The Lady of the Hour

Under the Influence

    I'm not easily intimidated. 

    I've lived my life underneath steely gazes and iron fists. I don't back off once I've decided what I want. I refuse to end the hunt before I have my prized beast in hand. People fear me, I don't fear them...

    At least, that's how my pep-talk went.

    I park my car and get out, praying (as I always do) that no one heard me talking to myself. Butterflies are threatening to stain the front of my blouse as I grab my things from the backseat. Everything is going to be fine... I try to reign in my runaway heart. I hope. 

    The first part of the pep-talk to myself rings true. It's not my first time trekking into the lion's den with nothing but a stapler and a pencil skirt to keep me safe, but it is my first time doing so on this side of Seoul. My other bosses were squatted on the outside of Gangnam, trying to make a business from the runoff of the worldwide corporations. The greenhorn years of my career were spent hating these monopolies and their white-knuckled grip on Korea's economy. It seemed so unfair that the smaller, more genuine businesses could only scrape by while other, more ruthless industries could flourish; it was like the business world rewards dishonesty instead of punishing it. But, despite all that, I still worked hard to get into one of those dreaded companies. Along the way, I came to realize that high society can't be lavish and carefree without some lower-income neighborhoods to perch upon, like how there can't be a winner without a loser. One day, I suppose, I just got tired of being on the losing side.

    So here I am, a little button on my chest that reads "I'm a winner!", walking into one of the most influential companies of the Korean peninsula.

    I know first days are a and first impressions like plane crashes, but I can't let that show on my face. (I spent too much time on my makeup that morning to walk into my new job looking like a terrified child) So I took one last deep breath and allowed myself the luxury of being nervous for two more seconds, once their allotted time had passed, I reeled in my nerves and finally, waltzed into the foyer. I smiled at the passing men and women who spared glances at me.

    The place was huge, sleek tables and chairs dotted the open floor in simple patterns. Everything was either white, black or something in between, and it all had a modern feel. In the middle sat a round, granite-topped info center, armed with a well-groomed secretary and the words 일부 큰 회사 on the side. I approached the desk. The woman behind it didn't look up from her papers when she greeted me. "How can I help you?" 

    "I'm looking for a Kim Jummyeon."

    She made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a scoff and tore her gaze from whatever she was doing to glance up at me. "Do you have an appointment?"

    "Nope," She looked ready to send me off with a 'Come back when you have an appointment.' But before she could, I added to my statement. "I do have an approved résumé though. My name is Chang Eunji, I'm to be is new secretary." 

    "I see," She quickly dialed something into her headset, looking none too thrilled about it. "Yes sir, are you expecting a Chang Eunji?" She paused. "I'll send her up right away then." The woman turned back to me with an artificial smile plastered on her face. "The elevator's on your right, go up to the 40th floor and the woman at the desk there can direct you further." 

    "Thanks." I returned her dazzlingly fake smile with one of my own and followed her directions to the elevator.

    This building, I decided, has had way too much money spent on it. Even the elevators looked wealthy, with ivory-tiled floors and smudge-free mirrored walls. I got off at my stop, which was the top floor (I noted this with a bit of pride), and looked around for the secretary. This floor had a lot more color in it than the lobby, the carpet was grey and the desks were a light brown wood (not granite, like the one downstairs) There were some nice offices along the walls and some not-so-nice cubicles in the center. The secretary's desk was fairly easy to find, (it was the largest one) and the woman manning it directed me to my desk.

    Apparently, Mr.Kim enjoyed his privacy. The entire floor kept a mostly open floor plan and the only almost closed-off area in the far corner was his. His office was not only bigger than the others, it was also the only one that didn't have large windows on the sides. This piqued my interest a bit. 

    My desk was nicer than most in the room and much nicer than the ones I had worked on previously. I set my things down with a huff. The box might've only weighed five pounds, but five pounds after 40 floors got a little heavy. I began to arrange my belongings, exploring the drawers and files already at the desk. According to the secretary, the infamous Kim Jummyeon hadn't clocked in yet, so I had some time to get myself situated.

     Not much time apparently, because as I was looking into my wheely-chair's spinning capabilities, he waltzed in. I had mere seconds from the time I realized that the shoes clacking nearer to my position weren't stilettos to the time that my new boss got his first impression of me. I hastily ground myself to a stop and tried to look like I was doing something important.

    I don't think he fell for it, but if Mr.Kim cared, he didn't show it.

    "So this is the lady of the hour?" 

    At his suave and composed tone, I stood, intending to greet him. "Yes sir, looking forward to working with you." I held my hand out for him to shake, but he didn't take it. Instead, he straightened the linings of his suit and got straight to business. 

    "Your application stated that you were familiar with secretarial duties, which is good because I don't have the patience to teach you. Everything you need for today is in the black binder on your desk. You have a 2 hour grace period to get yourself accustomed to the way things are run, then I have a meeting to get to. You'll have to start redirecting calls for me then."

     I guess we're chugging right along then. I thought, letting my hand drop. "I'll be more than ready by then, sir." He nodded, closing the conversation. I took that as my cue to get to work.

    "And also," I looked up. "I know the job title says 'secretary' but you'll be acting as more of my personal assistant than anything else."

    I scoffed. "Doesn't that just make me your secretary who has to get you coffee?"

    He doesn't respond for a long time. I began to feel like I've spoken out of place, but (finally!) the right side of his mouth quirked up. "Yes... That means you'll have to fetch me coffee."

    With the levels of awkwardness a few notches below 'palpable.' Mr. Kim took his leave. Without further ado, I began my career as his secre- I mean, personal assistant.

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Yay!! So, this is my first fanfic on AFF. I'm super excited to explore this place and all it has to offer. ALSO: a huuuuuge shoutout to kyungsoo_slaying_me_ on Instagram for inspiring this fic and many others with her amazing threads.
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