Kwon Yuri – 2015
"You've had pasta for breakfast" Yuri didn't even look up from the computer screen. Being Key's best friend years before working as his assistant, Yuri knew when to ignore the young owner of the thriving fashion company.
"And three huge pieces of Cambelliano after." She added while clicking the send button to the e-mail she had just earnestly composed for the company's main supplier. "You're not hungry. You just run out of creative juice and decide to bother me instead of getting stuck on your own."
"Exactly. Let's have brunch."
"Nope." Yuri started to type in words for another e-mail. This time, it was for their bank. "I'm having a preliminary interview for your new designers in fifteen. The applicants are already waiting."
"I said we don't need a new designer." Key threw a look at the creative area that was separated by a glass half-wall with Yuri's small cubicle. "Taemin is good enough for me."
"He is the best for you." Yuri sighed, opening the statement their accountant had sent to her yesterday to check the number again. "But if you continue to overwork him, he might die on top of that damned desk."
"Don't but me." Yuri stood up and pointed at Taemin who was hunching over a selection of fabrics that their supplier had just sent this morning. "He's practically skin and bone. He needs help to keep up with your incessant demand."
"You're right. He needs some brunch." Putting both hands in the pockets of his ocean blue blazer, Key peered over the side of the glass. "Hey, Taeminnie. Sandwiches or scallion pancakes?"
"Huh?" Taemin looked up with a roll of pink silk in his hands.
"Brunch. Sandwiches or scallion pancakes?"
"Ummm. Fried chicken?"
"Alright. Let's go." Key practically jumped on Taemin, dragging him away from the working station.
"What? No. I thought it's for a takeaway. I'm busy."
"You're not anymore. I have relieved you of all your duty today."
"No. You're not." Yuri came over and tugged Taemin's hand the other way. "Let him go! We need the new designs by Thursday!"
"I've had the new designs on my desk." Key hissed, pulling at Taemin's arm. "And it's only Monday."
"Those are sketches, boss," Taemin whined. "We still need to match the fabric and do some mock-ups."
"Shhhh. You need brunch. You're too skinny." Key pulled harder, glaring at Yuri. "Let him go, you idiot!"
"No!" Yuri glared back. "If we say yes to your every whim, Pink Pearl will sink."
"I'm the boss! You guys have to say yes to my every whim!"
"Guys, please." Trapped in between and hurt like hell, Taemin was all but crying. "You're about to pull my arms apart."
"Let him go, Kwon Yuri!"
"No! Work first! Taemin needs to get the fabrics ready today!"
"He needs sustenance. I need sustenance!"
The tug of war got so violent the three of them tumbled to the front of the elevator as it dinged open. A girl walked out of the shiny metal box holding a thick portfolio folder. Serving them who lie on the floor at odd positions a bewildered look, the fair-skinned beauty mumbled a hi.
"Oh hey, Jessica." Taemin grinned from where he was pinned to the floor by Yuri's .
"You know her?" Key, knelt on the floor while fixing his hair, looked up in annoyance at the girl. "I don't know you. Who are you? I know all of Taemin's friends."
"I think we all know her." Smiling, Yuri stood up and came to Jessica's side. The girl might look prettier than the permanent image carved into Yuri's heart but she recognized that beauty everywhere. "Hi." Trying not to look too excited, Yuri extended her hand to the girl. "Nice to meet you again, Jessica."
"Hi." Jessica panned her gaze between the three. "Are you guys working here?"
"Working?" Key snorted while dusting the shoulders of his blazer. "Who is she, Yuri? Explain before my wrath falls upon her."
"She's the girl whose sister you hit last Sunday, remember?"
"Hit? Last Sunday?"
"Your white Maybach? Rainy night? A few minutes before we ambushed your father at the airport?"
"Aaaah, right? The drunken sisters." Key came forward and leveled her gaze with Jessica. "What do you want? More money?"
"Pardon our Boss' snobby ." Yuri pushed Key aside to give Jessica an apologetic smile. "How's your sister? I hope the hit didn't hurt her much."
"Oh, Soojung is fine." The girl looked down at the folder in her hands before smiling a hopeful one at Yuri. "I'm actually here for the interview."
"You do?" Yuri could feel her heart thumping. "As a designer?"
"Girl, you just hit the lucky button." Key interfered. "You're hired."
"What?" Both Taemin and Yuri whipped their heads at their boss but it was Taemin who exclaimed louder.
"Yes. We need a designer and I need to compensate for hitting her sister." Key spoke solemnly. "She's hired."
"Boss, you haven't even looked at her portfolio yet," Taemin warned not so quietly.
"No need. If she's ty we'll just fire her tomorrow." As if his words had no potential of hurting Jessica, Key wrapped a hand around her and walked her into the creative area. "This is where we work on stuff. I have sketches ready on my desk. Yuri will bring them here and your job for today is picking fabrics that suit the whole mood. Understand?"
Jessica, probably not 100% sure understood what was going on, nodded slowly.
"Don't worry. I've had each design pinned with pointers of how I want them to look. If you're any good, you'll get it."
"Great. Let's go Taeminnie! Brunch awaits."
As Key dragged stunned Taemin into the elevator, Yuri stepped closer to Jessica's side. "I'm sorry about that. My boss is crazy." This was actually a rare occasion where Yuri actuary felt thankful for Key's thoughtless decision. Smiling, she offered Jessica another handshake. "I meant, our boss is crazy. Welcome to Pink Pearl, Jessica."
Jessica – 2022
"Something is wrong with Yuri." Laying her tired body on the lush-carpeted floor of her sister's living room, Jessica gazed up at the ceiling. "She acts weird lately."
"After years of being around Key? No surprise there." Soojung came from the kitchen bearing two bags of french cries, a tube of vanilla ice cream, and a bottle of chocolate syrup.
"How dare you call Yuri weird when it's you two who eat fries with ice cream?" Getting off the couch, Taemin helped Soojung arrange the feast on the coffee table.
"Spill, Taemin." Jessica craned her neck to serve Taemin her signature glare.
"What? I know nothing."
"Don't lie to me."
"He's Lee Taemin." Soojung tried to open the ice cream tube but handed it to Taemin upon realizing that the act might break her nails. "He's not capable of lying."
"Speak of the devil." Jessica sat up to reach her ringing phone. "Hey, babe."
"Hey, where are you?" Yuri's voice, soft and caring, came from the other end. "Still meeting with the Donnarumas?"
"Nope. I am at Soojung's. Dropping Taemin."
"Perfect. I just clock out. Let's have a late dinner together."
"With these ugly monkeys?" Jessica frowned at the two who were busy stealing each other fries on the couch.
"Ugh no. Just the two of us. We've been too busy. I miss you."
"Hmmm." Jessica couldn't help but smile. She missed Yuri too. This week, they didn't even run into each other at home. "Will you pick me up?"
"Absolutely. See you in fifteen. I love you."
"I love you too." She ended the call while standing up. "I'm having dinner with Yuri. You guys can have all the takeaway."
"No fun." Soojung frowned. "Where are you going? Let us join."
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