45 His Fleeting Happiness Pt.3

    Taehyung huffed as he scrutinised his reflection in the mirror. Despite being dressed in the finest silks with the most vibrant colours, Taehyung couldn't help feeling dissatisfied. Something was bothering him. Or rather, someone.

    "Are you ready, cousin?"

    Taehyung looked over his shoulder to address Namjoon, who had appeared at his door. "Almost" he answered, his voice clipped. He turned back to his gaze at his reflection.

    Namjoon, sensing that something was off, approached his younger cousin with caution. "Is everything alright, Taehyung?"

    "Yes," he responded pointedly. "Why do you ask?"

    "Because you seem upset about something." He sat down on a nearby stool and added, "Not to mention the fact that you have been avoiding me as of late."

    Taehyung grew crimson. "I-I have not been avoiding you!"


    Taehyung fumbled with his belt while occasionally sneaking glances at his cousin through the mirror. In response, Namjoon continued to gape at him, his dark eyes boring into his reflection as if he was staring through to his soul. When Taehyung accidentally met Namjoon's penetrating gaze, he had no choice but to give in. Namjoon had a gift for seeing through people as if they were an open book.

    "Fine" he conceded. "I admit that I have been upset with you."

    Namjoon shifted in his seat while continuing to eye Taehyung. "What have I done to upset you, cousin?"

    Taehyung turned to face him. He challenged Namjoon into a staring contest without having to say anything. Namjoon took up the challenge although, he was puzzled as to why Taehyung was now giving him the silent treatment. Eventually, Taehyung's eyes started to water and he backed down, visibly upset that he had lost in their trivial competition.

    He muttered begrudgingly, "It is because Gyuri has been spending so much time with you."

    Namjoon's eyebrows were raised in surprise. "You have been refusing to talk to me... because of Gyuri?"

    Taehyung nodded reluctantly.

    "But, why?"

    Taehyung shifted uncomfortably on the spot. Namjoon observed how Taehyung's cheeks were tinted rose. "There- there is no particular reason why" he replied. "I just do not like how frequently she has been visiting you." Taehyung met eyes with Namjoon and Namjoon noticed the seriousness behind them. "Why have you been asking her to bring snacks to you every night?"

    "She was in trouble" Namjoon answered coolly. "I only did that because she needed help." He raised his brow as he added, "Apparently, someone has been stealing food from the pantry."

    Taehyung looked away guiltily.

    Noticing his blameful expression, Namjoon asked, "Do you know anything about this?"

    "Er..." Taehyung continued to avert his gaze as he responded, "No."

    But Namjoon already suspected that he did. At least I know now who the culprit is, he said inwardly. Namjoon examined his cousin closely. Seeing Taehyung's flushed expression made the corners of his mouth curl into a wily grin. "But why are you so bothered about Gyuri spending so much time with me?" he enquired. He couldn't resist teasing his cousin a little.

    Taehyung looked up, his cheeks noticeably redder than before.

    "Have you... developed a liking for her, cousin?"

    "What?!" Taehyung immediately replied, "No! She is just a maid! A maid-friend! A maid-friend-thing!"

    Namjoon watched as a flustered Taehyung tried to explain his relationship with Gyuri. It was both amusing and entertaining to see his cousin so tongue-tied over a girl. He must have developed a fondness for her after their kiss... he thought. He smirked, it seems spring has come for him at last.

    "You know, Cousin Junmyeon will not be pleased to hear you associating yourself with servants" Namjoon pointed out, "and calling them 'friends' especially."

    Taehyung frowned at the mention of his older brother. "I do not care about his opinion" Taehyung replied haughtily. "Brother Junmyeon never approves of anything I do anyway." Namjoon watched as Taehyung frowned deepened as he spoke, "All he ever does is scold me. He does not even let me play with fourth brother unless he is present."

    "You must understand," Namjoon informed him, "Jongin has always been sickly and Junmyeon is just worried for his health."

    "But what has that got to do with me being unable to play with Brother Jongin?" Taehyung questioned. "He does not allow me to play with him, let alone speak with him in private." He clicked his tongue, "Face it, cousin, Brother Junmyeon hates me."

    Namjoon peered at Taehyung sympathetically. "That is not true, cousin."

    "You need not cover for him" Taehyung replied with a wry smile. "Like I said, I do not care for his opinion." Taehyung smiled warmly at Namjoon. "It is enough for me to have you by my side."

    Namjoon was surprised by Taehyung's heartfelt words. He returned his smile before playfully ruffling his long black hair. "Let us go," he told him bashfully, "we must not be late for the coronation."
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