Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Finding Life's Sweetness" : Chapter 2

"One mocha frappuccino with extra whipped cream please", Quinn told the cashier at Maggie's Cafe. She quickly paid, got her drink, and went to plop down on one of the comfy sofas. She was exhausted and craved something sweet to give her an energy and mood boost.

She had been running around all morning trying to find a job. It turned out that these days, bosses were more interested in laying off people than hiring people.

What was she going to do? Where else could she look? Quinn knew Vince would only continue to harass her if she didn't go home with a new job. She swore, sometimes, Vince acted more like her father than her best friend. He always lectured her on how she had to change her carefree lifestyle and get some stability in her life.

Quinn had never had much stability. In fact, her friendship with Vince was probably the only consistent thing in her life. She preferred making things up as she went along. If she wasn't happy, she'd fix the problem, which often resulted in her quitting or getting fired from numerous jobs she hated.

The bell on the door of the cafe rang and Ella walked in, interrupting Quinn from her thoughts. She observed Ella in her work attire as she brought her daily espresso. Hm...what would it be like to wear formal clothing and go to work at the office everyday? Sounded a bit boring and suffocating, but in Quinn's unemployed state, a little appealing.

"How are you doing today, Ms. Yeung?" the cashier asked. "Good, and you?" Ella politely answered.

"Fine, how has work been?"

"Like it's always been. We're a little short on people though, we could use some more help around the office", Ella replied.

Quinn's ears perked up. "Wow, what luck!" she thought and quickly ran over to Ella, slightly frightening her. "Hi! I'm Quinn Tong. Sorry, but I couldn't help but overhear. You're looking for help around the office? That's perfect, I'm looking for a job!" she excitedly said.

Ella looked at her with surprise. "Um...yes we do. I can only give you a job as an office assistant though. You'll be doing tasks like copying papers, organizing information, answering phone calls, and running errands from time to time. Are you capable of doing such tasks?", she asked Quinn.

"Yes, I'll take it!" she eagerly replied. It sounded far from the most interesting job in the world, but at least she'd have one.

"Ok, but I'm warning you, it doesn't pay much."

"I'll take it anyway!"

Ella was quite surprised at Quinn's eagerness. She looked relatively young and had probably just been fired. She seemed desperate, and Ella really did need some extra hands at the agency.

Ella took a business card out of her purse. "Here's my card, report to work tomorrow at 9AM", she said and hurried off.

Quinn looked down at the card, which read "Starry Marketing Agency". She pumped her fist into the air. "Yeah!" she exclaimed. Vince will be proud, and finally stop lecturing her.

Simon peered over Kristy's shoulder while she worked on her computer. "So, do you have a boyfriend?"

Kristy didn't bother to even look at him. "No, why are you so nosy?", she bluntly replied.

"Just wondering. I thought an attractive young woman like you would have a boyfriend for sure", Simon said.

Kristy scoffed. "Men are a waste of time".

Simon laughed. "Perhaps they're just scared of you", he teased.

"Don't you have somewhere else to be besides bothering me at work?" Kristy asked impatiently.

"I told you, I run a bar. I don't have to go to work until 6pm. I don't even have to go to work if I don't want to."

"You don't have a girlfriend? I would think a rich guy like you would have a line of girls following him around."

"Haven't found the right girl. I know I may seem so charming and flirty, but I'm not much of a playboy. I'm more old fashioned than you'd think. Don't care to entertain the girls that you claim follow me around. Is this game of 20 questions over yet, Ms. Wong?" Simon answered playfully.

"Pfff. That still doesn't justify why you're always here", Kristy said.

"Truthfully? I'm a boring person. Other than tending to my bar, I don't do much with my life. Besides, the people here are..." he looked at Kristy thoughtfully. "Interesting", he finished.

She gave him a weird look. "Nonsense", she said, and went back to work.

Someone knocked on the door. "Come in", Kristy said, and Ella walked in with a file in her hand.

"Kristy, read over this file", she said. Kristy took it from Ella's hand.

"Ella, don't leave yet! I have something to ask you", Simon called before she could walk out.

"Yes?" Ella turned around.

"My good friend Ethan Chan is hosting a function tonight. I was wondering if you wanted to come with me and meet him. He's a business man, maybe you two could work together", Simon proposed.

He turned to Kristy. "You can come too if you want. I'd be more than happy to go with two such pretty and capable women", he said to her sweetly. Kristy almost shivered at the thought. "No thank you", she replied.

Simon didn't look too surprised. "Ella?". Ella thought about it for a second. "Sure, why not?" she replied. A little mingling wouldn't hurt, especially since she didn't have anything better to do.

"It's a date then! I'll pick you up at 6", Simon said. "Ok", Ella smiled.

Kristy rolled her eyes. "Can I work in peace now?" she said in an impatient tone.

Ella and Simon quietly tiptoed out.

Ella examined herself in the mirror in her deep blue strapless dress and black cardigan.  It had been forever since she had gone to a social event.  This outfit seemed fitting for a function, neither too casual or formal.
Right on time as always, Simon rang the door bell.     
At first glance, he looks like yet another playboy.  If there was something Ella had learned from being friends with him for five years, it was that that couldn't be any farther from the truth.  The two had always been on friendly terms, and he was the one person at the agency she was close to, yet he doesn't even officially work there!  Nevertheless, they were never anything more.  Simon was an easygoing guy who Ella enjoyed being around and talking to, but nothing else.
Ella opened the door to see Simon looking handsome in a suit.  "Ready to go?" Simon asked with his usual warm smile.  She smiled back and said "Yes".
The function was lively with many chattering people and great music and food.  Ella took a second to absorb the atmosphere.

"There's Ethan!" Simon said, excitedly and went off to greet him. Ella followed behind.

Simon tapped Ethan's shoulder. "Buddy, I haven't seen you in so long!" he exclaimed. "Yes, it has been too long!" Ethan replied.

Simon turned to Ella. "Ethan, I'd like you to introduce to someone. This is Ella, a friend of mine and the manager at my dad's marketing agency. Ella, this is Ethan. He's a good buddy of mine from college!" he said.

Ethan gave Ella a charismatic and friendly smile and shook her hand. "Pleasure to meet you", he said to her.

"Pleasure to meet you too", Ella answered as she shook his hand.

Ethan looked to be in his early to mid 30s and was very handsome. He wore spectacles that made him look mature and even more attractive.

The two spent a couple seconds longer staring at each other than two new acquaintances usually would. Ella felt herself growing a bit shy. Her polite smile became a shy one. Ethan smiled back.

Simon seemed to automatically sense the sparks and quickly made an excuse to step away.

"Hey, is that Tim from college?" he said as he pointed to no one in particular. Simon gave Ethan a pat on the shoulder. "Take your time chatting you two!" he hastily said before leaving them alone.

Ethan laughed at Simon. "He hasn't changed at all", he said to Ella, and they began engaging in small talk.

"So you are the manager at Starry Marketing Agency, huh?  Extremely impressive that such a pretty young woman like you is so capable and smart!  I love an intelligent woman", Ethan complimented Ella.

Ella felt herself turning red.  "Thank you, you're not so bad yourself.  You organized a very nice function", she replied.

In a matter of minutes, Ella and Ethan grew more comfortable with each other and their small talk became more engaging discussion.

"One should always be professional", Ethan stated.  "At the same time, they shouldn't become too obsessed with organization and structure."

"Yes, but I can't help being a neat freak and trying to live a structured life", Ella laughed.

"That's fine.  Striving for perfection is tiring though.  Learning to be more relaxed and flexible will make live easier and more enjoyable", Ethan replied.

He looked down at his watch.  "I'm sorry, but it's almost time for me to go up and speak.  It was very nice talking to you, Ella", he said, sincerely.  He handed her his business card.  "Feel free to give me a call, whether it's for business or just to talk", he said.  He gave her one last warm smile before walking to the stage.

Ella stared at the business card in her hands.

"So, how'd it go?" Simon popped up next to Ella with a wide grin, scaring her.

That night, Ella tossed and turned in bed, thinking about her encounter with Ethan.  Her mind switched between thinking of Ethan himself, and what he said.  His words echoed in her head.  "Learning to be more relaxed and flexible will make life easier and more enjoyable", she repeated to herself.

That's what Ella needed to do.  Be more relaxed and flexible.


Comments: Things are picking up!  The last main character, Ethan, has been introduced.  What do you guys think of him?  Do you agree with what he said?

I feel like everyone will only continue to like Simon even more.  He is certainly very likable and I love writing his bantering scenes with Kristy.  Simon and Ella also have a sweet friendship.  Although they're not a couple, hopefully this will be a nice treat for TaRo fans.  :)

Ella is beginning to go through development and taking notice of her weaknesses.  Kristy may seem like a robotic character now with her bluntness and seriousness towards work, but she will open up soon too.

Vince didn't appear this chapter, but he will be back next chapter.  More hilarity will ensue between him and Quinn.  Speaking of Quinn, her first day of work will be next chapter as well!

Hope you all enjoyed this chapter and will continue to read!


  1. Yay first one ^^
    I'm so excited, keep up the good work ;D
    ~Your "mini fan"

  2. Yes, you were the first one to read this time. ;)

    Thanks! I will do my best to keep up the good work. :) Glad I have my "mini fan"! Hehe.

  3. lols I only thought the characters as characters and not as actors. But your comment just made me realize TaRo is together in here!!!! haha even though they're not a couple, I'm glad you gave them a sweet friendship :D

    Quinn is so outright, in an adorable way x)

  4. My favorite line this chapter was...

    "Is this game of 20 questions over yet, Ms. Wong?"


  5. Chriselle - Of course you'd like that line. ;) You liked other things too I hope.

    Lynne - That's great, that means you're only looking at the characters themselves. Part of the reason why I didn't include the actors names after the first chapter. Glad you like their friendship! I'm trying to capture friendship between the characters too instead of just love.

    She really is. ^__^ I can definitely imagine Leila in this role, especially when she was younger. It's fun playing out all these scenes in my head with the actors! Hehe.