Her fingers momentarily hovered on the keyboard, and then continued typing her carefully crafted email response to an ecstatic, very satisfied client, who was raving about the latest man she was set up with. This match was finally proving to be the most compatible with her.
So-eun did not keep count of how many matches she had delivered for the dating agency she worked for. She just knew that it brought her immense fulfillment to bring two good people together, which led to them falling in love, which meant that their dreams of finding their mate in Seoul had come true.
A happy ending was real. Meant-to-be was no longer just a mythic cliché. It just didn’t happen in books, dramas or movies anymore. She witnessed it every single time she made a match. To realize that she had a hand in that made her believe that this was her purpose on earth.
So-eun started at Seoulmates when she graduated from university four years ago. She needed some income if she wanted to fund further studies in Psychology. She checked the job listings that were at least related to her course. Seoulmates was the first to give her the opportunity.
As a consultant, she discovered she had a talent for reading people. What their quirks were, what they could possibly be thinking, what they really wanted even if they found it difficult to express. Her gut instincts had sharpened over the years. The matchmaking business turned out to be so lucrative that she become lucky in money and career. Within two years, she was able to buy her own condominium unit in Gangnam in full, much to her parents’ pride and surprise.
She turned around, and found that her boss, Ha-na, was summoning her over.
She quickly finished her email with a flourish and scampered over to Ha-na’s office. “You called?” So-eun chided with a grin by the open door.
Ha-na grinned back and motioned for So-eun to enter and to close the door behind her.
So-eun’s grin wavered a bit as she did what Ha-na requested, cautiously taking the seat in front of her wide, intimidating desk.
Ha-na’s smile only got wider. “It seems that Park Eun-jae-ssi is very satisfied with her pairing with Gong Shin-wook.”
“The first two men didn’t work out, so thankfully the third time’s the charm,” So-eun deflected, laughing a bit. “I thought I was losing my touch.”
“I hope not! You’re my best consultant, you know that,” Ha-na enthused. She looked into her computer screen for a moment and then met So-eun’s eyes again. “If this becomes a successful match yet again, it will be your 199th, which breaks records in Seoulmates’ young history!”
“199th?” So-eun echoed in hushed disbelief. “Jin-jja?”
“Yes!” Ha-na chuckled, leaning over to squish the younger woman’s cheeks in her hands affectionately. “And I have no doubt it would be successful. In fact, you’re the only consultant I will be entrusting our next client to.”
So-eun pursed her lips, letting out a deep exhale. Only then did Ha-na let go of her face. So-eun straightened my jaw a bit. There were only twenty consultants in their organization and Ha-na had a habit of giving her the extremely high-end, secretive cases, which she took on without so much blinking. “Okay, I should be free next week. Is the client’s file ready?”
Suddenly Ha-na turned sheepish, with her cheeks reddening quickly. “Well, you see, this is a very, very important client and I had thought of handling his case myself…” Then her usually cool and collected boss uncharacteristically fidgeted with her hands, which So-eun found discomfiting. “But it might be… unethical.”
So-eun leaned back on the chair. “Unethical?”
She was rewarded by Ha-na’s chagrined expression. “Because… I have close, personal relations with this person.”
Now she was suspicious. “How close or personal?”
She breathed out a sigh of relief. So-eun thought her boss was going to refer the ex-fiance who broke off the engagement with Ha-na because he realized he liked men more than women.
That would have been absolutely mortifying—not to mention, awkward.
Ha-na reached for So-eun’s hands, startling her from her musings. “Please take really good care of him. My aunt is willing to pay absurd amounts of money to find him a successful match.”
“W-Why would your aunt pay…?” So-eun’s voice trailed off, her round eyes growing even bigger. “Oh… your cousin has no idea you’re setting him up?”
Geez, this was beginning to appear like a sticky situation. No wonder Ha-na was giving the case to an impartial, neutral employee who would have no choice but to deal with likely tantrums of an unwilling, commitment-phobe grown man…
“Actually he does. He does now,” Ha-na answered, sounding slightly upset. It could be that she didn’t want to be involved in this family drama—whatever the cause of it was—and yet somehow she couldn’t help but intervene. “Although it took a long time and a whole lot of convincing, he’s expressed less reluctance than before to try Seoulmates, at least.”
She sighed. “Other than that, even if my aunt didn’t pay me a cent, I just want to see him settled… and happy.” Ha-na looked at her again, this time with forlorn eyes. “So-eun-ah, can I count on you?”
So-eun had never gotten nervous about new clients before. For some reason, the stakes were higher—much higher—for this one.
It was possibly her 200th match.
“If you can find him a good girl he would fall in love with, I will make you a board member.”
Ha-na’s lips curled into a wistful smile. “You heard me. I meant it when I said you’re my best consultant. Seoulmates is expanding next year. You’re graduating from your Master’s around the same time, right? So why not accelerate your promotion and make you one of the top honchos?”
“Wow,” was all So-eun could say, just blinking at her boss in case this was all a dream.
“Will you do it? Will you find a love match for my cousin?”
In her mind, So-eun was already scanning the millions of profiles in their database, keeping file of the best and most qualified women without even knowing of Ha-na’s cousin’s preferences or what he even looked like.
Her intuition was simply kicking into overdrive.
I’ve got this, she thought to myself deliciously.
She would become a 28-year-old board member of the number 1 dating agency in all of South Korea, making her the first ever person in her family to achieve this height of success.
And Match #200 would be her golden ticket to get there.
A full grin finally cracked her pretty face. “When do I start?”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAE-RIM!!! <3 WE LOVE YOU, OPPA!