Working at the Lee Corp is a culmination of Jaemin's hard work and perseverance. It has always been his dream to be a part of the multinational company which changed the era of technology all around the world.
And to work in a department which promotes the incredible technology the Lee Corp has done is something Jaemin has dreamt of. But it was not an easy feat getting into the company.
Although Jaemin graduated with honors and had attended the top Marketing companies for his internships, it took him two tries before he managed to score the External Marketing Specialist post. There were several inevitable hurdles and the journey was nothing but stress-free.
But as Jaemin finds himself walking towards the HR department of a 42-story building located at the heart of the business district in Seoul, the wave of pride shoots into his spine.
“This is it. Finally.” He murmurs a silent encouragement hoping to take the jitters out of his system.
Jaemin is prepared to make a change, to do so much during his first day; even plans on trying to impress his superiors just so they know they will be assured they hired the right guy. But contrary to what he imagined, the first day is really, sort of anti-climactic.
He gets his company badge from the human resources guy named Donghyuck. He also gets an exclusive metal pin solely given to the Lee Corp employees which has a special code for each employee. He wears it like a badge of honor and vows to keep doing it for the rest of his employee life at the Lee Corp.
After his little trip to the HR, he is asked to proceed to the 30th floor where the whole Marketing team stays. So he goes on his way, admiring the beauty of the building and the state of the art technology they possess.
Jung Jaehyun, the Marketing head, is nothing short of an incredible guy. He’s the one to welcome Jaemin blinding him with a kind and genuine smile and holy shit, Jaemin blinks and sees a Greek God, how is he so handsome? But Jaemin needs to compose himself because he doesn’t want to develop any romantic feelings towards his boss or any other work colleague. All he needs is to be the best employee that he can be and to keep his job at Lee Corp as long as he can.
So no matter how distracting the handsome face of Jaehyun is, or how beautiful his voice is, or how he seems so perfect in everything and anything, Jaemin needs to concentrate and focus on every word his handsome boss is saying to him. Apparently, there’s a massive change happening in the Lee Corp brand and they are getting ready for a rebranding. Although they’re still waiting for the final decision from the higher-ups before they start to make changes to everything encompassing the Lee Corp brand.
“There’s not much to do now, to be honest, so you’re lucky you get to relax for a few more days,” Jaehyun assures him. “I guess and because we have so much free time, I’ll just introduce you to the whole Marketing department even though you won’t see most of them,” Jaehyun laughs a little and Jaemin needs to clutch the strap of his messenger bag because god, he’s so handsome, “And we will have a team dinner to welcome you,” Jaehyun adds.
Jaemin processes it swiftly albeit his growing little crush and offers a kind smile while saying “that is awesome” as his response.
Jaehyun escorts him to the other side of the floor and he briefly introduces Jaemin to the Internal Marketing department, and other minor marketing teams who handle various priorities. Jaehyun says Jaemin can get to know them more in the future on the rare times External Marketing gets in touch with Internal or vice versa.
The introductions to the other team take them an hour and a half, because every now and then, Jaehyun gets asked for his opinion on other some things, he is the boss of the whole department after all.
Finally, Jaemin gets to meet the team he’ll be working with. The team is relatively small which is composed of the tallest one, Johnny who is the External Marketing head, the friendly looking one whose name is Ten is the social media head for foreign affairs and is from Thailand. Doyoung, the one who looks like he wants to kill Ten is the external marketing supervisor. The head researcher dresses up like a grandpa is Taeil. The Greek god look-alike is Taeyong who is the external communications head while the unbelievably too pretty for a guy, Jungwoo, is the communications specialist. Renjun, a Chinese who grew up in South Korea is the lead graphics designer and Chenle, the cute looking guy who Jaemin mistakes for a high school student is Renjun’s assistant graphics designer. And last but not least is Jisung, the intern.
It’s a lot to take in so Jaehyun instructs everyone to have a 30-minute brief with Jaemin so they can all tell him individually on what each of them does.
And by the time they finish, they go straight ahead to this fancy looking restaurant near the Lee Corp to have their team dinner. All in all, Jaemin’s first day goes by smoothly and he isn’t able to really work. He gets really comfortable with Renjun, Chenle, and Jisung immediately and even made plans for the weekend.
“You’ll be busy once the branding starts,” Renjun tells him when they’re walking out of the restaurant, “Believe me, it’ll be hell so enjoy your freedom for now! You won’t have it soon.”
Jaemin goes back home to his shabby looking apartment and sleeps soundly. “Tomorrow is a new day,” he says to himself.
The second day goes smoothly and the decision still hasn’t arrived so Jaemin focuses on getting the hand of the system their using and reviews all the previous marketing changes the company has been through. The third day isn’t much of a difference too so as the fourth day. By the time that it’s Friday, the External Marketing department finally received the news that the decision for the new branding will be sent the following Monday. So Jaehyun advises the team members to go home early so they can have an extended weekend before hell starts to overtake their lives.
Unbeknownst to Jaemin and to a lot of other employees of the Lee Corp, the new branding decision comes from the youngest son of the wealthiest family in Seoul. And along with the new branding, the young CEO will be transferred to the main office after working for a year at the Lee Corp branch in Canada.
There’s nothing much that is known about the youngest because the Lees had to keep everything private as to protect their children from harassment and kidnapping. But the youngest, even though he’s of age already has always kept to himself and refuses to take part in all media-related issues the Lee Corp is having. He has not once attended a press conference, a press briefing, or any related event with press people. He doesn’t even want his face on the cover of any magazine or even participated in interviews.
His motto is simple, “get the job done.” And no media, unless it will be beneficial to the company, is significant to him.
He believes that his face being publicized has nothing to do with his performance so he wants to keep everything private and just do his job.
So when the young CEO enters the company, no one really knows who he is, well except for the Senior Executives and the people who work directly under him. Some doesn’t even know that he goes by the name Lee Jeno.
And when he visits the company early morning on Monday, 2 hours before the work hour starts, with his black backpack’s strap hanging loosely on his left shoulder, a phone on his right hand browsing through his demanding schedule for the day, he accidentally ends up in the wrong floor, and when he is trying to open a room which looks like a big enough of a room to be his and it doesn’t even open with his ID badge, he looks so lost and Jaemin happens to be the earliest in the floor who witnessed all that has transpired.
Basically, Jaemin is minding his own business, browsing through old marketing plans, reading the proposed yearly timeline, and familiarizing himself with how the deliverables are submitted and scheduled. And while his attention centers on retrieving valuable information, he can’t help but notice an unfamiliar face entering the den of the external marketing department.
His boss, the God-like human Jaehyun, has not informed the team of any additional manpower to be added to Marketing. So it’s truly a wonder and very much suspicious how a person suddenly barges into the room.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?” Jaemin supplies when he can no longer contain his wariness when he sees a suspicious looking guy lurking around his boss’s office door. On closer inspection, the guy seems like he’s trying to open Jaehyun’s room even. So that sends warning signals to Jaemin’s mind.
The guy doesn’t even look like he’s from the cleaning department because he’s even clad in a fine suit, and doesn’t look like a delivery guy so Jaemin finds it peculiar for a corporate looking guy to try and open the locked door of the room which belongs to someone else, let alone the marketing head.
“Uhmmmm, yes?” the guy replies unsurely.
And Jaemin is in disbelief.
To make his feelings across, Jaemin exaggeratedly squints his eyes trying to intimidate a possible intruder. It’s a bit sketchy, don’t blame Jaemin. He just wants to protect whatever confidential information Jaehyun has on his office and in order to guard his second home, he must know that they aren’t infiltrated with people who do not belong to their department.
“You’re not sure?” Jaemin demands then and tries to be intimidating by firing up a series of questions. “Do you need anything from the Marketing team? Are you even from here? Why don’t you have your Lee Corp pin yet? Are you a Lee Corp employee?”
The guy visible tenses but furrows his eyebrows in the process, “Hold on. Wait, Marketing team? This is Marketing?” The guy asks.
Jaemin nods in confirmation.
“Oh, this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. And yes, I’m a Lee Corp employee, and, uh, for the pin, I haven’t gotten it yet?” The unknown guy explains.
“So you’re not from Marketing. So what are you doing here?” Jaemin inquires, trying to assess the situation to whether call the security or not because truthfully, he’s still in doubt.
The unknown guy easily relents though and admits that he’s new and kind of lost.
“I’m sorry. I was trying to find my, um, place and I guess, I was led to a different floor?” The guy apologizes sincerely and he checks out his phone and probably looks upon a message from his manager.
Jaemin patiently waits for confirmation or additional information expected from the new guy, or any validation that he is indeed an employee of the Lee Corp.
“Um, so yeah, about the pin,” The guy talks again, “I still need to get that from HR, Lee Donghyuck?” the guy explains.
The name sounds familiar and Jaemin remembers Donghyuck as the same guy who handed over his badge and pin. And Jaemin finally releases his suspicion and is convinced that the guy is indeed an employee of the company.
And while his brain swiftly gets the message, it also processes a lot of information and suddenly, Jaemin develops a sense of camaraderie and pity realizing how though must it be to the newcomer. Getting lost due to nervousness is pretty normal especially if you’re working for a huge company like the Lee Corp.
“Is this your first day?” Jaemin asks trying to change his tone from apprehensive to friendly.
The guy nods smiling a little bit.
Jaemin realizes then that the guy must have been so scared, given that it’s his first day and Jaemin feels guilty about giving him the cold shoulder when in fact, he should’ve offered help. And so that’s what he’ll ask as a silent apology from his rude behavior.
“It’s okay, we all make mistakes. Especially on our first day,” Jaemin reveals, and for the first time, he offers a genuine smile hoping to get the message across that the guy can count on him. He’s a one-week superior technically and all that, might as well be the better guy, right?
The guy nods and along with a simple thanks is the most adorable eye-smile Jaemin has ever witnessed in his entire life. The eyes turning into beautiful crescent moons and for a brief second, Jaemin feels something ignite into the deepest part of his heart.
And then he remembers, oh no, Jaemin. This isn’t it. No romance in the office. So he masks the sudden wave of electricity shooting through his heart by carrying on with the conversation.
“Oh, yeah. You’re welcome!” Jaemin conceals the hasty rush of blood across his cheeks from the unexpected gorgeous smile he just received from the new guy.
“So, what’s your department? I can probably tell you where it is so you should know. You don’t want to make a bad first impression, right?” It’s the right mixture of helpfulness and curiosity, and Jaemin thinks he can offer to tour the new guy around too just in case no one in his department proposes to do it to him.
“I’m, uhm, well,” The new guy mumbles his words and Jaemin feels really bad for him, the nervousness must’ve taken over his system.
“Hey, I know your first day at the job can really be terrifying. But it’ll be okay, don’t worry! So what department are you assigned to?” He tries to cheer the poor new guy up. Jaemin hopes it will work because the new guy needs an extra dosage of confidence even if it's from some guy he just met. The guy only smiles at him again, scratches the back of his head, and mumbles a few more words Jaemin barely hears.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that?”
“I’m from, well, um, the office of the CEO?” The new guy says uncertainly again. It should’ve sent Jaemin into a deeper well of nosiness from all the hesitations coming from the new guy but the kindness and pity overpower everything else.
Jaemin’s eyes widen for a second because he’s too stupefied now that he knows the new guy will be working with the giants, that is insane and although he notices how the guy’s smile slowly is disappearing, he doesn’t make a remark.
“You’re from the office of the CEO?” Jaemin says in disbelief. “Now I understand why you look so worried! It must have been really horrifying and stressful! Working with the CEOs? That’s, ughhh” Jaemin fakes a shuddering action to make his point, “Man, I want to give you a hug now to make you feel better,” Jaemin says as he ponders over the weight the new guy is carrying. Jaemin almost shits his pants 3 days ago when President Lee enters the elevator that he was in. What more than this new guy basically is feeling, he will be reporting to the CEO every day. That’s wild.
The new guy smiles widely again and Jaemin needs to get used to the perfect eye smile of this guy or else his heart will combust.
“Do you want to grab breakfast or something? I’m fairly new too so I know how it feels and I can treat you, you know! I’m basically a senior since you’re just starting today and I started last week, one-week sunbae!” Jaemin kindly offers, the only kind gesture he can do for the poor soul.
But as soon as the invitation comes out of his mouth, a realization shoots to his brain too. They have work in two hours and the guy must have a need to be on his way to the topmost floor.
“Wait, will you get in trouble? I mean, do you need to report to work this early? Do you need to, like, I don’t know, be 2 hours early before the CEO comes in? Is that what they told you during orientation?” Jaemin quickly inquires not wanting to add to the new guy’s anxiety.
“Oh, no. Actually, I chose to be early to kind of like, observe. And I don’t really need to be two hours early really, so I have enough time to spare.” The new guy explains rather enthusiastically, a sudden wave of excitement pours in.
“That’s great,” Jaemin is relieved so he replies with the same amount of enthusiasm. But silence ensues and awkwardness starts to build up after. Jaemin ponders if he needs to ask the guy if they should head out for breakfast, or it’s implied already, or should they just get going? He doesn’t really receive an exact acceptance to his invitation so he’s really unsure.
But luckily, the new guy starts the conversation before it really gets extra awkward.
“I’m gonna take that breakfast offer,” It comes out as a shy response, “The offer still stands right?”
Jaemin laughs a little. “Of course!”
“I’m Na Jaemin by the way,” Jaemin extends his right hand for a shake.
“I’m Jeno.” The guy offers and there it is again, the crescent moons which shakes Jaemin’s inner core.
“Nice to meet you, Jeno. Let’s be friends?”
“I’ll be happy to.”
Jaemin drags Jeno to the quaint cafe at the small alley two streets away from the Lee Corp tower. This is one of the small victories Jaemin has, finding an affordable with great food places like this. He offers to pay for the food, of course, despite Jeno insisting he’ll be paying. Jaemin is the senior so he winds.
He tells Jeno everything he knows about Lee Corp, his researches about the company and observations too. He even briefly shares how it’s so similar but different from the way he imagined working with a top multinational company.
He also shares the reason why he really wanted to be part of the Lee Corp and offers to tour Jeno around if they have time.
Jaemin learns that Jeno is an easy person to talk with and Jaemin finds his time with Jeno really enjoyable too. They have a lot of common and likes too, and enjoy almost the same television series.
Jeno also tells him a bit of information, about how Jeno works outside of the country for a year and how this is a big step for him too. And every passing minute, Jaemin feels the tug on his heartstrings strengthen.
Oh no. Code red. Code red.
"You know, I never thought the first day at work could be really fun!" Jeno reveals suddenly catching Jaemin off guard, “You make my first day really enjoyable.”
Jaemin doesn’t really know what to respond. And he stays silent, guarding the wildly beating of his heart.
"I'm glad I decided to take in this job in Seoul," Jeno adds again flustering Jaemin one more time.
There’s something about Jeno that Jaemin finds really adorable. Maybe it’s how Jeno listens intently on his stories, or how Jeno offers the best reactions and replies with the same amount of eagerness and passion.
And there is something unexplainably magical about the whole situation, and although, Jaemin pulls out his best effort of wanting to stay out of a romantic inclination to any Lee Corp employee, Jeno makes it tremendously difficult.
And as minutes turn into an hour, and before anything else develops, the magic needs to be broken.
“We need to go back,” Jaemin says, “You don’t want to be late to your first day, Jeno,” Jaemin reminds him but Jeno pouts cutely, trying to win over a little more time because clearly, Jeno is hesitant to go.
“I’m going to be fine, they won’t even reprimand me for being late,” Jeno says, trying to win over the argument of them staying a little longer.
But Jaemin thinks it’s a lie and Jeno’s just afraid to go to work so Jaemin conveys his adamant decision to go back.
“You shouldn't be late on your first day,” Jaemin insists, “It’s job etiquette 101!”
And then, there’s this cute pout again and Jaemin can’t help but say the truth, "That is cute but that's not gonna work on me, so come on! And it’s not like we're not gonna do this again."
And maybe Jaemin said some spells because the pout disappears and a wide grin appears, "We are doing this again?" Jeno asks hopefully.
"Of course! We’re friends now, right? So we can be breakfast and lunch buddies! Renjun, Chenle, and Jisung will like you too. I am sure. We will adopt you as the honorary member of the dreamies."
Finally, Jeno relents but made Jaemin promise they’ll do this again.
They go back to the building while still exchanging stories on the way. It’s an incredibly awesome morning and to be honest, Jaemin, like Jeno feels the hesitation to go back too but he doesn’t want to risk Jeno receiving harsh treatment from his bosses because of tardiness.
“There’s still some time life, do you want me to escort you to your floor?” Jaemin surprises himself when the words came out of his mouth. Maybe, he refuses to prolong this moment, hoping Jeno feels the same too.
“I was just going to ask you that!” Jeno reveals.
“Then, let’s go?” Jaemin proceeds as he the elevator door opens, "It will be alright, don't worry! The CEO will love you," he encourages. “And know that if ever there comes a time that you feel stressed, you can always count on me, Na Jaemin!” He adds.
Jeno doesn’t stop smiling and it feels warm and fuzzy. And Jaemin thinks he wants to see Jeno smile every day. But Jaemin understands that he needs to kill the fire before it starts blazing through his system. No to office romance, no to office romance. But his mind really does have a thing on his own because before he can really wash away the budding feeling, Jeno is staring at him.
“Na Jaemin, you don’t know how much fun it was!” Jeno says, “Thank you.”
And Jaemin feels his the oxygen on his lungs are not enough, he needs to breathe.
“Uh, you’re welcome. Of course,” He says while uneasily releasing the fakest laugh, “If there are people on your department that is mean to you, tell me and I’ll fight them!” He jokes hoping to clear the emerging unusual, not good for Jaemin’s heart, atmosphere.
And then Jaemin hears it, a melodious laugh.
“Hey, why are you laughing?” Jaemin asks.
“You? Fighting? I don’t think so!”
“I was the champion at arm wrestling on our university, and I scored a 9202 on a punch game on the arcade!” Jaemin argues and thinks, this is perfect, them joking around.
The fun stops though, abruptly. As the elevator dings and starts to open. They’ve reached their destination. Now, it’s time to part ways.
“So, this is it!” Jaemin shrugs, as he holds the open button, waiting for Jeno to leave the elevator.
“Yes, um, this is it,” Jeno says, still inside, not even exerting an effort to move.
“Hey! Your boss might be waiting for you,” Jaemin reminds him.
“Yeah, my boss, right,”
There’s something about Jeno and his sudden change on his body language. It seems that he wants to say something else but hesitant to do so. Jaemin thinks the cause might be Jeno’s nervousness for working for the CEO so he gives him another set of encouragement.
“Good luck, Lee Jeno, you can do it! And I hope your first day at Lee Corp will be unforgettable!”
Finally, Jeno steps out, offer the brightest smile, “I’m sure, it will. Thanks for all the help, Na Jaemin,”
He waves at Jeno just before the elevator door closes and on his way to his own floor, Jaemin can’t help but play the moments which have just transpired.
“Apparently, the youngest Lee is in charge of the whole new branding and he will meet with us in 3 hours. We need to go over these as quickly as possible, take notes, and find loopholes or anything. The CEO wants the external marketing team to make sure the new branding coincides with the company’s rules, regulations, mission, vision, and the likes.” Jaehyun explains once everyone is on the room, “We have two hours to go over these, and an hour to compile all our ideas, got it?”
Jaemin arrives just in time, and Jaehyun is already preparing the materials. Apparently, the new CEO just sent the decision and wants to meet with the whole team to discuss the new materials.
The external marketing haggles with time. With only 2 hours to familiarize themselves with the new branding, learn the ins and outs, assess the implications, and even form coherent decisions. They are swamped but every now and then, Jaemin’s mind wanders off to Jeno and if he’s adjusting just fine. He can’t help but feel bad now that Jaemin thinks the CEO is a monster. How can a CEO give them a 20-page branding guideline and only have 2 hours to study it? Jaemin feels bad for Jeno, he hopes the CEO won’t give Jeno a hard time.
When the 2 hours are up, Jaehyun patiently listens to everyone’s opinions and compiles everything in a beautiful presentation in record-breaking time. Jaemin feels a sense of high regard at how Jaehyun handles everything smoothly and is able to come up with several strong points. He truly is the Marketing department chief.
“Great job, team! As expected to the world’s best marketing team!” Jaehyun praises and laughs with his usual breathtaking smile and Jaemin hears Doyoung groans, and he sees Ten rolls his eyes.
“Now, let’s get ready for the war?” Jaehyun cheers, with a full smile on his space.
Ah~ I love my team!
The whole external marketing team is invited to the meeting to which Jaehyun shares with them that it is oddly suspicious because the usual practice doesn’t require the whole external marketing team to be part of these kinds of meeting; usually, the heads are the only ones who are needed to be present in the board room. But Jaehyun doesn’t really get any say to it especially if it’s specifically requested by the CEO.
So now, Jaemin finds himself squished in the elevator with his team members. He’s excited though knowing the board room is located on the 40th floor, the floor where Jeno is and if he’s lucky, he might see Jeno. That’s a bonus too. Albeit the nervousness running through his body, he’s excited to be part of a major meeting. He masks his tenseness by fooling around with Renjun, who he has gotten the closest to during his first week.
Jaemin has his right arm hanging around Renjun’s shoulder when they arrive at the topmost floor. And as they walk side by side, still his arm is lopped around Renjun’s shoulders while the both of them are laughing at Chenle’s not so subtle advances to Jisung who is hundred percent oblivious to everything.
Jaemin doesn’t notice that Jeno is near the elevator, waiting for him. He doesn’t even detect that Jeno is staring at him intently and observing how friendly he is with Renjun.
"Good morning, I'm Jung Jaehyun, the head of the external marketing." Jaehyun introduces, and Jaemin and the rest of the team shifts to corporate mode.
But by the time, Jaemin tries to look for Jeno, hoping he finds his newly found friend, Jeno is long gone.
"Hi, Jaehyun. Mr. Lee is expecting you.” The receptionist of the floor has informed them, “This way, please."
And as they escorted further into the floor, Jaemin’s eyes travel from one corner to the other hoping to see signs of him and wants to quickly check on how he’s coping with his first day.
“Mr. Lee will be here in a few, make yourselves comfortable.”
Jaehyun instructs them to each takes a seat, and the receptionist begins to serve them coffee. And not a minute after, Jeno and one other guy enter the room. Jaemin can’t help but feel a gist of happiness seeing Jeno.
And before he can stop himself, Jaemin waves at him. And then Jeno sees him, offers a small smile and waves a little too. The other guy looks surprised but doesn’t say anything.
Jaemin is occupying the seat beside Renjun and the latter asks him who's that and Jaemin says, "A friend I made a while ago."
When the receptionist left, turned on the LED screen, closed the door and the guy next to Jeno starts to speak, Jaemin feels something isn’t quite right. Is the meeting already starting? I thought the CEO will be joining us for the meeting? What is happening?
"Good morning, everyone. I'm Mark Lee, the assistant to the vice president for external affairs.”
Jaemin has made a lot of silly decisions with his life. He makes funny and wild assumptions too. And he prides himself to have this talent for easily deciphering things around him. He works best with people too.
The realization dawns on him without warning, and the next thing he knows, he’s reaching for Renjun’s hand, squeezing it tightly as his brain thinks, I’m so getting fired.
“And with me is our CEO, Mr. Jeno Lee."
Jaemin couldn't believe everything, what the actual fuck. He was supposed to say it out loud but Renjun catches on and covers his mouth before he splutters words that could get him fired.
"Hi, I'm Jeno Lee. Shall we start the meeting?"
Holy shit. Anjskkakakaka. Jaemin dies. He’s gone. Goodbye, cruel world.
Aside from Jaemin’s mental breakdown, the presentation goes by smoothly. Jaemin didn't understand a thing though, he’s too busy calculating his next course of action.
“We’ll further review these and we’ll set another meeting this week. You can start developing the graphics, reports, and fix worldwide guidelines for the new brand,” Jeno’s voice is booming inside the board room.
And despite the fact that Jaemin has been trying to lessen the turmoil he’s experiencing, the meeting made him see a different side of Jeno, the one who possesses confidence, who doesn’t even have a slight apprehension. And he’s whirled into another dilemma.
“Thank you, and we’ll do our best.” Jaehyun gestures for all the external marketing team to leave and they all bid goodbye.
Jaemin thinks he needs to apologize before anything else, and then plays it coolly, jokes about how they’re already friends and all, and if that won’t work then, I guess, Jungwoo can help him conclude a resignation letter.
“Let’s go?” Renjun asks him. Chenle and Jisung are waiting for him too. Jaemin is prepared to mutter a simple apology but is welcomed with another surprise.
"Can Mr. Na Jaemin stay for a little while?" Jeno suddenly instructs and automatically, all eyes are on Jaemin.
Jaemin prays to all the gods to spare his life. He doesn’t want to leave the Lee Corp.
Jaehyun questions it though sensing there’s something going, "Do you need help with anything, Mr. Lee? I can pro-"
"No, I don’t really have any problems with your inputs. They were great. But I just need to discuss something with Mr. Na so all of you can go ahead and proceed with the plan." It’s firm, authoritative, and bloodcurdling, his eyes asserting his position as he silently starts a staring competition.
But of course, Jaehyun needs to relent and cuts the battle before it becomes intense. As Jaemin’s boss, he looks at Jaemin apologetically, sorry, I could not help you further, is what he’s trying to say.
Jaemin understands though, the CEO has the last laugh. Ten is visibly containing his laughter while Doyoung is filled with concern. All his team members shoot him a look of worry but they can’t really do anything to help him.
Renjun is the last to go, though. He holds Jaemin's hand and says, "I’ll wait for you outside, it'll be okay, see you later." And then Jaemin hears Jeno coughing loudly, obviously wanting to interrupt, and when Jaemin looks at him, Jeno’s concentrated gaze sends chills running down Jaemin’s body.
What have I done?
When Renjun is gone, Jaemin feels the intensity of the air and he already prepared the array of apologies he will be reciting. And the speech of how he doesn’t have any idea to who was Jeno is already running repeatedly like a broken disk on his mind. He will beg if he needs to.
So when Jeno starts to say something, Jaemin is, by now, prepared with his endless apologies. The wave of sudden anxiety jumps into his system as his mind repeatedly perceives the words, Oh no, what have I done? I’m getting fired!
"I have several questions for you that you need to answer truthfully." Jeno tells him and Jaemin can only reply with a croaked out "Okay."
Jaemin recalls what transpired a while ago and scans his brain if there are insulting words he has said against the Lee Corp. He prays that his memory won’t fail him, because he only remembers saying praises, and muttering his excitement about getting into the Lee Corp.
Hold on, Jaemin isn’t prepared. Oh god, oh god, he will ask me to pack my bags, or why don't I recognize him or oh my god, help me.
Jaemin’s brain shuffles into a mess of memories and made-up scenarios of what happened and what will happen that when Jeno asks him the question, he thinks it’s all made up by his annoying brain.
"Are you dating that Huang Renjun guy?"
Jaemin tilts his head to the right, trying to rethink if he heard the right question, “Come again, what?”
Jeno sighs, visibly irritated, and annoyed that he needs to ask the question for the second time.
“I said, are you dating Huang Renjun? The little guy who murmured something before he went out of the room? What did he even say to you?”
Oh god, there’s the pout. What is he being cute for? God, Jaemin, now is not the time to be thinking that Jeno, um, the CEO, God, he’s the CEO. OH MY GOD!
“So, are you dating him?” Jeno asks again, and now he’s looking straight into Jaemin’s eyes demanding an honest answer.
"Me what? Dating who? Renjun?” Jaemin returns the question with a lot more micro questions. Because really, why?
Jeno is a few steps away from Jaemin, hasn’t moved from his place at the front of the room, Jaemin too, and hasn’t moved from where he is, at the farthest end of the room. But when Jeno speaks again, the dominance in his voice is deafening.
"Answer the question, Na Jaemin."
It’s something Jaemin’s brain hasn’t processed, not even close to every possible question he ransacked from his mind. But he answers, nonetheless, despite the growing current electrifying his heart.
"No, I’m not?" He voices out more hesitantly than he wants to.
And Jeno begins walking towards him, eyebrows furrowing, "You're not sure? How can you not be sure? It’s a fairly simple question, are you dating him or not?"
"I'm not dating him! I’m sure," Jaemin is on the defense, backing out a little, as Jeno proceeds to walk towards him.
"You don't sound sure," Jeno suddenly reaches at his own necktie, trying to loosen it. And Jaemin has to look eye, he can’t be blinded by something so terrifyingly hot.
"Stop pressuring me!" It isn’t supposed to come off like that but he’s only explaining the truth. Jeno is a few steps away from him so Jaemin clearly notices the change on his tone. Jeno seems happy. But why?
"Okay, so you're not dating Renjun." Jeno confirms, “That’s good then.” A few more steps and Jaemin backs away a little more. The questions start to flood.
"So, are you dating anyone right now?"
Jeno smirks and Jaemin feels like he has been conned. How can the Jeno he knows from this morning is so different from the Jeno he’s seeing now, he was a harmless kitten this morning but the Jeno he is seeing now embodies a tiger.
But Jaemin needs to assert his right to, he’s not the one to back out even if Jeno is the CEO, Jaemin has the right, god no, Jaemin is doomed. He’s really going to be fired, isn’t he?
"I don't see how my dating life is related to me getting kicked out of the company," Jaemin admits then, trying his best to look though when his insides are crumbling apart.
Jeno looks at him quizzically, 5 more steps and he’ll be in front of Jaemin, "Who says anything about kicking you out?"
Jaemin steps back one last time before he can the wall against his back. Oh no.
"Am I not getting fired?” He gulps, hoping for a miracle. “After I mistook you for being the CEO's assistant?
Jeno laughs, and Jaemin is transported from this early morning, how comfortable he and Jeno are.
"No one is getting fired, Jaemin,” It is an assurance but somehow, Jaemin feels like his ribcage will be wrecked from how his heart awfully desires to come out of his chest.
"Oh, that's great then." He whispers, barely inaudible.
Jeno is in front of him now, and he can’t really look into his eyes.
"Well, if Renjun makes a move on you, I might actually fire him and ends his graphic design career for good," Jeno smirks, but the words uttered carry a truth it in.
"For someone who works at the marketing department, you're not very keen on my hints.” Jeno shrugs, gives Jaemin another killer eye smile, “You offered to be my lunch buddy, right? So I'm expecting you to accompany me during lunch. And of course, breakfast too."
"Wait, wait… hold up,"
"You can’t say no!" Jeno demands, “And as much as I don’t want to use my power, I’m going to do so. I’m the CEO so you can’t, in any way say no.”
It’s an unfair use of power, Jaemin knows. But he finds it cute too, god, Jaemin is losing his mind.
"Also, Jaemin, today has been stressful and I clearly remember you offering to hug me and I didn't get any hug from you a while ago, so are you going to do it now? Or some other time?" And Jeno doesn’t wipe of the fucking eye smile when mutters every word without any hesitation.
"I don't really understand what's going on.” He lies. Jaemin is a liar because there’s already a built up understanding, he just doesn’t want to accept the truth.
And Jeno’s next words confirm both Jaemin’s dread and anticipation. It’s crazy how Jaemin tries to fight the idea of Jeno liking him, maybe because he is still against this whole office romance. But Jeno makes it really difficult.
"Na Jaemin, you said you hoped that my first day will be unforgettable. And it was. Because of you. But do you want it to be the happiest day of my life too?
"Uhm. Is that a trick question? I think that's a trick question so I’m going to say yes?" He tries to play it off as a joke. But Jeno learns to fight back too.
"Good choice! But to make it the happiest one, and the most unforgettable too is in your hands." He replies with a greater conviction.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Will you go on a date with me?"
And as if on cue, Jaemin's phone which is on the table suddenly vibrates and as it made a sound against the glass, he thinks he has the excuse to get out of the situation. But before he can grab his phone, Jeno’s the first one to snatch it. And Jeno doesn't look impressed.
"Renjun” Jeno demands, glaring at Jaemin, showing the phone screen into Jaemin’s face. “Why would you put a fucking heart emoji beside his name?" Jeno questions, clearly annoyed.
"Uhmmmm, you see..." Jaemin tries to argue that the emoji is nothing but to make Renjun's contact name cute. But before he can do so, he is startled because Jeno's voice suddenly becomes alarming.
"Do you like him?"
"No?" It's not a lie but Jaemin should’ve said it with more conviction.
Jeno raises his left eyebrow and demands a lengthier explanation. But Jaemin doesn't know how to explain anymore that he just finds Renjun really delightful and everyone on his team has a representative emoji beside their names. And then Jaemin thinks about Jaehyun, and internally thanks the god because that Jaehyun isn't the one who called or else, Jeno will see Jaehyun's contact name that is saved as "loml".
So instead of explaining, he asks, "Am I getting fired?"
Jeno is smiling now. His eyes turning into crescent moons, more beautiful than the previous smiles Jeno has shown. And Jaemin for the first time realizes the weight of everything when Jeno stands up straight, fishes out the phone on his pocket.
Jaemin watches as Jeno wordlessly instructs Jaemin to unlock his phone to which the latter obliges. Jeno then types something on Jaemin’s phone and then on his own phone too.
“I saved my number. And delete that stupid heart on Renjun’s name. I should only be the one with a heart. And, 6 pm later tonight, I’ll wait for you at the lobby.” He says to Jaemin with finality.
Jeno begins walking away now but before he flees the room, he leaves Jaemin a message, or perhaps a warning. Oh no.
"No, you’re not getting fired." He finally answers Jaemin.
"But Renjun will."