"hello everyone! im kanghee here on our lovely set at angels fashion and beauty. just by the look of the set up behind me, with all the balloons and flowers, i'm sure everyone can guess who our special guests for tonight are!" the enthusiastic interviewer greeted the soon-to-be audience behind the camera.
just as described, the usually white screen space was covered with crimson draperies that spilled like red wine all over the floor, leading to where a velvet red arm chair sat opposite a similarly velvet, long couch with a small, white foot-table in the middle. flower petals were scattered around the vicinity, as well as a few balloons dotted around and, a little off to the side, stood a red-clothed table with make-up cosmetics and other promotional features for the brand.
"let's not waste any more time and introduce our guests!" kanghee gestured both of her arms to the side, cueing the lights to flicker subtly as mark and donghyuck walked in before bowing politely and greeting their interviewer.
the three settled down in their respective seats, evidently excited to start the interview.
"it's an absolute honour to be sitting here with you guys." kanghee started, looking directly at the two boys.
"the pleasure is all ours." donghyuck smiled brightly and mark nodded in agreement.
"please introduce yourselves." the interviewer encouraged.
"hi angels! your lovely fullsun, lee haechan is finally here." donghyuck sent a small wave and a mischievous wink to the camera that was focused on him.
"i'm mark lee and it's awesome to be here with you guys tonight!" mark also sent a short wave and a small smile before turning back to the interviewer.
"you two took the media by storm after your dating announcement. did you ever think you'd get such an expressive reaction from the public?"
"honestly, announcements like these will always cause up a stir and will definitely be a shock to some, but in the end, it's amazing to see our lovely fans still supporting us." donghyuck answered.
"i agree, at first, we didn't to pay attention to what the public were saying, but curiosity got the better of us and we did some looking around. i want to say that i'm surprised by the amount of positive reactions we received, but i really wouldn't expect anything less from our amazing fans." mark added in.
"speaking of those very fans, are you aware of all the videos and accounts dedicated to markhyuck?" kanghee added, "the tag 'markhyuck' itself seems to be trending almost every day."
"what can i say, our fans are very creative." mark chuckled, smoothly moving his arm around to rest at the back of the couch, just behind donghyuck.
"on the topic of creativity, i think it's only fair that we talk about these photoshoot pictures. the magazine had only been introduced into stores yesterday and have already been sold out all over seoul!" kanghee explained before the off-screen monitor in front of them started to display photos of the couple's photoshoot that they had done.
the first pair of images were both mark and donghyuck's solo shots. mark had his arms linked behind his head while his face was littered in lipstick kiss stains. donghyuck, on the other hand, side-glanced fiercely from the picture, his lips smudged from the lipstick, indicating that it was none other than him who gave mark those kisses.
"believe it or not, this was actually hyuck's idea." mark pointed out, looking back at the screen where their photoshoot pictures were shown, "i had absolutely no clue we were going to do this until he did it on set." he explained, referring to the lipstick kisses all over his face.
"best decisions are made during the last moments." donghyuck stated wistfully before pulling on a cheeky grin.
"this was most definitely a great decision. haechan-ssi, you are a mastermind." kanghee complimented in all seriousness, and donghyuck laughed before muttering a small 'thank you' in return. "we'll be showing pictures from the photoshoot and each picture has a few questions your fans have been dying to know the answers to! you've both been teasing it in your instagram lives, but we're finally getting some clarification tonight!"
"can't wait, let's do this!" mark replied just as enthusiastically. he knew that he and donghyuck had kept their lips sealed whenever their fans asked them about their relationship since they wanted to know all the little details. but they both promised to reveal everything once the time came.
now was that time.
"Ok, first question related to your solo shots, which covered for our magazine," kanghee started, "when and where was your first kiss?"
the question seemed fitting since mark's face had literally been covered in kisses made by donghyuck, and the entire photoshoot process itself was just full of them being intimate.
"that depends... our first kiss as a couple or?" donghyuck implied.
"both, we should have both." kanghee assured and the other two just laughed at how eager she was for answers.
"i feel like people expect our first shared moments to be really cheesy and romantic..." donghyuck looked over at mark, who instantly continued for him.
"i don't think we would describe them as that. everything was kind of in the moment and we just did what we felt was right." mark explained, "but i think our first kiss was when hyuck was in his third year of middle school and-"
"i kissed him first." donghyuck stated.
"-he kissed me first." mark said at the same time, before tossing a look to the younger, who was now grinning proudly at the memory.
"it sounds like there's a story behind it." kanghee pressed into the topic.
"mhm... mark started high school that year and i just realised then how much of an impact it made on our group when we weren't all together, which was usually all the time." donghyuck thought back at the memory, "i think i was just mainly scared of losing our friendship because mark would have all these high school related worries... so i kissed him to make sure he knew that we would still be friends even if we weren't in the same school."
mark couldn't take his eyes off the younger as he spoke. donghyuck had already told him about the reason behind the kiss a while back, but the sentiment was so cute, it never failed to make his heart burst. sub-consciously, he reached out and stroked the younger's cheek once before pulling his hand back; a habit he's used to doing when he wants to appreciate the younger, but doesn't know how to show it.
"that's so sweet!" kanghee grinned widely, completely satisfied with the answer, "i'm sure your first kiss as a couple was more romantic."
"technically, our first kiss as a couple would've been the day we confessed," mark added, "at that point, we were both pining for each other for a really long time. we were literally sitting on the floor in my studio and i was showing hyuck a song i wrote without the intention of revealing that i wrote it for him... i really did not want him to know. but then i kinda slipped up and he found out and then we ended up talking for three hours about our feelings... and then we kissed."
"you know you're bad at hiding stuff, mark lee." donghyuck grinned knowingly at the older, before poking his leg playfully.
"i really did want to keep that song a secret because it ended up being deeper than i initially planned, but i can't say i regret slipping it up." mark laughed, the memory wasn't from so long ago, but it felt more distant with each passing day.
soon, the off-screen displayed another picture from their photoshoot, where donghyuck was posing in front of a mirror, applying a sort of lipstick as mark leaned against the vanity and watched him expressionlessly while fixing his hair. it was a clever shot, one which made it seem like it was taken from the viewpoint of the mirror donghyuck was looking into, showing the reflection people would see.
"now with this photo, fans wanted to know how long you two have actually known each other for. you mentioned middle school, was that the first time you met?" kanghee asked.
"yeah, i was a transfer student and it was a little weird for me since i was transferring only for the last year of middle school, so i only stayed in that school for a year." mark answered, "but hyuck and our other friends were in their second year or younger and the way the group fell into place was a little strange as well, if i'm being honest."
"strange?! it wasn't strange! it was..." donghyuck objected with a pout, but then slowly came to a realisation himself, "actually no you're right... it was kind of strange."
the interviewer encouraged them to elaborate, so donghyuck took it upon himself to answer.
"mark was the new transfer kid from canada and everyone wondered why he transferred if he was only going to stay for one year, but you can't really decide when a family want to move to another country. of course, i never thought of it like that..."
"he really didn't." mark interjected, earning a glare from the younger.
"anyway... yes, as the school's entitled-"
"-self-entitled." mark interrupted again.
"mark!" donghyuck whined, he decreased the surprisingly large distance between them on the couch, only to smack mark's shoulder since the older kept interrupting him.
"ok, ok... you can continue. i won't say anything." mark snickered at the younger's annoyed expression. he placed a hand on the latter's thigh and squeezed it encouragingly, letting his hand stay there since their now close proximity let him do so with ease.
"as i was saying, as the school's entitled" he shot mark another glare, "troublemaker, i wanted to make mark's only year very... memorable."
there was a mischievous and almost sinister look in donghyuck's eyes and mark could only sigh in frustration at the memory.
"at first, it was just harmless pranks to get a reaction out of him. mark was really quiet and reserved and he didn't talk to people first until they talked to him. admittedly, he was kind of cute... in a foreigner with a cute accent kind of way. he played guitar and basketball and was... ok, i guess he was sort of good-looking... only sort of, so he did end up stealing some attention for himself."
"i... can't tell whether you were jealous or you had a crush on him." kanghee put a finger to her lip in curiosity, "or both?"
"both. it was definitely both." mark assured, earning a sharp glare and another smack on the shoulder from the younger.
"it was not." donghyuck pointedly ignored the way mark glared back at him and rubbed the spot he got smacked on, but re-placed his hand on the younger's thigh either way. "i was just jealous. before him, i was the centre of attention. but when he arrived, everybody just had to pay more interest into the cute canadian transfer student... it didn't make any sense."
"i'm sure it didn't." mark sighed, wondering if his boyfriend knew whether his words were contradicting each other or not. he probably didn't.
"so then, i decided to get more creative with my pranks. mark would get really angry and confused and it was so adorable... but he didn't need to know that." donghyuck recalled the memory as if he was living in the past right in that moment, "let me lay it out for you; it was my masterplan..."
suddenly, the atmosphere got more intense and the couple were sure the lights dimmed dramatically all of a sudden.
"the school held a talent show at the end of every year and you had to audition and everything to get in. i saw mark's performance and i was like 'wow... it's good. but it could use some improvement.' and that's when i started my crafty plan. i got this really tall ladder from the janitor's closet and i set it up on the stage when no one was around. it was a kind of weak prank now that i think about it, i could've done better-"
"are you serious?" mark mumbled quietly shaking his head.
"-but i hooked a bucket of water to the top of the very centre of the stage and did all this clever rope stuff and planned out when a certain lever was supposed to be pulled from backstage. i made it so the water would fall on mark's head in the middle of his performance in front of everyone. that was the plan. but then... uhhh... i ended up slipping off the ladder and falling? i remember screaming really loudly and i really didn't think that anyone else was there besides me."
kanghee's face morphed into one of complete shock at the words she was hearing.
"i really did expect to plummet to the ground and i lowkey thought it was already a sign in itself that i probably shouldn't pull pranks anymore. so there i was, falling to my doom, expecting to meet the harsh ground... until i didn't? when i finally managed to open my eyes, i realised i landed into someone. basically, long story short, mark caught me and it was so cliché i don't even know where to start. i didn't expect him to fully catch me in his arms, but that's exactly what happened, he was literally holding me all princess style and everything and he had this incredibly worried look on his face and i kind of... ugh! never mind..." donghyuck cut himself off, face flushing in embarrassment as he thought back.
mark could recall the event clearly. he remembered wanting to rehearse his piece one more time for the talent show and thought it would be more atmospheric if he practised on the actual stage. but when he entered the main hall, he saw a tall ladder and the lower half of a boy's body peaking from the tall curtains that fell from the roof of the stage. the boy was singing to himself and even though the lyrics to his song were very... questionable (in a death-plotting sort of way), mark was intrigued. so he ended up moving closer and found himself on the stage. he was about to call out to the boy, but then the ladder started rattling and when he looked up, he saw the boy slip and fall. it wasn't until he caught the boy in his arms did he finally recognise who it was and mark felt his heart stop then and there. donghyuck was looking up at him with big eyes filled with nothing but fear and mark couldn't help but worry over what could've happened if he hadn't reacted fast enough. if the boy in his arms got injured in any way... he didn't know what he would've done.
"it was just really scary. but i was so embarrassed by what happened, i just ran away... i didn't know how to face mark after that." donghyuck sighed and, somehow, he and mark ended up even closer together on the couch. so close that mark's arm was practically around the younger's waist.
"it didn't stop there, though." donghyuck continued and kanghee listened with nothing but utter curiosity and anticipation, "i totally forgot about the bucket until mark was the one to perform on stage. i felt so bad for everything; the pranks, the teasing... yet mark still looked out for me and he still worried about me. i may have been slightly maniacal back then, but i wasn't heartless and i knew enough that i wouldn't be able to endure the guilt if i embarrassed mark in front of all those people. so i did this really cool ass thing and ran on the stage, pushed mark and took the water for myself."
"it wasn't cool ass... it was stupid." mark grunted in annoyance.
"it was totally cool ass." donghyuck argued, but the playful grin on his face was anything but defensive. "i think mark fell in love with me when that happened." he assured.
"i didn't... but ok." mark rolled his eyes. the story wasn't false in any way, that was exactly what had happened, but mark found it almost amusing how the younger was twisting it to make it seem less cliché, which mark ended up being thankful for.
"yeah, he probably hated me even more after that." donghyuck pouted, "it didn't work in my favour because i realised i had a massive crush on him the entire time and i needed other people to tell me that. apparently, and this was what they told me, i didn't say this. apparently, i 'wanted mark's attention really badly so i pulled all these pranks to make him look only at me'. again, their words not mine."
"as much as i idolise you, haechan-ssi, i think that's what it was." kanghee couldn't help but let out a laugh at the turn of events.
"i think so too. i was spending more and more time trying to deny the facts that i didn't even realise i had fallen for him... in more ways than one." the tanned boy joked. "but mark never held it against me and accepted my apology."
"you wouldn't stop apologising for a week." mark reminded.
"i felt bad, ok?!" donghyuck whined, turning to face the older boy in exasperation, "even still, that was a really shitty thing for me to do... i'm still sorry...."
"it's ok..." 'as long as you're safe' mark thought to himself, but held the words back, "i guess it was kind of fateful anyway."
mark could tell the younger wasn't entirely convinced, but there really wasn't anything to hold a grudge on. so he took the younger's hand and placed a kiss against his knuckles reassuringly, earning a pretty smile and small blush from the latter.
"well, that was a very eventful story." kanghee continued, "please tell me you didn't give up on pulling pranks."
"he didn't. he physically couldn't either. i'm pretty sure his desire to pull pranks only intensified when he entered high school and i was back on his hitlist." mark explained, throwing an arm around the younger's shoulder.
"what can i say? i had a crush to get the attention of." donghyuck shrugged, "everything was completely intentional."
"i'm sure it was." kanghee laughed even more, loving the dynamic between the couple.
another picture displayed on the off-screen, catching everyone's attention. it was a picture of donghyuck laughing as he wiped the lipstick stains off of mark's face while the older wore a slightly annoyed, but evidently fond expression as the latter did so. it was mainly a headshot, but the way donghyuck held the older's jaw in his hand, while mark gripped the younger's wrist, expressed their dynamic instantly.
"you've kind of already answered this question." kanghee started, "but who had a crush on the other first?"
"again, it depends if we're talking about who had a crush first and who fell in love first... because there's a big difference." donghyuck explained, "and on both occasions, it was me."
"my feelings were already complicated as it was, i'm pretty sure i skipped the crush phase and went straight into the 'fell in love' phase." mark pinched the bridge of his nose, the remembrance of the denial he felt was almost a pitiful memory.
"does this have a story behind it?" kanghee asked.
"on my behalf, not really." donghyuck could probably think of many stories related to his feelings for mark at the time, but he'd rather keep those to himself, "i had a crush on mark in middle school and only fully realised it when he was moving to high school. our friends told me to confess to him, but i couldn't. i still felt bad for the whole water bucket thing and i needed to make up for it."
"his way of 'making up for it' was to go to the same high school as me and pull more pranks." mark pursed his lips in a tight line to hold back his laugh.
"i didn't go to high school for only that!" donghyuck protested, "but yeah... mainly that. it worked anyway, mark was constantly looking out for me, not in the way i wanted... but it was a start. he just didn't want to get caught in one of my pranks... weak."
"sorry not sorry?" mark replied, ignoring the younger when the latter kept calling him 'weak' even afterwards.
"but then, with the help of our amazing friend, na jaemin, i realised that by pulling pranks, i wasn't making mark like me any more. i think i realised then that i was in love with him because i constantly found myself getting jealous at everyone who i found out had a crush on him. he was a big thing, you know? if he caught people's attention in middle school... he was the centre of it all in high school. fun fact: i even considered becoming a cheerleader just to get mark's attention when he used to play basketball."
"i'm going to add this here, but hyuck was actually the centre of attention. he had a big fanbase and i swear everyone wanted to be his friend." mark threw his hands up in defence, "just saying."
mark took the lead and explained on his behalf, not wanting the younger to feel like he had to explain everything. he smiled when donghyuck laid his head on his shoulder gently and the overall position was comfortable enough for mark to really get into what he wanted to say.
"in my perspective. i was just a confused guy." mark admitted, "our hyungs would try to help me out every time i came home this close to exploding with jealousy."
"jealousy?" kanghee questioned, raising a brow in wonder.
"as i said before, a lot of people knew hyuck and he received a lot of confessions. it didn't help that we grew really close and quickly became best friends because then i started questioning everything i actually wanted." mark tried to explain, "you can probably already tell where this is going, but it's only been over a month since the announcement and only a little over that since we started dating. you can tell it took us a really long time to finally get here. if hyuck ever still felt guilty over the whole water bucket thing, then i still feel guilty for making him wait."
"you know i'd wait, mark." donghyuck lifted his head up from mark's shoulder to look at the older properly, a genuine smile on his lips.
"it wasn't fair on you, sunshine." mark sighed, reaching out to place a hand on the younger's cheek, "but what happened, happened and we made it out in the end-"
"-and then made out." donghyuck added with a mischievous glint, only to earn an eyeroll from the older and a laugh from their interviewer.
"obviously we didn't mention everything, but the important thing is that we took a while to get to where we are now. that's why we're really grateful for our fans who are supporting us." mark explained.
"yes. it was one of the main reasons why we didn't want to keep our relationship a secret from the public. it already took us long enough to get together, and all of our friends were close to shipping us off to an island until we confessed." donghyuck laughed lightly, "we wanted to be open with our fans, who we know will always support us and be with us and we trust them a lot, that's why we don't want to hide from them."
it was true in every way. they were both so close to giving up on everything and just pray that their burning feelings for each other would hopefully settle down and they could move on. but they knew that wouldn't happen. no matter how hard they tried to forget their feelings, they kept coming back and it only ended up being painful for everyone around them as well.
when they finally confessed, a massive weight had been taken off both of their shoulders and it suddenly felt like their worlds collided.
mark looked over at donghyuck while the younger was busy answering the interviewer, who was evidently interested in their stories. donghyuck was the start and end of all his raging emotions. the tanned boy next to him was the reason he broke out of his shell and started to express himself more. at first, it was out of something short of revenge. he practised hard for that piece that he wanted to show in middle school, but the opportunity was kind of ruined. he really thought it was just him wanting to show the younger that he wasn't afraid to perform, even if something like that happened. that something like a bucket of water and falling, honey-skinned boys from tall ladders wouldn't set him back.
but when they grew closer, suddenly... donghyuck meant everything to him. he found himself wanting to impress the younger in every way. he didn't even want to get revenge, there was nothing to take revenge on. when donghyuck kissed him before he left for high school and assured him that their friendship was important to him despite the things he did, it triggered something in mark's head and he didn't know whether to feel happy or extremely angry.
everything he ended up doing was related to donghyuck in some way and he thinks that the younger never really fell in love with him first. in the end, mark was probably deeper in love than he could've ever expected. donghyuck was the one he would let prank him. donghyuck was the one he wanted to study with because, even though the tanned boy was a massive distraction, they worked well together. donghyuck was the one he would ask to listen to the songs he would practise on his guitar. donghyuck was the one he invited to his basketball practises and games and hoped that the tanned boy would cheer him on (which donghyuck did with the upmost enthusiasm).
when college came around, everything became messier when he started to see donghyuck in a different light than he had seen him in previously. it got stranger when alcohol and college parties and hormones got in the way. to put it quite blatantly, donghyuck was the prettiest thing mark had ever set his eyes on and he probably wanted to take the younger to bed more times than he had the shame to admit.
mark was convinced he fell in love first.
"mark? babe, what's wrong?" donghyuck's voice snapped the older out of his thoughts and mark only realised then that he had been drifting off into his wave of nostalgia for quite some time while donghyuck was chatting with the interviewer, who admittedly also looked a little concerned.
nothing else really mattered when donghyuck cupped his cheeks and stroked his thumb across his skin gently, looking at mark with the warmest eyes.
"everything ok, my love?" donghyuck made sure to talk gently and softly, noticing the way the older had been staying in a stiff silence for a while.
mark had fallen so hard for the boy in front of him that he almost wanted to lash out. his heart throbbed so intensely that he thought he would get heart failure, and all it took was a trip down memory lane and re-feeling all the hardships they went through just to be together.
he wanted to know whether it would be worth it. but if donghyuck was involved, it would always, always be worth it.
"i'm ok, baby." mark let out a short breath. he didn't meant to get lost in the nostalgia, but donghyuck always left him to wonder what he did to deserve the tanned boy.
it was partially absent-minded, and he wasn't thinking of much when he did it. but mark found himself leaning closer and pressing his lips against donghyuck's painfully soft ones. he didn't care if the interviewer was there and was audibly gasping. he didn't care if the long line of cameras were watching and recording everything. he didn't care about the staff members who were now frantically running around and looking away, not knowing how to deal with the situation.
and it seemed like donghyuck didn't care either.
he kissed back just as lovingly and just as passionately, moving his hands to hold onto mark's shoulders as the other moved his arms to wrap around the younger' waist.
"sorry..." was all mark said when they pulled apart. he wasn't sorry about the kiss, he was just sorry for the editor who would have to re-witness the scene just so they could cut it out.
donghyuck let out a ragged breath, resting their foreheads together for a split second before pulling away, keeping their hands linked in the small space between them.
"anyway..." mark broke the silence and looked back at their interviewer, who looked a little shaken, "where were we?"
the rest of the interview went on smoothly as if the kiss never happened. more of their pictures from the photoshoot were shown and the couple answered all questions sent their way.
talking about their past brought up painful memories, even though they only revealed the simple ones. even still, they needed those memories, without them they wouldn't be where they are now.
"mark..." donghyuck called out to the older once they stepped into their home.
the older looked up at him while sliding his shoes off, showing the younger that he had his full attention.
"i know talking about those kind of things was a little harder than expected, especially in front of cameras." donghyuck started slowly, fiddling his fingers behind his back nervously. "they're the kind of things you want to keep to yourself and i get that maybe we shouldn't have said so much."
"no, hyuck," mark quickly declined, moving towards the younger and taking the latter's hands into his, "we did it and there's no going back. we agreed and promised each other that nothing would happen if the world found out a little more about us. we said that we would be ok with it, right?"
donghyuck only nodded in response, eyes never leaving the older's.
"good. smile for me, baby." mark pressed their foreheads together, "i'm glad we got to talk about our lives to the world. it was an adventure in itself and it's only fair if we get to share some of it."
"ok..." donghyuck tried to smile a little, but the image of mark's face during the interview clogged up his mind and he couldn't help but worry that the older was overthinking.
"hm... not the kind of bright smile i'm used to." mark teased, pressing kisses into the younger's hair. "should i tickle you until you give me a prettier smile?"
that alone was enough to make donghyuck laugh and mark's heart coiled in fondness.
"there it is." he whispered under his breath before leaning down and attaching their lips together in a blissful kiss, even better than the one they shared earlier on this evening. their kisses were always better than the last and they wondered how that was even possible.
donghyuck knew that there was a lot on the older's mind. there always was. he wanted to do something about it, but he needed confirmation that his thoughts were correct.
he dug his fingers into mark's hair and stood completely on his tip-toes, tilting his head to the side to give the older better access, which seemed to work since soon, donghyuck could feel a tongue slip into his mouth.
the tanned boy couldn't help but let out a small whimper at the way mark was kissing him and holding him tightly.
"fuck, baby..." mark breathed out once they parted, their breaths mingling together in soft pants from their long kiss, "can i have you tonight?"
mark didn't need to ask. donghyuck would let the older do anything to him willingly. but it was enough of a sign to assure the tanned boy that his boyfriend was thinking about a lot. and when mark thought too much, he stressed too much as well.
donghyuck simply nodded, a blush still high on his cheeks because he still couldn't get used to the fact that they could do this so freely, so open with their feelings for each other.
he let the older carry him in his arms. he watched intently as mark laid him down on their bed, giving him one look before sliding the clothes of their bodies until they were both naked.
mark never said it, but he knows the younger knew why he did what he did every time they were intimate in this way. mark always did it. he always took donghyuck's clothes off first. always took the time to appreciate the younger's body before taking off his own clothes. it was a silent trait, but donghyuck loved every bit of it.
it was different every time they did it and donghyuck knew that mark was feeling especially high off his thoughts and emotions as he went particularly hard on him. not hard enough to change the mood they were in, but enough to make donghyuck choke up with overwhelming feelings.
even still, mark was there to wipe his tears and treat him lovingly.
they may have went through a lot to get to where they were, but if their love felt this beautiful, they would do everything a hundred times over just to experience it again.