ah, she’s here. time to wake up. - loseyoutoloveme (2024)

Chapter Text

“You’re f*cking where?!

Johnny’s loud, corny voice rocketed through the Palace of America’s opulent hallway and you could feel the judgmental wince from surrounding tourists in your own goddamn asshole. Why did he never learn to shut the f*ck up?

You covered the grainy speaker on your phone and hissed back, “Can you get the f*ck off my call?”

“She called me and you stole my f*cking phone.” Johnny went flying off the FaceTime screen as Nayeon, your Best f*cking Friend Forever (BFFF, an important distinction) and intended target for this conversation, shoved him out of the way. “But the question still stands, why the hell are you all the way in Arlington—”

A deep voice on your end interrupted her, “Quiet, please. This is a historical site.”

You glanced up from your chosen loitering bench and one of the museum security guards was straight up pissed you were having this conversation out in the open… in an open area… where other tourists were openly talking. Because of that and the judgmental side eye he gave your outfit, you figured his order was personal beef and chose to not hang up the phone.

You know,” you muttered pointedly, hoping that would be enough to get them to shut up.

But all three of them erupted in unison, “Seriously? Again?!,” drawing security’s attention back onto you, before Nayeon had the sense to lower her voice, “Why do people even find her posts entertaining? It’s just her dressed up in front of old buildings pretending she’s a princess.”

You did not have an answer beyond the fact that your stepsister won a Miss Teen Williamsburg pageant once and thirteen years later, still got full goddamn use out of the crown they gave her. Yuna had a million followers on Instagram and they all seemed to love her royal-style photoshoots or whimsical frolicking videos. None of them seemed to know that she wasn't actually a modern descendant of America's royal family or related to them in any way, and most of her flawless, classy beauty was you orchestrating literal magic behind the scenes.

“She is incredibly hot.” Hongseok made his point clear by wiggling his eyebrows to the one other dude on the call who’d understand. Despite knowing what side he was supposed to be on, Johnny couldn’t help himself and nodded along… until he saw you glowering at him through the video screen and stopped all movement.

Again, why did he never learn to shut the f*ck up?

Nayeon jumped in with a smooth counterargument against your friend-with-benefits-that-you-sometimes-wished-were-unnecessary, “No, she’s a conventionally attractive woman which people think means that she’s hot. Blue is the true hot one.”

Of course you were the hot one. You had to be, you had nothing else going for you.

Hongseok’s nose wrinkled as he grumbled at his girlfriend, like she wasn’t the bi icon of VBeach, “What do you f*cking know about hot women?”

“Can you stop cursing?!” You had to get in the middle of another brewing argument between that toxic ass couple before something exploded, “Otherwise I’m gonna have to hang up on you!”

Johnny laughed out loud which was enough to derail the conversation as you intended, “When did you find Jesus?”

You angled the phone camera subtly to your right so they could see the man still hovering and listening to every word of this. “When this security guard wearing a George Washington royal crest hat and holding a literal sword keeps glaring at me.”

Seriously, that thing was as pointy as the vine leaves surrounding the J on that crest.

You stood up with your best fake haughty expression that the guard rolled his eyes at, then you walked towards the center of the hallway and pretended that you were interested in looking at some of the portraits. After scoping out a spot between frames to continue your conversation in relative privacy, you glared at a tourist family before they could approach it and made yourself comfortable to let the rest of this boring ass afternoon pass by.

Nayeon stole the phone back and asked, “Don’t you have some magic to work or something?”

“I already worked my magic, now they’re paying me for nothing.” Unless Yuna’s perfectly done makeup got f*cked up somehow - not impossible, which is why you couldn’t risk leaving the museum to go get high in the gardens - there was nothing for you to do while she was shooting her content.

Hence the loitering.

“Sounds like me at my firm—old job.” Nayeon was on sabbatical from being maybe the best lawyer in VBeach and was doing her best to avoid even mentioning her law firm. But Hongseok wasn’t having it and shot her the shadiest side eye.

You cursed his loser chicken ass in your head and wished he could hear it. He was such a puss* for not being able to handle the fact that his girlfriend was smarter and more successful than he was.

Distractions were necessary again, “Anyways, I’m just standing here…” but you ended up almost eating sh*t and knocking over a nearby painting when a young woman who wasn’t paying attention barreled right into you. You caught yourself on the frame, which almost ripped off the bandage on the new tattoo on your forearm. With pain radiating up your limb, you hollered after her, “Ow! f*cking watch it!”

“Apologies,” she muttered without turning back to face you.

Asshole. Bitch. Either one or both was applicable here, depending on how angry you were. You checked the outline on your forearm and beneath your angry red skin, the sturdy outline of a house’s roof was still intact.

Fine, you’d be one molecule less angry. Asshole only.

Once you made sure you were in a spot where no one could knock into you, you went back to the conversation, “If people stopped being dickhe*ds, I could stand in peace by this…” You turned around to see what painting had almost ripped off your arm and your jaw hit the goddamn floor. “…portrait of a really hot dead guy.”

Nothing about calling him hot was you being generous.

If someone was hot to you, they were hot, and this man was hot by any standard - historical, modern, futuristic, galactical. Seriously, with those solemn eyes that matched his gorgeous black hair, a slanted, sharp jawline of pure porcelain skin, and the embroidered jacket that was painted to look like it was dripping in jewels? This man would’ve been a certified hottie in any era, he would’ve been hot to a blind person.

Nayeon’s excited squeal burst through the speakers, “Who?! I need some eye candy.”

“I’m right here!” Hongseok protested.

“Do I care?”

“You should!”

“Let me see…” You raised your voice to break up your friend's relationship tussles for the third time, then bent over to read the elegant museum placard. You almost fell on the goddamn ground when you recognized the name, “Prince Jaehyun, the last Jeong prince of America—Holy sh*t, this is him? Why did I think he was a crusty old dude?”

You checked the painting again and yup, he was still hot. Which didn’t make any f*cking sense.

After moving the camera so Nayeon could see, you rummaged through your purse for the worn suede notebook that you brought around everywhere. On the very first page was the title that confirmed your confusion, written in your dad’s no-nonsense handwriting, Elusive Aurora: The never-ending, complicated legacy of Prince Jaehyun, the final Jeong prince of America.

“Your dad is kicking you from the grave right now!” Nayeon softly scolded when she took a peek at what you were doing. “Fangirling over Prince Jae was a rite of passage in every history class I’ve taken!”

You flashed her the middle finger after you made sure no sad tourist child was looking. “Some of us didn’t even make it through high school, you hoe. And I was never into my dad’s Disney princess nonsense, there’s no pictures in this thing!”

To prove it, you flipped through the journal so Nayeon could see the endless lines of textwritten inside, with no picture proof of a dude you would’ve approached in a bar if certain circ*mstances were different. When you thought of your dad’s historical research, your first instinct was fat dudes in powdered wigs dying of dysentery at thirty-five, not a whole ass heartthrob. But maybe you should’ve, you know, read the journal instead of stopping on the first page with a lump of grief in your throat every time.

Johnny had had enough of being excluded, “What are you ladies talking about?”

“Prince Jaehyun.”

“Who?”

“Are you seriously this idiotic in all aspects of your life? The old school version of Prince Brian from Canada? Prince William before he became a douche? Not ringing a bell?”

The man in the painting definitely had more hair than the prince of England and was hotter than your northern neighbor celebrity crush (former!) prince, that was for sure.

Nayeon stood in between the two morons and shoved both of their heads in scolding, before giving you all a history lesson, “He was the last prince America had, wayyyyy back in the early seventeen hundreds. He’s been in this f*cking weird-ass, like, coma, for the past three centuries. After it happened, they fought the New American War and all this sh*t.”

The opening bullets of your dad’s outline for the first chapter in his book supported her statement, It is said that on the eve of his wedding night, the prince went for a walk on his property to enjoy the sun and open a parcel sent by the family of his betrothed. He was discovered unconscious - asleep yet not dead - by his loyal servant Marcusson. The prince has remained in the same twilight state to this day.

You couldn’t believe you were actually reading this, like, your eyes were actually on the page.

“Apparently, he’s still, like, breathing and stuff.” Nayeon gestured for your attention with an excited gleam in her eye. “Yo, maybe you could see him.”

Honestly? You were kind of curious to see if he was still hot.

“sh*t, yeah. This palace must be where he lived and where his resting spot is, the portrait makes sense now.” You skimmed the blurb by the painting and skipped to some bizarre information that caught your eye, “Only the outer level of the royal chambers and the Hall of Portraits are available for viewing. Approaching the prince’s resting spot was closed in the twentieth century as many young girls were trying to kiss him. Seriously?”

They were trying to kiss him? To what? Get him to wake up like Sleeping Beauty, true love’s kiss or what the f*ck ever? This had to have been in the 60s when everyone and their mom was doing hard drugs.

“You’re gonna kiss a corpse?” Johnny made a grossed out face when he thought about how weird it was, not quite the light envy you were hoping for.

Nayeon clocked him for it in no time, “Don’t get jealous of a historical figure we’ll never meet. He is really hot for an old guy.”

Goddamn, you were such a crazy bitch for thinking that being here might be worth something if it finally got Johnny to admit he got jealous while thinking of you with another guy. Even if the other guy was so old his birth certificate was written on the same kind of parchment the Constitution was. Wanting to rile Johnny up even more and see where this could lead, you leaned into this stupid flirting, “Hey, Kissing a Corpse would be a hard DJ set name. Lemme get a pic for the cover.”

You puckered your glossy lips and posed in front of the portrait frame, so the camera angle made it seem like you were giving the prince a kiss on the corner of his mouth.

Johnny’s entire face went red and he growled, “You’re such a bitch.”

Lol. Loser.

“You love me,” you preened.

“Whatever, Frowny.” Your hand went to cover the wrinkle by your mouth, you hated every time he used that stupid nickname. “I don’t want to talk about this. See you tonight.”

Johnny must’ve tossed the phone away in his tantrum because the video went scrambled, then you heard the audible fussing that came with him storming off. He was definitely bothered and that was definitely a point in your favor. When this sh*t show of a day was over, you had to figure out some way you could skip going back to Williamsburg with your stepfamily and go right to Johnny’s VBeach apartment instead. You knew you were in for one hell of a night if you did.

Nayeon picked up the phone, made sure you saw her look of disapproval, then blared along in reluctant support, “Someone’s thong is up their crack, that’s definitely suspicious on the grounds of jealousy….”

You got it, she hated your choice in partners and never failed to make that clear. But you hated hers, too, so you had to cook her in return, “Don’t let Hongsuck hear any legalese—”

“Guards, anyone! Help! Come quick!”

A whole blob of tourists came falling out of the entryway to the main chambers and every security guard that had given you sh*t was suddenly on alert (for real reasons, dicks.) Their screams didn’t seem to be fear-of-violence-induced, but you couldn’t help but be on edge as you strained to see through the crowd for what’d sparked the commotion. It didn’t help that the palace museum had been so stupidly quiet before this.

“What the f*ck was that?” Nayeon wondered as she leaned in to try and make something out through the phone screen.

“No clue. I’ll call you back, Nana. ILY.”

You were a nosy bitch at heart, so you had to check it out for the both of you.

Sticking close to the nearest guard who had right of way through the double doors, you managed to maneuver around the tourists who were trying to get back into the holding room. The first set of doors closed and you somehow slipped past the crowd being held inside the little mud room and snuck past the second set of doors into the main bedroom. At first you were f*cking blinded by the amount of bright sun that was streaming in through the wall of incredible stained glass windows. But you managed to spot a ring of guards around the massive four poster bed in the center of the room before you heard all too familiar hysterical weeping.

You slipped over to your duo of companions and asked as casually as you could, “What’s going on? Why are you crying?”

All the work you did on Yuna’s makeup was completely ruined due to the massive tear tracks running down her cheeks. She clung onto your arm and what came out of her mouth was an unhelpful, massive whine, “Sis…”

What the hell did that mean?

Holding in a deep sigh of frustration, you patted her head over the meticulous curls you created and soothed her freakout, “There, there…”

Only to get ripped out of her arms by your extremely pissed-off stepmother Jessica, which was saying something for her, “Where were you this whole time?! How dare you not be here to shield Yuna?”

“What happened?!”

Did the prince come back to life and spit on her and then go back to sleep?! Because how the f*ck were you supposed to help when you DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THE f*ck WAS GOING ON?!

Yuna’s nails dug into your arm as she stared at the front of the room and breathed out a whole lot of nonsense, “I was at the thing, that thing, up there with him and the photographer saw something and then… and then…”

“Then what? Speak English!” Despite your demand, Yuna continued to not make words, so you glared right at the quivering man who she’d implicated in her statement.

Xiaojun was paid to keep his mouth shut and take pictures, since she couldn’t handle any form of constructive criticism about how she looked that didn't come from you. But now he needed to open his goddamn mouth.

“He moved. He moved, he moved,” he whispered.

What the f*ck?

Your head snapped back to the four poster bed and the view was now blockaded by a second ring of guards. You were just f*cking around when you had the thought about the prince coming back to life. He didn’t actually come back to life… right?

“Out of my way!”

A blonde man came sprinting out of the private side hallway that was attached to the mud room. He physically pushed through the guards who were in his way and the rest of them parted to give him room to sprint up to the side of the bed. Through the small spaces separating their big ass hats, you were able to see him bend over the mattress and crow at the top of his lungs, “Your highness, can you hear me?”

For an intense moment, still silence that radiated through the room to the point where you worried you might get kicked out if you even tried to breathe.

Then, an insanely deep, crackled voice floated through the air, “Why, in our lord’s good name, have you decided to yell in my ear to wake me, Marcusson? And whatever happened to your hair?”

The man held a hand to his blonde tresses as he stepped back in surprise, before obvious hesitation emerged in his response, “It’s… Mark. My name is Mark.”

“I have known your name since I was fifteen years of age, do not begin to jest with me. I will trample you with our horses as I always do.” There were many swirling layers to the response - outright haughtiness, tart teasing, the strange way of phrasing sentences that was no longer the way anyone spoke.

You checked your purse to make sure you hadn’t accidentally taken the edible you brought and were hallucinating this, but all that was in there were makeup pallets, your dad’s notebook, and the folded-up dress you carried everywhere. This was real? You weren’t high as f*ck? You were really hearing the prince’s voice and it wasn’t just part of a museum display?

Mark covered his mouth with his hand for a shocked moment, before shouting at the guards, “Call the doctor, he remembers!—”

Before any of the guards could move, the entire room detonated in a rattling gasp and all of a sudden you were watching the prince sway with uncertainty where he’d sat up in a flash. He blinked so hard you could feel the ache, then through the fringe of his dark hair, the solemn eyes that had captivated you in that hallway portrait locked directly onto yours.

And Prince Jaehyun - the last prince of America, who had spent almost three hundred years in a coma - said in confusion, “Why are there so many people milling about in my bedchamber?”

[1:27 pm] you to nananana BATMAN: you are NOT going to believe what just happened lmfaooo


“I can’t see him! I can’t see him!”

“Open your f*cking eyes,” you muttered under your breath to a freaked-out Yuna, before you used your actual cheerful service tone, “He’s right there! Don’t worry!”

The guards had escorted the prince out from this stupidly public area and into the nearest private room that Mark person emerged from - which was as far as the prince could walk without falling over. The door was half-closed in forgotten hurry, so anyone could see if they squinted hard enough that the doctors were continuing to run their f*cking hours of medical tests on him.

And when you said hours, you meant it. You were f*cking hungry.

Yuna clasped her hands over her heart and fretted like this was the greatest tragedy in the goddamn world, “Is he okay? Oh, I so hope he’s okay.”

“Dude’s gonna find out his whole family is dead, you dumbass…”

Even if by some chance the prince’s organs hadn’t withered away into little ass gumdrops, how the hell would he be cool knowing everyone he ever loved or cared for had been in the ground for ages? And that all he might be left with were the watered-down great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (you couldn’t do math, whatever) grandchildren he might’ve created. Because he must’ve been married or whatever, looking like that.

Jessica glared at you after she picked up on the sullen energy you'd purposefully tried to keep on the down-low, “What did you say?”

“Nothing. I’m sure he’s fine, there, there.” You once again patted Yuna’s hair, the most manicured pet you could have, before you nudged her purse with your knee. “Do you need a happy pill?”

It was certifiably insane you had to refer to your stepsister's wellness and beauty vitamins like that, but those were your orders. You couldn’t affect her mood by drawing any negative attention to things going on in the world or in her life, but at least you'd learned what the hell the placebo effect was.

As she reached for her pink pill carrier - you had no goddamn idea what a feminine blend of Vitamins C and D would do for her, but you weren’t a doctor - you turned to Jessica and muttered, “Why can’t we leave again? Xiaojun got to leave, I don’t get it.”

He walked right on out of there, frolicked even, yet the guards blocked your path every time you even got close to the door. The three of you were the only people in here that weren’t museum workers!

“Could you please be quiet, the atmosphere here needs to be positive for the sake of our prince,” Jessica hissed back.

When did your conservative ass stepmother become a royal family groupie? She hated almost everything your dad did, to the point that he quickly learned to never share any of his research with her. Your dad had a professor friend that he would keep those conversations to and would only ever mention his work at home whenever your late step-grandfather, the former president of the College of William & Mary, was around.

“Then I think that means I should leave, good luck with his royal majesty.”

“You are not done with your duties here.”

“They said no pictures, so… I think I’m kinda useless. Unless you’re going to pay me overtime?” You weren’t scared to confront her like this, you were almost thirty goddamn years old and not the teenager you used to be. When Jessica fought against every instinct of hers to agree just so you could babysit her daughter instead, you rolled your eyes, never expecting anything considerate from her. “That’s what I thought. Goodbye.”

If you managed to sneak out now, you could catch the bus and get to VBeach just in time to make the start of Johnny’s set at No Club Tougher - which was perfect timing since you didn’t give a sh*t about Hongseok opening for him. He was such a horribly bad DJ it was an insult to DJs.

But you were literal steps from escaping when that god-awful head of blonde hair appeared in your vision, followed by an equally god-awful voice, “Wherever are you going?”

“To take a piss?” Better for you to be as inappropriate as you could so that these people hurried you out ASAP.

That wasn’t even the worst of what you could’ve said, but Mark winced like you’d cursed every single one of his ancestors. He got it together to deny you, “You cannot leave.”

You crossed your arms, which had his eyes flicking all over your tattoos, but you were happy to fight with him, “Do you want me to pee on your floor? I’ll pee.”

This wasn’t the time to get testy.

“I commend you for your barking display, but I sincerely doubt you would ever bite.” Why did he speak like such an asshole? He was clearly your age, knew what hair dye was, and hadn’t been in a coma for the last three hundred years. The uppity tone was so f*cking annoying.

“Would you like to find out?” you laughed.

“Are you… are you propositioning me?!”

Mark wasn’t flirting with you, he was appalled to the point of near hysteria. You couldn’t help but let out another cackle as you sarcastically picked him apart, “Guys with sticks up their asses aren’t my thing. Or they might be... if you’d get a move on and tell us what the f*ck is up so I can then leave, Marky Mark.”

Honestly, if f*cking him was the only way to get out of this insane day you were stuck in, you’d do it. Maybe it’d help your case with Johnny.

He reached deep into a well of self-restraint you lacked and gave you the same customer service smile you could feel aching beneath your cheeks. “Sit here, wait. If you actually need the restroom, then you may leave with an escort.”

You needed to find a bottle of water as fast as you f*cking could.

[5:45 pm] nananana BATMAN: are u gonna tell me or what lmfao
[5:45 pm] nananana BATMAN: also when r u getting here, im ready to get SLOSHED
[5:46 pm] you: yeah so about that
[5:46 pm] you: probably not gonna make it home bc the P—


The phone was snatched out of your hand before you could finish typing that message, and you looked over to see Mark holding it up as high as he could so that you couldn’t grab it.

You were actually pissed off now. “Are you f*cking serious? The way you’re acting is against my constitutional rights.”

They said no phones or pictures in order to protect the prince’s privacy, but how was that legal! You needed Nayeon to get up here so she could lawyer-ify this hoe on your behalf.

Mark didn’t take the bait beyond jabbing back at you, “Which one?”

“Cruel and unusual punishment.” That was all you knew in regards to the Constitution, since that was what you used against your dad to get out of chores.

Mark gave you the phone back without more scolding and you relished the victory for one second before you realized he only did so because he had better things to do. The doctors had come out of the side room and were now gathered at the head of the room to address the museum staff and the… three of you. You could’ve sworn there were more people when this started, why did they all get to leave?

“I would like to inform you that his royal highness the prince has passed his medical tests and has chosen to rest for the time being!” The lead doctor announced it like he wanted the whole country to hear, which struck up a storm of delighted clapping that you chose to not take part in.

You expected the doctors to incite some more hoopla or at least continue on with further details of whether this dude’s brain was cooked or not, but then… they left!!! They walked right out the goddamn door!

So you raised your hand and asked whoever would listen, “Can we go home now? f*cking please?”

Mark shook his head to shut you up and took his spot in the center of the room to pick up the open thread the doctors left, “My name is Marcus Lee the Sixth, Head Chancellor of the royal family and associate Secretary for the Department of Royal Preservation. I suppose you may have noticed that we asked the duo of young ladies present in the room at the time of the prince’s awakening to remain—”

“Sexist!”

Everyone turned to look at you after your outburst, but you weren’t being a pain in the ass on purpose. It was sexist to keep you from having a banger of a night just because you were a woman! And what did that have to do with what happened anyways?????????

“One of you may have played a hand in restoring the gift of life back to our beloved prince.”

That latest tidbit from Mark was crossing the line into unhinged conspiracy theory territory.

A disbelieving laugh started to curl in your throat, but you bit it back when you glanced around the room and every museum staffer was eating up Mark’s monologue. You honestly wished you were sitting next to Yuna just so you could see her awestruck expression, that would be amused fuel to get you through your most depressing days in the future.

“How? Some cocaine?” you laughed to yourself, thinking your joke was so hilarious.

And you had to check your purse one more time to make sure you hadn’t brought anything—

“The power of true love holds a great deal of strength.”

You shot a snide glance at the staffer next to you and recognized her as the same girl who’d almost killed you in the hallway drive-by. Then you laughed right in her face instead of attempting to be polite, because seriously? You believed that true love had as much strength as a square of toilet paper under an elephant’s asshole.

“The power of true love?! We’ve never met before!” you scoffed, before pointedly raising your voice when you thought of something else, “Also… hom*ophobic!”

How could these royal workers be so sure the prince didn’t have his eye on another prince? Who knew what kind of freaky, hot sh*t went on back in the day? You were all for it, especially if it got you out of here.

“Quiet!” Mark had had enough of your bullsh*t, which was good - the angrier he got, the closer you were to your goal. He took a deep, deep breath to compose himself and continued on with his pressing matters, “In sum, one of the young ladies present may have been responsible for this miracle and we will have to take that into consideration as we select the next princess of this country.”

That rustled up appropriate hoopla and not just in the room, you were sure every girl in a ten mile radius of the palace museum dropped their goddamn panties at the news.

A princess? Shut the f*ck up.

You checked to see if the worker girl was also sensing the vibe was off, but she was only staring at the crack in the side room's door. Once you spotted the same silver and green J sigil pin on her maroon frock, you realized she must be associated with the palace and wondered, “Do you come here a lot? Are you believing this?”

“I am here all the time, I do not leave,” she answered as she continued to stare towards where the prince was resting. “This is not a farce.”

“But the true love thing? It has to be the Walt Disney in a cryo vault thing instead, right?”

“True love possesses powers we simply cannot understand.”

Sure, you couldn’t understand how the hell a man was able to fall asleep and stay asleep for three centuries and wake up perfectly fine. But him doing so because either you or Yuna loved him sounded like, once again, some sort of drug-induced psychosis.

“sh*t, I’d pretend I was in true love just for the bed.” It was gorgeous and huge, covered in a gold bedspread with fine silks hanging from the four posters, and the mattress was so thick you could feel the ache in your back from the ghosts of sh*tty beds past. “I’m sick of a twin, it’s all I’ve ever had. What do you think, do I have a shot?”

You held your head up in the mimicry of a princess and it almost hurt your stomach to hold in your laugh at the thought of your dark makeup and line of ear piercings in one of those royal portraits in the hallway. Not to mention the insane headache you’d give the painter who had to recreate all your tattoos.

But the girl looked at you for a moment that felt oddly strange, then said in a quiet voice, “More than you would assume—”

“Sis!”

f*cking ugh, you were once again being summoned like a dog.

You shot a frustrated smile at your weird new buddy and hoped she picked up on your annoyed eyebrow raise (talking to her wasn’t as bad as what awaited you, who knew!) and went over to deal with your stepsister. The entire walk over to where Yuna was sitting was comprised of an internal pep talk to go along with whatever insane thing you knew was going to come out of her mouth.

Which was a very enthusiastic, “Tell them it was me!”

“Sorry?” You had no idea what the hell she was on.

“It was me, I was the one who touched his bedpost last,” Yuna’s clarification had literal cartoon character hearts brewing in her eyes. “It had to be me, I’m his true love, not you.”

“I’m sorry, are you actually believing this bullsh*t?” Not as elegant as a response as you crafted in your mental pep talk, but come on. She couldn’t be serious and she couldn’t be concerned that she was in competition with you.

You ignored how hard Jessica bristled at your attitude and were instead met with Yuna blushing and giggling like the answer should’ve been obvious, “How else would he have woken up, hmm?”

A change in the atmosphere pressure? Breathing in air that didn’t have tuberculosis attached to every molecule? A f*cking TempurPedic pillow? You didn’t know, all of that seemed far more likely than whatever the hell the power of true love was.

“The only answer is that he felt my shining presence beside him and experienced my love through space and time.” She sang the last word in her sentence and flashed her pageant-trained smile before she curtsied like she was born to do so. You had to hand it to her, she definitely gave princess more than anyone else in the room... AKA you.

You hid under a subtle layer of cynicism, “Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. I’m sure you’re right!”

“That is right, my darling girl.” Jessica must’ve seen right through it because she kissed Yuna on the forehead, then glared so hard you had wounds in your skull from her eyeballs. “Go do what she asked.”

“Yes, madam.”

As long as you weren’t the one who needed to shine your presence beside the prince, you were f*cking cool with doing whatever she wanted.

You waved over to where Mark was discussing something with the assembled guards and he pointedly looked away when you made eye contact. Which meant you had no choice but to embarrass him by calling at the top of your lungs, “Excuse me! Excuse me, man with the extremely bizarre rash! Over here!”

His cheeks went red at the random lie, which made him indeed look like he had a rash when the nosy palace workers decided to look his way. He ended up storming over to confront you on his own - great for you, since you couldn’t be assed to put in effort - and was almost irate by the time he was within earshot, “My name is Mark, I would appreciate it if you addressed me as such!”

“Alright, Matt,” you responded coolly. “I would like to inform you that my step—”

“Ahem.”

Wow, everyone was trying to be on your last f*cking nerve today. This man was a stranger and Jessica still wanted to hide the fact that you were technically family through the ties of marriage? Jesus, you needed to hit a blunt ASAP.

You gestured towards Yuna with the brightest smile your facial muscles could conjure up and made the appropriate omission, “I saw that this lovely lady here was the one who was in contact with the lovely frame of his majesty—”

“His highness.” When Mark’s correction fell on deaf ears and you made no indication you got what the f*ck he was talking about, he sighed and explained, “He is not a king, only a prince. The correct term is your highness, his highness, his royal highness.”

“I would like to be f*cking high right now,” you muttered.

His eyes narrowed with distaste. “What did you say?”

You literally forced your face into a ridiculous position of fake happiness, that hurt more than the seagull tattoos you got behind your ear, and played along with his properness, “She was the one who was touching his highness’s bed frame right before he woke up.”

If he was going to be an asshole, so were you.

“Thank you for imparting that information,” Mark responded with restraint.

Yuna grasped Mark’s arm and turned her fluttery, lovesick eyes his direction. “What does that mean? Do I win? Can I marry him—”

You pulled Mark away so you could have this conversation in private. He fussed like a f*cking baby until you were away from those two morons and you didn’t feel an ounce of fear confronting him, “In exchange for that f*cking huge piece of information, I’m asking you politely, will you let me out of here? I’m telling you, I wasn’t even in the room when he woke up. I was on the phone out by the portraits, so it has to be her. Not me.”

Unless the strength of true love was more powerful than a wifi connection, the prince surely didn’t feel your anti-shining presence from two rooms away.

He shook his head and almost relished denying you, “I cannot.”

“This feels f*cking illegal, Matty.”

“It’s Mark.” He knew you were f*cking it up on purpose, his customer service smile had so much smugness hidden under it you knew you were cooked, “I hope you aren’t too inconvenienced by the extremely luxurious chairs we’ve provided for you to wait in.”

He gestured to the seats the guards were bringing out, covered in the same silk and thick cushions as the prince’s bed was. On cue, you could feel the ache in your legs burn after standing in these uncomfortably flat sneakers all day.

“Can I take one home at least, Max?!” you called after him as he turned on his heel and walked away, waving over his head in a mockery of what you just did to him. “Mark?!”

f*cking asshole.

With your metaphorical tail stuck between the hem of your miniskirt, you made your way back over to your companions and Yuna instantly pounced for answers, “What did he say?”

“They asked us to wait, but I’m sure they’ll pick you soon,” you lied through your teeth.

You weren’t allowed to make her unhappy under any circ*mstances.

“Patience is a virtue that not everyone has the blessing of. You do, my dear daughter, which is why you’ll make the perfect princess,” Jessica sighed in satisfaction as she sized up her daughter - you could see the literal dollar signs and jeweled crowns glittering in her eyes, and not just the pageant ones.

“Tooootally,” you echoed.

Better her than you.

Nayeon had been laughing her ass off since the second you were free to call her and couldn’t bring herself to stop, “I cannot f*cking believe the day you go to the palace is the day the prince wakes up.”

Or wouldn’t bring herself to stop, she was the kind of best friend who delighted in your silly miseries. Only the silly ones.

“Can you not say the P word again? They told me not to tell you,” you grumbled as you checked the ceiling of your room for a security cam. “It feels like they’re listening to me.”

You couldn’t discount the ghost of George Washington coming by to spy on you based on every other insane thing that’d happened since you’d been here.

“It’s all over the news already after someone, three guesses who, leaked it. You can’t get in trouble legally now.”

It figured that the second you were separated into your own room and kept from controlling Yuna’s personal Instagram that she would blab the news of the prince waking up to the one million people that followed her. You hoped that annoying Mark creature didn’t think you had anything to do with it.

“We didn’t ask for a law school lesson, you nerd,” Hongseok huffed.

You caught the flashing sour look that he cast Nayeon’s way at the mere mention of the word legal and took action by changing the camera angle for attention. “Never mind. Look at this bed the prince’s loser sidekick gave me.”

When they finally shuffled you out of the prince’s bedchambers, you discovered it was because they expected you to stay overnight at the palace while they sorted their issues out. The palace staff gave out individual rooms, not knowing that you were related to the other two, and you weren’t exactly in a hurry to correct them otherwise.

And it wasn’t just any old room, this was a huge f*cking space that could fit three of the apartment you shared with Nayeon inside, complete with sitting room, bathroom, and walk-in closet. It was topped off by the bed you hadn’t left in hours, framed by wispy sage curtains and holding a mattress just as luxurious as you imagined. The blue dress hanging up in your otherwise empty closet was the only thing that made it feel like home.

Nayeon marveled over your princess-adjacent living quarters, “You have officially pulled yourself up by your bootstraps from destitute to just poor. Congrats, bitch.”

You loved her for never making your differing financial statuses a big deal. She could afford a decent apartment but gave you a discount on the rent at your tiny place just so you could have a place to escape to on your rare off days. And she never complained.

Johnny stole the phone to pester you with the same question he’d been asking for the past fifteen minutes, “You’re really telling me they’re keeping you there?”

“Yup.” You were past the pointing of fighting it, unfortunately, the bed felt too good. “I can’t complain, I’m quarantined from Head Bitch and Dumbass and can put the blame on the government if I don’t do what they ask.”

They’d been calling and texting you out the wazoo since you were shown to your rooms but you didn’t respond to any of it. You figured you’d just claim the palace was so old and your phone was so sh*tty you had no phone service and hope they were dumb enough to believe that.

“I’m sure she’s f*cking dying hwile trying to pick out what dress she’s going to wear for the engagement,” Johnny joked.

All four of you laughed your asses off when you shared your screen so they could see Yuna's latest message.

[8:59 pm] the sister: where’s my toothbrush?!?!?!?!?! Where are you?!?!?!


She couldn’t pick out her own name without you there to do it for her.

Nayeon elbowed Johnny and used a fake accent when she reminded him, “She did apparently touch his bed before he woke up.”

“She’s his fated f*ckbuddy, not his true love. Blue almost broke my bed the first night we met,” Johnny drawled with a waggle of his eyebrows.

He wasn’t wrong. If the fate of your relationship was determined by your first meeting, it made sense that you could never keep your hands off each other now.

“There’s no way he’s going to pick her, right?”

That was the f*cking question of the hour.

You reached for your dad’s journal on the bed beside you, to read them a passage from the opening pages you’d skimmed through, “It has been documented that the prince was a kind and benevolent person who was deeply involved with bettering the lives of the peasant folk.

They snorted away, smart enough to realize what you were implying. Even with three hundred years of cloudiness in his brain, there was no way the prince would look at Yuna and think she was a suitable wife, right? Or was the true love thing really blinding?

Anyways, you turned your puppy eyes Johnny’s way and queued up the silly flirting, “I’m really sorry I’m gonna miss your set.”

Camera angle now switched to where your cleavage was spilling out of your tiny tank top, you knew you had him when his eyes couldn’t peel away. “f*ck off for a second, will you?” He tried to shove both Hongseok and Nayeon out of the frame so they couldn’t see the show you were giving him. “Need to talk to my girl alone.”

“Oh, your girl?” Nayeon goaded him on, knowing exactly what you wanted.

He dug at her most sensitive spot, “Go read a law book.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” you warned Johnny, before you sent Nayeon a flying kiss through the phone. “Love you. Muah.”

They disappeared to go get ready for a night out you wished you could experience and you were left there with your not-boyfriend person. You really just wanted to hug and cuddle Johnny, this bed was so lonely with no one else in it.

You stared at each other for a second through the screen, before you waited him out into cracking first, “What the f*ck is going on here, Blue? Are you… are you really?”

He couldn’t finish the end of his sentence and something about him getting caught up in a display of emotion - something he wouldn’t ever do - had you being honest with your emotions in return, “I don’t know… they’re being very aggressive about this for no reason. I might wake up tomorrow with glass slippers.”

The joke was to lighten the mood, but Johnny didn’t appreciate it at all, “Come on, be f*cking serious.”

“I’m happy with what I have. Besides. Do you think they would even seriously consider me for a second?”

Not because of your appearance… well, because of your appearance and attitude and everything about who you were for sure. But were they really going to force someone who had no desire to change any of that to change it all for a stranger? You weren’t lying when you said you couldn’t care less about being a princess. You just wanted to go back to VBeach and party, you definitely couldn’t do that while wearing a crown.

“You’re hot.” Johnny worried over you like the prince was going to be overcome by your great tit* and tiny outfits and pick you without thinking.

“That’s not exactly what they’re looking for,” you reassured him, before you stole a +1 personal advantage. “What, are you jealous or something?”

All you wanted was for Johnny to say yes and make your relationship official. That was it, not hard.

He bit his lip then grunted, “No.”

“You’re f*cking into me. You can’t help it, you love me soooo much.” You had to tease him like this to cover up your massive insecurities roaring. Even if Johnny was showing signs he was bothered by the chance someone else could steal you away, it still hurt to think he was fine floating in this transient relationship year after year.

“I’m hanging up on you. Can’t wait until your hot little self is back in my bed, Frowny.” Johnny winked at you and pursed his lips in a dirty kiss that was his signature goodbye, not forgetting to make fun of the tiny wrinkle you got when you frowned.

He always had to get the last word in, ugh. Him being a massive dick in more ways than one was such a big problem.

You glanced out the stained glass window over your dresser and couldn’t see anything due to the night’s blinding darkness. Not being able to make out a single thing outside your room made your hidden anxiety crush into your skull, so much so you found yourself getting out of the bed you wanted to disappear into. With your phone and your dad’s notebook clutched in your hands, you tiptoed to the door. Once you checked that the hallway was empty, you snuck out of your room.

There wasn’t a lot of museum staff still in the wing they’d closed off to the public - apparently Mark was the only government employee that was required to pester you after hours - but there were the scores of modern-day police officers now patrolling the area. They were being way too f*cking serious about this, what danger was the prince in? What could a group of girls possibly do? Kiss him to death? Again?

You wandered freely by the men, not afraid or worried, and the Arlington police gave you the same kind of shady side-eye the VBeach and Williamsburg police both were quite familiar with.

It wasn’t until you got to your actual destination, guarded by a man wearing the same silver sigil all the employees did, that you were stopped from going any further, “Halt. Where are you going, my lady?”

“I…. thought it might be cool to educate myself on the rich history of this palace.” You didn’t have a real reason to be out other than to calm your anxiety, but that didn’t feel like something you could admit to.

“Hall of Portraits is ahead,” he answered without breaking decorum.

“What about to the… garden?” No answer, not even a breath. “Hello?”

“Have a pleasant evening.”

He must’ve thought you were trying to escape, but you weren’t. Not like that. You needed some mental peace in order to rustle up the proper shenanigans to escape from here.

You walked into the Hall of Portraits with your middle finger pressed into your thigh so you’d be satisfied but he wouldn’t see and kick you out. Beelining straight to the portrait of the prince you’d been stuck on before, your eyes snagged on the painting next to it that you’d missed - the portrait of the prince on his official first day or whatever, where he was wearing a huge, white powdered wig under his massive crown. f*cking hilarious.

The longer you stared, the more you were drawn to the outline of his eyes, bringing about a creepily strong flashback of the prince staring right at you the second he sat up. His real-life eyes were the exact same as they were in all of his portraits, dark and shiny with a strange level of emotional depth, which was oddly comforting. And you couldn’t deny that he was still hot with the dumbass wig on, which meant he was an otherworldly level of hot that mere mortals couldn’t handle. It was like… the historical version of your crush getting a haircut, but in reverse.

You opened the diary and skimmed over the point where you stopped reading to Nayeon over the phone,

The New American War broke out following the induction of his coma. The unattended government could not decide between continuing the prince’s positive relationship between the royal family and the working class or developing in the independent, democratic direction that they imagined.


Sure, the New American War was the reason why America was the way it was today.

But it was hard to care about the details of that historical bullsh*t, not when you saw that the bullet was co-signed by your dad’s old colleague and close friend, Professor Song. The memories of the two of them gabbing endlessly in a lecture hall as you hung out and doodled makeup ideas hit you with a force you weren’t expecting.

“Dada, you are not going to believe what the f*ck I’m doing right now,” you whisper-laughed as your fingers brushed over the pages.

He would’ve died - not as literally as he did - to have been here right now.

A call from the entryway startled you out of your moment, “Who are you talking to?”

This time you actually flashed the guard the middle finger, fast enough that you hoped he didn’t see it. “Mind your f*cking business.”

“Mind the language you use in this venerated place,” he sneered back, which… at least he didn’t reference your rude gestures as well.

Back to the notebook to pretend you were serious person interested in serious things. You felt like you could vividly remember your dad writing this despite never being interested in any of his work. His handwriting was so neat and sturdy in line after line and almost every page corner was punctuated with a little drawing of a blue whale, that made the whale tattoo marked up the length of your spine burn.

There might not be a bigger what-if figure in the history of our country. Our modern-day government was born off the back of his unfortunate circ*mstances and we all know how much that is both a blessing and a sh*t show.

That was certainly not wrong.

It is hard to picture where America would be with a royal family that ruled beyond symbolism or a true constitutional monarchy, but these ideas? Equal distribution of wealth? Some form of basic healthcare for anyone who wanted it? A prominent place in society for women? Those would have been a conservative NIGHTMARE.

More on his financial platform, page 45, more on his social platform, page 67, more on his role in post-colonialism, page 81. Information of a personal nature, page 27.

You couldn’t help but skip to the personal pages to get the lewd gossip that you and Nayeon were nosy about. It wasn’t like you had to be concerned about the prince's political stance, he wasn’t going to be making any of those decisions anymore considering he was basically a rich person mascot—

The prince had numerous women he was alleged to be involved with. I have tried to trace the origin of most of these relationships but at some point they became too numerous to count.

Oh god, what the f*ck?

Visiting foreign dignitaries, other ladies at court, even the passing peasant or two, I have discovered many recorded stories of encounters with the prince… ‘those’ types of encounters. Though, perhaps miraculously, there was never any record of offspring that followed.


Holy sh*t. This was like… certified douchebag behavior, especially the whole making-sure-to-not-have-kids thing. You weren’t a historical genius by any means, yet it didn’t take one to recognize how the birth control options were sh*t back in his day.

It was honestly unhinged you had to read about these sexual exploits in your dad’s handwriting but you could not stop.

It is well known he was engaged to the beautiful and intelligent Lady of the Violets, but the marriage did not happen as he fell into the coma the night before the wedding. After it became clear the prince would not awaken, she went on to marry a different lord and had many children. I have stumbled upon a story claiming that prior to the wedding, the good lady’s sister put a curse* on the prince so that the Lady of the Violets would not be doomed to a loveless marriage punctuated with these affairs.

*Of course, this has no root or proof within history… or reality if we’re being honest. Haha. Blue would find this funny, though. She hates boys right now.


Your jaw dropped and your shocked words fell right out of it, “This man is a historical f*ckboy.”

“Please watch your language!” the guard screamed from the end of the hallway.

“Sorry,” you muttered.

But you weren’t f*cking sorry. You were too preoccupied with Google, even though you trusted your dad’s expertise more than any website you could find.

Prince Jaehyun women


That choice of words was a mistake on your part, because every article that popped up was about his infuriatingly inappropriate political stance on women’s rights in colonial times. He was known to be an early proponent of equality for women in society, as he allowed them to own farms and manage money of their own.

Oh, f*ck off. You were annoyed that you had to read articles fawning over this loser.

Prince Jaehyun ladies that he dated


At the last second, you changed it from f*cked to dated to help your case. And… nothing new came up, just the same information that your father had regarding the Lady of the Violets person and their engagement.

You tried one last time, phrasing it so the query wouldn’t sound out of place three hundred years ago:

Prince Jaehyun sexual lasciviousness

No articles were found. Try a different query.


Holy sh*t.

You had no proof and no dad to back you up, but you were sure the royal family’s handlers - Mark plus whatever government agency had been in charge of curating the Jeong legacy through the years - wiped this off the internet to save his reputation. Why wouldn’t it have come up in a single article otherwise?

The guard didn’t bother shouting to control you, he just laid down the law with authority, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you cannot control yourself.”

“Sorry, I’m… going.”

A f*ckboy was a f*ckboy, there was nothing you could do to change that definition. You wouldn’t’ve been as bothered to find out the princely prince was not who people thought he was… if Johnny hadn’t been acting the way he'd been lately. Or if every guy in your social circle wasn’t a f*ckboy or a reformed version of one. What you hated the most was people pretending they were something they weren’t.

You were almost out of the hall when you stopped for a reason you couldn’t pinpoint and checked out the last portrait. The painting was of this gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous woman, wearing a royal blue gown the same shade as your silk pajama onesie. She was not smiling all the way, as if she was deeply hurt by something but was trying to cover it up. But her odd expression wasn’t why you felt strange goosebumps prickling against the back of your neck.

It was because she looked like you. You know, if everything about you was stripped away and you were rebuilt in the mold of an elegant lady from colonial times instead. But staring at her face was so f*cking weird, her features were straight out of a time warp mirror…

“You certainly bear a strong resemblance to her.”

Fright exploded out of your lungs, “What the f*ck!"

The prince was there, standing quietly in the entryway to the Hall of Portraits with Mark loitering a few feet behind him. He looked tired and pale, but very much alive, wrapped up in his old school burgundy dressing robe and fur slippers.

“Please, I look better,” you scoffed.

You hoped his miraculous recovery didn’t give him mind reading powers to discover you’d just been thinking the opposite.

“I would have to spend an excess of passed time observing you to confirm that.” When he finished speaking, the corner of his mouth turned up and pressed a visible, deep dimple into the side of his cheek…

Uh oh.

Loud ass alarm bells were going off at the borders of the lusty part of your brain.

You crossed your arms over your chest because you knew how low cut this pajama set was and his eyes were not shy about dipping towards the wildflower inked on your sternum. Then you dug into your resistance, “f*ckboyery doesn’t work on me.”

A matching dimple flicked to life on the other side of his smile. “Pardon me?”

You swallowed nervously. “Never mind. Who is she?”

All you needed was hear from his own mouth that he f*cked this girl and ghosted her before he temporarily died and this weird haze of attraction would die, too.

“The Lady of the Violets. Who I will—who I was supposed to enter into a marriage with.”

The prince stared at her portrait with his handsome features twisted such a strange expression. You decided not to make a comment about how she was better off resting in peace with her non-prince husband and their generations of children in the family mausoleum than being here with king f*ckboy.

And ugh, you looked like his almost-wife that he kept cheating on? Weird.

You decided to take this moment to do some digging in hopes of an escape plan, “Who are you getting married to now?”

It was hard to stay focused whenever he stared at you with those dark eyes, even more so when his satisfied smirk appeared as a lead-in to his question, “Do you possess some secretive information you wish to impart onto me?”

What? Was he implying that you were interested and trying to tell him that? You snapped your fingers at Mark then gestured to the prince, before fake concern and caustic sarcasm raced to paint your words, “Can we get this man some vaccines or something? He’s gone crazy.”

He couldn’t possibly be flirting with you, that had to be some leftover scarlet fever or whatever.

“What is a vaccine? Is that some particular instance of drink?” the prince wondered, smirk deepening. “I would not mind sharing a drink with you.”

Mark’s eyes closed in frustration that you were continuing to stir up hell for him, then politely muttered the new information as you were sure he’d been doing, “A vaccine is one of the medical treatments you’re scheduled for, your highness.”

“And FYI… for your information, I have no interest in sharing a drink with you unless it’s bougie champagne delivered right to my room that I drink alone.” That was a boundary for him and a reminder for you, that this guy wasn’t just one of the guys that you’d hook up with whenever you and Johnny were ‘off.’ There were too many consequences here for you to be tempted by a one and done fling, many of them too harsh for you to even want to think about.

But that egged the prince on even further, he was on a mission, “What would you share with me, then?”

“Absolutely nothing.” That denial didn’t feel like enough, because he was still staring at you in that captivating way, so you threw on a detail that you hoped would help, “I vote in every election, by the way.”

That was your elegant way of saying f*ck the royal family. Lol.

The prince looked at Mark in confusion again, who clarified, “As we mentioned briefly… The role of the royal family has evolved in the modern day to a figurehead role standing alongside the presence of the elected government. Some individuals feel strong patriotism in the opposite direction.”

You actually couldn’t remember the last time you were sober enough to make it to an Election Day, but you had to try every way to get out of this possible.

That only seemed to excite the prince more, since his face melted from arrogant smirk into a smile, curiously thrilled by this discovery, “A political woman? This is what I had waiting for me after my little kip?”

God, you f*cked up. You forgot that he was an advocate for advancing the strong colonial woman or whatever.

You pivoted as fast as you could when you saw the gleam in his eyes, “Not at all. Hate that sh*t.”

“Then what are you?”

“None of your business.”

Just because he was a rich royal didn’t mean you owed him anything. The shock that billowed into the prince's features definitely meant that none of the women he let own farms in exchange for an exposed ankle had ever talked back to him about it. He had to be careful, your backtalk was definitely not unique in this day and age.

“May I at least learn your name before you seek to form opinions about me?” he wondered firmly.

You couldn’t decide at first if his persistence was hot or annoying, and the conclusion that it was both was a huge problem. You didn’t want him to know any f*cking thing about you.

“The opinions are already formed. And I’m sure you have enough power and money to figure out information you want on your own.” You knocked your knees in a stupid curtsy like you’d seen in movies to end this conversation before it got out of hand. “Goodnight, your highness.”

You hated all forms of physical exercise except dancing on a table at a club... yet you ran as fast as you could back to your room so you could hide from the prince-inspired strangeness that had suddenly surrounded you in this place.

tbc.

ah, she’s here. time to wake up. - loseyoutoloveme (2024)
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