36.

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"Kook, seriously?" Taehyung sighed with exasperation, letting out a short breath. He stared at his reflection in the mirror, tilting his head to the side in order to analyse the hickeys painted across his neck.

Jungkook bit back a smirk, taking a step over towards the smaller boy. "Wear a high-collared shirt," he suggested, before wrapping the two of his arms around Taehyung's frame from behind, settling his chin against the surface of the boy's shoulder blades. "You look perfect."

"I haven't even changed yet," Taehyung said with a laugh, rolling his eyes at Jungkook's sheer sappiness, although internally he loved the way the Prince fawned over him. "Go on, Kookie. Get changed. It's already late."

Jungkook grimaced at the boy's nickname directed towards him, raising his brows in question at Taehyung. "Kookie? Seriously, Tae? Gross," he mumbled, although he soon complied to the elder's words, pulling his own ball robes over his muscular frame.

Once the two were fully clothed and prepared for the ball commencing shortly, they turned to each other, their eyes lingering over the other's appearances. Jungkook simply gawked at Taehyung's absolute beauty; the boy wore a cobalt satin suit, interlaced with golden embroidery which was woven across each of the seams holding the suit together. The Prince, on the other hand, had white silken robes on, giving him an almost angelic look.

"Darling," Jungkook breathed out, enclosing Taehyung's hand between his own two palms. "You look so beautiful, my love."

Taehyung blushed in response, attempting to mask the small smile creeping over his face. He looked up at the raven-haired, standing up on the tips of his toes to gain enough height in order for him to press a gentle kiss against Jungkook's soft lips. Pulling back a second later, the man ran his fingers through Taehyung's blue locks slowly, running his finger along the boy's bottom lip.

"I'll see you at the ball, sweetheart."

-

Jungkook's eyes darted across the hall quickly, as he anticipated for the slightest sign of Taehyung, although the boy hadn't made an appearance yet. Yoongi side-eyed him, raising his brows at his brother's frantic behaviour.

"Jungkook, relax," he said condescendingly, rolling his eyes. "It won't make him hurry. Just enjoy the night."

The younger snorted, however, shooting the elder an unimpressed look. "What a great suggestion, Yoongs. I'll just go ahead and enjoy the-"

"Oh, shut up," Yoongi shot back, giving Jungkook a sharp nudge, before he spotted the familiar sight of the Princess, whom had just entered the entrance of the courtroom. "There she is. Go on," he prompted, pushing the boy towards the girl, who only internally groaned, although he followed suit, knowing there was simply no point in avoiding Jennie tonight seeing as he needed to cause all suspicions of him and Taehyung to dissipate immediately.

"Jennie," the Prince spoke lowly, giving her a curt nod once he approached her. She turned towards him, feeling slight surprise as to why the boy came to her first, however she made no haste in returning his greeting.

"Jungkook," she said, bowing politely. "You look dashing."

"As do you," he forced out, mustering up a smile, before he held his hand out towards her, prompting the Princess to dance with him. This simple gesture brought back the memories that occurred 3 weeks ago, when Jungkook first caught sight of Kim Taehyung standing in the corner alone: the mere thought of that very moment brought a smile to his face, although he quickly wiped it off, facing Jennie with a blank look.

Placing his hand upon her waist, the pair began slow dancing to the bleak music filling up the air of the courtroom. Despite the overall atmosphere of the event being merry, Jungkook was unable to feel the same way. In fact, his mood grew progressively worse as he finally noticed Taehyung enter the ballroom, whilst the boy stood where he'd been weeks ago: alone. This lone act was enough for Jungkook to almost break away from the dance with Jennie, as there was nothing more he wished for than to take Taehyung for a waltz around the decorated room, however he knew it was a futile wish.

"How do you feel about the engagement?" Jennie asked moments later, focusing her attention wholeheartedly upon the man ahead of him.

"I'd prefer to limit discussion about it, actually."

Jennie narrowed her eyes slightly at the male's hostility towards her, although she continued dancing with him, wanting to engage in as much conversation as she could. She didn't know what it was exactly, but Jungkook intrigued her. If there was one thing she wanted, it would be to win him over, however she wasn't oblivious to where Jungkook's eyes continued to glance over. It wasn't difficult to notice the way Taehyung and Jungkook were continuously eyeing one another from each ends of the ballroom.

Despite the fact their dance ended minutes later, with Jungkook mustering up a lame excuse about suddenly having a desperate need for a drink, he departed from her, heading towards the direction of the servant boy. Yet, he couldn't help but notice the discreet shake of a head from Taehyung, who was clearly telling Jungkook to stay put.

The last thing they needed was to be caught red-handed by either Jennie or one of the Kings of the leading countries.

Jungkook bit back the urge to scream at absolutely everyone standing in the way of him and the only person whom he'd ever have his eyes on, instead he forced himself to turn away from the beauty standing several metres away from him upon hearing his Father stand from his throne, raising his hand to demand silence which was immediately reached throughout the hall, as everyone pressed their lips into a firm line, waiting to see what King Jeon needed to say.

"My dear fellow royals," he began, raising his voice marginally in attempt to gain the attention from everyone within close proximity. "I, along with King Kim, are delighted to announce the official engagement between Princess Jennie and my own son, Jeon Jungkook. We sincerely hope this marriage brings prosperity to both Kingdoms, as well as happiness to the two young royals whom I hope to have an everlasting bond. Thank you for coming to the engagement ball of my son, and I dearly wish you to enjoy the rest of your evening."

And with that, he resumed his position back down on his throne once each and every person broke out into an ear-splitting applause.

However, Jungkook's insides were numb. He felt nothing, but the blood rushing to his face as he balled his fists, turning around wildly to look at Taehyung. He could barely fathom the thought of how the blue-haired felt in that current moment, yet to his surprise he couldn't see him anywhere.

Scanning the hall wildly for a glimpse of the boy's bright hair, he was only met with the dull hues of black, brown and blonde. Jungkook could feel his heart hammering in his chest as he panicked for a sheer moment, desperately wanting to see Taehyung, even if it was for a brief second. Evidently, he knew the topic of the engagement was a sensitive one for the boy, and he remembered the promise he'd made towards the male a few days ago.

He'd promised him he'd come up with a solution by tonight.

There was a fleeting thought that washed over his brain, causing him to wonder if Taehyung had finally had enough of his antics. Had he finally let loose and given up hope in the pair being together?

Therefore, the Prince found himself rushing off towards the door of the ballroom, holding the least bit of care towards whatever anyone thought of him in that moment as he wildly searched for Taehyung, who had disappeared quicker than Jungkook would have thought to be possible. All he wanted to do was to reassure the boy that he was all Jungkook saw in his future, yet the fact Taehyung had left the room the second after the King's speech, the raven-haired man felt an emotion he'd never experienced in his life.

For the very first time, the Prince was worried he may lose someone.

A/n: yall fiNaLLy the dRama is about to unfold 🤩 I'll update more than once tonight since I want to finish this book off ASAP.

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