🌸 ALL THE WRONG REASONS 🌸
🌹 EPISODE TWELVE 🌹
Adrienne returned to the office on Tuesday. She felt
confident and proud of herself. True, she still hadn’t figured
out how the heck she would tell her friends about Justin, but
other than that, everything was perfect.
Justin is perfect.
He deserved to be sought after, drooled upon, dreamt
of, but not for the reasons they all believed. Not for his face,
his body, his money, his cars, or his privilege. He was a total
dream guy because he’s romantic and sweet… he’s
wonderful inside and out.
Now, to tell my friends…
She figured she needed to break up with Troy first.
And then tell her friends. And then her mother. In that order.
Whatever happened after that, she would have to take
it. She’d gone too far. She owed it to Justin. She owed it to
Jada called her to her office.
“Adrienne, since you took a long weekend, I trust you
are more well-rested than I am,” Jada started. Adrienne
rolled her eyes. “So, you have to make up for my lack of
sleep yesterday by attending this meeting with a potential
advertiser. This is going to be a huge account.”
“Don’t we have a department that handles that?”
“Yes. But I don’t want them to mess it up. I want to
send my best weapon to make sure that we bag this
account. Plus, the decision makers are within your age
group. I’m sure you can better reach out to them.”
Adrienne sighed. “All right. What time are they
“Unfortunately, they would only be available at seven
tonight. You have a dinner meeting with the representatives
of AB Wellness at The Sixth in Lever Du Soleil Hotel.”
She blinked back. “ABW? That’s good. What rates do
you want me to give to them?”
“Standard less thirty.”
“Thirty?” she asked in surprise. Their magazine
enjoyed a great reputation, and, as a well-known venue for
advertising, companies almost fought for an ad space. Blush
typically only gave their best customers a maximum ten
“I want this account, Adrienne. Their health clubs are
booming and that’s the direction we want to go to. They will
make us look good.”
Adrienne stood up from her seat and turned to leave.
“I’ll keep you posted.”
She received a message from Justin as soon as she
got back to her office.
Justin: Dinner tonight, honey?
She sighed glumly. She wants nothing more than
spend the evening with him.
She replied: Can’t. Working again. Meeting some
advertisers at Lever Du Soleil. Jada’s job—assigned to me.
Her punishment for me taking the day off yesterday.
Justin: Sorry, hon. My fault she did that. I’ll see you
after your meeting. I promise to make up for your evening.
She smiled. She felt sorrier that she couldn’t have
dinner with him instead.
At seven o’clock she arrived at The Sixth, a restaurant
in the five-star hotel, Lever Du Soleil. “I have a meeting with
somebody from AB Wellness,” she told a reception
surprisingly was only set for two.
“Aren’t there going to be more people coming?”
“We were only told to arrange for two,” the waiter
said. “Can I offer you something to drink?”
“Okay. White wine please.”
“Right away, ma’am.”
She reviewed her notes as she waited.
After five minutes, she heard somebody in front of her
say, “I’m sorry, I’m late.”
She looked up and found herself staring at a pair of
aquamarine eyes. Eyes she’d seen before. She stood up
from her seat and stared at the man dressed in a dark gray
suit that screamed luxury with every thread. He was smiling
at her, showing the deep dimples on either side of his lips.
His reddish brown hair was not disheveled this time. It was
combed perfectly in place, which made him look
professional and formidable, far from the seemingly fun and
carefree guy she bumped into a few days ago.
He extended his hand to her. “We meet again, Miss
It took her a moment to speak. What was his name?
She was embarrassed to admit that she forgot.
He grinned. “You forgot my name, didn’t you?” he said
in a teasing tone, catching her off-guard. She was about to
say something but immediately he added, “Jin Starck.”
She shook his hand. “I’m sorry.”
“That’s fine. It’s a first for me, though.” That should
have made him sound cocky, but the tone he used made it
easy for Adrienne to pass it up as a joke. “Please, have a
“I was… expecting to meet with some people from
Jin nodded. “Yes. Me.”
“But…” Jin hardly looked like a guy who worked for a
“Were you expecting a bouncer-type muscle man? Or
perhaps a healthy looking female?”
But Adrienne simply said, “Sorry. Jada didn’t mention
the names of who I was meeting today. And I also thought
that I would meet more than one.”
“Well, my team is still in Paris,” he said. “I’m already
here on business, so I decided why don’t I just meet with
She nodded. She didn’t miss the words, “my team”.
or something. And Adrienne couldn’t help thinking that he
looked so young.
She remembered that Jada was dead-set about
getting this account. She would have her head if she
messed this up just because she was caught unprepared by
the guy she was meeting.
“So, I was told you were looking to put an ad
campaign with us.”
Jin nodded. “Yes. Our two lines of Health and Wellness
services, Rain and Soleil are looking more into cosmopolitan
men and women. We’d like to get it in line with this market
with our set of elite services.”
They were interrupted by the waiter who took their orders.
Afterwards, Jin proceeded with the specifics. In
fairness to him, he looked like he knew what he was talking
about. He looked young, but obviously, he was smart and he
Adrienne discussed his options and what Blush could
offer to them. She even threw in a first-hand feature and
review of their services in one of her columns, to which Jin
Starck seemed pleased to obtain.
When Adrienne gave him the standard rate, he didn’t
seem to flinch at all. Instead, he replied, “Draw up the contract, send it to my office and my secretary will return it
to you with my signature.”
That’s it? He is signing up without negotiating the
“Um, all right. I would include the payment terms
along with our offer.”
“I can pay via telegraphic transfer or check,” he said.
“No need for terms. I can pay upfront if that’s what you
Now, he didn’t sound like he just heads Marketing,
unless his other job is also Head of Finance.
“So, it’s settled? Do I get your verbal confirmation
then?” Adrienne asked carefully.
Jin grinned. “You can email me and you’ll get an email
confirmation if your boss requires it from you.”
Adrienne smiled. “No. It’s just that, it will be a
privilege for us to secure this account,” she said honestly.
“She would want to ensure that the deal is a go, and we will
make a space for you in next month’s release. There are
other ads in line. Needless to say, she would kill me if I
reserved a spot and then the client backed out.”
Jin nodded. “It’s a done deal, Miss Miller. I can assure
What if he has no right to decide?
“And of course, your word is good enough because
you’re…” she trailed off, subtly asking him to supply her the
information she needed. She realized that even his business
card didn’t state his position.
Jin smiled at her mischievously, obviously, realizing
what she was getting at. “Because I’m Jin Starck,” he said,
much to Adrienne’s frustration.
He watched her expression for a while. Then as if he
decided to end her agony, he said, “Miss Miller, ABW is a
subsidiary of Starck Hoteliers. So I think, you can tell your
boss that my word is good to go.”
Adrienne scanned her brain for a moment, while trying
to keep her face steady. Then she remembered. Starck
Hoteliers owns more than fifty five-star hotels, spanning
three different continents. No wonder, Jin Starck looked so
young and yet he seemed to know what he was doing, and
had full decision-making powers.
Shit! I looked like a fool!
“I’m sorry, Mr. Starck…”
“Jin,” he said calmly. “You can call me Jin, Adrienne.”
She nodded. “Jin,” she said. “I’m sorry. I should have
had that information beforehand.” Instead of making up
excuses, she decided to own up to her mistake.
He grinned. “It’s okay. I get that reaction a lot,” he
said. “I guess I look like I still belong in school rather than in
the boardroom, making decisions on my parents’ behalf.”
Adrienne smiled. “I must admit I did wonder how old
“Twenty-three. And I’m managing one fourth of our
hotels. I also look after ABW…” He stared at her for a
moment. “On my mother’s behalf.”
Adrienne was impressed. Most twenty-three year olds
barely have finished college. And Jin Starck managed a
chain of hotels all over the globe.
“Your mother?” she echoed.
Jin nodded. “Yes. AB stands for Ariana Blanc. It was
her concept. But sometimes she couldn’t attend to it. So I
help out. She’s a very busy woman.”
“I think you have a busy family.” She smiled.
He nodded. “Yes. My mother doesn’t work much on
the business though. She works more on her passion. You
might know her.”
She looked up at him curiously.
“She goes by the name Amanda Seville.”
Again, Adrienne scanned her brain. Then she blinked
back. “Amanda Seville as in…the writer?”
Jin’s smile spread across his face. “Yes.”
Adrienne was surprised. She read many of Amanda
Seville’s novels and she was one of her favorite historical
romance writers. She couldn’t believe she actually had
dinner with her son.
“Wow,” she whispered.
“I know. She makes me proud. Not only because she’s
a talented writer. But also because she’s the best mother
anyone could ever ask for.”
Hearing him say that pinched Adrienne’s heart. How
she wished she could say the same about her own mother.
“So now, you know more about me personally, and
since we’re done with our negotiations and not even
halfway through dinner, perhaps you can tell me more about
yourself, Adrienne. Where are you from?”
“Boston,” she replied.
“What do your parents do, if you don’t mind me
“My parents are both doctors. My father is a neuro-
surgeon. My mother is an OB-GYN. My sister studies
Jin looked at her for a while and then he smiled, “So I
guess, you’re the odd one out.” Again, the light, teasing
tone he used made it difficult for Adrienne to feel insulted
by what he said. She actually smiled at his attempt to tease
“You can say that. But I have a passion for writing. I
love working for Blush and I love what I do now.”
“Didn’t they pressure you to go into medicine too?”
“Story of my life,” she murmured.
“Well, at least you aren’t working at all.” She raised a
brow at him. He added, “Because if you love what you do,
it’s not work at all. It’s all fun and games every day.”
“Do you like what you do?”
He nodded. “Oui, mademoiselle. I was born and raised
to manage our family business.”
Adrienne was surprised by how easy Jin was to talk to.
She didn’t feel like she was having a business meeting at
all. More than half the time, they weren’t talking about
business. They spoke about their families. Of course, she
didn’t tell him how broken her relationship was with her
mother. That part used to be Jill’s and Yuan’s territory, and
now it belonged to Justin. She only answered his questions
where she grew up in, which college she went to and then
stuff she did at Blush.
Contrary to Justin’s belief, Jin didn’t ogle at her at all.
He seemed actually funny and easygoing. Nothing in his
actions or lines made her feel like he flirted with her. But of
course, she didn’t consider herself an expert in that
By the end of dinner, although she insisted on paying
for the bill, Jin didn’t allow her to do it.
“It’s my hotel, Adrienne,” he said, chuckling. “You can
consider this as part of my advance payment for advertising
He walked her to the front of the hotel. “Do you have
She almost told him that she didn’t when she saw a
familiar figure stepping out of a familiar Ferrari. Her heart
leapt out of her chest. She involuntarily smiled.
Jin noticed her face as she watched Justin approach
“Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about you getting
home safely,” Jin said. She turned to him. “I’ll send you an
email confirmation first thing in the morning. Please send
me your final proposal and contract.”
He extended his hand to her and she shook it. “Nice to
meet you, Jin.”
He gave her a final nod and went off before Justin
could reach them.
Justin’s eyes narrowed as he watched Jin Starck
disappear into the elevators.
Adrienne turned to him. “So… the world seems really
small,” he said a little tartly.
Adrienne laughed. “I know, right? He’s advertising in
“Hmmm…” Justin said. “For what? Playstation?”
Adrienne laughed again. “I know. He didn’t look like
the type. But he’s actually advertising for a spa.”
“Shouldn’t he still be in school?” he asked.
“He said he’s only twenty-three. But I guess if you
operate a family-owned chain of hotels, you start young.”
Justin took her hand in his, and Adrienne almost
panicked. But Justin only gripped her hand in his tightly. He
pulled her gently towards his car.
“It’s a few meters walk, Adrienne,” he said. “And right
now, I’m beyond caring.”
She sighed and quickly followed him to his car. When
they got in, he pulled her to him and crushed his lips to
hers. He took her breath away, like he wanted to remind her
who she belonged to. And God, how could she ever forget
When he pulled away, she smiled at him. “Are you
He shook his head gently. “No. But sometimes it kills
me that I can’t punch the life out of any guy who shows
interest in you.”
Adrienne smiled at him apologetically. “Jin Starck is
not interested in me. He didn’t even flirt with me. And I’m
not usually interested in boys younger than I am.” She
stared at him, trying to give him some reassurance. Then
she took a deep breath and asked, “How long can you
He took a deep breath and kissed her lips again. Then
he breathed, “As long as it takes.”
He pulled away from her and then he started the
engine. Before he drove off, he asked, “What did you say his
name was again?”
“Jin Starck. Apparently, they own Starck Hoteliers. And
oh my God, his mother is Amanda Seville! She’s like… my
favorite writer of all time!”
Justin stared at her for a long moment. And then he
turned towards the road. His face turned sober and he
gripped the steering wheel tightly, before driving off.
“Justin, are you okay?”
He didn’t look at her. Instead, he continued staring
ahead. With a hard look on his face, he murmured,