6 Ultimatum

Friggin' awful romance…

Yanee trudged the hallway towards the office where the rest of the editors of the literary department were.

"Oh, you're the new assistant?" a guy asked good-naturedly, going over Yanee with interest in his eyes.

He was a fairly good looking young man and looked decent. But Yanee was totally not interested in an office affair, and so, she ignored the undertones he was sending her.

"Yes, I am. I came with work," she said politely as she handed the documents over, and other people came towards her for a look.

Among the crowd, there were others she didn't recognize. They were probably from Niji International as well who came here with Tohru James.

"Oh, you're the lucky lady working with the boss," the girls commented as they too assessed her. There was obvious envy in the way they delivered their words.

Yanee fought hard not to roll her eyes. She already knew her boss was very popular with the opposite sex and thus aware she would be subjected to uncalled for evaluation such as this.

"I'm the new assistant starting today, yes," she answered with cold politeness that warned the others she wouldn't take other remarks from them.

Understanding this, the others seemed to back off. The company didn't have any tolerance for any office disputes, and they'd risk being sacked if they turned antagonistic, most especially towards Tohru James' assistant. The latter was famous for sacking people so easily if they did so much as breathed gossip in the workplace.

It was a fact everyone seemed to remember and so the heavy atmosphere lifted as they tried to be friendly.

"I heard you'll be working on a romance series to revive the romance department," one girl volunteered information, and Yanee tried hard to smile.

Under the literary department, of course, were different genres and each one had its own department as well. Since romance was not doing well in the company, it's what Tohru James decided to handle. It was also the cause of Yanee's depression.

If she had a dislike for the literary department, then Yanee had no love for romantic books. She felt them too superficial and nonrealistic. She never even bothered reading about them. She reckoned that many girls were now single because literary fiction had ruined real-life romance for them.

Could you imagine falling in love with a real guy after reading too many handsome, sexy, rich men that were loyal and crazy about the female leads most of the time? That's a totally difficult feat. All those romantic nonsense in women's heads made them yearn for unrealistic things, therefore, ended up being alone.

For instance, her sister.

Ami's already thirty years old and her parents were pressuring her to marry. But Yanee's sister wouldn't since she was determined to find her Prince Charming and marry only him.

Yanee snorted at the memory of her geek sister. In short, if their parents were looking for grandchildren, they'd better not look at her sister – not that Yanee had planned on giving them those either. If her sister overflowed with romantic ideas, Yanee had a shortage of them. She had become too cynical over the years for some romance.

The culprit?

Yanee slightly frowned. She didn't even want to think about the reason why she's allergic to falling in love most especially at work anymore. It was a history that was better off buried. She had decided to move on and become successful. That was her priority.

The people thought her frown was because of the huge task ahead of her, and they started giving her comforting words which were funny because they seemed to be prepared to provoke her over her boss earlier.

Well, they might have sensed her cold-heartedness and disinterest towards the boss and decided she was no competition.

"Don't worry. We heard you were from the lifestyle magazine department before. If you need help, just come to us and we'll try to help you out," they offered, and Yanee was not able to do anything but smile and accept their goodwill.

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"I will do that then," she told them as she left to return to her boss's office.

The herculean task to revive the romance department hung on her head, and Yanee had never felt such pressure on her shoulders. It was really different when you're not a fan of what you did. If you liked your job, there was nothing difficult about it. But if you hated it, then that's totally horrible. One could never excel on something he despised. If his heart's not in it, he would fail.

"Have you finished endorsing those projects?" Tohru James asked as soon as she returned to his office.

"Yes, sir. I was able to delegate the projects to everyone without problems," Yanee answered mechanically as she dragged herself back towards his desk.

"Why do you look like that then?" he suddenly asked, surprising Yanee.

She wondered how she looked as she touched her face. "Look like what, sir?"

"Like you just came from a funeral," Tohru James commented, and Yanee wanted to cry.

This mean potato…

She'd never been insulted and bullied in all her life as she had been today. First, she was accused of being late, then being deaf, and then now he just insulted her to her face. Well, she could play this game too.

"My dream just died, sir, so it's probably why," she retorted.

Yanee knew that in her interview with him, she had mentioned to Tohru James that her dream was to become a popular writer. It was when she had asked him if being an editor was his dream, and she had to offer that information as an example. But she was not expecting him to remember that. She's not an important person anyway for him to bother remembering things about.

Since she was good at writing articles, she was hoping that her career would be in that direction. But she was suddenly transferred to her most hated department. Her career was as good as being dead.

"You mean being a writer?" he asked, and Yanee was surprised he could still remember that.

She cleared her throat. "Y-yes…"

Huh?

Amusement danced in those pair of chocolate eyes as laughter escaped his lips, and Yanee wondered if this man was suddenly taken over by aliens. Aside from his poker face this morning, he seemed like a normal guy for the rest of the day. For someone who she nearly cried over and begged to answer during the interview, this sudden normalness was making her crazy.

Her suspicions might have shown on her face as he straightened out and cleared his own throat before he spoke again.

"You must be thinking that I'm strange," he said.

Well… totally.

But of course, Yanee couldn't say that to his face.

"I'm so sorry as I seemed to have given you a hard time months ago during the interview. I was just going through a tough time, so I was not really happy being asked so many questions. I just couldn't back out because I was helping out a friend," he suddenly apologized surprising Yanee even more.

It was common knowledge that the chief editor of the magazine was friends with Tohru James, so Yanee nodded. Her former boss already told her the reason why she was able to interview the aloof editor of Niji International. Even if the people said that the man was friendly, he prized his privacy and didn't give interviews so freely.

It was maybe the reason why he was not at all friendly with her during the interview. It was because he was forced to do it.

"I didn't mind," Yanee answered.

Tohru James after all still answered her questions properly in the end, even if she had to extend the time to interview him. Come to think of it…

He answered them all properly and was even friendly on the last day.

Ah…yes, she remembered that the potato wasn't that bad. But still, her dreams were dead. Or so she thought.

"Anyway, be happy I'm giving you a chance to reach your dream?" he suddenly said that surprised her.

What? She's going to have her old job back?

NOT.

Tohru James handed her another proposal for a series, but this time, she was totally not impressed. Instead, a dread spread in her chest as if something bad was going to happen.

"Office Diaries?"

It was a series – a compilation of romantic stories that happened at work. But, unlike the other proposals, this was only an outline. Instead of descriptions, there were names written there.

"Interview those people and write the anthology yourself. That's your project."

Huh? WAIT.

Yanee was panicking, but Tohru James wouldn't give her a chance to protest.

"That project, if done correctly would be a huge hit. If not…"Danger glittered in his eyes, and Yanee had never felt so threatened in her life.

"Say goodbye to your job."

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