Yesterday I got married.
With someone other than you.
How are you feeling right now, I wonder. Have you gotten the news? Maybe, simply you didn’t care as I don’t hold a place in the heart of yours anymore.
Regardless, even when this letter flies across the ocean to find your hands, know that I will think of you still.
And cherish you, no matter what.
It was Friday.
Which meant the snob guy would be home the next day.
Louis secretly hoped for him to be an overworker, however, two thoughts in her heads were clashing with the very idea: One, it seemed to be an important case for him to taking good care of his health; two, even though if he worked on Saturdays, he would surely stay in that particular Saturday to have a chance to interrogate her.
Whatever. Passing Saturday did not mean anything as Sunday was still there too.
Louis eyed her room, taking a deep breath. The room’s frontage was a full glass wall, while the sidelines were covering only the half. The rest of the place was completed with light grey ones, adorned with white wallpapers, shaped in floral decors.
She had placed her computer and the desk right in front of the glazing, in order to have a good view of the scenery. Though she got to accept, the view from Jumin’s bedroom was even better.
How did she know? Well, Louis had done her tours on her first day. There had not been much to see, and since the guy placed CCTVs to every corner of the flat she didn’t want to take so much time doing so. Nothing particular had caught her attention, but there was a furball flying around named… Marie Antoinette? Anne Boleyn? Elizabeth Olsen? Something like that. The cat had a ridiculously big portrayal at the south entrance of the house, putting all the medieval nobles to shame.
Louis literally locked herself into the room. At least it was spacious, so she didn’t lose her sanity. The girl used to do it in her old room too, however, at least she had her mother to check on her from time to time, and chat. Now she was isolated from any social activities besides that as well.
Louis didn’t want to interact with the animal, no. Not because cats were red flags in her dictionary, but because of a possible clash with her owner if she did so. Somewhere along the lines, Cynthia had mentioned that he cared a great deal for that creature.
Also calling for Cheonmi was out of the question, in order to keep the secrecy of their relationship with her betrothed. If Louis allowed the young maid to come to the flat at every dawn, she would be suspicious to see the so-called wife never interacting with her husband. And what if she blurted out something? No, the only person she should be relying on was her mother.
If the girl could, she would even get disposed of the other maids. Every morning, right after His Highness Han Jumin left the house Louis rushed down to the downstairs and put her pillows on the man’s bed, trying to make it seem like they had spent the night together. Honestly, the guy should have been grateful because she did this as much for him as for herself. Not because she was so fond of him or grew closer to him, but if something made its way off this house to the media there would be a possible divorcement in the horizons for her –as that pompous bastard needed a reason.
Her eyes made their way to the mini-fridge placed at the corner of the room. Stuffed with very questionable, unhealthy foods, the girl was sure she would survive the weekend without stepping out of her sacred haven.
Louis sighed in a drained way while sipping from her water she murmured to the glass: “Here we go Louis, to the beginning of many more lonely weekends.”
“Such a confined princess,” Saeyoung’s voice rang through Jumin’s one earphone. They were testing out the Messenger’s new group call feature, installed by the very red-haired hacker. “I am so in love with her determination.”
“How the hell did she lock herself into her room for two days?” Hyun sounded very shocked.
Jumin took a deep breath. “I don’t know. I can’t understand what’s going on in her little mind, it pains me to admit but it is the truth.”
The sun had already risen through the clouds, shining lovingly above her kids. It was a Monday, adults had gone to their jobs; teenagers were in their desks in the schools, looking for new mischiefs or revelations.
In the middle of this weekly routine, one man who people expected to be in office before anyone else was at home, cooking pancakes for his newly… Wed.
“Could she be dead?” Zen’s new question elicited a snort from Saeran, and a burst of loud laughter from Saeyoung while Jumin seriously hoped that was not the case. Even though he wanted to talk to her, couldn’t get himself to go and knock her door. What a big scandal it would be if it turned out he didn’t realize there was a dead person under his roof for two long days.
However, there wasn’t any smell that gotten through his noise. “I don’t think that is the case.”
Saeyoung ignored Jumin’s statement as he took him for joking: “She is extraordinary, you got to admit that too!”
“Definitely.” Saeran agreed, “Is she downstairs yet?”
“No, apparently she is still sleeping.”
“Or gaming.” The other twin added.
“Wow, to be honest, I didn’t think there would be a bigger hermit on this world than Yoosung.” Hyun brutally criticized their youngest member, however, the mentioned blond wasn’t there to hear it and grimace, as he was attending the classes.
The plan was to catch the girl like prey. He knew she diligently went to his room every day and put her pillows there. First, nor Saeyoung or Jumin understood what in the world her aim was. Simply, the fact that Mercedes wished to help him on anything came out as surprising. He had been sure if he was dying of thirst, the girl wouldn’t even spare her spit for him.
Proved him wrong. Still, one could get suspicious of her motives.
“Ah,” Hyun took the attention on himself once again, “I have arrived at the studio guys. That’s the end of this call for me. See you all!” After one cheery, two dull good-byes the actor left the call.
“Say Saeran, when will you come back home?” Saeyoung asked, interrupting the brief lull Zen’s depart caused.
The twin in question answered after a pause like he got bored from the older one’s never-ending affection: “Soon, I guess.”
The boy was hunting estates for his future flower shop. Even though Saeyoung’s protests, Jumin arranged all of the budgets as this was all he could do for the unfortunate kid after everything happened, yet it didn’t feel enough. Actually, the idea belonged to V, however, the young heir wanted to see his friends full of concerns about others no more.
“Tell me if you need anything further.” Jumin said in a flat tone.
“Nope, everything is fine. Thank you a lot, Jumin.”
Saeyoung acknowledged the jest as well: “Yes, thank you.”
The kitchen was silent besides the constant chatting coming through his earphone, and sizzle from the pan. He was not sure if Mercedes had a big appetite or not, still made more than enough. They needed this for the long conversation that’s been awaiting them.
“Mr. Han?” Assistant Kang’s voice rang in the device.
“Hello, Jaehee.” Saeran mimicked his salute afterward.
And Saeyoung greeted her too: “Hey Jaehee. Hyun has just left.”
“Oh, I am not here for him. Though it’s unfortunate.” A little bit of disappointment lingered in her voice. “Mr. Han, when will you come to the company?”
“Hmm, I’ll be there in the afternoon I guess.” He hoped the Mercedes girl would be awake till then. Or he was going to bang her door to its collapse.
The exhaustion dripped from assistant’s next words: “While I have no complaints about your personal affairs, please refrain from sudden rescheduling Mr. Han.”
“I am not pleased with the current situation either.” He disregarded her complaints quickly. “It’s a desire of mine that this wouldn’t become a repeating occasion.”
Though his assistant didn’t seem to be silenced that easily: “With your sudden departments you leave the company to the hands of chaos. We are having so many problems right here. Please-”
“Jaehee, I will be there in the afternoon.” Jumin interrupted, not in the mood for the woman’s scolding.
“Very well, good day to you.” she said, afraid of pulling the strings of her boss’ nerves. “See you later Saeyoung, Saeran.” The twins bade her farewell too.
After that, Jumin kept himself busy preparing a strawberry glazing. Soon later, the cracking of a door came to his ears, and the sound of the door was followed by faint footsteps.
Here she comes.
Jumin leaned on the marble kitchen table, waiting for her. The mentioned woman entered the room soon after the sounds, with bed hair and pajamas, clung to the pillow in her arms like it’s a life and death situation. Her head turned by him for a second then faced the bed and then turned by him again with a flinch which blossomed a grin on his face.
“G…Good morning.” The girl looked like she had just seen a ghost, much to Jumin’s amusement. “What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean? This is my house and you are the guest. Mind the manners.” He replied, then walked to his laptop on the counter to check his work.
“O-oh, so the princess is awake.” Saeyoung said, it looked like he enjoyed the situation.
Jumin ignored him. “I hoped you would have breakfast with me. Of course, after you complete this strange ritual of yours.” His finger was pointing the pillow now.
“Did you know?” asked Mercedes while messing with his bed. “I can take things further if you like.”
The heir’s handsome features frowned at the suggestion. “How so?”
“Just watch me.” she answered before climbing on the bed. To his horror, Mercedes started to jump and creak the bed enough to let people outside… To have ideas. To have thoughts… Of them.
Saeyoung burst into laugh and thanks to that Jumin was saved from his frozen state. Quickly he grabbed the earphone out of his ear and hung up the phone. “It is not going to work.” the man said, before burying himself to the pancakes once again. “We have very solid sound insulation here.”
“That’s boring.” After falling unceremoniously to the king-sized bed, she came near him to share the meal. He started to prepare the plates while feeling her hypnotizing blue eyes at his back. “I didn’t know you could cook.”
“I am a man of many talents.” That was a lie. He didn’t know that many recipes, however, Jumin was sure he could handle it if he wanted to.
Since he was giving too much information about himself, it wouldn’t hurt to ask her some questions Jumin thought as he placed their plates and utensils. “So, do you like cooking too?”
“No, I hate that.” Mercedes answered in all her honesty. His brows were knitted. Despise, and disliking was one thing but “hate” was a strong word. However, that could wait for another time, as he had more important matters at hand and limited time.
He hummed before speaking: “Do you also despise eating too? Since you haven’t left your room two days straight.”
Her shoulders were shrugged in soft movements. “I am an introvert, what do you expect?”
No, you’re a closed book. Even Saeyoung might have come to terms with the notion that this girl was just an ordinary person with a cunning mind, Jumin still felt that something was off. Something very dire…
“You can come out of your room, you know.” he said, while putting glazing on the dough.
“I wouldn’t dare to bother His Majesty.” The answer came out with a snort, only to be ignored by Jumin.
“I wouldn’t care as long as you don’t touch Elizabeth the 3rd.”
The hints of confusion could be traced to Mercedes’ face. “Who?” she asked, but before Jumin could have replied the answer came to her: “O-oh.” was her reaction, upon understanding. “You mean your cat. Hey, why would I want to touch that thing? There are lots of stray cats down there waiting for attention.”
Jumin frowned. “Where? I made sure each one of them in this neighborhood to be adopted.” For a second Mercedes looked astonished. “You know what, never mind. That is not my concern right now.” After stuffing one bite to his mouth, he went and took the document stood right next to his laptop. “Let’s talk about this.”
The paper was eyed by Mercedes, and when the girl in question recognized what it was her expression got sour. Upon seeing how her mood dropped, a sadistic joy started to light up Jumin’s heart.
“Miss White, I hope you didn’t think I would forget about this.” he said while grabbing a pen.
“How could I?” Mercedes responded bitterly.
There, the contract she made him sign on their wedding day was between his fingers. A smug grin adorned the man’s face, while the girl in front of him was simply menacing.
“I would like to clear things between us, and I would like you to be honest about the questions I am going to ask-”
“What? Is this an interrogation? I can simply go back to my room-”
“Which would not be in your interest because marriage is a thing that done by both partners, so if you want me to be your pretend husband it would be best for you to cooperate.” Jumin sighed. “Are we clear?”
A reluctant nod was his answer, but even though the lack of enthusiasm of the other partner things could be managed. He had been handling business relationships since he was a little kid, this might have stood like a child’s play compared to them.
“This is the first time you have prepared such a document I assume.”
“Even though your lack of experience, it was prepared very neatly. Well done.” Compliments could lighten up the mood a bit, and his words were not straight lies. “Shame that the position you have asked for was ‘wife’, instead of the all the beautiful job titles we have been looking for. We could make us of you better than… This. And there would be more benefits.”
“No, thanks.” The way she disregarded that so quickly… Surely she had been thinking about this possibility before. Strange.
“Especially when I take consideration of your video editing skills.”
“Oh,” An apologetic grin slowly took its place on Mercedes’ face. “That…”
“I hope you have got ridden of that fool’s errand.”
“Of course I did!” Mercedes said, looking a bit frustrated before stuffing pancake in her mouth. “Though it was not that successful. I didn’t let you take a closer look, and you have only seen it for a few seconds. I’m sure that you could call the trick if you studied it more.”
“You are a smart girl.” Jumin answered simply. He would have lied if he said he was not impressed with her planning skills. “All right, back to the contents of the contract.”
“Oh yes, spare me the bullshit.”
He sent a glare behind the paper he was holding: “Mind the manners.” he said once more. “If you’re that into the idea of fake marriage then at least you should learn when to shut that pretty mouth of yours.” Jumin couldn’t see it since he focused on the contract again, but he could swear that she rolled her eyes.
“So as you can guess, this contract is no more valid. But I would like to take consideration of your demands. The first thing that catches my attention is… The one-year thing.”
Mercedes avoided eye contact. “What about it?”
“Basically, handling this charade for a whole year is out of the question for me. However, I can promise I will manage as long as it takes us.” Now Miss White had a new expression on her face: Disappointment. “You said it was for your mother and my father right? Then let’s see how much time they need to settle in and after being sure let’s get divorced. Unless you have other motives.” Jumin sighed at her lack of response. “Mercedes, I am not saying I don’t care about my father. However, he had lots of women in his life and every time he managed to recover. He would recover from Clara as well. I am doing this for you too since you look so desperate, as well as I am doing for him. Even though the bad man you are taking me for.”
She had no choice but to accept his terms, some points were scored by him at last. “And the other thing is the 5 million dollar question… I don’t understand why a clever girl like you would request the money after a year’s pass. It was sure that your ploy wouldn’t last that long.” Others might’ve thought she had some calculation problems went right there, however, Jumin knew the girl. There had to be a nasty scheme in her head.
“Umm…” A sigh came off her tiny, rosy lips. “Do you see the bank address I have given there? It is in the name of your company.”
“Yes, I have realized that.”
“So… In the contract the goal seemed to be the money would not stay in my bank, neither in yours for a year, for security reasons.” And when the time came, he was supposed to do some fake business arrangements through it, making his father obvious to the situation. “This way I would be sure that you would hand the money, and you would be sure that I am not running off with it. The thing is…” Now her tongue was wetting the soft, pink flesh, readying him for whatever the bomb she was going to drop. “Your father handed this account to my mother, as some of her credit cards didn’t work here-”
“My father did… What?” Jumin felt like he was going to faint. The room was spinning so well.
“I think your father is trusting strangers too much.” Mercedes said, almost in a whisper. “But anyways, I was planning to get the money just in case, without alarming my mother.”
“And then… You were going to do what?” He put a hand on his eyes. “Run of with money? That is a fraud. Illegal.”
“Actually not!” Mercedes warbled. “Your father willingly handed the account to my mother, for her own usage. I would figure out some way if you kicked us out.” That hysteric laughter he felt burning his stomach whenever he was around this woman, well it was surfacing again.
“What in the world were you going to do with that amount of money anyway? That is too much for one person. Are you… Planning to run some business?”
“Excuse me? I think the needs of your house every month cost more than 5 million dollars.”
He grimaced. “You are not a person of luxuries.”
“But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying about money ever again!”
Ah, this girl. Why is she as almost difficult as a five years old child? “Okay, you know what? I will simply give you monthly payments for whatever you would like to buy, and if you can save up, then that money is yours. But do not wait for me to pay a penny more.”
The girl looked like she had some more protests, but Jumin didn’t want to hear any of it. These were going to be his conditions, and if Mercedes didn’t want to accept he could call the marriage as soon as possible. He was not going to be bent by some over-spoiled girl.
“Fine.” she said, deep breathing.
Jumin rose off from the chair. “That settles a deal for us.” Even though the girl looked upset, his mood was off the charts. After seeing him putting his blazer on Mercedes got up from the table either.
“I see you haven’t eaten much. Didn’t you like it?” he asked while getting ready in a hurry.
“I don’t have the appetite.” she responded grumpily.
“Take care of yourself.” Now he was heading out for the door, but before going out he remembered something and turned by her: “Cheonmi will visit you today, go and get yourself some suitable dress.”
“For what?” Mercedes spat.
Jumin was shocked by how obvious she was. “For our parents’ marriage of course. Don’t tell me you were planning to spend it by locking yourself in your room.”
“Of course not.”
“I also arranged a Korean teacher for you, will send you the schedule today. Please do not scare him off.”
“And I arranged another teacher for your table manners.”
“What!? Do you think this is the 18th century!?” With every word poured from his mouth, she was getting angrier and angrier. Amazing.
“No, but for a person just came out from her cave it is needed.”
“And she will teach you how to dance too.”
Her eyes widened. “Now that is very unnecessary Jumin! Everyone dances like they are floating nowadays, be it common folk or stupid ass rich people!”
Jumin ignored her complaints with a very amused aura. “I am looking forward to your improvement.” With that, he left her there, with a grin so big that it caused a pleasant pain upon his face muscles.
Yes, he wanted to see what Mercedes wanted to see, but if she was planning to play with him during the session, he could as well as play with her too.