Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Legend of Korra or anything pertaining to it.
A/N: This writer's block is a hell of a doozy when it comes to my other stories, but I've had some inspiration for some PWP fics that are fun to write and hopefully fun for you all to read. This is very loosely inspired by the Korean movie Seducing Mr. Perfect. I haven't seen it in years though, and this is just mostly largely inspired by it and will not be a transcript copy/paste. Rated T for language and sexual references. Ages have been bumped up about 11 years for this Modern!AU. I'm only planning for it to be maybe 6-8 chapters at the most.
Full Summary: Korra, the personal assistant to the Director of Finances for Future Industries, finds herself in the same problem of falling for the wrong guy. After getting dumped by her latest boyfriend, she finds herself taking relationship advice from the handsome yet distant new director, Mako. Mako's philosophy is love is a power struggle, and whomever comes out on top is the 'winner.' When Korra starts taking his cues with a new boyfriend, Mako soon discovers he's lost all the power he ever thought he had to his beautiful assistant.
The Art of Dating
Chapter 1: Detail Assessment and Planning
"Men are jerks," Korra said conclusively after sitting down at the hotel bartop beside her cousin. "Whatever you do, don't ever date, Jinora."
Jinora gave a forced laugh and took a sip of her colorful fruity drink before replacing it on the granite bar. "You don't say?"
"I say," Korra repeated.
"Whatcha need?" the bartender asked, a hand on her hip and holding out the cocktail menu.
The blue eyed woman shrugged. "Rum and Coke," she finally said and took her ID from her wallet out, hoping the bartender would ask. The older she got, the more she wanted to get asked to show her ID.
The blonde woman took the ID and looked at it for a moment before handing it back.
"Alright, so why are men jerks?" Jinora asked, putting her book up.
"Tahno doesn't want to date anymore," Korra said.
Jinora exhaled in relief. "Thank God. He's been a super dick to you. And sorry, Korra, but it should be a law that you don't date guys who are prettier than you are."
"What's that supposed to mean?" the elder asked, a hand on her hip.
The brown eyed university student rolled her eyes. "That's not what I meant, Korra. Just every time I saw him he was looking at himself in the mirror. If Carly Simon ever wrote that song for someone, it would be for him."
"I'll drink to that," Korra stirred the drink with the two small red straws before taking a sip. "It's just irritating as everything because it's the same stuff every time."
"And that is why I don't date," Jinora smiled, placing a hand on her chest.
"That, and you have impossible standards," the elder added.
Jinora leaned over to take another sip from her drink. "Maybe, but that's besides the point. Listen Korra, you're a catch; smart, beautiful, witty, and you got a killer raise at Future Industries. Who needs a man? Enjoy single life for a while. You're twenty-eight, you don't need to get married tomorrow."
"And that's the difference between your parents and mine. Back home, I'd be an old maid who's way beyond the ability to have children. My grandmother told me my amniotic fluid was rotting and my uterus was drying out."
"Yikes. That's surprising since my grandmother is from the same tribe as yours, too, but I guess at least she tells me to wait and enjoy my youth. She loved my granddad and all, but she says they were way too young to get married at seventeen and nineteen," the brunette shuddered. "Anywho, let's celebrate your raise and the fact I get to visit you while I'm in New York for the Model UN conference."
Korra clinked her glass against her cousin's, then took a long sip. "And no staying out late, okay? I have to be at work bright and early. I hear my boss is extra anal retentive."
"Fuck," Korra cursed while she bounced her right leg up and down as she waited on the subway to come to a complete stop. She took an enormous bite of the biscuit in her hands as she felt the subway begin to slow down. When the doors opened, she hopped out of the metro and ran up the stairs, bumping into a tall man. "Oh, crap! I'm sorry."
He gave her a stern look, then bent down to pick up his briefcase and check his watch. "In a rush?"
"Kinda," she replied. The blue eyed woman dialed her office as she scrambled to pick up all the papers and shove them back in her bag. She gave a genuine smile at the man, who only shook his head at her.
"Future Industries; this is Jia speaking. How may I help you?"
"Jia! It's Korra," she said into the phone, tossing the wrapper of her biscuit in the trash. "I, uh, is Mr. Mako there yet? I'm hungover like you wouldn't believe."
She heard a sound over the phone as she wiped her mouth and discovered she had a small ketchup stain. Cute. "You're fine, Mr. Mako isn't in yet. You better hurry though. You were supposed to be here five minutes ago."
Korra moved the phone from her mouth and bowed her head a bit at the man in the dark grey suit. "A thousand apologies, sorry about that. Have a good day!" She slung the bag over her shoulder and walked up the stairs towards the street, then told the receptionist on the phone, "Sorry, I just woke up late and everything but if he asks tell him I have a migraine and I had to go get something for it at the drug store."
"Will do. Hurry up." Jia replied before Korra heard the line click.
The blue eyed woman waited for the light to change then tore across the street in her flats. When she was outside the marble entrance to the offices, she took her ID badge from her bag and clipped it on her blazer then walked inside the building. She put her belongings on the conveyer belt and walked through the metal detector.
"Good morning, Korra," the security officer smiled at her.
"Morning, Saikhan," she smiled, going to the elevator and punching 36 on the floor. When the doors finally opened she walked to her office and dumped her bag on the floor after pulling her heels out from the bag and exchanging her flats.
The sapphire eyed woman pressed the power switch on her computer and opened her email, moving the mouse side to side as if it would help the computer spring to life faster. She turned her webcam on and stared at her reflection as she patted concealer on the dark circles under her eyes and put some gloss on her lips.
The phone suddenly came to life from an internal line and Korra picked it up, "Korra."
"Mr. Mako wants to see you in his office," Jia said before hanging up the line.
She rose to her feet and ran her hands through her hair before pulling it back in a neat ponytail, then walked to the office.
"Ah, yes, Mako, this is Korra. She's one of the best personal assistants and a reputable translator," Mr. Sato explained, stepping aside. "She's one in a million. My own daughter was begging me to let her have Korra, but you seemed satisfied with everything I had said about her and I figured it would be best if you kept someone from the department to help you learn the ropes of Future Industries. Korra, Mako's one of the best so please take care of him."
The young woman stood in the door frame and stared at the man looking out the large window of his office. Hadn't she seen that dark grey suit before?
"Yes, Miss Korra," he said. "How's your migraine?"
"My migraine?" she asked, then cleared her throat as she remembered her fib. "Oh, oh, it's quite alright. I went to get some medicine from the drug store."
He turned around. "Glad to hear it."
"In a rush?" asked the man in the charcoal suit at the subway.
He looked down at his computer for a moment, then back to her. "Thank you for the introduction, Mr. Sato, I can take it from here."
Mr. Sato nodded then exited the room.
"Cat got your tongue, Miss Korra?"
"N-n-no, Mr. Mako, sir. I just got dizzy," she said.
"From your hangover?" he raised his eyebrows.
And uh oh, again.
Korra gave a small laugh, looking at the floor. Great, just fucking fantastic. Not even an hour with her new salary and she was on the express lane to getting fired.
"What you do in your spare time is your business, Miss Korra. But when you're here, you're on my time. Just try not to be late again," he sat down and ran a hand through his dark hair.
"Yes, Mr. Mako," she replied, sighing internally in relief.
"You can just call me Mako. Mr. Mako makes me sound like my father or something," he scoffed, his amber eyes meeting hers for a moment. His face showed sternness but his eyes were softer, almost tired.
"You can just call me Korra, then, sir."
"Where are you from, Korra?"
She blinked in surprise, shifting her wait. "Sir?"
"Where are you from?" he repeated slower. "You speak English right?"
Korra flushed. "Yes sir. Um, I'm originally from Canada. I'm Inuit. Tribal life wasn't exactly my thing, so I moved to the States for university and I've stayed here since."
"This says you speak French, Spanish, and conversational Chinese?" he held up a folder.
"Yes, sir. May I ask where you're from?" she asked in hopes of making some conversation.
"My mother was half-Japanese, half-American and my father was Taiwanese. I grew up in Taipei for a few years before I moved to Hawaii when I was twelve. So we'll practice our Chinese together," he gave a polite smile at her then put a mug on the desk. "Half a pack of sugar, lot of cream."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Coffee. Get me some," Mako said without looking up.
Korra gave a forced laugh. "I'm an assistant, not a gopher. You want coffee, go ask Jia. You want someone who will make sure your schedule runs smoothly without a hitch, coordinate with our branches abroad, and make sure this is the tightest ship you ever set foot on, I'm your woman. So I'll get your coffee this once, but next time, figure out a real assignment for me."
His golden eyes met her cerulean ones, then he moved his fist in front of his face to cover his smile of amusement. "You know what you're best suited for and you're upfront about it; I respect that, Korra. But don't talk to me like that with the door open again in front of my department. When you come back I'll have some things for you to do."
All men are jerks.
Korra was in the break room a few days later refilling her coffee when her cellphone rang. She picked it up and looked at the caller ID. Tahno. The hell did he want?
"Korra, listen, don't hang up!"
She sighed. "What the hell do you want? I'm at work."
"I know, I know, I just wanted to apologize for the other night. I was wrong."
The woman tapped her heel on the ground, taking a sip of the black coffee. She knew this routine; he dumped her, he would call back and apologize, and she would take him back. No - not today.
"Yeah, you were wrong," she snapped.
"I just, I thought about everything, and I want you back."
"I've heard that before."
He sighed this time. "Korra, life isn't worth living without you."
Tahno had never said that before. Not once. Did he mean it? Maybe he really had thought about it. Maybe he really did think life wasn't worth living without her... they needed to talk now.
"Who is that?" Mako's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Huh?" she replied absently.
"Who. Is. That." Mako repeated, breaking down the sentence.
Her eyes were wide with surprise. "It's my uh, my ex-boyfriend."
"Who's with you?" Tahno asked.
"Oh," Mako said, snatching the phone from Korra and putting it to his ear. "This is Korra's boss. Don't call her again while she's at work." He ended the call and tossed the phone back to her. "Don't make personal calls on my clock."
"That was none of your business! You could have just said to hang up and I would have!"
He snorted. "After you agreed to get back together with him, right?"
"It's none of your business," she retorted defensively, walking to her office.
"You're right, it's not. It's just sad to see how easily girls give in," he poked his head in the door frame, then walked back to his office.
Korra stalked after him. "What do you mean it's just 'sad to see how easily girls give in?' I wasn't giving in."
"You were about to. Let me guess, he threw in the I-can't-live-without-you line of some variation?"
She blinked a few times in shock.
"It's none of my business though, like you said. You can go back to work now," he said, smirking to himself.
"You can wipe that cocky grin off your face," she growled, folding her arms. "And what you do you mean the 'I-can't-live-without-you line?'"
Mako laced his fingers and propped his elbows on the desk, running his eyes over the flustered woman. "Tell you what. Lunch is in about an hour. I'll treat you to lunch and answer all your questions."
"What are you, the love guru?"
He smiled and laughed again, looking down and twisting his class ring on his finger before shaking his head. "No. I just know a lot about women and I know even more about men."
"Yeah, right," she grumbled and walked out, giving the door a firm tug behind her.
"Get whatever you like," Mako said, leaning back in his chair and waiting on her to order.
"Uh, Coke, and um," she made a small humming noise as she thought before finally saying, "double cheeseburger with everything and bacon and fries."
He raised his eyebrows at her, then looked at the waitress and said, "The same. But bring me a Dr. Pepper instead."
"Be right out," the middle aged woman said, taking the menus and walking away.
"I wouldn't think you would eat cheeseburgers like the rest of us plebeians," Korra said dryly.
"Do you want my help or not?" he said, folding his arms, ignoring her goading.
She sighed and nodded. "Yeah, fine."
"Alright. Have you ever read Sun Tzu's Art of War?"
"People read that?" the blue eyed woman scoffed.
He rubbed his temple. "Have you at least heard of it?"
Korra nodded. "Yes, of course. I do have an education."
"Love, dating, relationships, and marriage is just like that. An art. Your significant other is your enemy in a way, and you have to assert dominance in the power struggle to make yourself the winner of the relationship."
"A power struggle?" Korra raised an amused eyebrow.
He held up his finger as he loosened his tie. "Don't interrupt me. It's a power struggle because whoever has the power is the one who controls the flow of the relationship. For example, let's take you and your ex-boyfriend. From what you told me on the walk over, he's the one who calls all the shots on when the relationship ends since you've yet to break up with him even after he told you he was in love with another woman, and now he calls you back and says he can't live without you and you're about to burst into tears in the break room and have some dramatic romantic comedy reunion."
"I didn't say he said that," she protested.
"Please. Don't insult my intelligence. It was written all over your face in giant neon letters from Times Square," he rolled his eyes. "You have to make him work for it. If you want this man, make him prove to you that he can't live without you."
"I can do that," Korra said, taking a sip of her Coke.
"I'll bet you can," he said sarcastically.
She jabbed her thumb against her chest. "You don't know me. I can do it."
"I'd love to see it," Mako replied, tucking his tie in his shirt as the burger was placed in front of them.
"I can make any man crawl on his knees for me."
"Good. You can start after you get off work tonight."
Korra looked at him after taking a large bite of burger and repeated with her mouth full, "Afhur ah geh uh wer huni?"
"For God's sake, Korra. Swallow," he made a face.
She laughed for a moment, then chewed and swallowed before repeating her question, "After I get off work tonight?"
"Yes. I'm having some friends come over since it's Friday night, and some of my friends are single, and you could at least meet a few."
"Are you setting me up, Mako?" she teased.
"I'm just inviting you somewhere. It's up to you to do anything about it."
She dunked a few fries in ketchup, then popped them in her mouth. "So how would you get a girl?"
"Yes, how would Mako, lord of love, get a girl?"
He rubbed his jaw for a moment, contemplating the question before replying, "Mako, lord of love, doesn't date, so it doesn't matter."
"Why doesn't he date?"
"Can we stop talking in third person?" he asked. "And it's none of your business. I'm just not in a good place for it, so that's all there is to it."
"Alright, Mr. Sensitive," she took another impressive bite of her burger.
He looked at her for a moment, leaning in a bit. Korra swallowed hard, looking sideway for a moment then back at him.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
Mako reached his hand out, touching her right cheek, then rubbing his thumb over her lip. His thumb was soft (did he moisturize?) and rested on her upper lip for a moment before he pulled it back and wiped it on his napkin. "You're a messy eater. Finish up. We need to get back to the office."
Korra wondered if he practiced in front of a mirror everyday to be arrogant, or if he just born that way.
"So you're going on a date with a guy; what do you wear?" Mako asked, replying to an email on his iPhone as Korra hailed a cab outside the office.
She looked upwards as if to mentally go through her closet. "Grey dress."
Korra sighed in frustration. "I don't know!"
"Grey is dull and pants make it clear he's not getting anything any time soon," Mako explained, opening the door before she could. "Get in."
She blinked and slid in the cab.
"Give him your address," he instructed after climbing in after her.
Korra obliged then looked at him. "But I don't want to have sex with him on the first date."
"And I don't want you to have sex with him either," Mako answered. "If you have sex with the guy, you might as well fork over the reins to the entire relationship because you just gave over power to him."
"But what if I want to have sex with him?"
"You just said you didn't," he pointed out.
Korra watched as he put his phone in his pocket. "What if I changed my mind?"
"You didn't change your mind, he made you think you changed your mind."
"So now I'm dating a mind-controller?"
Mako sighed in exasperation. "No! Look, if you go into a date saying you aren't going to have sex with him, then you don't have sex with him. That's the problem with girls. You set rules, then change the rules midgame. Respect yourself enough not to change your mind on screwing the man when you haven't even made it through your salads."
He actually made a fair point, much to her surprise. She had never thought of it that way before, and she wondered how many times she had given into changing her plans before she have even finished her first glass of wine.
"So what do I wear then?"
"Black skirt and a turquoise blouse with black heels. The turquoise will bring out your eyes and the black reminds the guy you're sexy and a woman and keep him interested."
Korra raised an eyebrow at him, then shook her head. Mako fiddled with the red scarf around his neck when the cab finally rolled to a stop. "Alright, I texted you my address so just go there when you're ready."
"Okay. See you soon," she said, closing the door and watching the cab drive off after she stepped into her apartment complex.
Her phone rang and she saw it was her cousin as she took the elevator to the tenth floor. "Hey Jinora."
"Hey, we just got done. What are you doing tonight?"
"Hm. Want to go to a party?"
Jinora clicked her tongue. "A party? I don't know. I wasn't feeling too hot this morning and I was hoping on a lazy night. Why? Are you going to one?"
"I was planning on- hang on," she said as her phone chimed. She pulled it away and looked at the text message she just received from Mako. Come late. Most people will be here around 10:30. Come at 11:15. "Looks like I have more time than I expected. I can swing by and say hi."
"Alright, just call me when you get here."
"Okay, see you," she told her cousin, then closed the phone and flicked on the lights to her apartment after unlocking the door.
Her apartment was mostly organized chaos with a few piles of laundry that needed to be washed in the floor and some dishes in the sink. She imagined Mako would have an utter conniption if he saw her apartment like this. Eh, whatever. It wasn't like she was trying to completely win his approval anyway.
She went to the bathroom and turned on the shower, then unbuttoned her shirt and cast it aside carelessly and began examining herself in the mirror. Korra had dark skin and square shoulders with an ample chest that stood out, especially against her cousin's more conservative breasts. Her stomach was flat and her arms revealed strong muscles from years dedicated to practicing kickboxing and hunting when she was younger.
After growing tired of her reflection, she jerked her hair loose from the ponytail and unzipped her pants as she considered what her boss had said. Korra walked over to her closet and looked at the white pants. She finally reached in and plucked the black skirt from the rack.
"Let's see if you know what you're talking about, City Boy."