Fine Tuning

Disclaimer—I don't own the plot/characters for La Corda D'Oro. Plot inspired by the Korean drama Bad Love.

- - -

She knocked twice before opening one of the doors slowly. Putting on a brave face, she stood up straight and entered the spacious room with what she hoped seemed like confidence.

Directly in front of her was a coffee table surrounded by four leather-backed chairs. Bookcases filled to the brim lined the wall immediately to her right and as her eyes followed the border of one continuous shelf she saw another desk behind the table and chairs but off to the side, diagonal to her. This desk seemed to be even bigger than the one outside and was littered with stationery. Sitting behind the desk was a thin man with glossy purple hair and auburn-colored eyes who was, much to her chagrin, talking on a cellphone.

Some time passed where Kahoko felt foolish for just standing there before the purple-haired man finally spared her a glance and their eyes met. He eyed her up and down and then looked away again, the arrival of someone new obviously not being important enough for him to end his phone call, as was made apparent when he continued to blabber on, making no sign of acknowledging her presence.

Finally ending the call, which he took his leisurely time with, she noticed him close his phone and turn to her fully after a few minutes.

"Yes?" he asked curtly with a silky voice and a raised eyebrow, haughty impatience written all over his face.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for President Yunoki." She tried to reply back with the same pithy tone he had used.

" . . . Yes?" was again the young man's laconic reply.

Her eyelid subconsciously twitched in annoyance. She was really not in the mood for this right now. Her feet hurt, her butt now hurt, and the way she was being treated like dirt by some people in this city was really starting to annoy her. She tried to scrutinize his appearance quickly to try to figure out who this nitwit was. His hair is really glossy but that's beside the point, I guess . . . Okay, he was young—just like Shouko and Hihara—and expensive looking—just like everything in this room seemed to be. And this was definitely the president's room as the name card on his desk revealed.

Ah ha, one of daddy's rich sons? The mental lightbulb above her head lit up. That must be it. With this assumption in mind, she decided to try to remain calm in order to gain his cooperation.

Imagining for a moment that the briefcase's handle that she was wringing in her hands was this guy's neck, Kahoko was able to gain her composure and even threw a smirk back at him.

"And do you know where he is?" she questioned with only a mildly caustic undertone.

Glossy Hair leaned back in his chair and crossed one leg over the other in what seemed like a relaxed position, as if he was going to watch some kind of spectacle and was making himself comfortable. She was surprised to find that he was capable of an even more supercilious countenance as she watched his eyebrow jut further up toward his hairline and his face take on a look of increased amusement.

"Right here." He said each word distinctly, the corners of his mouth turning upward as he spoke.

The cool and collected front that she had worked so hard to put out instantly faltered. She brushed a fingertip over her lip in confusion as she glanced around the room with a dazed look, trying to make sense of what he had just said. He couldn't be more than—what? Three years her senior? And yet . . . he's claiming to be the president? Surely, he was pulling her leg.

Looking around the office she sighted another adjacent office space behind glass doors connected to this room to her left. Trying to focus her gaze, she looked to see if anyone was sitting behind the desk that was in that room—someone older and more important looking, to be exact. The office chair was empty. Her brief disappointment was cut short when she heard Glossy Hair give a fake cough.

His expression of complete and utter amusement had not changed.

"That would be my other office." He pointed to the right where she had obviously been looking. "It's rather useless, having two offices next to each other like this, but that's how the building was built."

Kahoko could feel her eyelid begin to twitch again at the way his voice was dripping with arrogance.

"But this serves as a useful lobby for people to wait if I have an incompetent secretary schedule two meetings at once," he added as an afterthought, signaling with his hands to the room they were in.

As he blabbered on about his daddy's money—or whatever it was he was talking about, she wasn't really listening—Kahoko tried to internally assess how to approach this situation. On one hand, this guy seemed to know what he was talking about and had confidently told her he was the company's president. On the other hand, she wouldn't put it past some kind of spoiled kid to try to pretend he was the president while the real president was away just to pull a prank on her.

She examined him again and thought back to his personality traits. He was laid-back, arrogant, acted like a total jackass . . .

- - -

A look of worry flittered across Shoko's face. "Oh, another . . . " she muttered to herself.

"Another?" Kahoko mimicked in a confused voice.

"Oh! It's j-j-just that . . . P-President Yunoki g-goes through secretaries r-rather . . . quickly."

At this Kahoko laughed out loud. "What does he do, scare them off? Or are they just too stuck-up to put up with the stupid things he asks them to do?"

Shoko tried to laugh it off as well but a hint of concern stayed on her features. "I-I'm sure you'll be f-fine," she replied.

- - -

"Ohh." His demeanor again changed as he glanced at the door again. "I'm sorry," he repeated placing his hand on her shoulder.

"He's that bad?"

"Well," he scratched the back of his head with the hand that had rested on her stiff shoulder, "just try to get on his good side, okay?"

- - -

Her eyes widened in understanding.

Oh, shit.

Glancing back to him, she realized that he had stopped talking. Although a fair amount of time had elapsed since they had started this "conversation", she was sure that his right eyebrow had not relaxed from its elevated position the whole time. Suddenly loosening her grip on her briefcase and casting him a sheepish grin, she responded to his unheard remark with the first thing that came to her head:

"Oh-h. I see . . . "

"You see," he mimicked, bringing himself forward to rest his chin in his palm while leaning against his desk. After a short pause where he just looked at her quizzically, he pressed a button on the telephone that was on his desk. The button flashed on and off for a few seconds before she heard a familiar voice.

"Yes, boss?" Kazuki's voice broke through the silence.

"Is the limo ready yet?"

"Almost, I'll be there soon."

He held down the button again. "All right. Meet me at the president's office where I'll be . . . because I'm the president."

"Okay . . . " Kazuki's confused tone was the end of the conversation as Yunoki pressed a different button and the red button that had once been flashing shut off completely.

The obvious emphasis he put on the word "president" would have seemed like playful teasing to Kahoko . . . if it was anyone other than this pretentious jerk uttering them. The way he said it made it sound patronizing.

And annoying as hell! She sourly wondered if this was the low point in her new life in Tokyo or if she could go even lower than selling her pride for a stupid paycheck.

"So," he straightened himself in his chair, "what is it that you wanted with me?"

Kahoko nervously tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. She was still annoyed—and just because he was probably the boss didn't mean she was going to kiss his ass all of a sudden—but she suddenly thought of her mother and their new apartment filled with grime and lined with paper thin walls. She needed money, and working as a secretary to such an important company likely paid a lot better than anything else she could get on such short notice. Making up her mind, she gave a small nod.

"I'm interested in the secretary position," she announced resolutely.

This time it was his expression that momentarily faltered. One corner of his mouth turned down and he—finally!—lowered his eyebrows, furrowing them in thought instead. She watched him with curiosity as he began pushing papers aside haphazardly to reveal a flat desk calendar. He paused, traced a finger down a column, and stopped at what she assumed was the tiny square that represented today's date. Although she couldn't discern the tiny text, she saw that there was in fact writing on the small block.

He sighed and brought his papers back to their original organized mess before getting up and heading toward a fancy-looking mahogany file cabinet.

"I'm glad it wasn't someone important," she thought she heard him humble along the way.

For a moment she felt the same kind of aloofness that she started with when she was waiting for him to finish his phone call as he earnestly dug through the files.

He's not ignoring me, is he? She seethed at the prospect.

Just as she started mulling over all the indignant complaints she would yell at him for ignoring her, Kahoko heard him exclaim something and pop his head out from deep within the file cabinet, a manila folder in hand.

He faced her again.

"Well? Are you going to stand there all day or will you sit down so I can interview you?" He asked this while seating himself in one of the comfy looking chairs surrounding the coffee table and gesturing, drudgingly, at the seat across from him.

She eyed him cautiously for a moment, trying to figure out his true intent, before stiffly sitting in the plush seat across from him.

"Now then," he began, opening the aforementioned folder. "Name: Kahoko Hino . . . ," he paused to let out another sigh, "age . . . date of birth . . . birthplace." At this, a curious expression crossed his features and his eyebrow again quirked upward.

"You're from Tottori?"

"Yes . . . " she said slowly. She frowned in thought, quickly seeing where this conversation was going.

Laughter played in his eyes. "Did you move here recently?" he asked, although it was obvious they both knew the answer.

"Very," she replied tersely, clenching and unclenching the handle of her briefcase again. Stay calm, don't give this jackass the satisfaction of seeing you angry, she tried to tell herself.

His mouth stretched into a full smile that showed his dazzling teeth. "Ah, I've been there before," he commented while shifting his position to get more comfortable. "Just recently actually. It's a beautiful place—physically, at least. They're known for their sand dunes," his paused to let his mouth widen even further, surely as a reaction to her obvious irritation. "Isn't that something?" He chuckled. "The people however are totally backward . . . I had no idea there were still some parts of mainland Japan that are so . . . country." He waved a hand as if gracefully batting away a fly.

"Oh well." He gave a fake sigh as his eyes went back to scanning her resumé. Occasionally, however, he'd glance up at her with a wicked smile that gave away what he was still thinking about.

"All right," he said quickly afterwards, closing the manila folder swiftly. "You're hired."

She blinked twice. "That's it?" Okay, I wasn't expecting that.

"What? You want me to ask you why you want to work for this company or some frivolous thing like that?" He eyed her warily. "Take note, I don't like doing unnecessary things."

Yunoki was about to get up from his seat but extended his hand out to her instead. "Welcome to Daehan Co."

She grasped his hand and tentatively shook it, happy that she detected nothing suspicious in his voice and yet half expecting him to secretly be holding some kind of shocking gadget that would go off as soon as she clasped her hand in his.

"Sorry to impose, but do you think you could stay for another," he paused to look down at his Rolex, "forty-five minutes? I'll pay you, of course."

She bit down on her lip. "Umm—do you know what time is it?"

"10:20"

She gave a hesitant smile. "Sure, I don't mind." If I'm getting paid . . .

His expression changed again to one of amusement. "Good. Your desk is that one right outside that you see when you first get off the elevators." He ran a hand through his silky locks in a lazy manner. "I'll explain everything tomorrow."

"Okay . . . then what am I—"

"I have another appointment scheduled for 11 o' clock. Tell them the position's been filled before they come bother me."

Her jaw slackened.

"Here." He slid the manila folder across the glossy cherry wood. "While you're waiting, fax this resumé to that background checking company."

What the?

She flipped open the manila folder in disbelief.

Yup, still my resumé . . .

She was at a loss for words. What kind of boss hires a person to run a background check on themselves?

"Is there a problem?" Yunoki's voice broke her momentary revere.

"Huh? Oh um—I-I don't know the fax number—for starters."

"I have a post-it note with the number taped to the machine; it's a number we use often," he said in a deadpan voice, as if what he was saying made all the sense in the world.

"W-well I—" she blushed lightly, "I don't really know how to fax, either. I've never done it before."

He rubbed his chin in what she could tell was a mocking gesture. "That's what you've got forty-five minutes for," he replied with another acrid smile. This time he rose fully from the chair, effectively ending all conversation for the day.

- - -

A/N —Hmm, just so you know, I'll likely be rewriting the first chapter soon after posting this one. Nothing major, just trying to tidy it up since some stuff annoyed me about it when I re-read it. I'll likely do this every chapter since I usually get hypercritical of my writing after a while. Heh . . . ('-'*)

Thanks for reading and sorry for not replying to any reviews last time (o_o;;) I'll try to reply to them all this time :DD