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Royally Interested In Romance

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This mansion has a special sort of grandiose to it that Kim Dokja has never seen in person before. Ever since he’s moved in to live with his godparents, he isn’t afraid to admit that he’s gotten used to a certain level of opulence, but this is on an entirely different level.


Essentially, he thinks wryly to himself, craning his neck up in an attempt to see how far it stretches towards the sky, the people here are swimming in Olympic size pools of cash.


The taxi has already left. His two bags of luggage are next to him, each at least half his size, and Kim Dokja eyes the steel gates warily. He had asked the cab driver to drop him off inside the compound, but the man laughed, waved his hand, and dumped Kim Dokja outside. He had also charged Kim Dokja extra for driving all the way out here.


Well, it’s not his fault that gigantic mansions glittering in the sunlight are usually located far away from the rest of civilization! Just a brief glance through the gates and he can tell that the compound is terribly large- a garden separates the front doors from the gates, and seeing as that garden has two fountains inside it… Kim Dokja sighs, looking at the doorbell hanging innocuously on the wall.


He rings it desolately, and resigns himself to carrying two heavy luggage bags through the mess of a garden and up the stairs towards the doors. From what he can see, the maintenance isn’t all there. Yes, the bushes are trimmed, the flowers are sort of blooming, but it could definitely be improved on. His godmother would hunt down the gardener in charge of the place and make him suffer.


Kim Dokja is much more generous, so he will just find the gardener and gently coax him to take more pride in his work, or Kim Dokja will show him how to do it.


A scratchy voice comes to life on the intercom. “Who is it?” It’s a grumpy voice. It sounds like it wants absolutely nothing to do with Kim Dokja and his two massive luggage bags.


“I’m here for the- uh-” Kim Dokja trails off, swallowing around the lump in his throat. Yeah, he probably shouldn’t have snuck away to come here early. But his mother was stuck with a huge political mess thanks to Han Myungoh, her soon to be fired Finance Minister, and his godparents were off on holiday. If he didn’t take the first flight out of the country, he would have gone insane.


He’s good at taking notes and planning things, but even he doesn’t want to stick his head into whatever terrible things his mother is sorting through. Kim Dokja will run away from home to preemptively visit his betrothed, thank you very much.


But the meeting between him and his royal fiancé is supposed to happen two weeks later, and Kim Dokja has no good excuse to pull out of his ass to explain his sudden appearance.


The voice crackles over the intercom. “Oh, is that today? Okay, hold on, we’ll get the gates open. Come in through the front door right in front, will you?”


“I- huh?” Kim Dokja says in response, bewildered. Today? They knew he was coming? No way. He definitely left before Yoo Sangah could catch him by the collar and making him stay in the house. “Okay?”


The intercom switches off with a messy, static noise, and the gates swing open soundlessly. At least the gates are oiled properly, Kim Dokja thinks idly, pushing both luggage bags in front of him. They move jerkily, the wheels more than a little broken- Kim Dokja hasn’t traveled in years, and these bags are probably as old as he is.


He was in a rush to leave, so he didn’t exactly search for brand new bags. The clothes inside are nothing befitting a prince either. If Yoo Sangah were here to see him now, he has no qualms about having his head torn off his body to be thrown into the nearest hole.


Still, there’s no reason for Yoo Jonghyuk and his servants to know that Kim Dokja is arriving today. Maybe there were security cameras at the entrance that he didn’t notice. Very likely, because Kim Dokja was distracted by the garden.


As he passes by, trying to corral the luggage bags in order, he clicks his tongue at the way the flowers are dull and drooping. Winter might be coming, but these flowers were the kinds that specifically bloomed during the snowy term. They should be flourishing right now! His godmother would be frothing at the mouth at the sight of this, he thinks fondly.


It takes him quite a while to reach the entrance. He does think it’s a little strange that no one came to get his bags for him, but he did come out of nowhere. Everyone might be having a last-minute meeting to settle his accommodations and such. He was probably causing a lot of trouble for them.


A frown pulls at his lips. “Ahh,” Kim Dokja murmurs unhappily under his breath, lifting his luggage one at a time up the many steps leading up to the doors. “Maybe I should have called ahead. This is probably very rude of me, isn’t it? Now I feel bad.”


Then he thinks about his mother’s thunderous face while looking at Han Myungoh, and instantly feels a lot better.


By the time he’s managed to lift both luggage bags onto the highest step, he’s sure it’s been at least fifteen minutes. Kim Dokja is mildly sweating even in the days before winter, the cold wind doing nothing to help temper the drops of sweat slipping down his neck and pooling in his collarbones. He has a newfound respect for footmen and butlers all over the world.


The knocker is gold plated. There’s a dangerous dragon snarling at him, a golden ring hanging from its lower jaw. It glints in the sun and Kim Dokja squints at it. He privately decides the tiger head knocker on his own set of front doors is much nicer.


He wipes the back of his hand against his forehead. Kim Dokja takes his phone out and checks his reflection against the black screen- he straightens his collar and tries to smooth out the creases in his pants. His luggage bags are hot pink and green, so there’s nothing he can do to salvage that part of the impression.


Kim Dokja raises the knocker and raps against the wooden door sharply. He hangs around for a while, waiting for someone to answer the door. It’s ample time for him to run a keen eye over the state of the garden and identify which parts need the most help.


The door opens, and an incredibly muscular man opens the door. He’s dressed casually, a loose white button-down tucked into black slacks, and his feet are bare. His eyes are dark, and he looks Kim Dokja up and down for a long moment.


It feels like he’s being measured against some unknown guidelines and he’s found extremely lacking in all areas. Kim Dokja blinks at the stern glare directed at him, and swallows tightly. The lump in his throat is getting thicker.


He knows this man standing before him. Yoo Jonghyuk, Duke of Seoul, first son of the late Third Concubine of the Heavenly King, Conqueror of the Western Lands.


Yoo Jonghyuk, Kim Dokja’s betrothed.


Kim Dokja opens his mouth. He should probably say something. Introduce himself and ask for forgiveness for his rudeness in arriving so abruptly. Yoo Jonghyuk doesn’t look mad, but he looks mildly irritated. That’s not a good expression for his future husband to have on his face, even if it does make him look incredibly hot.


“You,” Yoo Jonghyuk says first, interrupting Kim Dokja’s train of thought. “You’re the new live-in caretaker, aren’t you?”


What? Kim Dokja closes his mouth immediately, blinking slowly. Live-in caretaker? He remembers having read about Yoo Jonghyuk taking in his late cousin’s daughter, but Yoo Jonghyuk had been searching for a caretaker?


“Well?” Yoo Jonghyuk asks demandingly, and Kim Dokja’s brain short circuits.


“Yeah,” he replies hurriedly, eyes wide as his mind screams at his mouth. “That’s- that’s me. Kim Dokja.”


He despairs at giving out his name so quickly like that. Now Yoo Jonghyuk will know his true identity. Kim Dokja didn’t even get the chance to leave any good impressions on his fiancé during their first meeting before he’s been outed as a liar.


“Huh,” Yoo Jonghyuk says strangely, raising both eyebrows. “Must be a common name.”


Common name? Common name?! Kim Dokja is the only Kim Dokja he’s ever heard of in all twenty-three years of his life!


Yoo Jonghyuk pushes the door open wider, and casts a look at the two extremely colorful luggage bags next to Kim Dokja. His lips curve upwards slightly, showing a bit of his teeth, and Kim Dokja double takes.


“Hurry up and enter,” Yoo Jonghyuk says, the faintest smile on his face, and Kim Dokja feels his heart skip a beat. “I’ll introduce her to you, then my butler will show you around later.”


“Okay.” Kim Dokja feels dizzy, like he’s trapped in a dream. What exactly is happening? He’s suddenly not a fiancé, but a nanny instead? This career change is something he never thought would happen to him, but Kim Dokja doesn’t mind children. He doesn’t particularly like them either, but he entertains Lee Gilyoung just fine. Yoo Jonghyuk’s ward can’t be much different, can she?


He steps in, dragging his two luggage bags behind him, and considers if he should switch his phone back on to call Yoo Sangah for advice.