"No, sir. I hate potatoes. I totally hate potatoes."
Tohru James blinked several times at Yanee's bland answer accompanied by an equally bland expression and threw back his head and laughed. What a silly girl!
He didn't mind it at all, though. Instead, a mischievous glint shone in his eyes.
"Then shouldn't you have ordered something else?" he suggested as he raised a hand to call forth the waiter, but Yanee stopped him.
"It's alright," she said hurriedly as she semi-dove onto the table so she could touch his arm to stop him from calling staff.
Tohru looked at the hands anchored on his arm and his face lifted in amusement.
"Er… I-I-I…" she stuttered before her voice trailed off as she realized what she'd done.
He watched as Yanee turned scarlet like a ripe tomato with her eyes wide and quickly let go of his hand as if burned. She returned to her seat looking annoyed which amused him further.
"You, what? You don't want to order something else?" he prompted and she shook her head. "And then?"
"I'm on a diet. But I forgot," she said afterwards through gritted teeth and he now understood why she was so upset with eating some potatoes.
Tohru had ordered salad earlier before she arrived, and so, when the food came, he immediately switched their plates.
"Er…boss? It's not a potato," she said as she stared at the variety of greens on her plate.
"It's not potato? Then heavens must have heard your silent prayer," he told her with a wink as he opened his plate and used his fork to start eating Yanee's dish.
Seeing that he's eating the potato dish she had ordered in her stead, her eyes widened before an emotion akin to sadness passed in them and was reflected by her small smile.
"Right. Heaven's heard that potato's bad for me," she commented enigmatically as she started eating her greens.
Tohru then wondered if he should have let her eat the potato instead. She had looked like someone who was reminded of something that's bad for them. Even if she was reluctant, she had chosen to let it go than try and fight him over for it.
And it really had nothing to do with potato…
He wondered what happened. But he didn't say anything as he was sure that he wouldn't get any answer from her anyway. Yanee, as he had surmised already from the beginning was like a wild deer: cautious – too cautious. She looked like someone who'd totally bolt towards the opposite direction when he showed his real intention.
It was why he was doing all these troubles in the first place. If she was more inclined to romance, it wouldn't be this complicated that he needed to rally his group of friends to help him out.
"So, boss, what are you doing here?" she asked.
Suspicion laced her voice, and he cleared his throat to try to make things more professional. He shrugged. "I received a call from one of the interviewees and he seems to be here in South Korea so I came."
Yanee frowned. "Wouldn't it be better to email me about it instead, boss? I mean if there are changes in the itinerary?"
Tohru grinned. Indeed, it's hard to trick this girl. But he had already prepared an answer to that. He couldn't tell her the real reason after all. If he told Yanee that it was because of his brothers' long-distance PDA with their wives that he felt like seeing her too, she would be shocked.
And he'd receive a resignation letter the next day.
"Well, that'll work if he doesn't mind not seeing me," he excused with a nonchalant shrugged. He then inclined his head as he looked at her seriously. "This project, do you honestly believe that I would normally take it?"
With his question, he watched her looked thoughtful as if she was earnestly considering the answer. Afterwards, she looked surprised as she realized something.
"Actually… no," she answered truthfully.
True enough, Tohru James was a gold editor, but he had never taken a project with a romance theme before. Most of his works were books with serious themes such as non-fiction, then for fiction, mystery, and fantasy.
"Right. It's a first and my last romance themed project," he told her matter-of-factly. "This is also an experiment on the management's side. However, the participants of this project are all prominent people, as you've known by now. Even if I'd rather wait for my kimchi back at the office, I have to show my face when summoned. That's business."
He bluffed with a poker face. In reality, he had tagged along Jinho Kang in his private jet along with the rest of his brothers after he experienced their severe teasing. It was a good thing that Japanese citizens didn't need to secure a visa first hand. He could fly immediately when he suddenly decided he'd like to see Yanee.
So, he came here yesterday but didn't show his face even if he could have gone with Jinho to his house. He behaved and waited, but Yanee woke up late. He nearly went to her room to drag her out.
"I see…"Yanee nodded slowly after contemplating for a few minutes. "Are you going to attend some event here then boss?"
At the question, Tohru was surprised.
Event? Like a Party?
He hadn't thought about that, but it seemed to be a very good idea. His big sisters were nagging him as they couldn't wait for their turn to meet Yanee. Since all of them flew here, they'd be thrilled to have a chance to see her in advance.
"Y-yeah," he lied. Of course, there's no such thing.
"I actually came because there's a small gathering for the people involved in the book, and they asked the editor and the writer to be there," he continued as he hid his hands under the table to secretly send a message to Jisoo.
[Big sis, could you arrange a small gathering with everyone later? I told Yanee we have a small party for the project tonight.]
"Really?" Yanee asked, and a worried frown marred her brow.
"Is there anything wrong?" he asked her. He wondered why she looked stressed.
"What kind of party is that boss? I didn't bring any clothes with me aside from my business suits," she said.
"Oh? Don't worry then, I got that covered," he told her reassuringly. "We'll go shopping after we eat."
"Eh? But boss –"she protested but he cut her off with a wave of his hand.
"No buts. Concern like this one is not a problem at all. We don't want to offend our clients. It's a necessary company expense, so the company will pay for it." Tohru of course wouldn't tell her yet that HE was the company, and he's happy to have a reason to buy her clothes.