At Page9, a few days after Taeyeon came back from the countryside
“Taeng, what in the world are you doing with all those flowers?” Sunny asked as she eyed Taeyeon suspiciously.
“I’m just trying to brighten up the place. Sooyeon said that flowers actually promote creative thinking?” Taeyeon said nonchalantly as she placed the flowers into a vase.
“Are you sure the reason’s as simple as that?” Sunny asked again, chuckling.
“Yea yea. Thought you had a meeting with a client? Get out of my office, shoo shoo!” Taeyeon shoved Sunny out of the office.
She closed the door and sat down at her desk, admiring the flowers. She opened her drawer and took out her Luxe notebook. Opening the cover of the notebook, she ran her finger slowly along the edges of a polaroid she took with Sooyeon at the Spring Fair.
How I wish she’s here with me. Sooyeon ah, I miss you.
During lunch, Taeyeon and Sunny went to a nearby Italian restaurant to grab a quick bite before heading back to their office to work on their pitch.
“Did they change the chef over here? This carbonara tastes so bland. They didn’t even add bacon bits. Sheeshh… Sooyeon’s version tastes so much better,” Taeyeon complained.
“Taeng, why are you whining so much lately?” Sunny asked, feeling a bit irritated.
“Am not,” Taeyeon said defiantly.
“These few days I’ve been hearing Sooyeon this, Sooyeon that. Why didn’t you drag her sorry ass here?”
“Kyu, I TRIED. I even made several calls to some of the arts schools here to ask if they’re looking for teachers and found some suitable ones for her. I gave her several options but she’s not comfortable with moving here, and I didn’t want to press on. Ultimately if she’s happy staying in the countryside, I’m happy too. I guess I could visit her once a while.”
“Are you sure you’re happy here now? Only your physical being is here, your soul has never returned from the countryside. Anyway, if she doesn’t give you a reply in the next week or so, you better give up and get your soul back here to work. We’ve a very important pitch coming up and we can’t afford to screw up big time, my dear Executive Creative Director.”
Taeyeon sighed as she twirled the pasta listlessly using her fork.
Sooyeon ah, will I ever see you again? I miss counting the stars with you. The stars in the city are never bright, or perhaps it’s because you’re not by my side. Sooyeon ah, I miss you.
“You’re really serious about her eh?” Sunny asked.
Taeyeon nodded slowly, still twirling her pasta listlessly.
“Taeng, now everything hinges on her decision. If you’ve tried your best, then it’s good enough. There’s nothing much we can do at the moment. Snap yourself out of this daze and focus on this pitch. Quick finish up your food. We’ve a lot of work to do,” Sunny said firmly.
Taeyeon sighed. It was one of the rare moments she seemed to have lost her drive.
For the next few days, Taeyeon transformed into her old self, working long hours and putting all her focus into the pitch for a major F&B company. She knew she could not afford to mess up this precious opportunity that was presented to her.
During a brainstorming session, Taeyeon started barking at her team when they were not up to her expectations.
“Wow, our star ECD is back. I kinda missed her scoldings,” Sooyoung whispered to Sunny at the meeting.
“Choi Sooyoung! Just because I praised you for your previous work on Clean & Brite doesn’t mean that you should let that compliment go to your head. I expect a higher standard of work coming from you for this pitch, got it?” Taeyeon remarked.
“Ya…Yes boss!” Sooyoung quickly replied, picking up her pencil and jotting down notes.
Sunny sniggered in her seat. It was good to see the assertive and ambitious Taeyeon back.
“Alright team, let’s take a break. I think most of us are mentally drained and there’s no point in continuing our discussion any further. Dinner’s on me,” Taeyeon announced.
The team cheered. They were packing up and getting ready to go to a nearby Korean restaurant for dinner.
“I thought boss would want us to work through the night! I even brought some sandwiches along in case I had to stay late.”
“Haha! I’m glad Boss is taking care of her health too. I remembered she used to skip her meals so often. Thankfully the break did her good.”
“Hey, what are you two still chatting over here? Let’s go, I’m starving!!” Sooyoung shoved her colleagues to the door and exited the agency.
Two weeks later on a Sunday morning
Taeyeon dabbed her finger into the cream sauce and tasted it. She licked her lips, satisfied with the result after several experiments to recreate the same cream sauce which Sooyeon used.
If only Sooyeon is here to share the pasta with me.
Taeyeon ran her finger across her lips, recalling that first kiss they shared over pasta at Sooyeon’s house. She smiled to herself at that thought.
She picked up her mobile phone and dialled her best friend’s number.
“Hey Kyu, swing by for lunch. I’ve succeeded in getting the perfect cream sauce. Come try it. Grab that shikshin along, I made a lot. See you later,” Taeyeon said, cradling the phone between her neck and shoulder as she turned off the fire and poured the sauce onto a bowl.
An hour later
“Coming…” Taeyeon yelled as she came out from her bedroom.
“You’re fast Kyu. Were you trying to break the speed limits again?” said Taeyeon as she unlocked the main door to her apartment.
Taeyeon swung the door open and froze on the spot. A slim girl with dark brown curls, dressed in a pale yellow sundress with a white cardigan was standing at the door with a luggage beside her.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in? Or were you expecting some other random city girl?” the visitor winked.
“Soo…Sooyeon…how did you…what…are you doing here?” Taeyeon asked, still stunned by Sooyeon’s sudden appearance.
“I heard you are trying to copy my secret carbonana recipe and being the original creator, I have to personally taste it to verify if it’s similar or worse than mine,” Sooyeon giggled, her cheeks turning pink.
Maybe it is just a dream. I feel like I’m floating among the clouds. It seems so surreal. I must have dozed off while waiting for Kyu to come over. Wait…this feeling…seems so real. This pair of sweet lips which I’ve tasted many times…this familiarity…I feel butterflies in my stomach…
Taeyeon snapped out of her daze and realised that Sooyeon had planted her lips on her own.
“Silly girl, why are you in such a daze? And this is my answer to your invite. Aren’t you inviting me in?” Sooyeon smiled as she stepped back, pointing to her luggage.
Taeyeon was overjoyed. She was jumping onto Sooyeon and quickly wrapped her arms around Sooyeon’s back.
“Do you have space for a dog too?” Sooyeon asked.
“Of course!” Taeyeon nodded vigorously before sealing Sooyeon’s lips with a kiss.
Eight months later
“Wow, this grilled chicken is good. Hey Sunny, aren’t you supposed to be on a diet? I can finish your share. Don’t let good food go to waste!” Sooyoung said as she picked up her fork. She aimed her fork at Sunny’s half eaten chicken and was about to plunge her fork into it before Sunny moved the plate away.
“Behave yourself shikshin! You’re at an awards dinner now, not some casual dinner at home,” Sunny reprimanded, smacking Sooyoung’s hand.
The staff of Page9 were busy chatting with each other and enjoying the food at the Annual Advertising and Marketing Award Ceremony.
“And now, for the ninth and final award of this evening, the long awaited Young Creative Director award. Drum rolls please…” the host on stage announced.
(Drum rolls in the background)
The staff were nervous, each hoping that their boss would win this award.
“I think Boss stands a chance! That toothpaste campaign was such a success!”
“Yes, let’s pray for her, I’m sure she’ll get it.”
“Haha, maybe she’ll give us all a big fat bonus if she wins!”
“The winner is…” the host paused while opening the golden envelope containing the winner’s name.
“Kim Taeyeon from Page9! Congratulations! As you know, Page9 made a name for itself after a successful campaign with Clean and Brite. Everyone, young and old, knows the jingle to the commercial. Congratulations again to you, Miss Kim!”
The whole table erupted in joy. Everyone stood up and cheered for Taeyeon as she rose from her seat. Some of her staff gave quick hugs while others patted her back. Sunny patted Taeyeon’s butt and shoved her towards the stage to receive her award.
Taeyeon straightened her black jacket and walked up on stage. She gave a bright smile for the media while receiving the award from the CEO of the Institute of Advertising. The host handed Taeyeon the microphone for her congratulatory speech.
“It’s a great honour for me to receive this award and I would like to share the honour with my team at Page9. They’ve played an important part in bringing the agency to where it is now and I hope this award spurs us to work harder and achieve greater dreams.”
“In addition, I would like to encourage each one of you to take time out to relax and cherish life’s every moment. We, as agency folks, tend to work irregular hours to accomplish our client’s targets at times but we tend to neglect the people around us. Our loved ones and friends. Christmas is around the corner and I hope everyone would be able to have a lovely time with their family, loved ones and friends. Thank you once again for this award,” Taeyeon concluded.
The crowd applauded as Taeyeon walked down the stage, back to her table. Various people from the other advertising agencies came to the table to congratulate Taeyeon.
“Boss, congrats!” Sooyoung yelled and enveloped the short girl in a hug. “The next time, it’s gonna be my turn!”
“Try harder shikshin!” Taeyeon laughed.
“Taeng, congrats. You deserve this award,” Sunny ruffled Taeyeon’s hair. “By the way, someone’s waiting anxiously outside for you. I didn’t tell her about the result yet.”
Taeyeon handed the award to Sunny and excused herself from the table. She walked briskly out to the hotel lobby where she spotted a familiar face sitting at the lounge.
“Hello my dear, have you been waiting for a long time?” Taeyeon leaned in from the back of the two-seater couch and planted a light kiss on Sooyeon’s cheek.
“How was it? Did you get the award?” Sooyeon asked anxiously.
“Give me a kiss here and I’ll consider telling you the answer. How’s your day? Were the kids well behaved?” Taeyeon said cheekily, pointing to her cheek. She slid into the empty space next to Sooyeon and wrapped her arm around her waist.
“The kids are fine, most of them are hardworking but playful,” Sooyeon said. She pinched Taeyeon’s cheek’s playfully.
“So what’s the result? Tell me…aww…tell me….” Sooyeon said in an aegyo filled voice while tugging at Taeyeon’s arm.
“Your awesome Kim Taeyeon picked up the Young Creative Director award so I would expect double rewards when I get home,” Taeyeon winked as she proudly announced her award.
“That’s great. Congratulations!” Sooyeon said happily. She enveloped Taeyeon in a hug.
“I wouldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for understanding and for your support throughout the past few months. I know it isn’t easy for you to adapt to the city life, and my somewhat crazy working hours at times. You’re my angel and you make me feel like I’m on cloud nine all the time. Thank you, my dear.” Taeyeon gave a quick peck on Sooyeon’s cheek.
Sooyeon blushed and said, “Cheesy Taeng. Don’t you have to go in now? The rest of them are waiting for you.”
“Sunny will be able to handle them. Let’s go home now. You owe me my reward,” Taeyeon flashed a mischievous grin. She pulled Sooyeon up from the couch. The couple linked arms as they walked towards the carpark and headed for home. Their home in the city.