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I do... Do I?

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Rumor has it a few witnesses spotted Prince Kim Jongin being very affectionate with East Korea's second Prince Do Kyungsoo.

Witnesses affirm the two were seen together quite often during common friend and famous singer Byun Baekhyun's 25th Hawaiian birthday party last weekend. Both Princes were seen together several times during the party until unexpectedly they both disappeared from the celebrations and appeared by the edge of the pool looking friendly with each other.

(Photo)

We heard they both got a happy ending.

Prince Jongin, of West Korea, has been single for almost two years after his relationship with model Park Soo Young didn't go as expected. He's one of the most desired bachelors of the country, and with a coronation insight, the people are waiting to see who is going to be the lucky one to earn his heart.

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Not one, nor two, but seven magazines were laid in front of Jongin over the coffee table. He didn't have to look up at his secretary Minseok to know he was in trouble. Jongin bit his bottom lip, avoiding running his hands through his recently done caramel hair. He had a few meetings to attend to that day, and he always wanted to look nothing but his best. This wasn't the first time they ever gossiped about Jongin's love life. As the Crown Prince of West Korea, he had his fair share of gossip, however, this time was different.

The rumors were true, and there were pictures to prove it.

Pictures of him the life out of Do Kyungsoo's mouth near the pool of the hotel his friend Baekhyun chose for his party.

AKA a mess.

Luckily these were the PG-13 pictures, Jongin knew there were way worse than that considering what they did by the pool. Of course, he had a great team behind him that avoided those to be published. Sadly, they couldn't avoid this mess. Jongin wasn't the troublemaker type. He usually stayed out of sight and out of mind which worked pretty well for him, however this time he knew he messed up and there wasn't much he could do now.

He had to face the consequences.

He finally looked up at Minseok, blond hair carefully pushed back, clean suit, and an icy stare to match. The worst part about upsetting Minseok was not knowing how he would react each time. He had been working for Jongin for at least five years now and he was the best secretary he's ever had. Jongin waited, he could hear his heart beating and held his breath for a moment.

"Your Royal Highness…" Minseok said, and Jongin waited for the scolding to come. "I'm deeply disappointed in you and this behavior."

Oh no, not the disappointment.

"Hyung…" there wasn't much Jongin could say against that. He could try to make excuses if Minseok was angry, but not if he was disappointed.

"I have little to say to you, but I'm sure you know," Minseok sighed, glancing down at the magazine covers. They all had the same picture. "Their Majesties are waiting for you in the conference room."

.

Of course, they would be. If Minseok didn't properly scold him, his parents definitely would. If they didn't decide to kill him first. Jongin hesitated to stand up. He took the magazines and threw them into his closet with the rest of the magazines that talked about him. He's been collecting a few over the years, just the good ones though. After doing this, they walked together towards the conference room.

They stood right outside and Minseok opened the door for him.

“Good luck,” he said and Jongin felt his heart skip a beat. Even when he was disappointed, he still cared. He took a deep breath, walking into the room, his eyes on the ground. He didn’t have to look to notice their straight faces, his father was probably barely looking at him.

It’s not like Jongin had a bad relationship with his parents, even when he complained that they don’t listen to him at times. It was the fact that they weren’t just any normal family, and certain things were expected from Jongin at his age.

To act properly when in public.

To get married.

To not get into any scandal.

To ascend to the throne and rule the country with wisdom and goodwill.

There was a lot of pressure on him all the time, and Jongin just wanted to feel normal. He knew there was a protocol he had to follow at social gatherings. He knew he wasn’t supposed to just hook up with a random guy in front of literally everybody, but he was drunk, he was having fun and his brain didn’t think that through much.

He knew he couldn’t be normal because he wasn’t.

He bowed politely, waiting for whatever.

“Jongin,” his mother spoke first. Jongin squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for whatever was about to come his way. He slowly opened them when nothing came immediately. “Can you please look at us?”

Jongin stood straight, his eyes a perfect replica of hers landing right on his mother. She didn’t look too mad, which confused Jongin greatly.

“Your majesties,” he said, uncertain on how to proceed with them.

“We’re not here as The King and Queen,” his father spoke for the first time. “We’re here as your parents, or else we would’ve seen you at the throne room.”

“Oh,” Jongin blinked. At least they didn’t look about to kill him, which was always a plus.

“I’m sure you know why you’re here,” The Queen said. She was incredibly beautiful, and where Jongin probably got his stunning looks. His father was handsome as well, but she was Breathtaking. Whoever got the chance to see her would agree. “The rumors were everywhere, and now the pictures are spreading online.”

"I know…" Jongin sighed. There had to be a way to fix this. He didn't have any ideas, but he was sure he would find one. "I'm sorry for not thinking properly. It won't happen again."

"Of course, it won't," The King lifted an eyebrow. Jongin then knew this was dangerous territory. "We didn't bring you here to scold you. You're here to be informed of the next course of action to correct this situation."

"Okay…"

"We spoke with the King and Queen of East Korea," his mother said. There was something in her tone that caught Jongin's attention. It was as if she was trying to make him see the obvious and realize what was going to happen next.

"Yeah?"

"Their oldest son will ascend to the throne soon," The King started. "They don't have time for scandals. You are our only heir, so we agree on that matter."

Jongin stared at them, waiting for them to make their point.

"Therefore, we agreed," the Queen says. "You'll be marrying Kyungsoo a month after the coronation."

Jongin felt his head spinning. He was speechless for what felt like forever. His parents kept talking about how it was beneficial for both families and how they've been waiting for him to settle down for so long and this was the perfect opportunity and how now it wouldn't seem like an irresponsible one-night stand, but two lovebirds that can't take their hands off each other. Jongin didn't know what to say or how to feel, his brain trying to process all this information.

It made little sense to him.

He slept with one person, once, and now he was being forced into marriage. Did he not have a say in this?

"You'll be flying to Busan, to meet with him as soon as possible, you'll get a few pictures together, you'll announce that you've been formally dating for a while but wanted to keep it secret and after the coronation, the announcement of the wedding will be public." The King stood up, handing Jongin a small box, which he assumed had a ring on the inside. He couldn't even choose the ring himself.

Not that it mattered. He had only met Kyungsoo at least twice in his life.

Sure, he had probably seen more of him than other people, but they were still strangers.

"Can I object to this?" Jongin took the box as if it was poisonous.

"You can," his father said. "But if you know what's best for your country and you, then you won't."

Of course, he would bring up that bull of doing the right thing for the country. Jongin then realized they lied to him. They said they were there as his parents and not the rulers of this country, but that was a lie. If that were the case, they would at least attempt to listen to him.

It was as if this wasn't the year 2021, sure some people would protest, especially the crown fanatics, but they would get over it. Jongin sighed, he was over this conversation already. Putting the box inside his pocket, he walked to the door saying nothing else.

"Jongin… we're doing this for your good," there was a hint of sadness in The Queen's voice. She knew how he felt, but there was nothing she could do and Jongin knew that. There was nothing he could do either.

Except maybe accept his fate.

"Marriage? What do you mean marriage?" Baekhyun's loud voice made Jongin pull the phone away from his ear. His friend called to check on him after seeing the pictures everywhere. Baekhyun had to be the only one that didn’t think what he did was a big deal.

“Exactly that,” Jongin answered. He let out a sigh as he opened his suitcase. “They want to avoid the scandal from getting out of control.”

“Yeah, but getting married seems like a bit too much,” Baekhyun was the only friend Jongin had outside of the Palace. The star had an opposite personality to Jongin, however, they somehow clicked.

“Well, they don’t seem to think so,” Jongin shrugged, even when Baekhyun couldn’t see him.

“Damn, that’s harsh,” Baekhyun sighed. “I’m sorry. When I saw you guys together, I didn’t think it would end up like this.”

“I’m pretty sure none of us did.”

“And… how did this happen?” Baekhyun questioned. There wasn’t any rivalry between the two royals, it’s not like they hated each other, however, they never interacted that much either, let alone to end up in bed together. “How did you seduce him?”

“Why are you assuming that I seduced him?” Jongin lifted an eyebrow.

“You didn’t? Did he seduce you?” By Baekhyun’s tone, Jongin knew he found that hard to believe.

“I’m not telling you anything,” Jongin groaned, pushing his clothes inside the suitcase.

“What do you mean? Tell me now!”

Silence.

“Jongin?”

“Bye Baekhyun.” And he disconnected the line.

***

Jongin didn’t know what felt heavier, his heart or the box sitting inside his pocket. Sitting on a plane and looking outside the window, all he could think about was what was waiting for him the moment they landed in Busan, East Korea.

Jongin received a yellow folder with Prince Kyungsoo’s information to memorize and to be honest, he hadn’t even looked at it once. He didn’t want to pretend to know everything about someone he has barely met. He didn’t want to pretend to have a secret relationship either.

He didn’t want to do anything, he wished he had been smarter in the past.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case, and he was sitting there with Minseok next to him and Park Chanyeol, head bodyguard in front of him. He would go nowhere without Chanyeol, people only had to look at him to feel intimidated. He was 1.87 of pure muscle and the owner of a very scary glare.

Although deep down he was a goofball and Jongin knew it.

Chanyeol laughed at whatever he was looking at on his phone. Jongin looked over curiously. Of course, he didn't have any worries because he wasn't the one about to get married to a stranger.

"What's so funny?" Jongin asked. Chanyeol looked up at him, black hair covering his forehead. He shrugged and gave Jongin the phone.

"Looks like your fans couldn't wait to make fanfiction about you and Prince Kyungsoo, sir," he said with a chuckle. Jongin sighed, looking through it. From time to time, Jongin and Chanyeol would laugh at the amount of fanfiction that was made about them. Most of it involved a forbidden relationship between the Prince and his bodyguard, and even when it was way too creative for Jongin's taste, he found them funny sometimes.

"What is this one about?" Jongin asked, reading the first lines. He liked the style; it was somewhat interesting.

"It's what they think happened at the party. You're a lot more interesting in the fanfictions though," Chanyeol smirked slightly and Jongin glared at him. Minseok, who was pretending not to pay attention to them, laughed.

"I hate you," Jongin tossed back the phone, not before memorizing the name of the work, and went back to look out the window.

"Why don't you read the folder I gave you?" Minseok intervened. "You're probably going to be questioned on the few interviews when we get there."

"How hard can it be? I'll give it a read when we get there," The Prince shrugged. "Does he even have a folder about me?"

"He does, I'm sure he has it memorized by now." Minseok notified. "His secretary said he's been very diligent." 

Jongin sighed, but he took the bait and pulled out the yellow folder from under his seat. This was probably a bunch of simple things, favorite color and movie, date of birth, and things like that. Nothing too complicated for Jongin. He scanned through the pages, looking for any information worth reading.

General Information.

Name: Do Kyungsoo.

Age: 25

Date of birth: January 12, 1995

Height: 1,72

Pets: One (1) dog named Meokmul.

Likes

Favorite color: Black.

Favorite Movie: Swing Kids.

Hobbies: Cooking, horseback riding, reading, and tap dancing.

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby.

Jongin kept reading through everything, and it was honestly worse than he thought. Do Kyungsoo was extremely attractive, that's for sure. Whenever he walked into a room, you couldn't help but stare at him. Even Jongin's drunk was aware, but how could someone be this boring. There was nothing that stood out to Jongin.

Nothing at all.

Was he supposed to spend the rest of his life like this?

At least the was good, according to what he remembered. If they ever had ever again. Jongin wasn't sure how this marriage was going to work, there was no telling if they would try to be friends or just two strangers living together. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to do this. However, what was his alternative? He didn't have many choices here, so he just had to go along.

A few hours later they landed. Jongin had been in East Korea several times before, however, he could never get used to how different everything was from his country. A short man with dark hair and a curly smile introduced himself as Kyungsoo's private secretary greeted them.

"Ah, you must be Kim Jongdae," Minseok smiled, shaking his hand. "My name is Kim Minseok. We spoke on the phone."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," the other replied, his eyes dragging over Minseok's figure before quickly turning to Jongin. "Your Royal Highness, it's a pleasure." He bowed politely and Jongin nodded. "Prince Kyungsoo wanted to be here to greet you, but he had last-minute matters to attend.”

Which meant he didn’t want to greet them at all, was what Jongin thought.

Their luggage was picked up, and they were escorted to their car. According to what Minseok mentioned, they would spend their month at Busan’s palace. Kyungsoo had a separate home, but apparently, the palace was convenient for everyone. Jongdae spent the rest of the way discussing accommodation with Minseok, checking that everything was properly set for everyone. Chanyeol was sitting next to Jongin, not saying a word, and Jongin wished they could at least gossip about everything.

Once they reached the palace, it was just like Jongin remembered. He had been there a few times, not to stay over obviously, but because of unique events. Like Prince Seungsoo’s wedding about two years ago. That was the first time he ever saw Kyungsoo. Not that they talked beyond a few words.

The Palace was vastly decorated with red, gold, and white. From the curtains to the walls. As they walked down the main hall, Jongin noticed the line of portraits of past Kings and Queens along with other royals.

They were immediately escorted to their rooms so they could freshen up. Jongin’s room was just as big as his room back home. Considering this was supposed to be a guest room, it was quite spacious. A King-size bed dominating the room with a desk to the right, a door that Jongin assumed led to a bathroom to the left, and double doors that gave way to a balcony with a garden view. The bathroom was just as big and since he didn’t have to see anybody until about an hour later Jongin decided a bath would be ideal for him at the moment.

He had to admit baths had their charm. By the time he was done, he felt a lot more relaxed and ready to face whatever was ahead for him that day. Jongin changed into comfortable clothes. He was told that they would provide a stylist and makeup artist for the public appearances in case he needed them, so he didn't bring his own. He guessed they would have the rest of the day to adjust. Just as he finished getting changed, there was a knock on the door.

He answered it to find a smiling Chanyeol looking at him.

"What is it?" Jongin raised an eyebrow. He stood to the side, letting Chanyeol in.

"I came to you downstairs for dinner, sir," he simply said. Jongin chuckled.

"You know that you don't have to me inside the palace," Jongin grabbed his phone and followed Chanyeol outside.

"Yeah, I don't know about all that," was his bodyguard's only response.

East and West Korea had a difficult relationship for a while, but that was all gone now. Not to mention that Jongin was going to marry their second Prince. It was all in the past, thankfully.

They walked downstairs. Looked like they explained to Chanyeol where they had to go because he knew exactly what halls to take and where to go. They at least gave him a tour. Soon they found themselves inside the large dining room. Minseok and Jongdae were already there, they seemed to get along well. They both stood up when they saw Jongin walk in, bowing politely and sitting down only after Jongin did.

Chanyeol stood behind Jongin.

"Your Highness, I'm hoping you found the accommodations to be to your liking," Jongdae glanced at him with curious eyes. Jongin nodded.

"Yes, the room is very nice. Thank you."

"Good, Prince Kyungsoo should be here soon," the other said, and just as if they had staged it, Kyungsoo walked into the dining room. He had a polite smile on his face as he greeted him and his team. He was just like Jongin remembered him, slightly shorter than him, copper black hair, gigantic eyes, plump lips…

He lost his train of thought a little.

"Hi," he said as he sat down, clearing his throat. His voice was low, but Jongin already knew the deep yet melodic tone he owned.

"Hey," Jongin greeted. His eyes finding something else to focus on.

They were sitting across from each other, but somehow, they avoided each other's eyes. It was awkward, especially when they didn't talk once after what happened at Baekhyun's party. Jongin sighed, wishing this month would pass by quickly. He didn't know how he was going to push through.

Dinner was soon served, and they started to eat. Jongin could feel Kyungsoo's eyes on him from time to time, probably curious, but who knew. It's not like they were friends to begin with. Every second that went by, Jongin convinced himself even more that this marriage would be a mistake.

One that he sadly would have to make.

After dinner was over and they shared some tea, Jongin excused himself with the pretext of being tired. He needed to get out of there soon or he would go crazy. Their secretaries were the ones providing any sort of conversation. He couldn't stand it anymore. Neither could he stand the shy glances coming from the other Prince.

He had to leave.

Chanyeol walked him back to his room as expected.

"Want to stay a bit?" Jongin asked. He was more comfortable in Chanyeol's company than the rest of the people downstairs.

Chanyeol agreed and walked in with him. They talked while looking at news articles from different countries. Looked like the media knew about him being in East Korea.

"This is just getting worse," Jongin groaned, throwing himself onto the bed. His brain partly registering that it was quite comfortable.

"Well, it will only intensify from here… especially after you both announce your engagement," Chanyeol sighed, looking through the articles. They knew their teams had been doing some damage control, but there were still quite a few articles about it going around. Some comments were about Jongin or Kyungsoo embarrassing their nations.

"The interview won't be up right away, so I still have a few of these to go through over the next few weeks," Jongin kept frantically going over his google search, biting his bottom lip. Jongin wouldn't say negative comments easily bothered him, but he would lie if he said they didn't affect him. Chanyeol shook his head, taking Jongin’s phone away.

“I’ll give it back to you tomorrow… relax and rest, you have a big day ahead of you sir,” he stated, before heading to the door. “Everything will be okay.” Chanyeol then said before closing the door behind him.

Jongin didn’t try to get his phone back, he knew he wouldn’t.

He hoped that Chanyeol was right.

Jongin walked down the stairs the next day, wearing a light blue dress shirt and black pants that were selected for him to give the 'casual Prince charming' look, only to find that they matched it with Kyungsoo's outfit which was slightly more formal. He glanced at Minseok and Jongdae, who nervously avoided his eyes.

Jongin sighed as he entered the car, sitting next to Kyungsoo.

“Alright, so this interview’s only purpose is to dissipate some rumors and announce your engagement,” Minseok informed as he went over some papers. “They’ll ask about your relationship so, you have to look at least comfortable around each other.”

“We’re comfortable around each other,” Kyungsoo protested, receiving a look from both secretaries.

"No offense, Your Highness, but you both can't even have proper eye contact," Jongdae smiled at them.

“That’s not true!” Jongin was the one to protest then, glancing at Kyungsoo to prove his point, however the moment their eyes met they both looked away.

“Of course,” Minseok said, visibly trying to hold in his laughter.

"Try to act normal around each other and answer the questions accordingly. Everything will be fine," Jongdae gave them a warm smile, and Jongin felt himself to be less nervous. "Consider this won't be published until after the coronation. In case you want to provide any details."

Minseok looked at Jongin. "Do you have the ring, Your Highness?”

Jongin nodded, pulling the small box out of his pocket, opening it to show it to everyone. Kyungsoo's eyes were glued to it for a moment. Of course, it was a beautiful ring. It was a simple silver band surrounded by three lines of diamonds. It was probably expensive, and it felt impersonal to Jongin. Kyungsoo's fingers brushed over it slightly, admiring it.

"You should wear it before we go in, Your Highness," Jongdae spoke, and both Princes snapped out of a trance, glancing at each other before Jongin took the ring out of the box, holding it. Kyungsoo's eyes went back and forth between the ring and Jongin's face for a moment before lifting his left hand, allowing Jongin to slide the ring on his finger.

It looked beautiful on his hand too. The fact that he was wearing it made everything seem more real. This wasn't just damage control, they would indeed get married in less than two months.

Would they even be happy together?

They arrived at some sort of café that was rented for the photoshoot. Along with the interview there were supposed to be some photos of them pretending to be on a date, it was all planned to erase the image the public had with the other pictures that were leaked and give both of them a more innocent and sweeter look.

A couple that was deeply in love.

The team was already working on the set, and the interviewer was waiting for them to sit across from her. Jongin’s lips were dry and he took a deep breath to try to gather himself. Kyungsoo walked next to him and they sat next to each other across from the interviewer. It was a woman in her mid-twenties, with long black hair and beautiful features. She smiled politely, bowing as they sat down.

"Your Highnesses, it's an honor to meet you" she greeted. "My name is Park Eunha."

Jongin and Kyungsoo greeted her as well, not saying much and hoping the interview would go by quickly. Saying they weren't nervous would be a lie. A makeup artist rushed over to work on them and a few glasses of water along with coffee and a few snacks were brought out for them. Jongin looked at the cookies longingly.

"Shall we start?" She asked, pulling out her notes and starting the recorder. There are also two cameras behind her, focused on the two royals. "I've read a few articles here and there about your… encounter. I'm sure both nations are curious about how that came to be."

Jongin and Kyungsoo exchanged a look.

Straight to the point.

"Well, few people know this basically because we wanted to keep it a secret, but…" Jongin reached out to hold Kyungsoo's hand. "Kyungsoo and I have been secretly dating for a while." He did his best to give her a warm smile, intertwining their fingers.

The reporter's eyes landed on their hands.

"Exactly, we usually kept it low-key, but Jongin is very affectionate," Kyungsoo laughed and it sounded genuine, patting Jongin's arm slightly. He was good at this, he had to admit.

"That's very interesting. Most people would think you barely knew each other," she smiled, but with the way she was looking at them, Jongin had the feeling she wasn't satisfied with that answer.

"It was that way for a while, however, after we met at his brother's wedding, we discovered we had more things in common than we thought," Jongin said.

"We texted and skyped for a while. We kept it a secret because we wanted to know each other better without the pressure of what comes with being from the royal family," Kyungsoo finished for him. Their eyes connected and they smiled at each other. Kyungsoo's hand squeezed his approvingly.

"It's incredible how you kept it a secret for so long. I'm sure it was quite surprising for both when all those articles were released," she looked down at her tablet as she spoke, scrolling down an article. "Some people have been supporting you it seems, however not everybody has. Especially on His Royal Highness Kyungsoo's side. What are your thoughts on your people believing that you have lost your characteristic… innocence?"

Jongin raised an eyebrow. He didn't know why she was still pushing in that direction, or rather he knew why, but he didn't like it. With the way Kyungsoo tensed next to him, he could tell that this was turning uncomfortable for him. Kyungsoo hesitated to answer.

"Kyungsoo is the same person he has always been. Nothing has changed." Jongin stated, this time he was the one squeezing Kyungsoo's hand. "He will always be a good Prince to his people and soon also my people." Jongin smiled, bringing Kyungsoo's hand to his lip and pressing a soft kiss to it.

"Your people?" The reporter looked between the two.

"We'll get married soon," Kyungsoo replied, showing her his ring. "Right after my brother's coronation. It's right around the corner so we're still working on many details."

There was shock gracing her features as he said this, and Jongin felt a hint of satisfaction. He then stood up from his chair. The announcement was made, so there was nothing else to do there except the stupid photoshoot.

Besides, he didn't like her.

"I think we're done here," Jongin said. He pulled Kyungsoo's hand so he would stand up with him, not letting go. "Where should we stand for the photos?"

“Oh, but Your Highness… the questions…” She looked around confused.

“Send them to our secretaries, we’ll answer them and send them back to you if they’re appropriate,” Jongin walked away, pulling Kyungsoo with him. The rest of the crew stared with shock, quickly moving after both Princes.

The reporter ran a hand through her hair nervously. Offending a member of the royal family wasn’t a good thing.

The rest of the morning, Jongin and Kyungsoo posed for the pictures. Holding hands and smiling, sitting next to each other or across from each other as they stared into each other's eyes. It wasn't as awkward as Jongin thought it would be, and to be honest, putting the interview aside, he wasn't having a bad time. They pretended to be close and everyone seemed to believe it, which was a point for them.

As soon as they finished, the royals were escorted back to their car. Chanyeol stood to the side as another tall man closed the door after them.

“Well, that wasn’t so bad.” Kyungsoo let out a relieved sigh. Jongin could tell he had been nervous all morning.

“It was okay, I guess.”

"Also, thank you for… defending me," Kyungsoo avoided his eyes and Jongin just shrugged.

“She irritated me. I don’t know what her problem was.” Jongin sighed.

“She wanted a juicy story,”

“We gave her an exclusive that is worth millions.” A marriage between the two countries wasn’t something to just overlook. “What more juice does she need?”

"Not that type, that's for sure," Kyungsoo laughed. They fell silent for a moment before Kyungsoo pulled out something from his pocket, handing it to Jongin. A few cookies wrapped in a napkin. "I saw you looking at them, eat them when Mr. Kim is not looking."

Jongin’s eyes widened for a moment, clumsily taking the cookies and putting them inside his pocket. That made him smile for some reason.

“Thank you.”

“Sure.”

More silence.

Jongin cleared his throat. “I didn’t know you were so good at pretending.”

Kyungsoo blinked and chuckled, shaking his head. “Not as good as you… the hand kiss was a nice touch.”

"Oh…" Jongin smiled. "Well, I guess it just felt appropriate.”

Minseok and Jongdae entered the car then, sighing as soon as the door was closed.

"Thank God it's over," Minseok said. He dropped his tablet and his papers immediately. "You both did a good job Your Highnesses.”

Jongdae nodded. "You can rest, for now, we'll let you know what is up next."

Jongin was glad at least one part of it was over, however, he couldn't help to think that this was only the beginning.

"That's it. Your Highness, please look this way," the man said, a flash almost blinding Jongin. He let out a sigh.

This was the fourth magazine they were interviewed for. At least a week had gone by and it was always the same. A reporter trying to get information about their one-night stand and almost completely ignoring that they were allegedly engaged. These were scheduled to come out after the coronation, but Jongin was exhausted of having to talk around the subject.

Everyone wanted the juicy and dirty details that neither of them was going to provide.

One reporter even went as far as asking who seduced who.

Jongin's blood was boiling.

A few more pictures of the two of them standing in the Palace's garden later, Jongin was holding freshly cut red roses and Kyungsoo pretended to look at them with affection. The photographer finally put down the camera, telling both how handsome they looked. Jongin was just thankful it was over, and he could tell Kyungsoo felt the same. They sat on the nearest bench and Jongin handed the flowers to him.

Kyungsoo chuckled. "I'm not a flower kind of guy, I don't know why they insisted on this." He carefully placed them on the grown and sighed.

"It's romantic, I guess." Jongin shrugged. Everybody knew what a relationship between two Princes would be like, they were just recreating that for their image. Even though Jongin could relate, red roses weren't his thing either.

"Hmm… you want to know what's romantic?" Kyungsoo tilted his head slightly, trying to not smile. "Food."

Jongin laughed. "You're hungry, aren't you?"

"Listen, I just think that if you give someone chocolate or a nice pastry, it would be a lot more beneficial than flowers, which will probably die a few days later," Kyungsoo scoffed. "They're pretty to look at, but they're not forever."

Jongin nodded. "So, that's a yes," he laughed when Kyungsoo groaned.

"I'm starving!"

Jongin discovered as the days went by that it was quite easy to have a normal conversation with Kyungsoo. They weren't as awkward as they used to be, however they weren't trying to spend every single moment together either. Jongin thought it felt like they were on the same boat, so if they worked together it would be better for both.

He lost count of how many interviews they had done already, how many photoshoots, and how many times they had to pretend they loved each other in front of other people. It was exhausting. Kyungsoo looked just as worn out as Jongin felt.

Minseok was going over the rest of their schedule as they sat at the back of the car. Detailing the people, they would talk to and the things they could say. Jongin and Kyungsoo let out a sigh simultaneously. The plan was to stop for lunch first and then continue their route.

They parked in front of a restaurant; it was quite fancy, even as you looked from the outside. Jongin was sure there would also be paparazzi around, so there would be even more pictures of them together online, which would spark more rumors and possibly negative comments.

They tried to be as discreet as possible, but that was barely possible for two Princes.

Jongin and Kyungsoo sat at a private table together, just the two of them, while their secretaries took the one right next to them. A server quickly offered them the menu, bowing and waiting for them to decide.

Jongin looked at the menu with a frown.

"Do you need help?" Kyungsoo questioned. "I come here often."

Jongin raised his eyebrows. "Sure. What would you recommend?”

Kyungsoo scanned the menu once again, ordering something for him and also giving Jongin several options which he ended up taking into consideration. They gave the menus back to the server and relaxed once he was finally out of their booth.

"I'm tired," Jongin said. He honestly needed some time for himself.

"Me too," Kyungsoo agreed. "I don't know how many more I can take."

"Apparently as many as possible to correct this mess we got ourselves into," Jongin sighed, glancing at Kyungsoo when the other said nothing.

"We're getting married then," Kyungsoo looked down at his lap. His fingers playing with the fabric of his shirt. "We just have nothing to say in this matter."

"We don't. I tried, and they threw the country at my face," Jongin shrugged. "It's not like we wanted this to happen."

Kyungsoo finally looked at him, probably trying to find any sign of regret in Jongin's eyes. It's not like he regretted what they did, he regretted not being discreet about it.

"We never really talked about that night," Kyungsoo said.

"What is there to talk about? You were drunk, I was drunk, we did things in public spaces," Jongin chuckled, even though the situation wasn't at all humorous.

"I don't know. I felt maybe there was something we needed to talk about…" Kyungsoo leaned back in his chair. "Like, what is this marriage going to be like? Is what we did going to affect the way we are around each other?"

Jongin had all those questions too, but he didn't have any answers.

"I honestly don't know…" was all he could say. "All I can offer you is, maybe, doing our best. Getting to know each other so it isn't awkward and see what happens."

Kyungsoo nodded, taking a deep breath.

"Getting to know each other," he repeated. "How about a twenty questions game?"

Jongin raised an eyebrow. "Twenty questions?"

"Do you have a better idea?" Kyungsoo tilted his head, smiling. Jongin rolled his eyes, a half-smile lifting the corner of his lips.

"Fine," he shrugged. "You start."

Kyungsoo bit his bottom lip, not taking his eyes off the other. "What was your childhood like?"

Jongin didn't think that's what he wanted to ask, but he dismissed it. "Weird, but fun. I was mostly surrounded by adults all the time. The only child that was always around me was Chanyeol."

"You guys have been friends for long?"

"He's been my best friend since forever… wait… it's my turn!" Jongin pouted and Kyungsoo chuckled, gesturing at him to go ahead. "If you weren't a Prince, what do you think you would be now?"

"I would own a bakery," Kyungsoo said. "How about you?"

"Is that your question?" Jongin leaned forward.

Kyungsoo laughed. "You know this defeats the purpose of getting to know each other."

“And you don’t know how to play.” Jongin crossed his arms over his chest.

Neither of them had time to keep arguing because the server brought their food, placing it in front of them carefully.

Kyungsoo sighed. "Later.”

"Later," Jongin agreed with a smile.

Jongin walked down the stairs as silently as he could. It was way past midnight and if Chanyeol saw him walking downstairs alone, he would surely scold him. Jongin sighed, he was anxious; he had a hard time falling asleep on this bed and he was hungry. Whatever the Chanyeol inside his head had to say could wait until he got something to eat.

Now, where was the kitchen again?

He walked through the halls, finding locked door after locked door until he finally found the kitchen. He didn't know if he could be there but Jongdae told him several times to make himself at home, no matter how hard that seemed, and this was the home of the man he was going to marry so it was technically his home too.

Right?

A shiver ran down Jongin's spine with this thought.

He shook his head, pushing the weird thoughts away and focusing on getting something to eat. Minseok would freak out if he found out he was eating this late, but what he didn't know won't hurt him. Jongin scanned the shelves for anything that he could use or maybe something to eat. He then opened the fridge and stood there for a moment.

"Where do they keep the snacks?" Jongin whispered as he went through the food until he finally came across some leftover cheesecake. He had some for dinner, but he couldn't have more. He glanced over his shoulder before pulling out a fork and taking the cheesecake with him. He sat on the floor, the fridge door still open, light shining over him and the cheesecake in front of him.

Jongin cut a slice with his fork, digging into it right away. His eyes closing and a pleased sigh leaving his lips. "So good."

"What are you doing?"

Jongin froze completely, his fork halfway to his mouth with a tiny piece of glorious cheesecake. He turned slowly towards the voice, sighing in relief when all he saw was Kyungsoo standing there with a raised eyebrow.

"Sorry, I was hungry," he said, feeling that sense of awkwardness settle in his stomach. "I'll leave." He grabbed his phone and stood up.

Kyungsoo chuckled and walked over, grabbing a spoon. He pushed Jongin back down before he closed the fridge and sat across from him. Without the light coming from the fridge, Jongin could barely see Kyungsoo's expression.

"I'm hungry too," he simply said as he ate some cheesecake. Jongin watched him for a moment, not knowing if he should stay. He guessed it wasn't a big deal if he was just sitting there. "You couldn't sleep either."

Jongin hummed. "I have a hard time sleeping anywhere that isn't my bed sometimes." He shrugged, cutting another slice from the big piece of cheesecake, while Kyungsoo was eating directly from the other side.

"Me too," Kyungsoo then said. He didn't look at Jongin when he said this, and with no proper lighting, it was hard to tell what he was thinking through his expression.

"I thought this was your home."

"I haven't properly lived here since I turned eighteen years old. This is my brother's home, anyway." Kyungsoo then looked up at him. "You got my file and didn't read where it says that I don't live in the palace?"

Jongin would've defended himself, but he could hear the teasing in his voice. He scoffed.

"I fell asleep halfway through it… it was kind of boring," he shot back, pleased when he heard Kyungsoo cough and laugh.

"Boring?" Kyungsoo raised an eyebrow, Jongin could hear the smile in his voice. "Excuse me, sir, but have you read your file?"

Jongin chuckled.

"No? Like, horse races? Polo? Golf? Really?" Kyungsoo chuckled. "Can you be any more of a Prince?"

Jongin shakes his head. He has to admit that's bad and amusing. "You say that like it's an insult."

“Because it is,” Kyungsoo is already halfway through his side of the cheesecake, so Jongin picked up the pace.

"Listen, in my defense, most of those things are lies made up to make me look good. I hate polo, and I've never played golf in my life." Jongin rolled his eyes.

"Me too… I've never been horseback riding. I've never gotten a horse to like me,” Kyungsoo laughed. Jongin could see his shoulders shaking in the dark. That made him laugh too.

"Is the Great Gatsby your favorite book?" Jongin asked.

"Oh, that is true. I love it," Kyungsoo sets down the spoon. "Have you read it?"

Jongin shakes his head. "No… but sounds like an interesting pick."

"I'll let you borrow one of my copies. You're missing out on so much."

Jongin shrugs. "I'm not much of a reader, after my family stopped forcing me to study books and things, I only read the fanfiction people make about me."

Kyungsoo almost fell back when he laughed.

"You read fanfiction about yourself?" He stood up to get a water bottle from the fridge, giving Jongin one as well.

"It's fun, never rule it out until you give it a shot. There are a few about us out there," Jongin dropped the fork and took the bottle being offered, quickly opening it and taking a sip.

Kyungsoo grimaced. “I don’t think I could read any of that.”

They sat there in silence for a few minutes, both staring at the tiny piece of cheesecake left. Jongin thought this was probably the second time they had an actual conversation, and he realized Kyungsoo wasn't the person they tried to paint him as.

And probably Jongin wasn’t either.

"We never got to finish our twenty questions," Kyungsoo mentioned. He was right.

"It was your turn, wasn't it?" Jongin played with the bit of cheesecake as he waited for whatever Kyungsoo was going to ask.

Kyungsoo hummed, thinking for a moment. "Have you ever been in love?"

It took Jongin off guard.

"Oh," he hesitated. What was the answer to that? He wasn't sure. "I think I have, but I won't know until I fall in love again."

Kyungsoo frowned. "What's that logic?”

"Well, often when you fall for someone, you always swear that person has been the one you loved the most, but how do you know if it's love?" He shrugged. "What if when that ends you find someone you love even more?"

Kyungsoo nodded, analyzing his words. "That's not true for everyone though."

"Maybe not, it was true for me," Jongin shrugged again. "The last person I loved, didn't love me back."

"The last person I loved, loved me back but couldn't."

They then locked stares for what felt like forever, their eyes trying to communicate. Jongin felt his heart jump.

They suddenly heard voices approaching the kitchen and even though they could barely see each other, they both noticed the panic in each other's eyes.

"!" Kyungsoo exclaimed, and Jongin's eyes widened as he looked at the other man. Did Prince Do Kyungsoo just curse?

Kyungsoo, however, worked quickly, grabbing the plate and urging Jongin to follow him, both half crawling and half running towards the pantry, trying to be as silent as possible.

They tried to listen closely and effectively people were entering the kitchen. Kyungsoo sighed. Out of every kitchen inside the palace. Jongin is holding his breath, trying to be as quiet as possible.

"What are you looking for?"

The voice was so familiar that for a second Jongin thought he heard wrong.

"Minseok Hyung?" He whispered in shock and Kyungsoo covered his mouth.

"There should be some left-over cheesecake here from dinner."

It was then Kyungsoo's turn to step back, eyes widened in surprise. He couldn't believe his ears. They both rushed to the door, opening it just slightly and peeking outside. Just as they suspected, Minseok and Jongdae were standing in front of the fridge, the yellow light illuminating their faces. They were wearing white robes and Minseok's hair was slightly messed up.

Kyungsoo and Jongin shared an astonished look.

"That's weird," Jongdae said as he opened the freezer.

"Would they put a cheesecake on the freezer?" Minseok asked, one of his hands resting over Jongdae's back.

"Who knows," Jongdae sighed, pulling out pudding instead and giving one to Minseok. He sat on the counter with Minseok settling in between his legs.

Kyungsoo gasped, which luckily the other two didn't notice.

"Maybe someone else ate it or they threw it away," Minseok said, digging into his pudding.

"Nobody would dare, his Highness made that himself," Jongdae ran his fingers through his wet-looking hair.

"Oh… I didn't know he was so good at baking."

"He does it from time to time. He had a lot of free time growing up, so he learned to cook and bake. He's a certified dog trainer too." Jongdae sighed.

"You're worried about him," Minseok pointed out.

"Not so much worried, but… sad. He's been keeping this image for so long to please his family, and the one time he allows himself to be free, it leads to chaos."

"Yeah…" Minseok sighed as well, setting the pudding over the counter. "Jongin had enough pressure already too."

They're silent for a second.

"This is what they get for being stupid," Jongdae went back to his pudding and Minseok chuckled.

"I still don't understand how that ever came to be, they’re so different,” Minseok leaned slightly closer to Jongdae, the other smiled but didn’t attempt to move.

"I guess it's true that opposites attract," Jongdae shrugged.

"Similar people can also be attracted to each other," Minseok smirked, one of his hands making its way up Jongdae's thigh. The other man pushed him away with a smile.

"Shut up," he laughed, jumping off the counter and setting the plate on the sink. Minseok followed his steps.

Their voices became more and more distant as they left the kitchen. Jongin could feel his cheeks burning. He had never seen his secretary act like this, ever. He was human still of course and it was obvious he was attracted to people but still…

“What the hell just happened?” Kyungsoo whispered. Jongin didn’t know how to answer.

"My secretary and yours are having an entanglement."

"Don't say that word… that's… who uses that word anymore?" Kyungsoo visibly shivered and opened the door completely to walk outside.

“Isn’t it the truth?” Jongin chuckled as he followed Kyungsoo.

“I’m going to need a lot of time to forget I saw that.”

"Luckily, we saw little to nothing," Jongin said.

Kyungsoo nodded. "Let's not talk about this… ever."

"Deal."

"Deal."

When Jongin woke up, the first thing he noticed was how the room was still dark. He reached out for his phone to look at the time. It was past nine already. He stretched, turning on his back to look at the ceiling. Usually, Minseok would've been there already to wake him up, Chanyeol walking right behind him. A yawn escaped his lips as he went through his notifications. Most of them from social media.

Right… he didn't have any schedule that day.

They didn't have any interviews or photoshoots. If they were back home, he would probably still have work to do, however, they weren't. Which meant he had the day off. Completely for himself.

How long had it been since the last time he had a day just for himself with no type of work getting in the way?

Jongin sat up, looking around the room. He could probably work out and then get some breakfast. Maybe an afternoon nap wouldn't be so bad, he missed naps. With this in mind, Jongin left the bed, walking towards the window and drawing the curtains, letting the sunlight in. He looked outside where the gardeners were working.

He then walked into the bathroom to take a shower and brush his teeth. Once he was done, there was a knock on his door.

Jongin quickly wrapped a towel around himself to open the door. Just as he thought, Chanyeol was standing there. He bowed slightly, greeting him.

"Your Royal Highness," he smiled, and then another head popped up behind him. Kyungsoo.

Jongin's eyes widened a bit. "Oh, hey…"

"I thought we could go do some sightseeing today," Kyungsoo waved at him with a smile. He tried to hide it, but Jongin noticed the way his eyes dragged down his body. "Since we're free of royal duty today."

"Oh, sure… let me get changed." Jongin nodded, stepping aside to let Chanyeol in. They both looked back at Kyungsoo.

"I'll… wait downstairs then." Kyungsoo cleared his throat and left.

Jongin closed the door, making his way back into the room, towards the closet. He looked at a couple of outfits to wear, some of them not convincing him.

"What do you think?" Jongin asked. He didn't know exactly where they would go, but since it was his day off, he thought he might go for something casual. Going for a simple brown turtleneck with black pants and a jacket over it. He turned to look at Chanyeol when didn't receive a response, finding his bodyguard was smiling. "What?"

"Nothing, sir," Chanyeol shrugged. "Can't help but notice how excited you look over this outing."

"I wouldn't say excited." Jongin scoffed, shaking his head. He was a bit too quick to dismiss his plans for the day when Kyungsoo asked, but he didn't think too much of it. He thought of this as an opportunity to get to know his future husband a bit more. There was no harm in that. With the way Chanyeol was looking at him, it was clear he thought differently. "Shut up."

"I didn't say anything, sir," Chanyeol chuckled.

“You’re thinking it, and it’s not what you think,” Jongin finished fixing his hair, before grabbing his things. He considered applying some cologne, but would that be overdoing it?

“What I think doesn’t matter, sir,” but Chanyeol knew it bothered him.

Jongin sighed, deciding on no cologne, and headed to the door. "Whatever."

Jongin and Chanyeol soon reached the entrance where both secretaries, Kyungsoo, and his bodyguard, Sehun, were waiting. Of course, Jongin didn't expect any of them to not be aware of this outing. He smiled.

“So, where are we going exactly?” Jongin questioned as he joined the group.

Kyungsoo smiled. “I thought it would be nice to show you the not-so-conventional places.”

"Starting with breakfast, I hope," Jongin hadn't had any and he was honestly hungry.

“Of course, our first stop is a nice café that I like,” Kyungsoo glanced at his secretary.

"We'll be in the car behind you, Your Highness," Jongdae pulled out his phone and typed something. "Everything is ready."

They were then led outside, where the cars were waiting. Jongin walked behind Kyungsoo, however, he quickly noticed how instead of approaching the regular black car he walked towards a smaller, navy blue car. Jongin frowned, looking between the two.

“This is my car,” Kyungsoo explained, unlocking it. “I thought it would be fun to drive you around myself instead. Hope you don’t mind.”

They were going to be escorted, but somehow the fact that he was driving made it feel different. It made it feel like he wasn’t a Prince going out with another Prince but like two friends spending the day together. It was like a normal day out.

Jongin smiled. “I hope you know how to drive at least.”

"Of course," Kyungsoo scoffed. "I passed my driving test. I promise we won't crash too much." He laughed, jumping into the driver's seat.

Jongin laughed as he walked around the car to get inside. "Too much? Doesn't sound promising."

"It'll be fine," Kyungsoo the engine and they heard how the other cars started as well. "Ready?"

"Born ready." Jongin nodded, and with that, they drove off.

As promised, the first stop was a lovely café near the center of the city. They walked in like normal people and approached the counter with Chanyeol, Sehun, Minseok, and Jongdae following right behind. The place was decorated with small lights, there was a board with the menu hanging over the counter, and overall, the café had a classy and relaxing vibe that Jongin enjoyed.

However, he couldn't help to notice how they were the only customers. Had Kyungsoo rented the whole café for them to visit that morning?

"It's technically not open yet," Kyungsoo said, smiling at him like he knew what he was thinking. "We asked if they would let us have breakfast here before they opened."

"Oh…" was all Jongin could say.

Had he been planning this for long then?

They both ordered and sat down at a table near the window with Jongdae and Minseok sitting on another table close to them.

"Do you normally just order from here or do you come here?" Jongin asked. Looking at the situation objectively, it seemed the workers were used to this.

"I stop by from time to time, and order whenever I don't have time," Kyungsoo smiled. "I like it."

"This place should've been on your file," Jongin nods.

Kyungsoo laughs as a server places two cups of coffee in front of them. "I might have them re-do my file then."

That wasn't such a terrible idea for both of them.

"If you were to make it, what would your file have?" Jongin took a sip of his coffee. It was wonderful, to be honest.

"Hmm," Kyungsoo leaned back in his chair, thinking about this. "I think it would say, Do Kyungsoo: Dog lover, music enthusiast, and baker. Gets coffee from Love Shot café whenever he can."

"So, no Prince?"

"No, no Prince… what about you?" Kyungsoo chuckled.

"Mine would say, Kim Jongin: Boring, googles himself for fun, hates polo and shirts that are too tight." Jongin laughed and Kyungsoo did too.

"You're not boring though," Kyungsoo said, taking a sip as well.

"You're just saying that because you don't know me that well," Jongin shrugged. Truth was, he didn't know him at all.

"Actually," Kyungsoo continued as if Jongin hadn't said a word. Looking directly into Jongin's eyes. "I find you very interesting."

Jongin blinked, clearing his throat. Why was his face burning suddenly?

They kept talking over coffee, croissants, and maybe a cheesecake or two. Keeping a conversation with Kyungsoo wasn't hard at all. It was as easy as breathing or blinking. He wondered if from outside it looked like they were an actual couple.

Or maybe they looked like two old friends catching up.

Whatever they looked like, Jongin kind of wished they were that.

Once they were done, they paid for everything and headed back to the cars. Kyungsoo leading the way as they drove off to their next destination. It was a long yet peaceful drive. Eventually, Kyungsoo the radio, and soon they were singing along, both with smiles on their faces.

Kyungsoo took Jongin to places that weren't as famous as the typical visited places within his country. According to him, people were sleeping on those places that were far more beautiful and meaningful for the country. They also checked out places that were simply beautiful to the eye.

Jongin had to admit the more he knew and saw, the more he fell in love with the country. They weren't known for having the best relationship over the years, just until the last few years, but he couldn't deny it was a beautiful country. It had life, and it was also interesting to see the devotion in Kyungsoo's eyes as he spoke of it. His eyes sparkled, and he was smiling even if he didn't notice it as he went on explaining the history of East Korea and its people.

He thought that if Kyungsoo's brother had half of Kyungsoo's love for the country, then he would be a great King.

"This is the last public place we'll visit," Kyungsoo said as they walked through one of the beaches. There were people in the distance walking as well. It was almost time for lunch, so they stopped near the water. Jongin convinced them to take off their shoes for a moment and just feel the sand and the water on their feet.

Of course, with the close vigilance of Sehun, Chanyeol, and their secretaries.

"The last public one?" Jongin asked and Kyungsoo nodded, not offering any other explanation. Jongin sighed. "This was nice, I think I've learned more about this country than I would have with a tour guide."

"They have a script," Kyungsoo shrugged. "I always say people should learn from people that are passionate about the country."

"I agree," Jongin said with a smile. He could see all the pride and love in Kyungsoo. It was honestly endearing to see him like that. "You care about this country."

"Of course, I do," he chuckles. "This is where I was born and raised.”

To him, that was probably enough reason, but Jongin knew some people didn't see it like that. "Sometimes people forget and use the country and the people for personal interests.”

"In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my head ever since," Kyungsoo said, observing the sea. Jongin looked at him expectantly. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.”

Jongin raised his eyebrows.

"The Great Gatsby," the other man smiled. "It's a different context, but I like to remember that most people probably don't have the advantages that I have, so I would rather help them be better instead of the other way around.”

Jongin could now understand the hate he had been getting, not only because of what they did, but in the people's eyes, he was stealing someone that cared about their country. Jongin could imagine it would only get worse with the announcement of their engagement.

And their wedding.

Kyungsoo would not only be their beloved Prince but also the husband of West Korea's future King.

Jongin shook those thoughts away. There was no use in thinking about this now. They headed back to the car, their stomachs reminding them that food was necessary for their bodies to function properly. Kyungsoo let out a sigh as soon as they were inside the comfortable interior of his car.

“So, where to now?”

"You'll see," Kyungsoo smirked.

They drove for around twenty-five minutes, heading towards the limits of the city. He could see mansions and apartment buildings as they got closer to their destiny. This was probably the area where politicians and celebrities lived. Jongin frowned when they entered the underground parking of a building. The other cars also parked around Kyungsoo's car, and when Jongin attempted to leave the car, Kyungsoo stopped him.

"Give them a minute," he said with a smile. They heard the end of a song and then there was a knock on Kyungsoo's window. "We can get out now."

They exited the car and Chanyeol was already waiting for Jongin next to his door. Jongin didn't understand his expression, but since it didn't look like there was any danger, he dismissed it. Kyungsoo walked over to Jongin's side with a smile.

"Follow me," he said and walked towards the elevators. He pressed the button, and the doors opened instantly. "I have a private elevator."

"Private elevator?" Jongin stood aside so Sehun and Chanyeol could join them.

"Yeah, for my apartment," Kyungsoo said, and that's when Jongin understood.

So, this is where Kyungsoo lived. He was about to go into his apartment and Kyungsoo willingly took him there. Jongin didn't know what to think about that, it's not like it was that big of a deal but this was Kyungsoo's personal space so Jongin didn't think he would let him in soon.

Kyungsoo seemed to know what Jongin was thinking but didn't say anything and smiled instead.

Chanyeol and Sehun walked behind them as they left the elevator. Both standing outside as Kyungsoo pressed in the code on the door and opened it. Jongin walked in behind Kyungsoo, taking in as much as he could of the place. Kyungsoo's apartment was very modern. They took off their shoes at the entrance and walked into the living room.

There was a TV surrounded by bookshelves, a large couch right in front, and the floor covered in carpet. There was a stunning black piano on the left side, with an encased waterfall behind it. Everything felt classy and trendy, but what took Jongin's breath away was the view.

The entire right-side wall of the living room was made of glass from the ceiling to the floor, giving them the most magnificent view of the hills and then the city. Jongin was sure it had to look stunning at night and he had no doubts this was the reason Kyungsoo lived there.

He was still taking in the view, with Kyungsoo standing behind him when something attacked Jongin's feet. He looked down to find a small black ball of fur running around him, barking and wagging its tail intensely. Jongin smiled as he sat on the floor next to it.

"Oh, that's Meokmul," Kyungsoo sighed, giving him an apologetic look. "He's not used to seeing people around here."

"Oh?" Jongin chuckled, picking him up. The puppy immediately attacked his face, covering him with wet kisses he endured with a smile. It's been a while since Jongin had a pet, so he couldn't help the good humor that came over him as he played with the small dog. "He's so cute."

"He seems to like you. That's a good start… he doesn't like Sehun," Kyungsoo walked away to what Jongin could guess would be a kitchen. "Do you want anything specific for lunch?"

Jongin stopped playing with the dog, blinking. "Lunch?"

Then Kyungsoo's head popped out. "Yes… I'm making lunch."

"You're making lunch?" Jongin felt the puppy trying to climb into his lap.

"Are your ears okay?" Kyungsoo laughed as he went back into the kitchen.

Jongin carried the puppy with him, scratching behind his ear as he walked into the kitchen as well. It was very spacious and well equipped. Kyungsoo was already looking inside his fridge with an apron tightly wrapped around him. Jongin couldn't process what was happening.

"But wait… so you're cooking for us?" Jongin frowned. A chef always made all of his meals. He couldn't remember when the last time was his family or friends made something for him.

"I am. I often cook for myself when I'm here. I enjoy it a lot." Kyungsoo smiled as he pulled out a few ingredients and the stove. He turned around, chuckling at Jongin's confused face. "I'm a Prince but I also like to do things for myself."

Jongin was honestly impressed.

"Okay," was all Jongin could say. Kyungsoo laughed once again.

"Well, lunch will be ready soon so… make yourself at home." There was a slight blush covering the second Prince's cheeks, which thankfully Jongin didn't notice.

"Okay," Jongin left the kitchen, putting the dog down. There were still so many things to see. Things he was curious about. The books, CDs, and DVDs on the shelves to start. Jongin went through the collection, finding some titles very fitting and others slightly strange.

Kyungsoo's music taste went from TWICE to AC/DC. He also had a bunch of Disney classics, and two out of three High School Musical movies, along with all of the soundtrack CDs, Grease, The Greatest Showman, Hairspray, Bohemian Rhapsody, the list was endless. He heard Kyungsoo walking into the living room.

"Is there anything you want to watch?" He asked, wiping his hands with a towel. Meokmul walked over to him, trying to get attention from his owner.

"I'm just checking it out," Jongin shrugged. "Your file never mentioned you were a musical fan."

Kyungsoo blinked, and then he laughed. "I'm not ashamed of it if that's what you're asking."

“It suits you somehow,” Jongin chuckled, glancing briefly at the other. “Now I understand the tap dancing.”

“There’s a lot about me you don’t know,” Kyungsoo smiled, walking over, reaching out over Jongin’s shoulder to pull out a DVD. His eyes never left the other’s.

Jongin had to clear his throat. "You're missing the third High School Musical," he mentioned.

"Yeah, I never got a hold of that one DVD. I don't remember why though," Kyungsoo shrugged, setting it up. Meokmul saw the TV come to life and instantly ran to the couch.

Jongin chuckled, following the puppy and pulling him to his lap.

Kyungsoo went back to the kitchen as the opening scene started. Jongin didn't know how long he was sitting there watching the movie while lazily petting Meokmul, when Kyungsoo walked back with food on a tray, setting it over the coffee table. He sat down next to Jongin, grabbing his plate.

"Are we going to eat here?" Jongin's eyes widened as he watched Kyungsoo start to eat.

"Yeah," Kyungsoo smiled. "You see… this is my safe space. Here I can do everything I'm not allowed to do back at the palace and getting to feel somewhat normal, which includes eating in front of the TV or making my food."

Jongin couldn't stop spinning around the idea that Kyungsoo brought him to his safe space. He wanted to share that with him.

He wondered if he shared it with anyone else before, but he pushed this thought away quickly, not liking how it made him feel.

He grabbed his plate after putting the puppy down and ate with him as they watched the movie, singing along to some songs. Before they both knew it, they were halfway through the second movie, both curled up on the couch with Meokmul sitting between them.

"You are the music in me has to be my favorite song," Kyungsoo said after a while, still staring at the screen.

"Really?"

"Yes, don't you think that's beautiful?" He smiled. "Having someone that cares about music so much say that you are the music in them… that's an even better way to say I love you."

Kyungsoo looked at him then, making eye contact with Jongin for a while. He felt his heart skip a beat. Jongin nodded, turning back to the screen. He remained silent after that as his brain tried to process.

He watched as the protagonists danced around the piano to the song. The black piano then caught his attention. He figured Kyungsoo wouldn't have one if he didn't know how to play it.

"How well do you play?" Jongin asked. Kyungsoo paused the movie.

"Well enough. Growing up, our parents made my brother and I learn a language, an instrument, and martial arts," he shrugged. "I guess something about being versatile as a Prince."

Jongin hummed. "Would it be too much if I asked you to play something?" he smiled. "I'm curious."

"Curious about me?" Kyungsoo raised an eyebrow, amused.

"Maybe."

There was silence as they held each other's stares.

"I'll play something for you," Kyungsoo stood up, walking towards the piano with Jongin following close behind. They both sat in front of the keys. Kyungsoo took a deep breath before his fingers flew over the keys. It was a song Jongin had never heard before, but the melody embraced him so tightly and beautifully.

Kyungsoo didn't just play 'well enough', he was great at it.

Jongin's heart jumped wildly inside his chest. He was smiling by the time Kyungsoo was done.

"What's the name of this song?" Jongin asked.

Kyungsoo sighed. "I don't know. It just kind of happened." He smiled. “I guess it’s your song.”

His song.

They spent the rest of the afternoon like this before they both had to head back to the palace. Watching movies together, commenting and laughing. They ordered food for dinner instead and sat on the couch with Meokmul switching between their laps.

Jongin couldn't help to wonder if this was the life they would've had if they were normal people. He had none of this being the heir to the throne, but he enjoyed it.

He wouldn't mind if this was the rest of his life.

He wouldn't mind having this with Kyungsoo either.

The time to relax was soon over, and Jongin found himself in quite a predicament the next day as he tried to find something decent to wear. He was going to have lunch with Kyungsoo and his parents that day. The King and Queen.

To say he was sweating was an understatement.

He didn't think he would have to face them on this trip since they were out of the country, but apparently, they made it back sooner to have this lunch with him. It was allegedly an informal lunch, but even an informal lunch with the King and Queen was very formal. Jongin wanted to pick his outfit himself to make sure he was presentable.

It's not every day that you meet the parents of the boy you had a one-night stand with and now have to marry.

He was sure they didn't appreciate that too much.

Jongin looked at his reflection for a moment, trying to decide if the high waist pants with the crepe pink dress shirt securely tucked in would be too informal to meet them. He shook his head, deciding this would have to be enough.

Chanyeol was waiting for him as always, ready to him to the dining room. He walked behind Jongin in complete silence, which is something Jongin appreciates of him. He knows when to say something or when comforting words would not work on him, and he just needs some time inside his mind.

They met Kyungsoo at the top of the stairs. He tried to give Jongin a reassuring smile, but it was obvious he had just as much clue as Jongin about how that evening would go.

"Nervous?" Kyungsoo finally asked as they reached the bottom of the stairs.

"A bit… you?" Jongin let out a sigh.

"Yeah," Kyungsoo chuckled. "Although why are we nervous?"

Truly, why were they nervous?

Well, Jongin could face judgmental stares, even hate stares, since he technically was the one who corrupted the pure second Prince of East Korea. However, he didn't understand why Kyungsoo was nervous.

They were announced and walked into the dining room where The King and Queen were waiting.

The King of course was at the head of the table and the Queen standing to his right. Jongin and Kyungsoo took a deep breath at the same time as they approached them. Bowing, before Kyungsoo went over to kiss his mother's cheeks and shake his father's hand.

"Darling, how are you?" The Queen questioned, holding her son's face.

"I'm good. How was your trip?" Kyungsoo smiled, placing his hands over his mother's. Jongin could tell they were very close from just seeing the way they looked at each other.

"It was lovely," she glanced at her husband who nodded, and then finally their eyes turned to look at Jongin. He felt his breath getting stuck in his throat.

"It's nice to see you again," The Queen was the first to speak. She smiled politely at him.

"Your majesty," Jongin nodded. "I'm glad to be here."

"Has everything been to your liking?" The King asked, and Jongin once again nodded.

"Everything has been wonderful and Kyungsoo has been making sure I feel comfortable and welcomed," Jongin smiled. He squeezed his hands together, trying to stop them from trembling slightly.

"I'm glad." The King nodded. The small talk died down as they sat down to have dinner. They kept throwing question after question at Jongin during the entire evening. He guessed it was normal considering he was going to marry their son. However, he felt more and more uncomfortable as the seconds went by.

Kyungsoo sent a few apologetic looks from the other side of the table, but Jongin knew there wasn't much he could do. He had to get out of this situation on his own.

The servants brought out the dessert, and Jongin was so relieved that the evening was almost over.

"So, how did the interviews go?" The King didn't specify but his eyes were on Jongin, making the Prince clear his throat.

"Uh, well, as good as they could've been," Jongin tried to smile. "We took some nice pictures."

"Did they ask any uncomfortable questions?" The Queen then turned to Kyungsoo, who sighed, putting down his fork.

"A little, Jongin stood up for me though," Kyungsoo gave the other man a warm smile as if thanking him again. Jongin returned the smile.

"It was nothing. I don't like when people try to take advantage of information," he frowned. "They shouldn't treat you or talk to you any differently because of what we did. You're still a person."

"What did they say?" The King then looked between the two with furrowed eyebrows. Worry clear in his eyes.

"They were suggesting I wasn't as… innocent," Kyungsoo cleared his throat. "It's nothing."

"I differ," Jongin suddenly said. Remembering the scene was oddly making him feel upset. "Nobody can make you look like you're any less. Whatever happened, happened. They should still respect you."

Kyungsoo smiled. "Well, you did an outstanding job defending me. I guess I'm lucky to have you now."

Jongin huffed. "How lucky can you be if I helped to cause this mess in the first place?"

"Let's say it's even then."

"Deal."

They smiled at each other and went back to their desserts, not noticing they still had two pairs of attentive eyes on them, both now wearing knowing smiles. Neither of them said a word as they ate as well.

Once dinner was over and the King and Queen had finally retreated to their bedroom, Jongin finally felt like he could breathe. Kyungsoo and Chanyeol walked with him back to his room and despite what Jongin said, Kyungsoo believed the evening was a success.

"You did great," Kyungsoo chuckled. "My mother even invited you to have coffee too… she doesn't do that with just everybody."

"I'm sure it's courtesy," Jongin waved his hand as if to dismiss it.

Kyungsoo shook his head. "Dinner was courtesy. Coffee was personal." He smiled, glancing just slightly at Chanyeol before he leaned in and kissed Jongin's cheek. "We have more things tomorrow and a lot of preparations before the coronation, but… I was wondering if you wanted to bake something with me tomorrow."

Jongin's eyes were still wide open to properly process the invitation. He nodded, nevertheless.

"Good," Kyungsoo smiled "I'll see you tomorrow then."

Jongin nodded once again and with that Kyungsoo left. Jongin still stood by the door a few minutes after, his brain working its way through everything. He let out a sigh and turned to look at Chanyeol, who had an annoying smirk on his face now.

"What?"

"Nothing, sir," Chanyeol shrugged and opened the door for him. Jongin decided not to question any further. He could face something he wasn't ready to deal with at the moment. He lied down on the bed, still with his clothes on, staring at the ceiling.

A hand softly touching his cheek.

This trip turned out differently from what he expected it to be.

Jongin walked into the kitchen the next morning. There were no workers around and only Kyungsoo was standing there, frowning at his phone and checking that they had all the ingredients they needed.

Jongin chuckled as he got closer. "Are we having an issue?" He asked.

Kyungsoo seemed startled, but he smiled as soon as he saw Jongin. "Not really, I'm just checking we have everything, and we do." He nodded, putting his phone away.

"So, whatever we make is going to be our breakfast?" Jongin grabbed an apron and wrapped it around himself.

"I was thinking of doing some muffins so we could have them with tea or coffee," Kyungsoo nodded.

"Okay. I'm not very good at this, so you'll have to bear with me." Jongin wasn't honestly the best cook.

"It's fine, I'm here to teach you," Kyungsoo grabbed a bowl, pouring ingredients in it. Kyungsoo instructed Jongin on what to do and how to do it, also giving him simple tasks as he took on the hardest parts.

It also impressed Kyungsoo the level of attention Jongin was paying to everything they were doing. He thought at first that the other wouldn't care that much, but he was putting a lot of effort and enthusiasm into it.

Jongin also noticed how Kyungsoo's hands found their way to him whenever he walked by him, maybe to grab something or to tell him what to do. Just a gentle touch, his hand sliding across Jongin's lower back. Jongin had to hold back a smile.

After a while, Jongin turned to Kyungsoo. "Do I have flour in my nose?" He asked. His hands were covered in flour and he thought he had gotten some on his face when scratching his nose.

Kyungsoo glanced at him and giggled. "You do, let me help you." He reached out, forgetting his own hands were covered in batter, and got some on his face as well. "Oh God, I'm sorry."

Jongin blinked. "I'm guessing you just made it worse."

"Not on purpose!" However, Kyungsoo laughed even more as he stared at the other's face.

Jongin said little for a while, and then he just reached out to wipe some flour on his hands over Kyungsoo's face. However, Kyungsoo was fast enough to hold his wrist, still smiling.

"I don't think you want to do that," Kyungsoo said. He narrowed his eyes in amusement.

"Hmm. Why not?" Jongin was trying to hold back a smile and failing.

"For starters, I'm in charge of your breakfast." Kyungsoo raised an eyebrow. "Behave, if you want to eat."

"Is this how this relationship will work?" Jongin raised an eyebrow back at him with a smirk. "You mess with me, but I have to behave."

"Maybe."

Jongin's eyes lazily dragged over Kyungsoo's features, landing on his lips. He felt his entire body being flooded with warmth, his fingers tingling with a sudden need to touch him. His memories of that one night together were still fuzzy.

It could be so easy to just-

Suddenly they heard Kyungsoo's name being called behind them, just then noticing that somehow in between their banter they had gotten closer to each other.

Dangerously closer.

Jongin took a step back, clearing his throat, and they turned to look at Jongdae, who had an illegible expression.

"Your Royal Highness, the Prime Minister is here," Jongdae announced, and the other two exchanged a look.

"Oh, are their majesties unavailable?" Kyungsoo unwrapped his apron.

"He's here to see you," Jongdae gave Kyungsoo a look that Jongin could not understand. The second Prince then nodded, putting his apron down and giving Jongin an apologetic smile.

"I'm afraid I'll have to take this, but I'll be back," he spoke. However, Jongin didn't like the way he didn't meet his eyes once as he said this.

"Everything okay?" Jongin asked once Kyungsoo was gone. Jongdae cleared his throat.

"Yes, sir," he bowed and then left as well. Leaving Jongin with questions as he waited. He didn't want to mess up what they had done, so he did nothing other than wash his hands as he waited for Kyungsoo.

He waited for thirty minutes before he walked out of the kitchen. Maybe Jongdae could tell him how long this meeting would last and if he had to wait at all. He spotted Jongdae and Minseok talking near the stairs, but as he approached, there were a few words that caught his attention.

"So, have the Prime Minister and the Prince always been this close?" Minseok had asked as they walked up the stairs.

"You could say they're childhood friends. I believe the Prince had a crush on him for the longest time," Jongdae shrugged. "Maybe he still does, but I wouldn't know.”

Jongin stopped walking as he heard this.

He lost sight of the two secretaries. Just as he was about to return to the kitchen, he heard a door being opened and Kyungsoo's voice faintly as he walked out into the hallway followed by another man.

He wasn't very tall, just slightly taller than Kyungsoo. He was wearing a three-piece suit, black hair carefully pushed back. Jongin had to admit he was good-looking. Even as the man smiled, Jongin could not find a single flaw on his face. He then spoke and his voice was melodic and soft.

They were looking at each other in a way that made Jongin's stomach burn.

It took them a while to notice he was there, and to be honest Jongin felt like an idiot for just standing there and looking at them without saying a word. He cleared his throat when he heard Kyungsoo calling his name. He didn't look at him directly because he didn't know what he would find, and he wasn't sure of what his eyes would say either.

Putting on his best smile, he walked closer to them, shaking the hand of the Prime Minister.

"Jongin, this is Kim Junmyeon, our Prime Minister," Kyungsoo introduced him with a smile. Jongin couldn't take his eyes off the man, he looked even better up close.

"Nice to meet you," Jongin said, but his voice lacked emotion.

"It's my pleasure, Your Royal Highness." The man bowed politely, still smiling as he held Jongin's stare. "I'm glad I can finally meet you… Kyungsoo had nothing but good things to say about you."

Jongin raised an eyebrow. "I'm sure he was just being nice."

"Not at all," Kyungsoo chuckled. "Anyway, thanks for coming Jun. I will talk to my brother about this." He smiled, nodding.

"Thank you," The other man said. He bowed again. "Again, it was a pleasure."

Jongin nodded.

The man turned around to leave. There was something in his eyes Jongin couldn't identify. He didn't know what to feel. He kept remembering Kyungsoo's words when they talked about love.

The last person I loved, loved me back, but couldn't.

It had to be about the Prime Minister.

Kyungsoo and Jongin stood there for a while after he left, neither of them knowing what to say.

"Shall we go back to baking?" Kyungsoo suggested. He was still avoiding Jongin's eyes.

Jongin didn't feel like baking anymore.

"Uh… it's getting late, I should probably go get ready for whatever schedule we have today." Jongin didn't understand why he was upset, but he would rather be alone.

"Oh!" Kyungsoo blinked and nodded. "Sure, I… yeah. I guess that's smart."

"Let's do it some other time." Jongin smiled the best he could, although he was sure it came out more like a grimace before leaving. He had some things to think about and if he was being honest with himself, maybe this was the best course of action. If things like these would upset him, then he would rather put some distance.

He allowed himself to get too involved.

Distance was better.

Distance was good.

So that's what he did.

Days went by in a daze for Jongin as he waited for the coronation. He was instructed to go back home right after the ceremony, and he couldn't wait. The Crown Prince and his wife arrived from their trip a few days later and they had some time to have dinner with them. Jongin found he got along with them well.

With Kyungsoo, things seemed to go back to that awkward stage. He didn't want to think too much into it, even though he was aware it had been his fault things were like that. He allowed himself to be into a fantasy, and it was time he woke up.

East Korea's coronation ceremony was very traditional. According to what Jongin had heard, the first-ever televised coronation had been Kyungsoo's father and after that, they seemed to add a touch of modernity to their ceremonies even when they were still on the traditional side, compared to what Jongin was used to in West Korea.

He had to wear traditional clothes since he was sitting with the family members this time. Considering he was also family now, or soon to be, rather. He was sitting next to Kyungsoo on the front line. He watched as Prince Seungsoo swore to serve and protect the country and lead them towards a better future. His father proudly looking down at him.

Jongin couldn't help the way his stomach tightened. That would be him one day, maybe not so far into the future. His entire life he had seen the crown as a responsibility he had to assume, but looking at Seungsoo's face, the way he looked beyond proud to carry that crown and that responsibility.

To be the one other people would look up to.

Jongin wondered if this was how he would feel when it was his turn.

He had no doubts everyone in the Do family was entirely devoted to the country, and that love inspired him beyond words. Jongin looked down at Kyungsoo and he was surprised to see tears in his eyes along with a smile as he watched his brother being crowned as the new King.

He didn’t know if he should have, but he reached out to hold Kyungsoo’s hand. He squeezed it slightly and Kyungsoo glanced at him, his smile growing wider.

Maybe he should have.

Once the ceremony was over, there was an official dinner to celebrate the new King and Queen. Jongin had an early morning flight, so he told himself he would socialize a bit, have a few drinks, and then call it a night. He packed the night before and he made sure he would be home by the time all the headlines dropped.

He was sure the news outlets would cover the coronation first and then drop the bomb on everybody. This also reminded him that the moment he arrived, the wedding would be right around the corner.

The wedding.

He tried once again to distract himself with food, alcohol, and trivial talk with other royals. Making a decent attempt at socializing, Jongin went from group to group, giving them his signature smile and playing the part perfectly.

Acting like the loving boyfriend he was supposed to be.

Later that night, once he decided he already had enough to drink, he excused himself from the group he was talking to and scanned the room, looking for Chanyeol. He found him soon enough and immediately the bodyguard walked towards him. No words needed. Chanyeol walked behind him as they made their way out of the banquet hall and up the stairs towards his room.

They didn’t speak for a while, Jongin honestly didn’t have much to say considering how exhausted he was. Just as they reached his door, Chanyeol let out a sigh.

“If I may, sir, you look a bit off lately…” Chanyeol frowned. “Is everything okay?”

"Everything is," Jongin nodded but he avoided looking at him. Chanyeol knew him better than most people, being friends for as long as they have been, Jongin knew he could not hide much from him.

Even though he wasn't sure what he was hiding either way.

Chanyeol simply nodded, bowing slightly and leaving when Jongin opened the door. He walked into the dark room, turning on the lights and loosening his tie as he made his way into the bathroom first. He took off his jacket and shirt and washed his face. His brain was a little dazed by the alcohol.

Maybe a warm shower would do.

He walked back into the room and soon a gasp left his lips.

Lying down on his bed, he blinked. Was Kyungsoo asleep? But why was he asleep on Jongin's bed? Had he been waiting for him? Why? Since when?

Jongin shook his head as he walked closer, just to make sure he was okay. He stared at Kyungsoo's sleeping face for a moment. He thought this was the moment where he looked the most innocent. He reached out, his fingers brushing gently over his cheek.

Jongin's chest was so full of emotions and his head so full of thoughts.

He then tried to wake him up, but he didn't get too far when Kyungsoo's hand wrapped around his wrist firmly, pulling him down with him.

Jongin gasped once again as he fell on his side, next to Kyungsoo. Eyes wide open, staring back into the other man's illegible eyes. They said nothing for a while, just making eye contact. Jongin could smell the alcohol coming from the other, so maybe they both just had too much to drink that night.

Jongin sighed. "Kyungsoo-"

"Don't avoid me," Kyungsoo's bottom lip was sticking out slightly and that squeezed Jongin's heart. "I don't like it."

"I'm not avoiding you," Jongin's voice was barely above a whisper.

"You were avoiding me," Kyungsoo sighed. "I don't want to marry someone who avoids me."

"I won't."

"Fine."

"Fine."

There was more silence after that, and Jongin chuckled at how ridiculous this situation was. He should tell him to leave, but he didn't have any energy or willpower to do anything but stare back at him. He would probably blame himself in the morning, but there was nothing he could do about that.

The morning was the morning.

Right now was right now.

"What now?" Jongin asked. Kyungsoo was still holding on to his wrist.

The other man paused.

"Can I kiss you?" Kyungsoo said these words so carefully, like he was asking for the secrets of the world or his most precious possession. When he spoke, his eyes traveled to Jongin's lips, leaving no doubt about what he wanted.

It was a bad idea, it was a totally bad idea.

The last time they ended like this, things happened and now they have to marry in less than a month.

But then again, they were going to marry so a kiss from his future husband could harm no one.

"Okay." He replied.

Kyungsoo wasted no time from the moment he got the answer he wanted, and the moment his lips collided with Jongin's. It was barely a touch, yet the way a shiver ran down Jongin's entire body was almost antinatural. Instinctively, Jongin pulled him closer, sighing into his lips and closing his eyes. His brain would of course blame it on the alcohol, and he was okay with that.

Kyungsoo deepened the kiss, quickly taking over. It was soft and urgent, almost like drinking water after being thirsty for months. Jongin just let him do with his lips as he pleased. Indulging in the feeling of having the soft heart-shaped lips against his.

The lips that would be his in a month.

Jongin suddenly felt waves and waves of possessiveness take over him. His grip around Kyungsoo tightening, his lips becoming fiercer. Jongin doesn't remember ever feeling like this. Like his skin would burn if the other didn't touch him.

Like his heart would break if he ever stopped kissing him.

They finally pulled away after a few minutes, taking in the sweet air they were missing. Jongin opened his eyes, finding Kyungsoo's once again.

"As a second Prince," Kyungsoo whispered. "I always thought I would marry for love…" He paused, and Jongin waited for whatever he was going to say next. However, he said nothing, closing his eyes again instead, his body relaxing against Jongin's. Before he knew it, Kyungsoo was asleep again.

Like nothing happened.

Jongin kept circling around Kyungsoo's words. Marrying for love was important to Kyungsoo, and he felt bad he had to be the one to take that away from him. If only they had been smarter, or if they weren't part of their respective royal families…

If only…

Jongin sighed. He lost track of how long he laid there staring at the other, his brain going over and over the infinite possibilities. He went over every single one of them until he couldn't anymore. Until sleep finally got the best of him and he drifted off.

Until he couldn’t think or feel.

***

Returning home was harder than Jongin expected. He had a lot of work to catch up on and on top of that, there was interview after interview about his wedding. The news outlets dropped the bomb just a week after he arrived. He had no time to process or think about anything when he was thrown into several interviews and photoshoots. Everybody wanted to know about the marriage that would finally bring the two countries together.

About the love story that everybody seemed to miss.

There was article after article talking about how the two Princes seemed to get along so well that they fell in love with each other and couldn't keep their hands off each other. Jongin saw the same picture of them staring into each other's eyes at that café over and over in every webpage.

This also fueled the fans that seemed to like the relationship. He saw a ton of posts on Twitter about fans speculating when their relationship started and linking Instagram posts and dates. It was exhausting to watch. However, with all the positive media, there were also negative articles about it.

Most of them painting Jongin as the bad guy for daring to touch the light of East Korea’s nation.

He was also tired of those.

With every day that went by, Jongin fell deeper into the stress hole he made himself.

There wasn't much to do about it. His parents thought it would all pass as everything and Minseok agreed, so Jongin just let that be. Just about a week and a half, Jongin was introduced to his wedding planner. A man that had organized other royal weddings and important celebrity weddings as well. His name was Zhang Yixing and Jongin could tell he knew what to do.

Which was lucky because he didn't.

So, he let him, and his mother take care of all the details and locked himself inside his office day and night, wishing for everything to be over soon. He deserved that much. He also hadn't heard from Kyungsoo in that time, not that he expected to, but after what happened he had hoped the other would at least show up to say goodbye.

He didn't.

Jongin still couldn't get his words out of his head. He was constantly thinking if he wasn't ruining Kyungsoo's life. They were both to blame for the mistake they made, of course, but Jongin felt bad because Kyungsoo expected love and he got the complete opposite.

Now he had to marry and spend the rest of his life with someone he didn't love, and that didn't love him back.

It was suffocating to think about.

He got the first message from Kyungsoo just two weeks after he was home. He had a lot in his mind, but he still couldn't believe the text message he got from the other Prince. Jongin blinked as he looked down at his phone, tapping out of the messages app just to go back in.

>>I just got the HSM3 DVD, I'm taking it with me when I fly to West Korea so we can watch it together. Got to finish the trilogy.

And then there was a picture of Kyungsoo's hand holding the DVD.

Jongin didn't know how to answer, or if he should answer at all. He stared at the message for far too long as he tried to decide. It was a random text, so he didn't understand why he was having such a hard time answering.

He took a deep breath.

<<Sounds good.

That's all he sent back.

He couldn't believe the other not only did not say goodbye to him properly, but also did not mention what happened between them. Did he not remember?

Jongin quickly put his phone down and tried to focus on what he was doing. He was never an overthinker, so he didn't know what was going on with him. Thinking so hard about a simple text.

Get it together, Kim.

That wasn't the only text he got. In a week he received so many text messages and emails from Kyungsoo that he thought the other had to be bored out of his mind. All of them were trivial things, maybe updates on things they had talked about before.

>>I saw Jongdae texting Minseok the other day. Looks like they're pretty serious.

>>This podcast is great. You should try it. (Link)

>>Meokmul seems to miss you. He stares at the door now when I get home. (Photo)

One after the other, Jongin found it harder to be neutral when responding. Most of them even made him smile, especially when he was around people. He always had to come up with lame excuses why he was smiling like an idiot. That was until one of Kyungsoo's texts escalated quickly.

>>I just finished reading one of the fanfiction works you were talking about. Not bad.

<

>>I was surprised by the amount of detail, though. The y scenes, however, I don't remember it being that good.

Jongin almost choked on air. Was he serious?

<<I don't remember you complaining.

>>Hmm… guess we'll find out later then.

Wait…

Was he-?

Was Kyungsoo flirting with him?

Jongin held his phone, staring at the screen for several minutes. Trying to decide what would be the best option to reply. Should he go along with it and see what happens, or should he go back to neutral and polite?

He typed something and hit send before he could overthink it again. Going back to his day as if nothing happened.

Nothing happened.

Or at least that's what he tried to tell himself.

The rest of his day went by with no other casualties. He had work done, met with his wedding planner, and had him email Kyungsoo everything they had discussed so far. He had dinner with his parents and took a shower. To be honest, he was exhausted mentally. He didn't know if he could keep up with this pressure any longer.

Just as his head hit the pillow, he heard his phone ringing.

Jongin sighed, debating if whether he should answer. It was not that late, but he just wasn't in the mood for anybody. He glanced over it slightly, seeing Kyungsoo's name on the screen.

He immediately picked up.

"Hello,"

"Oh! Hi!" Kyungsoo said at the other end. "Did I wake you up?"

"No, I wasn't asleep yet… what's up?" Jongin asked. He lied down again.

"I just finished going over the wedding details. Just wanted to say I'm okay with everything," Kyungsoo said. Jongin could picture him sitting on his apartment couch with Meokmul sitting next to him and his glasses falling over his nose.

"Oh, you can just send Yixing an email," Jongin replied. There was a pause.

"I did already…" Kyungsoo sighed.

"Oh, then that's fine. He'll know what to do." Jongin blinked. He didn't see why this call was necessary then.

Kyungsoo hummed. "I wanted to talk to you too." He spoke. "Haven't heard your voice in a while." He whispered this last part.

Jongin felt the air getting caught in his throat.

"I see… I guess it's true." He cleared his throat. "We haven't talked in a while."

"Hmm. I had the impression you were mad at me," Kyungsoo lowered his voice again. "That's why I took so long to reach out."

"Mad at you? Why?" Jongin tilted his head.

"I don't know, maybe because of what happened in your room before you left."

Oh, so Kyungsoo remembered that kiss. Jongin considered if forgetting it was the best, but if Kyungsoo remembered then that was another deal. However, that was not at all the reason he was mad before he left.

Jongin frowned, realizing he had acknowledged the fact that he was indeed mad before.

But why was he?

A flash of Kyungsoo and the Prime Minister popped in his mind and he experienced that tightening feeling inside his chest one more time. Was this the reason he had felt uneasy when he left East Korea? Was he mad about Kyungsoo being friends with the Prime Minister?

No.

He was upset because Kyungsoo liked, maybe even loved, the Prime Minister.

Where did that leave him?

And did this mean he was… jealous?

Jealous of someone getting Kyungsoo's attention? Mad because Kyungsoo's heart had no room for him?

He thought it was because he felt like he was ruining Kyungsoo's life, but now it felt like more than that.

The more he thought about it, the more certain it felt.

"I wasn't mad because of that," Jongin finally replied, letting out a sigh. His feelings and his head were a mess. There was no way he could explain this successfully to Kyungsoo.

"So, you were mad anyway," Kyungsoo said. He wasn't pushing, but Jongin could tell he wanted to know.

"That doesn't matter anymore," Jongin shrugged even though the other couldn't see him. He knew it was a lie, of course, it mattered, but he wasn't about to discuss this with him now.

There was silence between them. Maybe both of them analyzing their situation. Being aware of his feelings made Jongin feel uneasy, like he wasn't in control anymore. He could feel Kyungsoo hesitating on the other end as well.

"Okay then," Kyungsoo said, and Jongin felt grateful that he let that go. "How were things with your family getting back?"

Jongin sighed. "The same as always. They barely talk to me and I feel like they won't until this wedding is over. They're more concerned about what everyone might think than what their son thinks or feels."

"I see…" Kyungsoo let out a breath. "Well, if they won't listen to you, then I will. Don't hesitate to call me whenever you need to talk. I'll be here for you always."

Jongin couldn't find his words for a moment, a lump blocking his throat. He didn't know how much he needed to hear those words until he did. To have someone on his side for once… it felt nice.

“Thank you.”

"The jeweler is here, Your Highness."

Jongin blinked, snapping out of the trance he was in. Standing up from his chair, he made his way into the small waiting room where he was sure said man would be waiting for him. He had requested for the jeweler to go to the palace, allegedly so he could pick a good wedding gift for Kyungsoo.

However, he had other things in mind.

Minseok bowed and left the room as soon as he was instructed to. The jeweler brought with him a few necklaces and bracelets, but Jongin's request was not for show yet. He had talked to the man directly, asking him to keep this a secret as best as he could because he knew others would ask too many questions.

Or maybe he just wasn’t ready for other people to know what he was about to do.

"Did you bring them?" Jongin questioned, looking at the selection of bracelets the man brought with him.

The other man nodded, pulling out of his suitcase also a fine selection of engagement rings. “Of course, I did Your Royal Highness. These are the best in the market right now, I’m confident you’ll find something to your liking.”

Jongin scanned the rings carefully, looking for something that would look appropriate. He had already given Kyungsoo a ring, however, his parents picked this ring, therefore it lacked the connection and representation an engagement ring should have. It was beautiful, but it was too impersonal, and it didn't match Kyungsoo at all.

And Jongin wanted to give him something that would suit him.

They were all indeed incredibly beautiful, Jongin had to admit, some of them similar to the one Kyungsoo already had. He had a hard time finding one that would accomplish the mission until his eyes landed on a silver ring, with a big garnet stone surrounded by diamonds. The deep burgundy standing out.

"What about this one?" he pointed at it, unable to take his eyes off of the ring. The more he stared, the more he liked it.

"Great selection sir," the jeweler pulled the ring out so Jongin could get a better view of it. "It's original."

"It's our birthstone… I think he'll appreciate it better," Jongin smiled. "I'll take it."

"Perfect sir, I'll have it prepared and ready for you before the wedding." The other man nodded, putting the ring back.

"Oh, and I'll take a bracelet too since we're at it already," Jongin turned to look at those as well. Choosing a ring changed his mood for the better, looking a bit more enthusiastic about everything. He couldn't wait to see Kyungsoo's reaction to it.                                                                  

He picked a bracelet he also thought Kyungsoo would like and instructed the jeweler to have both ready and sent over as soon as possible. With the wedding just a week away and Kyungsoo arriving soon, he had to gain as much time as he could and prepare himself mentally for what was about to happen.

The ring and the bracelet arrived the morning of Kyungsoo's arrival.

Jongin felt like a teenager, excited to deliver his first love letter ever. He promised Kyungsoo that he would be there to greet him personally, maybe also help him through the formalities he had to go through. Greeting Jongin's parents, meeting with the wedding planner. There were so many things to do and little time.

They arrived a few minutes earlier and waited for the flight to land. The box inside his pocket felt heavy and light at the same time. Jongin couldn't remember the last time he felt so excited about something. He couldn't wait to share with Kyungsoo just as much as the other had shared with him.

He saw Kyungsoo before he saw anybody else, a smile immediately forming on his lips as he waited for them to get closer. Of course, Jongdae and Sehun were with him, along with a few other bodyguards, but Jongin could only look at him. It didn't take too long for Kyungsoo to spot him too, and the moment he did he smiled so brightly that Jongin felt his heart skip a beat.

Why did he have to smile like that?

"I hope you had a safe flight," Jongin finally spoke once they were close enough to hear.

"We did," Kyungsoo was still smiling.

"Good."

They kept staring at each other, both saying so much with their eyes. Catching up. Minseok and Jongdae sharing a knowing look.

"Are you exhausted, or do you think we can meet with the wedding planner now?" Jongin said as he offered an arm which Kyungsoo took with no hesitation.

"We can do that now," he nodded.

They walked towards the waiting cars with the others walking right behind them. Of course, as expected, several paparazzi were waiting nearby, but Jongin paid no attention to any of them. He was sure they would talk about him picking Kyungsoo up personally, which was good for what they were trying to sell.

Right?

Jongin wasn't sure about what they were trying to sell anymore.

They arrived at the venue just half an hour later. Everything looked like the sketches Yixing sent. The tables were nicely prepared, flowers everywhere. It looked like the ultimate fairytale setting. Yixing showed them around, explaining every single detail from the flowers to the vases, the plates, and the entertainment they would have. The place where they would have their first dance. Only the main ceremony would be televised, so they didn't have to worry about that during the reception.

Although it would still be recorded for them to have.

Jongin took everything in the best he could. He thought it was beautiful for sure, but he didn't have any preferences of what he wanted the wedding to be like. He then looked down at Kyungsoo, who was gazing at everything.

"What do you think?" Jongin asked. Kyungsoo was still holding on to his arm tightly.

"It's perfect," he's still looking around, touching the flowers lightly and taking in everything around him. "To think we will be here celebrating tomorrow."

He wasn't sure celebrating was the right word.

They soon finished the tour and Yixing stepped outside to answer a phone call from one supplier. Kyungsoo sat down and Jongin did the same, everything they had done in such a short amount of time still mesmerized them. They couldn't believe also that it would be their wedding.

Jongin took in a deep breath. Luckily, their secretaries waited outside for them to see everything quietly. Minseok of course had already seen and supervised everything and considering he was sure Jongdae had been informed about everything too. He then looked at Kyungsoo, who was in a trance of his own, staring at the ceiling.

It was now or never.

"You know…" he started, clearing his throat. "This somehow feels like it's not happening to us."

Kyungsoo didn't say anything for a moment, frowning as he heard Jongin's words. Jongin bit his bottom lip. He didn't want him to think he meant that in a bad way.

"When they told me, this was happening, they just gave me a ring, they didn't even let me pick one for you at all," Jongin continued. "Not that I would've made a good choice then, because to be honest, we barely knew each other." He chuckled.

“I guess it’s what they do,” Kyungsoo looked down, his hands fidgeting with the edge of his shirt.

"Yeah, but I didn't think that was right," Jongin said. "And now that I know you a bit better, I thought… that I could pick one for you, in case you wanted to wear it." He pulled out the small box from his pocket, setting it on the table gently. Kyungsoo looked up, eyes widened as he stared at the box in front of him, just within reach.

"You… you got me a new ring?" Kyungsoo seemed stunned, and Jongin wasn't sure if it was a good or a bad thing.

“I did,” was all he said.

Kyungsoo reached out to grab the box, he visibly took a deep breath in before he opened the box. A soft gasp leaving his lips when he saw the ring. Jongin was beyond nervous in all honesty. He was afraid that maybe he read him wrong and instead of doing a nice gesture; he ended up making things worse.

“You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to. I just thought it would fit you a bit more, but if you like the other one better-”

"No! I like it," Kyungsoo quickly took the other one off and replaced it with this new ring, the garnet almost shining under the light. Kyungsoo's eyes were sparkling too. "I love it. Thank you." Kyungsoo looked at him and for once, Jongin felt like he had done something good.

He felt like it had been worth it.

"I'm glad."

Kyungsoo's eyes were screaming as they looked at each other.

They were screaming as he took a step forward and pressed his lips softly against Jongin's cheek.

They were screaming so many things.

Jongin's family noticed the change of ring, but neither of them said anything about it. Jongin was honestly thankful they didn't, that was something he did not want to discuss with them. They had dinner together, and they appeared to enjoy Kyungsoo's company, which was a first.

Kyungsoo of course won them over one by one with his smile and knowledge and desire to learn more about their country. He was genuinely interested in everything, and Jongin could tell his family appreciated that.

Once dinner was over, they had tea on the terrace and later were escorted to their rooms.

"I hope you find your room quite comfortable. I picked it myself," Jongin said when they stood in the main hallway. They would have to go in opposite directions and would not see each other until the wedding.

Kyungsoo smiled, glancing down at his ring. "If you did, then I'm sure I will" he chuckled. "See you tomorrow."

Jongin nodded. "I guess I'll see you at the altar."

"I guess you will," Kyungsoo smiled.

There was a moment of silence as they held each other's stares. Unspoken feelings shining in them.

"I'll wait until you get going," Jongin then said.

Kyungsoo chuckled. "Okay then."

Neither of them moved.

Jongdae cleared his throat then, getting them both out of their trance.

"Goodnight," Kyungsoo said, finally taking a step back.

"Goodnight," Jongin replied.

Kyungsoo walked away with Jongdae and Sehun following right behind. It was just when he was out of sight that Jongin did the same. He said goodnight to Minseok and Chanyeol walked with him to his room. Jongin had been so much in his little world that he didn't notice the bodyguard staring at him until he opened the door to his room.

"What?" He questioned, looking at Chanyeol.

"Nothing, sir," Chanyeol shrugged. "I'm just glad to see you happy."

Happy.

Jongin kept thinking about this as he took a shower and brushed his teeth. Even when he finally lied down. He looked happy. He felt happy. Part of him was trying to deny the reason he was feeling like this, but there was no use. He knew why he was feeling like this; he knew it perfectly well.

Kyungsoo.

What were the chances of finding something good by accident?

Jongin let out a sigh. He was still smiling when he grabbed his phone and got comfortable between his pillows. Going back to the usual routine, typing his name on the google search. There were just a bunch of pictures of him, official pictures from the crown, some others from the fake dates he had with Kyungsoo.

He also saw a few pictures that were edited to show as if they were getting married. Some fans were impatient and couldn't wait for the official thing the next day. Of course, there were a few hate comments, but Jongin felt like they couldn't touch him with the way he was feeling.

Nothing could bring him down now.

Maybe he should talk to Kyungsoo the next day, tell him about his feelings before they got married. He hoped it wouldn't be awkward for the other Prince but knowing him it would be fine. He could do it. He could confess before their wedding so that way they would get married knowing what they felt for the other.

Jongin tried to ignore the bubbly feeling that was rising inside his stomach. He hadn't felt this giggly in a while.

But then he saw something that made his smile fade away.

As Jongin scrolled down, he saw a few posts of recent pictures. It was Kyungsoo and the Prime Minister of East Korea, talking and laughing together at a ball just a few days ago. The post stated they had been inseparable during the entire event. Jongin stared at the pictures for longer than he should've.

The two of them. Laughing.

Smiling at each other.

There were comments about how they would make a better couple and how much it looked like they cared for each other, having been friends for so long.

Jongin felt sick.

What if they were right? What if they were a much better couple?

What if Kyungsoo was really in love with him and Jongin was only making his life miserable?

Jongdae's words going around inside his head. Thinking about the way they stared at each other and how much that had bothered him. Somehow, he ignored it the last few weeks, maybe because of Kyungsoo's constant texts and calls, but nothing had changed. He only fooled himself.

He got him a new ring.

A ring Kyungsoo probably didn't even want.

Jongin shut down his phone, setting it over the bedside table and letting out a sigh. It's not like the next day would change. However, now he felt incredibly awful. Knowing that he had taken Kyungsoo's opportunity to marry and be with someone he loved and be happy. That just made Jongin's heart break into a million pieces.

He wasn't sure how he was going to make it through the next day, but he had to. He had to be strong. They could have a friendly marriage, right?

They could do it.

At least he remembered before he made another mistake and made a fool of himself.

Jongin couldn't sleep. It wasn't ideal considering it was his wedding day, however, he just couldn't stop his brain. He couldn't make it stop thinking. He couldn't ignore or run away from it, and it just made his heart more miserable every second.

He was up early to get ready, Minseok walking into his room with Chanyeol and several other people right behind him.

He had to shower, eat, get dressed, then go through hair and makeup. He had to look perfect. He knew he had to look like it was the happiest day of his life, but going through a sleepless night, Jongin didn't have any energy to pretend. He would have to save it all for the ceremony.

Minseok was going from place to place, with Yixing following, making sure everything was appropriate and in order. Once Jongin was done changing, he just sat in his room watching Minseok go crazy with every single detail.

"Relax, there's not a single perfect wedding," Jongin said from his bed.

"Yours will be," was all Minseok said, answering a phone call. He was trying to sort out the sitting arrangements because a few of the guests wanted a different seat. Jongin just heard as he went on and on about where everyone should go.

The cabinet, West Korea's Prime Minister, East Korea's Prime Minister, and other important people.

Jongin felt his heart sink.

There was a knock on the door as Minseok left the room along with a few other people, and Baekhyun walked in with a smile on his face. He was wearing a gray suit, his silver hair carefully pushed back. For once, not the messy pile of hair he carried around.

"Here he is!" Baekhyun chuckled as he walked over to Jongin. "No offense, Your Royal Highness, but you look like a pile of ." He bowed slightly and then sat down next to Jongin. He was probably one of the few people that could get away with this behavior.

"I feel like one too," Jongin sighed, shaking his head.

"What's going on? You're not the type to freak out," Baekhyun crossed his legs as he stared at his friend.

"Well, this isn't normal circumstances as you may see," Jongin scoffed and Baekhyun chuckled.

"That's true, but cheer up!" He patted Jongin's back. "Prince Kyungsoo looks a lot more cheerful than you and gorgeous, but you didn't hear that from me."

"That doesn't help."

Baekhyun stays silent for a moment, analyzing Jongin's expression. "What's bothering you?"

"Let's see… where do I start? Maybe the fact that someone is now being forced to marry me when he's probably in love with someone else and now he has to spend the rest of his life with someone he doesn't love," Jongin stood up. He was feeling angry and frustrated. Baekhyun stared at him.

"In love with someone else? Who?" Baekhyun frowned.

Jongin sighed. " Kyungsoo only has eyes for his Prime Minister." He ran a hand through his hair as he started pacing around the room.

Baekhyun hummed. "Well, I can see how that bothers you. I would be jealous of that hot piece of human being too."

"I'm not jealous," Jongin said.

"Sure, okay. I'm not great at the advice, but I would recommend you to talk to him." Baekhyun shrugged. "Who knows, you might discover a thing or two." He did not wait for an answer and left the room. Leaving a frustrated Jongin behind.

He could not talk to him.

What could he possibly say?

All Jongin could do was apologize for separating him from his country, his family, and the one person he wanted to be with. The wedding would tie them for the rest of their lives, and there was nothing neither of them could do about it.

There was another knock on the door, a head peeking in.

The last person Jongin wanted to see right now.

He took a deep breath when the Prime Minister walked inside the room, holding a smile as he approached the Prince. Jongin was taller than him, but he felt shorter with his guilt pulling him down. Intensifying inside him as he looked at the other man.

"Your Highness," he bowed, standing a few feet away from Jongin. "I came to congratulate you, I know we don't know each other well, but I felt like I had to tell you you're a lucky man."

Jongin couldn't get any words to come out, so he simply nodded.

The other smiled, running a hand through his perfectly fixed hair. "He's very special."

"I know."

How could he not know? How could he ignore Kyungsoo was perfect in every single way?

The Prime Minister nodded, giving him a tense smile before he bowed again. "If you'll excuse me then." He then made his way out.

Jongin patted his chest, right above his heart.

He couldn't go through with this.

He couldn't force someone to be unhappy with him. Especially when he cared this much. Jongin's eyes were burning with tears, his chest felt heavy and a lump formed in his throat. He couldn't.

His family would hate him for this.

Jongin sighed for the nth time in the past hour. He pulled out his phone, bringing up Kyungsoo's texts and typing a quick I'm sorry before he regretted it. There was nothing else that could be appropriate in such a situation. Jongin felt like he could explode any moment now.

Luckily, there was no one else inside his room with him to see.

Just a few minutes later, a loud knock on the door brought Jongin back. He didn't think he had the energy to see anybody else. Another knock and then a voice that made goosebumps travel through Jongin's skin.

"Jongin?" Kyungsoo sounded concerned.

Jongin should've known he would worry, but maybe it was for the best. He could inform him of his decision. He walked over to open the door and what he saw made his soul fall to his feet. Kyungsoo looked absolutely beautiful in his white suit, his hair pushed away from his forehead and his eyes looked even bigger if possible.

Jongin's heart was screaming.

Kyungsoo's eyes were wide open, blinking as he waited for Jongin to say something.

"Come in," Jongin sighed, stepping aside to let the other man in.

"Are you okay?" There was concern in Kyungsoo's eyes.

Was he okay?

He didn't think so.

"I… I don't know," Jongin walked closer to the bed. "I don't think we should go through with this."

"I-" pause. "Why not? I thought… did something happen?"

"Everything happened Kyungsoo!" Jongin groaned. "You, me, everything! You don't love me, and I just can't force you to marry me when I know you want a genuine marriage."

"You're not forcing me," Kyungsoo frowned.

"My family is, which is the same. I can't do it, I'm sorry," Jongin had to blink the annoying tears away. "I'll take responsibility for whatever happens."

"What has gotten into you?" Kyungsoo looked around, confused.

Jongin sat on his bed with a sigh. "I'm doing this for you, so you can be with the one you love."

"What are you talking about?"

"Your Prime Minister, Kyungsoo," Jongin ran a hand through his hair, probably messing up what the stylist did earlier.

Kyungsoo fell silent.

"With Junmyeon…" he sounded unsure of what he was about to say. "I had some feelings once, but feelings change, sometimes without you noticing."

"You don't have to-"

"If anything, we're in this mess because of me," Kyungsoo took a deep breath. "That night… we were both drunk, but I remember it perfectly. I remember you smiling at me, I remember you making terrible jokes, whispering them in my ear, dancing with me, and looking at me, through me. I remember you.”

Jongin was speechless. He didn't know Kyungsoo remembered that night.

"I couldn't help myself; I didn't know it would end up like this and honestly…" Kyungsoo reached out, taking Jongin's hands in his. "I can't say I regret it. I really like you, like really like you and I can see that become so much more Jongin.”

"Kyungsoo-"

"No, just… listen." Kyungsoo interrupted. "I know our vows are scripted, but when you gave me this ring, I felt like I had to do more than that." He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, giving it to Jongin.

Kyungsoo's vows.

Jongin was afraid to read it. For whatever reason, he was refusing to believe what was in front of him.

He unfolded the piece of paper slowly, his eyes scanning the page, and the further he went the more he felt like he would cry any moment. Thanking the heavens for being in that room with just Kyungsoo at the moment. He took in a deep breath as he read everything, a lump forming in his throat once again and his eyes glossing over with tears.

This was…

He had no words.

Jongin folded the piece of paper, carefully placing it inside his pocket.

"Jongin?"

The other nodded and the way Kyungsoo's face turned into one enormous smile, made Jongin feel like the King of the world. Maybe they weren't in love yet, but they were close, and if this felt this intense, he couldn't even think what it would be like when they were.

Jongin caressed Kyungsoo's cheek softly. "I really like you too. Will you marry me?"

Kyungsoo laughed.

Jongin didn't know it would take so little for him to be so sure about something. For someone to become so much more in his life. He asked himself once if they would be happy together. They would.

And Jongin knew.

He knew when he walked down the aisle. He knew when he waited for Kyungsoo with the biggest smile anyone had ever seen on him to date.

He knew when they stood in front of each other, their eyes locked in a stare that could last a lifetime.

And he knew when he said I do.

***

Jongin,

When I think of us, I feel like we're two Princes who took the wrong turn in this fairytale and somehow still ended married.

Will we live happily ever after, however?

There's no way for me to know.

But here's what I do know:

I know rocks turn to sand. I know the day becomes the night. I know there are too many stars in the sky for us to count, and I know you're probably still unsure of what we're doing today. I know you didn't really ask me to marry you, and there's nothing I can say that can make this better.

But I can still try.

When they told me we would have to get married, I felt a lot of regrets, but not for the reasons you think. It upset me that I would have to squeeze in a month what I should've done in a year.

How could I get you to like me in a month? I kept asking myself.

Because do I like you? I do.

I like your smile, the way you laugh, your sparkly eyes. I like that you're taller than me, and you don't let people bully you for your title. I like that you're thoughtful and kind and you eat everything I make with such happiness that it makes me want to kiss you again.

Do I think we'll be okay? I do.

Because despite what other people think, our personalities fit together so well.

Do I want to marry you? I do.

We might not be fully, madly, or deeply in love… but we're so close Jongin. It's right at our fingertips, and I know that once we do, there will be no turning back.

I can see it in your eyes, the way you're falling for me.

I hope you can see it in mine.

I want these things with you because I know how amazing it can be. Even better than it could be with anyone else. If we stay or walk away, there’s one thing that’s true…

I do.

Now, do you?

 

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