"Mother? What the hell are you doing?!" Jongin shouted.
"What am I doing?! What are you doing?! Who is this?" the Queen asked angrily and pointed at Taemin who was hiding behind Jongin.
"This is Taerin. How did you know that I brought someone here anyway?"
"This is not the point, Jongin! You can't just bring some dirty commoner into your bed!"
Taemin felt offended, humiliated, hurt, angry... He felt like crying but he didn't want to. He held on to Jongin's clothes tightly and bit his lip in anger.
"Yaah! Mother! Don't you ever say that about her again! Taerin is... I'm in love with her and she will live here with me. And I will marry her." the Prince said and turned to Taemin. He knew Taemin must have been offended by his mother's words. He held his hand and squeezed it softly but it didn't make the boy feel any better.
"What are you saying? In love with her? When the hell did you fall in love with her?!"
"Today! Does it even matter?! I love her and I will marry her. That's what you wanted, right? You wanted me to get married. Well, I'm going to get married now."
"You can't marry someone like her! You always refused even to talk to any of the girls I introduced you to. I even told you you can marry the Japanese Princess and you refused! And now, you suddenly want to marry this... person?! You are out of your mind, Jongin! If you want this girl, you can keep her as a concubine but don't you ever think about marrying her! I won't let you marry some... nobody."
Jongin felt extremely angry. He felt really bad for Taemin. How could his mother say these things? "With all due respect, mother, this is none of your business. I love Taerin and I will never marry someone else. Please, don't disrespect her ever again. And now, excuse me, I would like to be alone with her."
Taeyeon glared at her son. "You'll regret this, Jongin. I'm telling your father today."
"Okay." the Prince said coldly. The Queen turned around and left the room.
Kai turned to Taemin again. He held him tightly against his chest and d his long hair. "I'm sorry, Taemin."
Taemin started sobbing and Jongin felt his heart sink. He held him even tighter and soothed his back.
"I'm so sorry. Look at me, please."
Taemin slowly looked up at the Prince with tears rolling down his cheeks. Jongin wiped the tears with his thumb and looked into the boy's eyes.
"I know she offended you and I'm so sorry. You know I don't think the same way she does, right?"
"I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"Your highness? Could you just let me go? Please?"
"Taemin, I... I want you to stay with me. I thought you said you will try to return my feelings."
"Your highness, I'm sorry but I can't bear such humiliation. Your mother clearly doesn't want me here. Not to mention that she thinks that I'm a girl. Which means, if anyone finds out that I'm a boy, who knows what will happen to both of us. People will know eventually. We can't hide it forever."
Jongin sighed and brought Taemin to the bed, making him sit down. "Listen, I'll protect you from anything and I won't let anyone humiliate you again. I know you need time to accept it and I'll wait until you're ready. Just, please, stay with me."
Taemin looked down and nodded. "Whatever you say, your highness."
"Hey, look at me." Jongin tilted his head to look at the other boy. Taemin looked up slowly. "Do you want to stay? I don't want you to stay just because I told you so, just because I'm a prince. It's not an order, Taemin. If you're going to stay, I want you to do it by your own will."
Taemin smiled weakly. "Your highness, I don't want to lie to you. I was living a normal life with my father. I was working with my friends. I had some issues but I was an ordinary boy like all others. And then, suddenly, I was taken away by force. I had to leave my father behind. Now, I have to pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm being humiliated and offended but I can't say a single word. So, to be really honest, no, I don't want to stay. But I will, for you."
The Prince nodded and kept silent for a moment. "You can go if you want. I won't force you to do something you don't wanna do. You can go."
Taemin looked up at the Prince, noticing the hint of sadness in his voice. His face looked sad too and for the first time since he met him, he wasn't looking at the boy. He was looking down to the floor. Taemin sighed and placed his hand on Jongin's. The latter slowly looked at Taemin, his eyes started watering a bit.
"I don't want to stay here and I don't want to have to endure all of this. But, I don't want to leave you either. I want to try and like you back. So, I got no choice but stay." Taemin said with a warm smile, taking Jongin's hand in his smaller one.
Kai looked at the boy in front of him and smiled. "Thank you."
Taemin smiled back. Then, the two got interrupted by a weird sound. It was Taemin's stomach. The boy blushed and held his tummy, as if it will make the growling sound go away.
Jongin chuckled. "You must be hungry. I'll tell them to bring us lunch." he got up and called Minho.
"Why didn't they bring lunch yet?" he asked the guard.
"I'm sorry, your highness. I'll go see if it's ready." Minho bowed and turned to walk away.
"Wait." the Prince said.
Minho turned back to him. "Yes?"
"What about Taerin's wing? Is it ready?"
"Well... Your highness, I..."
"What is it? Talk."
"Actually, it was almost ready but Lady Taeyeon told the maids to leave. And... she said no one's allowed to get in."
Jongin frowned. "Oh, so that's how it's going to be now. Well, then, bring me lunch to Taerin's wing. We'll be eating there."
"But... Your highness..."
"You heard me. Now, go."
Minho bowed and left. Jongin went back into his room and told Taemin to follow him. The boy took his clothes with him and left the room with the Prince. They went to Taemin's new wing but there was a guard there, blocking the entrance.
"Move." Jongin hissed, trying to control his anger. But the guard didn't move. He just stood there.
"I said move!" he yelled, finally losing his temper, making Taemin startle.
"Your highness, Lady Taeyeon-"
"I know what Lady Taeyeon said and I'm telling you to move!"
"I-I can't... Your highness, I was told to-"
The Prince lost it for real this time. Who was this man to disobey him? He let go of Taemin's hand and strangled the guard, pinning him to the wall. Then, he leaned closer to him. "I'm telling you to ing move from my way or you'll seriously regret it." he threatened in a low voice and let go of the guard. The man fell down to the ground and held his throat with shaky hands. He coughed repeatedly until his breath went back to normal. Jongin crouched down and gave him a sharp glare. "Will you ever get in my way again?"
"Your highness, I..." the guard stuttered and looked down.
"I asked you a question! Answer it!" the Prince yelled.
"Your highness... Please, stop." Taemin begged and placed his hand on Jongin's shoulder.
Jongin sighed and got up. "Get up." he ordered.
The guard slowly got up and coughed again. Taemin felt really bad for the guy. After all, he was just doing as he was told.
"Don't you ever disobey me again. Feel free to tell my mother what happened. Now, move."
The man walked away slowly. Jongin opened the door of the room and let Taemin in first. The boy looked around with his mouth open.
"Do you like it?" the Prince asked with a smile.
"Of course I do! It's amazing! All this is for me?" Taemin walked around the room, touching the bed with the tip of his fingers to see if it was real. He thought he was dreaming. He never imagined he could ever be living in such room or sleeping in such bed.
"Yes, it's for you, Taeminnie." Jongin chuckled, amused at how happy Taemin was.
"Thank you so much!" The long-haired boy said and jumped on the bed. He closed his eyes and stayed there, enjoying how soft and comfortable it felt.
"You know, it makes me so happy to see you like this." Jongin chuckled at himself. He never thought he would feel this way towards anyone before.
Taemin blushed. Damn. What should he say? "Oh, I... Th-thank you?"
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door and two maids came inside with many plates of food. Taemin sighed, relieved. They saved him from an awkward situation. The maids placed the food on a low table then bowed and left. The smell made Taemin even more hungry than he already was. He sat up straight and eyed the food. The Prince chuckled. "Come on, let's eat. What are you waiting for?"
Taemin quickly walked to the table and sat down, crossing his legs. He took a pair of chopsticks and started eating. Jongin did the same and ate his food.
"Oh god, I've never ate anything that good in my whole life." Taemin blurted out with his mouth half full.
The Prince laughed softly. "Here, eat this." he fed him a piece of meat with his own hands.
"It's so delicious!" the boy was practically , which made Jongin's heart skip a beat. Taemin's moan sounded so sinful to him and he loved it. The two kept eating and Kai kept feeding Taemin until they were both full. Jongin got up and took a plate full of sweet rice cakes. He sat on an armchair at the other end of the room and beckoned Taemin to come sit beside him. The boy slowly walked towards him and sat down.
"Is the food always that tasty here?" he asked.
Kai nodded and took a bite of one of the rice cakes
"Really? Then I'll stay here for sure!"
The Prince pouted. "Only for the food?"
"I know, I know, I'm kidding. Open your mouth." he brought the rice cake to Taemin's lips and the younger took a bite.
"Hmmm, it's good. Give me one."
Jongin smiled and gave one to Taemin. He slowly moved closer to him and put his arm around the boy's waist. Taemin tensed a bit at first, then relaxed again. He rested his head on Jongin's shoulder earning a wide and happy grin from him.
"I love you." the Prince whispered.
"It's okay, you don't have to say it back."
"Your highness? Can I ask you something?"
"How did you figure out that you're gay? You said you never loved anyone."
"Well, yeah, I never loved anyone but I had, um... let's say a small crush on someone."
"Oh... who is it?"
"Do you remember the guy that was with me this morning?" Taemin nodded. "Well, that's Sehun. He's my best friend. I've known him since he was born. We grew up together and I kind of had a crush on him when I was a kid. Of course I never told him. I thought it was wrong to like another boy. But I tried kissing him once and I liked it."
"Oh, but was he okay with you kissing him? Didn't he say anything?" Taemin couldn't help but feel a little jealous. He thought he was the only one Jongin ever loved. But it turned out the Prince even kissed someone else before.
"I told him I just wanted to know how it feels to kiss someone. He kept avoiding me for a few days but he just forgot about it after a while. It's been a really long time though. I don't feel anything for him anymore. He's just my best friend."
Taemin just hummed and nodded.
"I only love you. I never loved Sehun. It was just a childhood crush. You are my first love."
Taemin looked up at Jongin and smiled. Then gave him a kiss on the cheek. Jongin grinned happily and held him closer. "Why does it have to be that complicated? I wish I wasn't a prince. I wish I was someone else. It would have been so much easier."
"Well, being a prince isn't bad either. You get to eat good food every day." Taemin chuckled.
"You only think about food, don't you?" the Prince laughed.
"What's better than food?"
"Me." Kai said confidently.
Taemin laughed. "No, the food we ate was so much better. Especially those rice cakes."
"Well, you tasted the rice cakes but you never tasted me." he smirked.
The long-haired boy blushed. He didn't know what to say. It was too awkward. The Prince noticed it so he tried to lighten the mood a bit. "But I bet I taste the same as a rice cake. I just ate one." he laughed.
Taemin laughed too. "So did I. So, I guess we both taste like rice cakes."
Jongin smiled and a thought came to his mind. He grabbed Taemin's hand and got up, making him get up as well.
"W-where are we going?" Taemin asked, a bit surprised by the sudden move.
"To the garden. You have to see it. It's really beautiful." Jongin said and dragged the boy out of the room and down the stairs until they reached the garden. It was huge. There were flowers and small trees everywhere. Little birds were playing around. Taemin never saw something as beautiful as this garden.
"You're right. It's... amazing."
"I know, right? I always come here since I was a kid. I love it. Come on, I'll show you around." the Prince grabbed Taemin's hand and started walking around, showing him every corner of the garden. They kept walking, running, playing until the sun was nearly setting and they got tired. They walked together to a swing and sat down. Taemin looked around and smiled. The sky was a mixture of orange, red and blue. "I love watching the sunset. It's so beautiful here."
"You're much more beautiful, Taeminnie."
"Oh... Thank you."
"Hmm. Do you want to play?"
"Huh? Play what?"
"We're on a swing, Taemin."
"Oh! Right." he laughed. "Yeah, sure."
Jongin smiled and started moving the swing slowly. Taemin wanted to move closer to the Prince but hesitated. And, as if he could read his mind, Jongin came closer and held Taemin's hand.
"I think I... No, forget it."
"What is it? Tell me."
"No, it's nothing."
"Taemin, tell me."
"Okay, fine. IthinkI'mstartingtolikeyou." Taemin replied, low and fast. His cheeks turned a cute shade of pink, almost the same color as his shirt.
"What did you say? Speak slower." Jongin pretended he didn't understand but he did. He just wanted to be sure his ears weren't playing tricks on him.
"I-I think I'm starting to l-like you." the boy repeated, feeling his cheeks getting hotter.
"Oh, really? Oh my god, so it can actually work between us." the Prince said excitedly and hugged Taemin. The latter smiled then noticed something. A small white cat was walking towards them.
"Your highness, look." he pointed at the cat.
Jongin pulled away from Taemin then turned around and saw it. He chuckled. "What is it doing here? They never let cats get in. How did it manage to come here?"
The cat meowed and hopped on Taemin's lap. He rubbed himself on the boy's chest then sat on his lap and kept staring at him with cute wide eyes. Taemin squealed and petted the cat. "Aww, you're so cute! Your highness, look! I think he loves me already!"
Jongin laughed and petted the cat too. "Of course he does, Taeminnie."
The cat started purring happily and rubbed himself all over the two boys. Taemin took him in his arms and petted him with a wide smile on his face. "He's so cute! Your highness, can I keep him, please?"
"No, Taemin, we can't keep cats in-"
"Pleaaaase? Please please please?" Taemin pouted.
"Taemin, we can't."
"Nooo, please! Look at him! He's just a cute little ball of fur. I don't think he would bother anyone. Please, let me keep him." he whined and placed a kiss on the Prince's cheek.
Jongin sighed and nodded. "Fine. You can keep him. But I'll need another kiss though."
"Yesss! Thank you!" Taemin kissed Jongin on the cheek again.
"Hmm, now bring your cat and let's go inside. It's getting cold." Jongin said and got up from the swing. Taemin took the cat with him and followed the prince inside. They went back to the boy's wing and sat down on the bed.
"Your highness, what should we call him?" Taemin asked as the cat was playing with his long hair.
"Um, I don't know, Taemin. He's yours. You should be the one to choose a name for him."
"I don't know either. Help me, please."
The Prince looked at the cat and thought for a while. "Call him Agi, since he's still a baby."
"Yeah, that sounds cute. Thank you. I'll call him Agi, my little baby." Taemin giggled and poked Agi's nose.
"And you know who's my little baby?"
"This little cutie right here." Jongin chuckled and pointed at Taemin, smiling widely.
"Oh... uh, thanks." Taemin muttered. 'Why does he have to make it awkward every time?' he thought.
Then, someone knocked on the door and Minho came in, saving Taemin from an awkward situation again.
"Sorry for bothering you, your highness, Lady Taeyeon demands to see you."
Jongin sighed. "Didn't she tell you why?"
"No, she didn't say anything."
"Okay, I'll go."
Minho bowed and turned around to leave, but he noticed the cat in Taemin's hands. "Um, your highness, cats are not allowed here."
"I know, Minho, it's just that Taem... uh, Taerin liked it a lot so we're keeping it. But don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Yes, your highness." the guard bowed and left.
Jongin turned to Taemin. "I'm going to see my mother. Stay here, okay?"
Taemin nodded with a smile. "I'll wait for you."
The Prince smiled back then turned around and left. He went to his mother's wing and entered.
"Mother? You wanted to see me?" he asked.
"Yes, Jongin, come here." the Queen replied and patted the place beside her.
"If you're going to tell me not to marry Taerin then I'll just go."
"No, that's not why I asked for you to come. Come sit beside me."
Jongin sighed and sat next to his mother. "What is it about then?"
"Listen, I saw you together in the garden earlier. You seemed so happy to be with her. And, the way you were running around and playing reminded me that you're actually still very young. You're still my little Jonginnie. I won't bother you about marriage anymore. It's still early for you. Though, you have to know that you are the Crown Prince of the Korean Empire and sadly, you can't marry whoever you want. The very future of our empire is into your hands, Jongin, and the person you will marry will have an impact on our empire as well. You might not understand now, but you will eventually. So, for now, I want you to promise me that you won't marry Taerin. She can stay with you as long as you want but she can't be your wife."
"Well, I wasn't thinking about marriage anytime soon either. As long as you stop trying to make me marry one of those princesses or whatever, I won't marry Taerin. But, I want you to know that I love her and I will never let her go. And by the way, mother, why did you make them stop preparing her wing?"
"I was really angry earlier and I wanted her to leave. But then I calmed down and thought about what I did and now I know I shouldn't have. But I guess it didn't stop you from entering the wing." she chuckled.
"Well, yes, because honestly, it didn't make any sense. And also, you really shouldn't have said those things about her earlier. She was really hurt by what you said, you know. You can't talk about people that way, mother."
"Yes, I know I shouldn't have said that. I was just angry earlier. I didn't mean it that way. How about you and Taerin have dinner with me tomorrow? That way we can talk properly. I don't want her to think I hate her or anything."
"Sure! Thank you so much for understanding, mother." Jongin said happily and hugged his mother.
"Jongin, you're my son and I love you. I only want your happiness. Don't think I would ever do something that will make you unhappy." Taeyeon replied as she hugged her son back.
"Thank you, mother. I love you too." he said after he pulled back.
"Hmm, now go back to your girl. She must be waiting for you." the Queen smiled and patted her son's shoulder.
Jongin grinned and got up.
"Tell her I didn't mean what I said."
"I will. Goodbye, mother!" Jongin happily waved at his mother and left the room, still smiling. If only he could tell her that Taemin is a boy, then everything would be great.
Author's note: Hey, everyone! I hope you liked this chapter.
Just wanted to say one thing, the cat's name in this chapter is Agi (아기) which means "baby" in Korean. I don't know if it's good, I didn't know what to name the cat lol and I think the name of the chapter really too, sorry, I'm not good at it haha
Anyways, thank you so much for reading, commenting, subscribing and voting. It really means so much to me. I love all of you guys! Thank youuuu!