On a freezing winter morning, two men and three women stood in front of the entrance of Naval Base in Pohang. The weather forecast stated that the temperature would be seven degrees below the water freezing point, as usual, the actual morning temperature dropped a few degrees from the prognosis.
A man and a woman wore gloves only on one hand, the other held each other tightly inside the man’s pocket, from the ungloved left hand of the woman, a wedding ring could be seen on her fourth finger. The other two women embraced each other, in attempt to insulate heat as much as possible, the only man left alone complained, “Shim Daeun, if you keep monopolizing Jinjoo, I will die of loneliness.”
“Be my guest,” the said woman snapped.
“Funny, his cause of death is not of being frozen,” Jinjoo laughed.
“There is an option for you to hug both of them,” Seyeon’s teeth chattered. “That way you can keep more heat.”
Kyungsoo did as was suggested, however instead of hugging both women, he only hugged Jinjoo from the back.
“Buns, is it too cold for you?” Jongin held Seyeon’s chattering jaw, “Do you want my scarf?”
In the process of taking his scarf off, his wife halted him, “Stop it, I’m already using one,” she held his hand in place. Instead, Jongin put his wife hood up and hugged her while squeezing her face in between his shoulder.
“You better stop doing something ridiculous Kim Jongin,” Daeun warned, “You are going to suffocate her.”
“Yeon give us a sign that you’re alive!” Kyungsoo joked, he rubbed Jinjoo’s body to produce more heat. Seyeon reassured the three friends with a circle sign above her head.
“Do Kyungsoo. No funny business!” Daeun yelled.
“I am not doing anything wrong!” Kyungsoo yelled back.
“This is a training base, not a kindergarten!” Another voice not belonging to the previous five yelled back.
“Sehun!” Seyeon and Daeun ran to the soldier, both gave the man a bear hug from each side. After managed to hold his laughter, Sehun finally said, “I told you to meet in the vacation house.”
“Travelling is also a part of vacation,” Jinjoo turned around to the soldier, her arm held Kyungsoo’s over her chest.
Sehun looked beyond his friends, a dozen of guards stood in place like a statue, their demeanor on alert. He decided to ignore them, “Are you saying we’re going to drive to Nampo?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Kyungsoo answered, “We’re taking the plane to Pyongyang and then drive to the vacation house.”
Sehun nodded approvingly, “Of couse, Ha Jinjoo. You’re the best at planning vacation.”
“It wasn’t me though,” Jinjoo denied the credit, “Seyeon arranged everything.”
Sehun turned to the woman on his left, the said woman shrugged, “Organizing stuff is what I do for a living, and do you want Kim Jongin to be the one preparing your first vacation in three years?”
“Good point,” Kyungsoo interjected.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Jongin commanded.
“You should probably change your uniform though,” Daeun reminded, “The fact that Prince Jongin going to the north followed by royal guards and a soldier might and will rise the tension.”
“Good idea,” Sehun agreed.
“For the last time, Do Kyungsoo, the girls are sleeping together!”
“There are three available rooms! Do we leave one unoccupied? Have respect to the attendants cleaning the rooms.”
“It doesn’t matter, this is a vacation, we need girls’ night.”
“Are you going to let a married couple sleep in separate room? What would the Daily Gossip say?” his voice was overly dramatic.
“Thanks a lot for keeping update on my competitor! Because, you know, News Kyunghyang doesn’t have a royal section, and your friend is definitely not working there.”
“Can you just let me sleep with Jinjoo? My clinical rotation is starting next week, I might not able to see Jinjoo for months!”
“Don’t be such a drama queen! You’re doing rotation at her hospital!”
“Actually, she started her master two weeks ago,” Seyeon informed the man who just returned being a civilian, Daeun and Kyungsoo’s bicker in the kitchen still could be heard from the living room.
“Didn’t she said, she isn’t interested to do one?” Jongin asked.
“She wasn't sure then, now it’s somehow related to her cousin but she gave us no detail and Kyungsoo will be starting his residency next year, she doesn’t want the little quality time they could get in the hospital to be interrupted by her lectures. So, she’s doing it this year,” Seyeon leaned back and enjoy the view of the mountains.
“Are they dating now?” Sehun asked.
Jongin shook his head and index finger, “Nah, Kyungsoo said something about excitement, it’s complicated. It’s easier not to think about it.”
“Basically, they are only friends, but they are also exclusive─” Seyeon turned to Jongin for confirmation, earning a nod, “─exclusive for each other.”
Another loud scream was heard, “When is Jinjoo returning? Those two need to be stopped,” Sehun complained.
Just then, the said pearl entered with a towel wrapping her damp hair, followed by the sound of her trying to break the argument. The dispute was finally unraveled by the classic rock-paper-scissor game, which to Kyungsoo’s disappointment, Daeun won.
The three walked to the living room, Daeun sat beside Sehun, Kyungsoo took the single sofa, Jinjoo was on her way to sit beside Seyeon when Kyungsoo pulled her, Kyungsoo’s force resulted Jinjoo to bounced back and landed on his lap. Her attempt to break free from him was fruitless. “Why do I have to sit on your lap? There are other space,” the pearl swung her arm indicating the dozen available seats.
“You’re sleeping with the girls tonight, let me have you now,” Kyungsoo buried his face on Jinjoo’s neck. “How’s life as serviceman?”
“Definitely more intense than mandatory service, but less formal,” Sehun’s answer garnered questioning looks, “I mean, military personnel are not as strict as the twenty-three months we spent.”
Despite his explanation, his friends still stared at him in disbelief, “The seniors are more friendly, they also joke around with us during free time. I also have submitted my form to join WARFLOT. I want a new challenge.”
“Why do you make your own life more difficult?” Seyeon sighed, “Have you not been talking to my brother?”
“Seriously, only Oh Sehun would enjoy living in military base. Whether at home or in military base he is surrounded by testosterone anyway,” Jongin smirked.
“As long as someone has a willpower, they can do whatever they want,” Sehun smiled.
Seyeon poured hot tea to the unfilled cups, as she passed the cups around, “I don’t get to thank you for letting us stay here,” Daeun commented, her eyes scanning the room.
While putting his cup on the table, Jongin answered, “It’s no problem. This vacation house is usually managed by the First Grand Prince, but since you-know-what I have been managing the tasks of Grand Princes.”
“That makes sense, you can’t expect the Crown Prince to do everything,” Kyungsoo added. “I know it is supposed to be as secret, but do you know where your aunt and cousin e