xue rushes around her desk worriedly examining Shen Qiqi “What happened!”
Shen Qiqi smiles, “Don’t worry… I am okay. I just have a mild concussion and scraped knee.”
Kang Xue wants to strangle her simple minded friend. If the silly girl hadn’t come into the office since she went to the hospital, I could easily push back the release. Frustrated by the chaotic situation she grabs her purse out of the desk drawer and she motions for Shen Qqi to get up. “I’m taking you home. I will talk to the old witch.”
After she stands up Shen Qiqi smiles at her friend as she hangs onto her slender arm, “So you aren’t mad at me anymore?”
As they walk to the door Kang Xue asks, “Why are you wearing your old High School uniform and those ridiculous glasses ?”
“I went to the High School to sketch handsome boys wearing basketball uniforms during their P.E. class. Auntie said I could if I didn’t cause a distraction.” She looks at her uniform, “So I posed as a student and sat in the bleachers.”
Why does her family always cater to.. Never mind. I will just get a bigger headache.
Sun Zhi pushes the passcode as he approaches a formidable iron gate at the edge of his property. Once the impenetrable wide gate swings open he drives his black Land Rover up the steep road to his villa. He bought the land five years ago and designed the villa along with an architect from the Clear Sky Architectural firm. When he got back from his undercover mission in Milan he moved into the spectacular house that overlooks Crystal Lake.The villa has an eco friendly design as well as high tech features designed by one of Sun Zhi’s companies, FutureTech. The spectacular villa blends both traditional Chinese architecture with modern minimalist features.
He immediately goes up the spiral staircase to his bedroom on the second floor. Once he takes off the heavy black boots and black t-shirt he slides the camouflage pants down his muscular legs. Sun Zhi leans back on the luxurious bed with his hands behind his head and closes his ink black eyes, after I finish my report I am going to sleep for three days! He only returned at noon after training men in the mountains for a week and is mentally and physically exhausted. The intense training involved not only survival skills in the wilderness but also sleep deprivation. He rubs his eyes then gets up to take a shower.
When he comes out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and drying his hair the phone in his pant’s pocket rings. He picks the crumpled pants off the floor and takes out his cell. He grimaces,what the hell does he want? Sun Zhi doesn’t answer and puts the phone on the nightstand. Whatever it is, it can wait. I completed my mission. I don’t need him anymore. He changes into a black cashmere sweater and a pair of jeans then goes downstairs.
A pretty young woman wearing a black skirt and a white long sleeve shirt hears him coming down the stairs. She smoothes her hair and takes a deep breath then walks out of the kitchen, “Young Master. Would you like me to bring you tea?” He looks around, “Where is Mrs. Mu?”
“ She will arrive tomorrow with Butler Mu. My name is Fu Mo, Madam Sun sent me.”
He remains expressionless but inwardly sighs, why did I give my mother the passcode. I will need to change it tomorrow and send this woman back to the main house. “Very well. Bring the tea to the study.”
“I will prepare the tea now.” Fu Mo smiles politely then turns and walks back to the kitchen. Madam Sun stressed the fact that her son isn’t talkative and if she wants to keep the job she can’t attempt to get close to him. What he hates the most is chattering women fawning on him. I won’t rush, eventually Sun Zhi will fall in love with me.