Irene had been thinking about the proposal she's been outlining on her macbook ever since she met the humble bookstore owner just around the block near her office; Mr Leighton Kingsman. She had to admit though, calling him that? It sounds way too formal, something she cannot picture the therian in any setting at all. The way she sees it, and with the way they've been corresponding messages with one another over the past month, they were a bit around the casual terms of being friends. That's what they are, right? Friends? Albeit she had been planning on this deal for at least three weeks now, but they still talked outside of the office setting, knowing how it suits the two of them better. Irene needed time away from the office and Leigh is not a guy who would come to work in an office only to go back after working 9 to 5. She decided that he really does belong at his humble bookstore that seemingly had plenty of books stored from each aisle neatly and according to their genres as well. 

She stopped by a few weeks ago to get another book that looked outside the economic world, it was a storybook actually. Irene partially remembered that Leigh raised his eyebrows up in surprise when he saw the book she placed on top of the counter to purchase. Obviously he didn't judge and she likes him for that. The two of them had no room to judge and it was nice. She had it all planned out, of course. Today, she didn't check in for work at all. Irene had notified Nadia of her absence for today and while it surprised her secretary greatly, the latter did not attempt to question any further, knowing that the blonde wouldn't be taking a day off for no reason when she's always cooped around work. Technically, she is still working, but… consider it off site and investing her time on another project that piqued her interest and would profit from either way. She slung her bag around her shoulders and grabbed the car keys on the table after donning her coat and scarf before making her way outside of her apartment. 

The sounds of her heels clicked every time she hit the floor, and with the sunglasses she had slid on, it was clear that she was a woman who carries herself with class. Though, anyone could take a look once and tell that she wasn't going to where she actually is going. The elevator ride to the basement parking lot didn't take long since she didn't like to live anywhere high. As soon as she arrived downstairs, Irene dashed over to her white Maserati Quattroporte and started the engine so she could get to her destination on time. Irene didn't drive around often because her driver or Nadia would usually do that, but she was way too lazy to actually be walking around without any mode of transportation of her own, so there it sat prettily parked, when she probably only used it once a month. 

She had texted Leigh two days ago, asking if he would be free on a Friday morning, and told him to make time for her today, which he did. She wouldn't give him any straight answers and only said they were going somewhere. The drive to the animal shelter wouldn't take because it wasn't that far since Evermore is always cornered up but since she told Leigh nothing about where they were going, only for him to dress warmly since winter had already set it, she was here to also fetch him. Irene parked her car across the bookstore and lowered the windows down while perching her head out after sliding her sunglasses down, while texting Leigh he looks cute because she could see him from outside. Her fingers swiped his contact and pressed the phone against her ear as she leaned against her seat, "A, cute sweater. B, I hope you didn't forget our appointment today mister. I totally took a day off work for this so… and C, I'm here. You can probably spot me easily because I'm parked right outside your bookstore and I'm totally waving at you right now." Oh, she did.

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He looked up at her with a curious look when she asked if he thought she was dwindling and he shrugged slightly “I think sometimes you let the stress get the better of people and then you yell at them but” he tilted his head slightly “I think most people will be able to see it’s because you’re dedicated to the company and want the best for it” he nodded a few times, and for that reason, he didn’t think she was dwindling because her focus was in the right place. He grinned and looked down to the floor when she asked if he wasn’t a 9-5 person “More like I don’t have the courage nor the patience to be sitting through long board meetings and giving presentations” he gave a slightly dramatic shudder because that was hardly what he would want to spend his time doing, he did chuckle when she slyly asked for help with the financial reports “I’ll get my fine-tooth comb ready” he teased noting how he was always so meticulous when it came to numbers.

He chuckled slightly when she called him mature and then blamed it on the green tea he drank, he shrugged a little “You’re talking about the guy who still gets excited to go to conventions and dress up as his favorite cartoons remember” he could still be childish when he wanted to be, he was just also pretty mindful of the world around him. “Though I can hook you up with some of the tea if you’re really convinced that’s it” he winked playfully with a smirk. He shook his head when she asked him if he was at least halfway through his list “Mostly because a lot of the things I want are pretty...ambitious” he confessed, a warmth coming to his cheeks as he thought about it “Marry a handsome kind man, adopt a child and give them a chance to have a happy life like my parents did me” he shrugged, grinning bashfully “Who knows if anything will happen but I have to keep hoping for it right?” she looked up at Irene for a moment and then smiled.

She seemed pleasantly surprised by the way he described her, honestly, she was quite an intimidating person to be around and most people probably didn’t try to see past that and so it had the desired effect of keeping people at arm’s length. Leigh had always been there for Irene though, from the moment they met in his store there had been a weird sense of companionship and understanding between them “They don’t care to ask, most people just see what they want to see, which is either competition or a means to an end” he shrugged slightly “I like the way you talk when you have the change to build things...to make new things” he nodded slightly “You sound excited and inspired when it comes to those things” she could often get weighed down in the red tape but her intentions with her company always seemed good and honest to him. "

“That very much depends on how much I have to worry about that day” when his mind go into something he couldn’t just forget it and would find himself mulling over it for hours, unable to shake it from his mind and keeping him awake “Which is another reason the office environment isn’t for me, I’d be up half the night worrying about hostile takeovers” he chuckled under his breath, he was sure she dealt with things like that much better than he would. “I’d love to see you try” he retorted to her bold statement about stealing away his dog “She might not appear it on the outside but she’s very loyal I’ll have you know” he shook his head in a disapproving manner “Why does everyone threaten to steal my dog for me?” he mused playfully noting she wasn’t the first one to say that. “I don’t know” he responded with wide eyes as they put out the bowls of food on the floor, Leigh helped by going over to the big sacks of kibble and distriibuting it into one of the many bowls and then before long they were going to each kennel and slipping the bowls inside, all the dogs jumped and wagged their tails excitedly at the thought of their dinner. It was pretty cute.

She couldn't help but chew her bottom lip as she heard him tell her how she's behaving. It does make her feel bad that some of her employees had to deal with her mood swings but there were times when they acted like they just started on the work when they clearly have been there for years. It has only been a few years since Irene revealed herself publicly as the CEO of Unruly Eve. Before this, it was all proxies. She didn't want them to take her lightly. "I do want the best for the company… the board of directors don't take me seriously and some of the employees think they can do the same which honestly irks me more than it should. It shouldn't bother me but it does." And it stresses her out to know that she had to command their respect or else people will always walk over her. It doesn't help that the blonde had a defensive switch too. She let out a groan when he mentioned presentations, those had to be the thing she hated the most while working in her executive position. 

"Even as an executive officer in my own company, I can tell you that it is so exhausting to be doing presentations. I don't think half the room even paid attention." Sometimes she tried to embarrass them by enquiring on a few things related to it. She felt lucky that Leigh was there to help her with the financial skirmish. She has never been able to work well around numbers simply because it frustrates her. Other things set aside, her brain is pretty much useful for the company. "Hey, conventions are nice. Packed and chaotic with humans being humans but… nice. Cartoons are cool too…" she defended, admittedly she was a fan of Happy Tree Friends. They were cute. To her. The look on her face upon hearing that he was willing to hook her up on some of the tea he drank religiously was priceless, Irene was more of a coffee person but she did stop by a few times to drink tea just to convey her respects to the kitsune himself. Doesn't mean she especially adored them. "I love you Leigh but no thank you. You can keep the tea." 

She raised her eyebrows up in surprise when he confessed the things he wished for were ambitious, how ambitious could they be? "I think that's cute. Not ambitious by the way. Realistic. You want to find someone you love sincerely and then start a family with them. What's so ambitious about that? And here I thought you were going to unveil your evil master plan this entire time to take over the world." Their friendship was weird, it started so randomly but then it progressed into something better. Now she didn't want to let him go. She had a small blush on her cheeks when he pointed out her excitement about creating new projects, Irene did like doing that. But nobody ever saw it past her cold exterior which was why it was hard to go through it. "I mean… it's exciting to create something on your own, you know…" That's why she was so happy to know Leigh wanted to be a partner in this joint project too. 

She understood his reasoning, some people are not well equipped for the office war. Irene might not like it as much but she sure as hell would make sure she gets to win at the end of the day. "Because your dog is cute, that's why. Did anyone else want to do the same? I may need to cut the line then" she jested playfully. The sacks were big and for a brief moment, Irene stared at them with wide eyes because there is no way she can lift even half of that. "I think if I attempt to lift it is just going to fall over me. Man it's big…" she shook her head and took a few bowls to scoop generous amount of kibbles on each before making her way to the kennel. "Why can't humans be more like them…" 

Leigh smiled slightly sheepishly, he was sure there weren’t many people who could call her out for her flaws and get away with it, she was quite a stern person and he could certainly understand why people even saw her as quite intimidating “I don’t think you necessarily need to scare them into believing you’re the right person for the job...they want to see a vision they can believe in, someone they believe is doing something great” he nodded slightly, sometimes he did feel like she lost sight of the bigger picture when she got frustrated and when people saw that side of her, it might make them believe she didn’t care.

But the truth was when you looked past everything, Irene did care, probably more deeply than even she would. People didn’t just drive their friend to a shelter to volunteer for no good reason, she had good intentions but sometimes bad executions of them. “Presentations are just one of those things where...you know someone must have invented it and you just...really want to slap that person” he laughed under his breath, he avoided doing them at all costs. He grinned slightly when she said she liked conventions “It’s the one kind of chaos I’m actually okay with...mostly because there’s usually something there I’m really excited to see or do and so that outweighs my worries” plus he found people at conventions were just nicer people mostly, everyone was willing to talk about their favorite things and complement one another on costumes. It was nice.

He winked when she said he could keep the tea “Your loss” he responded with a wry smile, he would always be tea’s number one fan, especially bubble tea made with jasmine green, he loved that a whole lot. Leigh blushed slightly when she said he was cute for wanting the things he wanted, she called it realistic but sometimes he wondered if time was passing by too fast for it to become a reality “Don’t you think if I was going to find my life partner...life would have brought me him by now?” he asked in a shy voice, maybe he was being greedy but he had spent most of his 20s on a relationship that only ended in heartbreak and honestly, he was hoping maybe he could be happy soon. Was that too much to ask?

He grinned slightly “You know it wouldn’t hurt to let more people see that side of you” he jested as he nudged against her shoulder between pouring out bowls for the dogs, making sure to put enough in each. He laughed when she asked him if anyone else had tried to steal Minha to which he shrugged “There have been a few claims, though no one has been able to do it yet” he gave an amused smile “They have a lot of dogs to care for here huh?” it made him a little sad to be honest because they all deserved to have happy homes “They deserve so much better than these little kennels” he commented sadly, it made him feel a little down that he couldn’t save them all himself.

Leigh had a point but Irene had this understanding whenever she does something out of the ordinary, or something that doesn't quite intimidate the other board members into a corner they couldn't escape, they tend to belittle her and start stepping on her. That is when she realized she hated how the hierarchy works there. "Yeah I tried that… it didn't work, Leigh" she sighed, "it wasn't as if I want to hold their firstborn and dangle them in the air, threatening to drop the poor baby from a 60 storey building should they disrespect me again but they do kinda make it seem like I'm the villain in that story." So to pay them back, she became the villain they thought she was. "I'll try… again" she mumbled, she could give it a try, right? "But I can't promise the outcome will be pretty because it's not up to me, it's up to them to accept the person I am." Irene sometimes means pure business only and when personal issues often get in the way, she gets aggravated by it. 

"Well, Microsoft PowerPoint's virtual software was developed by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin so you can try finding those two and slap them. Considering they're still alive anyhow." She didn't mind doing presentations, as someone who operates as an executive in her own company that often invested in a lot of things, she is used to it and convincing is one skill she had to retain until today if she wanted to survive in the corporate world. It doesn't mean she liked it though. "It sounds nice… I'm not sure if I'll ever have the time to even think about going there but maybe one day… nothing is impossible" as long as she has someone to accompany her and actually hold her back in case she meets any rival or anyone that pisses her off. "I just need to make sure the company is left under someone… reliable before doing any of that, which used to be my CFO who is now… well, gone." To say that the blonde wasn't bitter her CFO had to quit would be an understatement. 

"Leigh, you're in your late twenties, not forties… you'll find someone or they'll knock on your doorstep maybe, people would be blind to not see you… pun intended." She didn't bother with relationships because the diviner never took them seriously so she couldn't exactly give viable advice to the kitsune without making herself look like a hypocrite. Irene pursed her lips slightly and looked down when he pointed out that she should let people see this side of her more often, "Oh really? I was nice for an hour and the people around me were ready to pounce on my weak spot like a bunch of hungry hyenas, Leigh. But maybe I'll curate my own audience next time, that'll work. It worked with you" because Leigh is a generally kind person, of course it works well with him but the kind of people she was too used to being surrounded by? Not so much. 

"Now that you said that, maybe it's time I do some spring cleaning in the company… you know… some people are slacking way above their pay grade and maybe they need a reminder that I don't employ lazy people." That would cause chaos in the office, for sure. "So not yet huh… I guess I can give it a go." She allowed her bright hues to scour the place and pout, Leigh was right, "Maybe we can give them a better home… you know the dog cafe plan we have, there's a reason why I brought you here today and no it's not just to volunteer…" 

“Aren’t you just proving them right if all you ever do is argue with them though? You’re supposed to be a team...not at a war” he shrugged, he didn’t know too much about corporate dynamics but he did know when people weren’t focused on the overall goal, progress was very difficult to make when teams were warring against one another. “Have you thought about...redistributing?” he didn’t like the idea of firing people but if the problem was getting so bad she couldn’t lead her own ideas she had to do something “I mean there has to be someone there who believes in your vision no?” though he couldn’t definitely say for sure she needed to do some work on her own attitude too.

He laughed because she somehow knew who the developers of PowerPoint were and it honestly didn’t surprise him because this was Irene he was talking to and somehow she always knew these random things “Have I ever told you that I need to drag you to a quiz night some time” he jested, he was sure she would win with ease somehow. They’d be a hell of a team that was for sure. “You can make time” he insisted as he gave Irene a judging look, she always talked about being constantly busy but he had noticed she tended to create work for herself to do which often created the busyness “Well it sounds like you need to do some serious hiring, don’t CEOs know a bunch of others” he commented wondering how networking in that scene worked.

Leigh sighed under his breath, she did have a decent point that he was still young enough to find someone but it was frustrating watching pretty much everyone he knew find their partner and settle down, most even had kids by now and then there was him “But what if I’m not paying enough attention and I miss them” he sighed under his breath, it was frustrating because he had spent so much time single now. The kitsune gave her an exasperated look when she said people were looking to pounce on her weak spot the moment she let her guard “You know I’ve seen the very worst in people and I still found a way to give people a chance...it’s not a scary as you might think” it did work with him indeed and he’d met many good people in his life while taking chances.

He raised brow when she explained how she brought him today for more reasons than to just volunteer “Well you got a dog too” he pointed out, noting that the pup she had picked out earlier had barely left her side since she had given it a name. Of course that was him naturally being pedantic because it was clean she was talking about something else “You wanna ask the owners if they’ll lend us some of their dogs?” he questioned and tilted his head slightly.

The entire time, she had a frown that actually did make her look like a girl who was pouting after not being able to win her mother's heart after 8 hours of convincing them to buy her a doll. It actually looked funny considering who she is. "Redistributing? Yeah a few times… they don't make it easy though. I wouldn't locate them at the main office in Paris of course but that leaves him in Prague, Berlin, and probably Milan… since the other branches are occupied already a few months ago. These managers also pick their own too… do there's that." Irene never paid mind to what they wanted so long as they do their job and not cause trouble for her company. 

"Or were you meaning by cutting them off the teams? Could do that too but to terminate their contracts is also another hassle gosh" she grumbled, she had enough things to stress over, "Admittedly I can just leave that to Nadia" what can't her secretary do? "My only ally in that goddamn company is my secretary who has worked with me for a long time… but some are loyal so there's that… perhaps if I pitch the ideas better they'll realize I do more than just approve things in my seat." That could be a start. When Leigh said he would drag her to a quiz night , she chuckled and winked playfully, "I love trivia nights to be honest… I just never had the time to do them and nobody to accompany me. I once got so bored I used those flashcards to ask myself questions I could answer." 

He was right, as a CEO of a well known company in the interior architecture and design world as well as other minor fields since they've been branching out in the past two decades, she had a wall of contacts but she also knew who to trust and who to not."I guess I could give a few calls… To be honest, the only reason why I haven't done that is because they're either old geezers I need to kiss up to which I don't, or inexperienced 4th generation executives who know nothing because nepotism drives deep." And Irene Farley doesn't like dealing with unnecessary issues, though she could very well put on a nice front. It was so cute to see Leigh stressing over something that probably has happened and he didn't realize, "I can set you up on a blind date just to make him jealous if you want." 

He was doing a good job at convincing her if she was being honest, so Irene just sighed, "Chances are so rare so you have to be careful who you give them to… what if they end up betraying you for it." She did come here with the intention of acquiring some of them, "Mhmm I wanted to rent them instead of buying. That way we can always have a variety in the cafe every once in a while. I want to give the dogs here a chance to be loved by others too. How nice would it be to give them a space for that? A space to show they can also be loved even if they were once abandoned?" She will personally oversee the payment and every process involved.

He raised his brows as she mulled over different things she could do to strengthen the support behind her in a business “I mean if people aren’t aligned with your visions for the company the first thing you should do is listen to their concerns but if that doesn’t help then it makes no sense for people to be there antagonizing your vision right?” she seemed level-headed and strategic enough to make good decisions so if she was really facing adversity simply because they didn’t like her then he couldn’t see any other sane way to resolve that. “Well at least you have someone there for you” he reassured her when she said her secretary was the one who was always on her side “And someone in a close position to you too” though it sounded like this woman probably needed a raise or a promotion.

“You do?” he asked and lit up for a moment when she responded that she liked trivia nights “Me too..though I rarely get to go because you need a team and…” he didn’t really have to say out loud that he didn’t really have enough friends to make one did he? Of course he had some friends but not the type he could just assemble for a night out easily, it would probably take 6 months of planning to get Yeon’s time at the very least. “Well then why not look at newer companies, there’s plenty of junior CEOs with smaller companies that might be willing to trade you manpower for investment, bonus, you get to branch into an industry you don’t already have a window into...might benefit you right back” and of course Leigh being Leigh watched stocks like a hawk so he knew plenty of promising companies, there were several in Evermore alone.

Leigh parted his lips and raised his brows when Irene said she could set him up on a blind date and then he blushed slightly “I fall to pieces around one guy...I don’t think adding any more to the mix is a good idea” even if it was only to make Eun jealous, Leigh didn’t really like to mess with people’s feelings and he would feel bad if he met someone that really liked him and didn’t feel the same way “Besides...I kinda like crushing on the one guy” he was a special guy after all. “I like it” he commented when she proposed the idea of renting the dogs from the shelter “We would pass out flyers for the adoption center and it people fell in love then they could get in contact” in a way they’d be helping to get the poor animals into good homes and he could definitely get behind that.

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