Chapter 5: Pillow talk

A true blessing was gifted to Kim Soyong.

The best pleasure known to humankind.

She felt a positive effect right away as her healthy appetite was back for the first time since labor. Her boundless energy made Court Lady Choi suspicious she was up to some mischief. She just felt so light and relaxed – oh, she never felt happier!

Kim Soyong finally had a good sleep.

She didn’t even realize she lacked sleep before she got it at last, all thanks to Cheoljong’s generous offer to share responsibilities regarding their son. Of course, as the most wealthy and powerful couple in the country, they could afford countless nannies for the heir to the throne, but Soyong wished to be a normal mother to Hyun-ki.

Apparently, Cheoljong felt the same urge and fully supported Soyong’s decision.

Seeing how dedicated Cheoljong was to his role as a father, Soyong’s troubled heart started warming up for her husband. She almost felt like they had a perfectly normal family together, sharing the best experiences of being new parents. Soyong made a blanket and Wonbeom wrote a lullaby. She taught him tricks on how to make Hyun-ki fall asleep faster, and Wonbeom came up with new ideas for games with the prince. Every day they walked together through the gardens or by the lake, talking and discussing their son’s future.

However, those joyful times during the day led to strange and separate nights – the nights that reminded them about their troubles.

“I promise I’m not going to touch you,” Wonbeom declared on the first night he spent at Daejojeon Hall after their last argument.

Soyong couldn’t hide her relief upon hearing that. Though, she did notice how upset the King became with her reaction, or maybe she just imagined it. Her wound from their previous argument was too deep, the memories still fresh even if months had passed. Soyong still felt restless being with him in a room all alone so late at night.

However, in the morning another feeling occupied her – guilt.

Soyong found Cheoljong sleeping on her wide cushion without any pillow for his head or blanket to cover his body through the cold night. She used the cushion for a quick nap during the day, but it was too uncomfortable for a full night’s sleep. And the tall pillows that were used for sitting weren’t good for a head to rest on. Wonbeom didn’t try it either, as he used one of those pillows to rest his leg on.

Cheoljong dedicated himself to Hyun-ki for the whole night, giving Soyong her long-awaited sleep, and naturally the King forgot about his own comfort. His shoulder became so sore that Soyong couldn’t stand watching his distress and offered a massage.

The next time, the King arrived in Daejojeon Hall with his own pillow and blanket, but his sleep was still uncomfortable. Feeling responsible for his unhealed shoulder pain, Soyong continued to compensate for his suffering with massages. She was truly worried for him, knowing how passionate the King was about the reforms and how much he overworked himself. Her cousin Kim Hwan provided some of this insight, coming from his best friend Director Hong’s constant complaints about never-ending overwork.

Over time, Soyong grew doubtful that his injury still wasn’t healed when the King had the best physicians and nurses to take care of him. She suspected he might have been exaggerating his injuries to gain more attention from her. When he complained about his pain in his back after falling from a horse, Soyong wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and decided to test her hunch by suggesting that Hong Yeon give him a massage. But a miracle happened and the King was instantly cured!

The King’s flirting was so ridiculous sometimes that Soyong found it hard not to roll her eyes and continue ignoring his attempts.

As much as she loved them being parents together, she still was not ready to take a step forward. So instead of pushing him away or going toward him, Soyong remained still, observing and trying to figure out what to do next.

Sometimes she felt like their relationship improved. Other days, he annoyed her to no end. It was back and forth between them. She saw in his eyes and heard in his voice his annoyance with the situation as well.

As weeks passed, their complicated relationship became the new norm and Soyong found herself being more comfortable around the King again. Soon their conversations went beyond work and family matters.

Soyong laughed listening to the stories of Hong’s unfortunate dating life until she had tears in her eyes, and Wonbeom listened to Soyong telling him in secret that Man-bok doesn’t know she stole his precious pear wine and drank it all with Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi. She, of course, did that only after coming to the conclusion that her milk ended quickly and she couldn’t breastfeed anymore. Unfortunately, she didn’t have much to begin with, and the royal physician assured her that sometimes happened with mothers. At least she could find joy in alcohol again.

The new routine now finds them in their bed chambers as well, when they talk through the closed paper doors between them before falling asleep.

Hearing Wonbeom’s voice before falling into dreamland makes Soyong feel something she has forgotten over time: the fluttering feeling deep down in her stomach. The screen in her part of the chamber has various butterflies embroidered onto it, and when she gets too excited she sometimes imagines them fluttering in her belly.

“My Queen, should I congratulate you on finishing your revision of all the inner court rules?” Wonbeom’s voice cheerfully rings through from the other side of the closed doors. Soyong is happy he doesn’t see how her cheeks burn red knowing how much he is aware of her work.

“Should we celebrate it?” he suggests. “It was a lot of hard work, and I know how tiresome it was.”

“Some rules were so ridiculously outdated that it was as if our country hadn’t progressed in two centuries!” Soyong scoffs, remembering the most ludicrous things she read.

Soyong found out that previous queens did try to improve life in the palace, but once Queen Sunwon came to her position, she changed everything back to how it was before. Sometimes, being part of the oldest, most powerful family in the country meant receiving an old-fashioned education. Soyong is lucky her father wanted the most modern education for her simply because he thought it was the best and he always told her she deserves exactly that.

“A special occasion like this must be celebrated before the next project starts!” she says eagerly. It certainly feels deserved; she’s tired of people saying she must show prudence instead of pride.

“Don’t tell me you are already planning something new, my Queen? I worry you might fall ill.” Wonbeom’s voice gains an agitated tone and Soyong can vividly imagine his worried eyes wandering over her face for any signs of illness.

“I appreciate Your Majesty’s concern, but what I am planning is easy and far more enjoyable,” Soyong says, enjoying herself as she plays coy with him.

It could be called a pleasant activity. Or at least it is more pleasant to write about than to go through in person.

“I want to make my prenatal diary into a book for the women of Joseon. Everything I read about pregnancy is so formal, and women aren’t allowed to do anything during their pregnancy! More than that, all the teachings I encounter say women must suppress their feelings as well, but that is nowhere near healthy,” Soyong passionately babbles away. “I want to share my experience in the hope it will help women ease their worries.”

“O-ho, my Queen, be careful. Joseon may go extinct if you are too honest about the details of pregnancy.” Wonbeom bursts out laughing but continues very seriously: “May I assist in it too, my Queen?”

“Hmm?” Soyong does not really follow how he can help with this. He wasn’t the one carrying their child and going through labor.

“I am not satisfied with the teachings for fathers too,” Wonbeom admits. “I wish I could have helped more, so if you share how I could have, alongside my own thoughts, it will be a nice addition to your book.”

“The Queen and King setting an example together…” Soyong considers the King’s idea. Wonbeom’s involvement could boost curiosity among the people of Joseon.

“A project together,” Soyong whispers to herself, suddenly realizing they haven’t had one ever since they worked together on a training guide for the rebels.

She misses those times dearly, when they sat at Hong’s residence discussing the book itself, or when she and Wonbeom stayed up late at night to talk about politics until they fell asleep with their heads resting on the table.

Soyong doesn’t have ideas from the future anymore, but she’s full of her own ideas and dying to discuss them with anyone ready to listen. Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi are very supportive and they are so excited about what she’s doing, but with Wonbeom it is more of an equal debate where he raises questions she has never thought about.

“If you don’t mind, my Queen,” Wonbeom adds so quietly she barely hears him through the closed doors.

The warm feelings that have accrued over the past few days overwhelm Soyong as if a cup is getting full and everything she has suppressed is ready to splash out. She rises to her feet before her mind can fully acknowledge her decision, but by the time she slides the doors open to the spare room, she’s confident in herself.

Her abrupt movement makes Wonbeom look up at her standing form from where he is lying down. He wears a cute surprised facial expression that Soyong hasn’t seen in a while now. And she loves making him look so puzzled again.

“Are you that excited, my Queen? Let’s wait until morning for work, I beg you!” He nervously half-chuckles, half-whines, looking so cute as if he’s a baby and not the father of one.

“Of course we must rest first,” Soyong agrees in a confident yet playful voice. “But Your Majesty won’t get rest sleeping like that.” Soyong shakes her head, disapproving of his usual sleep patterns in her chambers. “For our future project and Your Majesty’s health, I must provide better conditions.”

She steps to the side of the doors, signalizing he may come into her part of the chambers. Wonbeom tilts his head, looking even more adorably confused, but as the realization sinks in he lets out a quiet “oh”.

“My Queen is so wise and generous.” Wonbeom quickly jumps onto his feet, taking his pillow in the process, and passes by Soyong.

Soyong smiles at his cute reaction when he’s not looking. When she follows him and lies on her side of the bedding, she looks completely neutral. She doesn’t want to give him any ideas: she has pride after all.

“This is much more comfortable, thank you,” Wonbeom says, looking at the ceiling.

“You are welcome, Your Majesty,” Soyong answers, her gaze focused on the ceiling too, arms crossed above the shared blanket.

She knows for a fact he is staying here for only one purpose: to be with her.

Soyong didn’t realize at first how slowly Cheoljong came back into her life, without any pressure, from being someone on the edge of her sight to becoming a significant part of her day again. And Soyong loves it more than she wishes to admit to herself. He could sleep on comfortable bedding in any other room in all of Daejojeon Hall, but instead he prefers to suffer on a cushion and beg for her attention while whining about a hurt shoulder or back.

“My Queen.” His voice sounds a bit uncertain and she feels him shift to lie on his side to face her. “May I ask you a question? Only promise not to kick me out for asking.”

“I can’t give you a promise like that.” Soyong rolls onto her side too. Her breath catches in her throat when she suddenly realizes how close they are and how much she has missed peering into those eyes in the frame of his thick lashes. “What does Your Majesty wish to know?”

“On the night of your labor, right before your water broke… What upset you so much?” His question catches her off guard, but seeing his inquisitive eyes and serious tone, Soyong knows he really wants to know the answer.

“Why do you still want to know what happened back then?” Soyong remembers how desperate he was that night, and if labor didn’t interrupt them, they would definitely have had a huge fight about something she now thinks is so meaningless. She was at the peak of her anxiety and her emotions were all over the place.

“I want to know what made you upset so I can understand you better. I’m glad we are talking again and laughing together, but we must discuss the difficult things too. Don’t you agree, my Queen?”

His little speech is as spot on as always; Soyong loves it about him and hates it at the same time. He’s too observant and inquisitive about her.

“It was nothing important, Your Majesty. Please forget about it…” Soyong avoids his piercing gaze.

“You preferred to go into labor instead of continuing that conversation,” he awkwardly tries to joke. “I’m sure it was important for you at the moment.”

“If I could start labor when I wanted I wouldn’t have needed your assistance that night,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“I am serious,” Wonbeom presses, insisting on continuing this uncomfortable conversation. “I really wish to know, my Queen.”

She feels cornered because she doesn’t want to start an argument again or chase him away. She had been upset that night about such a silly thought that crossed her mind for a second and was blown out of proportion by her anxiety.

“It was just a brief thought, that maybe you don’t feel comfortable looking at me while…” She bites her lower lip for a second, ashamed of what she’s saying. “Maybe for Your Majesty it would be easier to pretend if you don’t see my face.”

“Why would I do that?” The King looks so confused, blinking repeatedly as if dumbfounded by her answer.

“After I confessed, Your Majesty searched for something, examining me so intensely, peering into my eyes to see something that isn’t there anymore.”

Once Soyong starts, she pours her soul out. It has become easier: a month ago, it would have been impossible to open up to him like this. She feels so vulnerable and exposed, like any word he says could greatly hurt her. Still, the words spill from her tongue with ease.

“But Your Majesty didn’t find what you were looking for,” she bitterly finishes, hesitantly lifting her gaze to look at him again, finding Cheoljong frowning deeply at her confession.

“I would never pretend at a moment like that!” The King raises his voice passionately, completely startling her. “Why would I want to look away from this face,” he continues, much calmer.

Cheoljong raises his hand to her face, his palm stopping inches away from her cheek – so close yet so far away, the never-ending theme of their complicated relationship.

“You were wrong, my Queen.” His voice is back to being warm and soft. “I only thought about your comfort because your belly was so huge.” Cheoljong takes his hand away, without touching her even by accident.

Soyong’s heart beats fast at his words, happy yet embarrassed by her silly doubts from that night. The King isn’t a man like that. While he could easily have as many lovers and concubines as he wishes, he always shows his heart can belong only to one person.

Overwhelmed by her feelings, Soyong moves forward and kisses his cheek. It happens so quickly that Wonbeom looks totally puzzled by her action. She shifts their blanket up to her face until only her mischievous eyes can be seen.

“What was that for?” he asks, touching his cheek, completely shocked. “What exactly worked?”

“Your Majesty’s flirting is so foolish.” Soyong feels so playful all of a sudden, still hiding her face with a blanket. “But sometimes Your Majesty knows the right words.”

“No other woman has complained about my abilities at courtship,” he pouts adorably. His mood has shifted too, apparently. “It always worked before.”

“Only because they wanted to jump on you.” She laughs cheerfully, feeling the need to remind him how silly he is when he’s in love. “It never worked on me.”

“O-ho, how can you forget my poems? You said your heart fluttered.” His voice sounds so teasing, yet a bit hurt; she doesn’t know if it is part of his flirting or if he really takes it seriously that his poems had that effect on her.

“They were so cringy, Your Majesty,” she continues her not-so-serious mocking. “But because someone I like sent them, my heart was overjoyed.”

“They were misdirected, but you mentioned seeing me in your dreams.” Wonbeom lowers his voice to a whisper.

He moves towards Soyong as she slowly rolls onto her back, still using the blanket to cover herself. “So tell me, my Queen. What kind of dreams were they?”

Wonbeom slowly tugs the blanket down, his gaze never leaving her eyes. The sudden change in direction of their conversation takes Soyong by surprise, making her freeze under him, uncertain if she wishes for him to stop or desperately needs him to continue.

“Those dreams were nice,” she whispers in response, finally finding her voice. Soyong swallows hard while the blanket continues to be removed and Wonbeom is now able to see more of her.

“If that’s the case, I wish to get advice from the dream version of me.” Wonbeom smirks back at her.

Soyong wonders for a second how the mood in the room changed so quickly and how the tugging feeling in her lower abdomen gets stronger just by hearing him speak with that little bit of huskiness in his voice.

The King in her dreams is a confident man who knows the art of seduction, just like the hero of the juiciest novels she loves to reread in private. But the Wonbeom in front of her, above her, has a much more intense vibe than her own dirty imagination could ever depict.

How can a man switch from cute to sexy so freaking fast?

“I don’t think Your Majesty needs help with that,” Soyong whispers breathlessly. “The rose petals and the bathtub aside, you are doing great.”

“A bathtub?” Wonbeom chuckles. “I knew my Queen was naughty, but I wasn’t aware to what degree.”

Wonbeom moves closer to her, his face hovering just above her. His gaze lowers to her lips and he licks his own, making Soyong let out a weak whimper. Looking like a cat who is just about to catch the prey he will eat, Wonbeom grins and closes the distance between them, kissing the corner of her mouth.

Soyong gasps but quickly moves her head closer, in a desperate attempt to connect their lips, but to her frustration those lips elude her. Wonbeom takes his time, kissing her cheek and then moving lower to her jawline. He whispers something about the mole on her cheek before kissing it as well and continuing his travels to her earlobe.

She is acutely aware of how loud her heavy breathing sounds in the room and how her whimpers are too pleading. Soyong arches her back and her chest brushes against his. The movement causes a moan from Wonbeom; even through layers of fabric their touch feels like lightning going through both of them. Finding the boldness in her, Soyong moves her hands to wander across his back, pulling him closer to her.

“I love when my Queen is so clingy.” His hot whisper into her ear gives her chills. He chuckles at her reaction before drawing a moan from her when he sucks on her earlobe.

“Stop teasing me, Your Majesty,” she whines, causing him to smile against the skin of her neck as he continues to wander down with his lips.

“How can I refuse my Queen?” He hovers over her again, his hand cupping her face, brushing her cheek with his thumb. “Do you really want it?” he whispers seriously, dropping the seductive tone.

“Kiss me, Your Majesty. I need you to kiss me,” she boldly declares. Or she tells herself it’s bold because she will never admit how desperate that plea actually sounded.

His little arrogant smirk hurts her pride, but her desire is so strong she prefers to ignore it. Wonbeom’s face is so close to her that she can count every eyelash framing his beautiful eyes. His unusually rosy lips part as he slowly inches closer to her. Soyong can sense his scent, a unique combination of jasmine tea and pine trees and something else she can’t quite name but loves anyway. For a second she wonders what he is thinking about her when he’s this close.

The kiss he gifts her is a slow, uncertain brush of lips – almost shy, as if it’s their first time. In some ways, despite them sharing a significant number of kisses (and more), they somehow only now discover each other. Soyong catches his lips into a more demanding kiss, to which Wonbeom never disappoints her in answering with equal fever.

For the first time during their closeness, Soyong’s mind is completely clear. Her worries are forgotten and the burning desire she feels is only for her. And the King in her embrace belongs to her as well.

Impatiently, she throws the rest of the blanket away and arches herself more into his firm body. With a moan, Wonbeom pushes his tongue into her mouth, demanding an equal partner. His free hand wanders around the side of her body until he caresses her hip and wraps her legs around his waist. Soyong doesn’t waste time either, quickly untying his sleeping garment and touching him everywhere she can.

Wonbeom parts from her, only to sit up and get rid of his shirt, throwing it aside. Soyong can’t help but admire the sight before her: just like hers, his breath is heavy and his lips are swollen from the intense kissing. And all the training she has secretly spied on him doing clearly shows in his body. Soyong admires the broad shoulders she loves to hold on to and the muscular arms she wishes would embrace her forever. Her eyes roam over the solid chest that feels so good against her own and the hard muscles of his abdomen that Soyong loves to trace with her fingers.

She has probably admired him too intensely, as he barely holds in his laughter as he looks at her. Soyong composes herself, trying to make a neutral face, but she feels her cheeks burn from both embarrassment and lust.

He grins at her, placing one hand on her bent knee and moving it to the side, to give him room to nestle between her thighs. She still has too many layers of clothes, Soyong thinks. She wishes to feel his skin on her own when he moves up her body with kisses against her clothes, before finally hovering over her again.

“My Queen,” he whispers over and over between deep kisses. She barely has time to take a breath in as his lips keep crushing against hers.

She whimpers in response, feeling his large palm on her abdomen, moving lower to her core. She moves her hips into his touch, drawing a low moan from Wonbeom and making him impatiently find a way under her skirts to find bare skin. Wonbeom eagerly tugs the ties of her undergarments and sneaks his hand inside.

“Your Majesty,” she moans, moving her hips again, finally feeling his fingers sliding between her already wet folds. It suddenly becomes too hot to breathe, and Soyong’s skin burns under his touch as his voice whispers sweet nothings into her ear and excites her even more.

Soyong responds to his caressing with shamelessly loud moans which only make him bolder in his moves. She arches into his solid form, holding onto his shoulders, whispering his title, loving the fact it is the King, her husband, who makes her feel this good.

And only when his touch becomes more demanding, his fingers almost slipping inside, does Soyong remember something: “Oh, Your Majesty, we can’t!” she exclaims, probably a bit too harshly and loudly.

Wonbeom’s hand leaves her in a flash, as if it had never been there. Soyong immediately feels cold without his hands on her, and when he moves away from her to sit apart from her it feels like she’s freezing.

“What did I do wrong?” His eyes are wide in panic and he shows his palms in front of him as if he’s a criminal caught in the act.

Soyong sits on the bedding too, fixing her skirts: “We can’t do that, Your Majesty!”

Wonbeom lets out a disappointed sigh, lowering his gaze. His sadness runs deeper than a rejection of intimacy, as she has seen this miserable look before – a long time ago, when he was full of regrets for misjudging her. Back then, Soyong wished to soothe all his worries as she was the one who caused some of them. But her heart still felt restless and her desire for distance was too strong. Soyong wasn’t able to help him to the fullest in the past, but now things are different and she might be able to do more.

“I apologize, Your Majesty.” Soyong lifts her hands to his face, cupping both of his cheeks. He raises his eyes to her, still looking so heartbroken. “You did nothing wrong. Please don’t look so sad.” She caresses his cheek with her thumb. “I am not yet recovered, Your Majesty, so we can’t go that far.”

As confirmation, she moves forward to share another tender kiss with him. She doesn’t rush, savoring the kiss, wishing to show all her love to him through the way her lips move against his. It’s slow and sweet, like a ballad describing eternal love. When they part, she looks into his eyes and brushes her nose against his to cheer him up.

“Didn’t you feel how excited I was?” she teases him, knowing well he must have known it before she stopped him. “I am as frustrated as you are…” she breathes out, disappointed they had to stop when her body was humming in excitement for him. “But my body needs more time.”

A slight smile appears on Wonbeom’s lips before he moves forward, his face inches away from hers again. His eyes glint with mischief, making Soyong swallow nervously, feeling like his prey again.

“We don’t have to go…” Wonbeom pauses before adding: “Far…”

His voice is low and a dark studious gaze meets hers, making Soyong shiver with excitement once more. This cruel man continues to tease her even after she has drawn a line for tonight. The worst part is she really wants it and is very close to ignoring any reason why they should not.

“We can still get what we want…in another way…” Wonbeom moves even closer, and Soyong does not blink as she keeps her eyes on him. “All you need to do is trust me…”

“I don’t think what Your Majesty is suggesting will work,” Soyong murmurs in response, hating how uncertain and high-pitched her voice sounds.

“The rare occasion when my Queen is wrong.” Wonbeom chuckles, brushing his nose against hers as she did just moments ago. “I have no other choice but to prove it to you…”

Wonbeom lowers his gaze and reaches out to her goreum that ties her night dangui together. When he returns his eyes to hers, he is completely frozen with the ribbon in his hand, and Soyong understands that he is only waiting for her permission. If she tells him to stop, they will go to sleep as if nothing has happened. He needs her consent to continue; he needs her complete trust.

Wonbeom’s arrogant confidence makes Soyong want to be right, but the burning desire she has inside when he looks at her like this makes her hope she’s completely wrong.

Her consent is a simple nod, a nod that says a lot: how much she wants him too, how much she trusts him right now. She’s done staying still; it’s time to decide once and for all if they truly can be a husband and wife, or if she must forget him completely and move on.

Wonbeom moves forward for a quick brush of lips, whispering a simple “thank you” and pressing their foreheads together briefly.

He tugs the ribbon with one hand, and with the other he bares her shoulder, revealing skin for his lips to wander across. Heat spreads through Soyong’s body like wildfire, lower and lower, right to her core. With a simple touch, Wonbeom can make her burn from lust in his arms.

When her dangui is completely removed, Wonbeom moves away again. Never letting his eyes leave hers, he reaches for the tie on her chima, the main garment of her night clothes. The knot unties easily and the fabric falls away smoothly, baring her before his eyes.

“My Queen entrusted herself to me tonight.” Wonbeom reaches out his hand to palm her head, his thumb caressing her cheek.

Soyong feels like she could drown in his warm and loving gaze. Hesitantly, she lowers her hands, completely revealing herself to him. Wonbeom doesn’t move, continuing to peer into her eyes:

“You are breathtaking, my Queen,” he whispers, without looking at anything else but her eyes. “I should say this to you every day of my life, how wonderful you are…”

Soyong can’t form into words how much it means to her to hear it from him specifically. All her life she heard compliments from family and friends, teachers, and even strangers sometimes, but his words are more meaningful to her. She admires him so much too, every day more than the last.

“Your Majesty…” Soyong whispers, gathering her feelings together, “will always have a special place in my heart.”

Wonbeom smiles, shifting closer to her:

“So you don’t have to hide yourself from me again,” he continues, his other hand finding his way to her waist to move her towards him.

As always, her dear King is precise in his conclusion about her true nature. Hiding from pain is her favorite solution and Soyong can only hope she has outgrown her fears to finally face the truth.

Sometimes it amazes her how someone so attentive could miss all the signs of her possession.

Or… Maybe… He didn’t miss anything at all…

The mere thought of it makes Soyong feel like a foolish little girl. Maybe she overreacted to his perception of her confession? It’s time to find out…

Soyong feels a blush spreading over her cheeks, suddenly realizing it is the first real intimacy between them.

On their first night together, she didn’t properly sober up when he kissed her all of sudden. Besides, she wasn’t alone that night, sharing her body and mind with a man from the future. No matter how much she personally liked the bond they had that night, it still felt somehow off. Their second night was in the tent when they reunited in the woods. It was less passionate and more like a slow lullaby, to feel alive after so many losses and obstacles. Their world almost ended; they weren’t sure what tomorrow would bring them, but they had each other.

Their other attempts didn’t go well. One time she kicked him out; the other, she went into labor.

This night feels different, almost sacred for her, being completely alone for a change and with no danger threatening their lives. Under the King’s intense gaze, she feels like he sees beyond her skin, right into her soul, discovering depths of her she isn’t aware of.

“Your Majesty must understand how awkward it is to have a first ever real time,” Soyong bravely opens up with her concerns.

Wonbeom closes his eyes and moves to press their foreheads together once more: “It always was and still is real for me.” His confident voice doesn’t leave any room for doubt. “But if my Queen feels that way, I can only accept it.”

As he always does, Soyong thinks.

Grateful for his endless understanding, Soyong moves to share another kiss with him, slow-paced as they have the whole night to rediscover the forgotten feeling of closeness. Their mouths slide against each other lazily when Wonbeom, without interrupting, gently lowers her onto the bedding.

They only have their undergarments left on, and this time Soyong can feel his skin brushing against her chest. With an impatient whimper, she lightly bites his lower lip to deepen the kiss.

“My Queen is so eager.” Wonbeom chuckles briefly against her lips before obeying her silent demand.

One of his strong hands holds her in place by the shoulder while the other slowly travels up from her waist up to her ribs until it finally reaches her breast.

Soyong shivers slightly from excitement, but the King for some reason decides to take his time, now of all times, when she’s on the edge of exploding under his touch. Wonbeom loves to torture her; she has no other explanation for his delays.

His fingers slowly, oh so slowly, circle around her nipple, and she can’t even protest because his mouth never leaves hers. Finally, when she eagerly arches her back into his touch, Wonbeom’s palm covers her breast, drawing a grateful moan from her.

“Always so cold outside in public but so passionate in private…” He grins, moving away just enough to look into her eyes. When her dazed sight fully focuses on him, Wonbeom pinches her nipple between his fingers, making her cry out. She realizes this is another analysis session; even in intimate times like this, he never stops studying her.

“Your Majesty wanted to prove a point,” she reminds him almost sternly. “Maybe you should do it before your Queen falls asleep.” Her annoyance is only partially flirty: she really does want him to hurry up.

“Your wish is my command,” he retorts jokingly.

His mouth is eagerly back on hers, demanding her response, which she gives to him with equal vigor. Soyong’s hands wander along his back and her hips arch up into his, drawing a deep moan from Wonbeom. The thin and sheer clothes they still wear can’t hide Wonbeom’s immense excitement.

Soyong moves, again and again, her thighs framing his, forcing him to leave her mouth when he loses all concentration. She smiles against his skin, hearing him moan into the crook of her neck. Her hand travels up to his neck, caressing the hair on the back of his head.

“You are…” Wonbeom breathes out into her ear, “driving me crazy…” He groans, rocking his hips into hers more forcefully. “I will go mad… absolutely mad one day…”

“Both of us already are, Your Majesty,” Soyong whispers into his ear and this time it’s his turn to react to her words with a shiver. “And I do not want it any other way…”

The moment she says that, Soyong knows she really means it. She used to be an obedient lady, a perfect Queen-elect, only to end up miserable in the cold, dark water while trying to take her life.

No, she wants this madness. It feels so right and free as if her true nature flows free from the depths of her soul.

With a devilish smirk, Wonbeom takes matters into his own hands, or into his mouth if Soyong is precise. His lips wander from her neck to her collarbone, making her tremble with excitement knowing what will come. When Wonbeom catches her nipple in his mouth she lets out a satisfied moan, pushing her head back on the pillow. His free hand is back to caressing her other breast, magnifying the sensation even more.

Soyong grasps the sheets beside her with one hand to get at least a bit of control over herself. And with her other hand, she grabs his sangtu, almost pulling his hair out in an act of passion. If he keeps up like this she will go insane and lose their game of who is right and who is wrong.

Her sweet “torturer” switches position to give her other breast the same treatment with his lips and tongue while his other hand wanders across her side, from her ribs down to her waist until it reaches her hip. Soyong hadn’t even known these actions could be so arousing. It’s like he is finding new spots on her body to drive her insane, or maybe she just loves when his large hands and strong fingers study every part of her.

The shameful sounds leaving her mouth cannot belong to a proper lady, though between being a lady and feeling this good, she prefers the latter. She moans, cries out his name, and arches her back. Soyong drowns in the sensation, feeling pleasure blooming deep down.

Wonbeom mercifully leaves her breasts alone, biting and tweaking them before parting. With light kisses along the way, he returns to her to share another heated kiss.

She moves into his firm body to feel his warmth, desperately clutching onto his wide shoulders. And if she had thought to take charge again, where she can move her hips against his sensitive groin more effectively from underneath him, Soyong soon understands she was badly mistaken.

Wonbeom shifts his thigh between her hips, and with his hand on her hip, he guides her movements against him, successfully building sensations of pressure to increase her pleasure. Soyong slides herself against his thigh while he further presses her into the bedding, creating delightful friction between their bodies.

Wonbeom moves to her ear, whispering in a low, hoarse voice what inappropriate things he wishes to do with her once Soyong fully recovers – how he will make love to her all night long when her body can take all of him again, teasing her about how he expects her to be even noisier. She stubbornly wants to pick an argument but finds it impossible when he is so right about everything tonight.

This is when Soyong accepts her total defeat. It’s not his movements or his tongue and lips driving her over the edge – it is all of his promises said in a hot whisper.

Soyong feels her insides flutter, continuing to ride her blissful moment of pure pleasure until she can’t hold herself together anymore. As a good lady, which Soyong still considers herself, she shouts his title when she reaches her peak. But as she has discovered new sides of herself, the dirty swears follow soon after.

When she catches her breath, her head and gaze still feel clouded, and all of a sudden she finds herself speechless.

“Are you…” Wonbeom pants, hovering above her, his eyes worriedly studying her.

Was I too loud or too brazen?

Feeling a little embarrassed, she still tries in vain to find words to form a full, logical sentence.

“I see my Queen is struggling with words,” Wonbeom teases her with a smirk. “Good. I am glad to return the favor.” He lowers himself to steal another sweet kiss from her. “On our first night, you left me dumbstruck.”

“Your Majesty is so full of yourself,” she finally says, slightly irritated even though she truly loves this confident side of him. “Alas, your promises are yet to come to fruition.”

Wonbeom only laughs and attacks her with light kisses along her cheeks, neck, and collarbone. Soyong can’t hide her cheerful laugh herself, feeling so ticklish. As if he figures that out, Wonbeom tries to make her laugh more by finding the sensitive place along her ribs with his lips.

However, Soyong’s laugh catches in her throat when she feels his arousal pressing against her inner thigh.

“Your Majesty, you didn’t…” Soyong starts, but he ignores her and she has to catch his face in both her hands and bring it back up to hers. “You didn’t finish?”

“My Queen shouldn’t worry about it.” Wonbeom smiles at her. “I will take care of it myself. My goal was to make you feel good and I think I succeeded. Don’t you agree?”

“This is unacceptable,” Soyong argues, looking into his eyes with such offense. “You must feel good too. What kind of partner would I be if I decline Your Majesty’s pleasure right now?”

“There’s really no need…” She doesn’t let him finish his sentence when she effectively captures his hips with hers and rolls him onto his back.

She shifts herself more comfortably on top of him, smirking when she sees how his eyes darken in lust as they wander along her naked upper body bared in full display for him. His large palms cover her hips, caressing them through the thin fabric of her own undergarments.

Licking her suddenly dry lips, Soyong finds the ties of his pants and slowly unravels them. With satisfaction, she notes how deep Wonbeom’s breathing becomes and the gulp he makes when she lowers the fabric down, baring him for her. His eyes attentively watch her every move with such a sincerely curious expression on his face that she starts to doubt he is more experienced between the two of them.

“Don’t you want to hear…” Soyong whispers, sliding her palm against his length, making him gasp from the sensation. “What…” Soyong wraps her fingers around him, drawing a half-whimpering, half-moaning sound from Wonbeom. “…I wish to do with Your Majesty?”

Wonbeom lets out a low groan, lifting himself into a sitting position, his hands sliding from her hips to her lower back.

“Tell me,” he begs, pressing his forehead against her. “I wish to know everything.” He kisses her softly. “So please,” he whispers against her lips, “tell me all your deepest desires…”

Soyong chuckles at his pleading voice: she would not have guessed he is this attracted to dirty talk. And his own promises earlier will sound like something out of a light romance novel in comparison with what she has in mind. His favorite book with vulgar pictures didn’t have a lot of words to describe what was happening. She, on the other hand, spent her whole pregnancy reading so many juicy novels that she definitely won’t struggle describing exactly how hard she wishes him to take her.

And she doesn’t stutter when she tells him that in beautiful detail…

Author’s notes:

I hope you like this chapter, I tried to write something more erotic and romantic but I don’t think I achieved that goal completely. So I will try better next time I decide to write something like that.

The next chapter will be about the date in Hanyang but since the main story starts with them in a divorce kind of state, it means they will break up again. And until I finish the main story, this one will be on hold but I plan to continue adding here stories that take place after the main story ends.

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