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PR Stunts

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"I always said this face of mine was too pretty for just reporting," In-ha stated smugly, smirking at him.

"Look at you, so modest," Ha-myung scoffed.

The two were walking towards YGN's production room, nodding to various colleagues as they passed. In-ha squeezed Ha-myung's hand inside his jacket pocket, and left her own there.

"It's not like you disagree with me, or anything, right?" she said, smiling brightly at him, to which he only rolled his eyes in amusement. "Besides, you're looking forward to this too. Right? Right? I mean, remember all those poses you pulled for that quiz show trailer-"

"Hey!" He was indignant. "You can't bring things up from like, a decade ago! My style was totally different back then!"

"What style?" she snickered. He grumbled in defeat, and she giggled and huddled up closer to him. The act made him smile ever so slightly in her direction, and he held her hand tighter.

They entered the production room, only to be descended upon by various frantic people carrying thick hooded jackets and boots and panicked admonishments of "Where have you been?!" from several quarters.

Today was a special day in the history of two of the nation's biggest broadcasting stations. YGN and MSC, bitter rivals for so long, had, due to recent events, begun to develop a grudging respect for one another. Hwang Gyo-dong and Kim Gong-joo were more often than not seen jovially discussing their juniors' latest mishaps with each other in the senior reporters' lounge, and even Nosy Jang and Lee Il-joo had formed a sort of truce (where Il-joo stopped taking stabs at Hyun-kyu's ego in front of Jae-Hwan, and Hyun-kyu only swore at Il-joo in Russian).

But the biggest and most publicly discussed hint of a conciliatory relationship between the news giants was the obvious romance between up-and-coming reporters Ki Ha-myung and Choi In-ha - who were both, in their own right, gaining respect among viewers as trustworthy and charismatic reporters. They were constantly seen together at the police precinct, and the seniors had gotten used to them arriving together at team dinners (usually holding hands and inducing inner squealing in the most cold-hearted among them). There had even been one memorable moment where In-ha, live on site, had interrupted her own report to deliver Ha-myung a crushing hug - he had, moments before her opening sentence, slipped a new watch surreptitiously into her pocket. (Her old one had broken a week ago). The hug was caught on camera, and the public went wild making up over-dramatised Romeo-and-Juliet stories about them that had them agog at the creativity of their fellow citizens.

It wasn't long before the Public Relations departments of both stations were contacted by various brand names offering to sponsor their broadcasts if they would let Ha-myung and In-ha model for joint photoshoots. It took some wheedling, and bargaining, (and one alarming instance of Hyun-kyu throwing a waterbottle at an MSC reporter's head) but eventually both sides were able to come to an agreement with a major clothing brand. As long as both reporters were unscheduled to report on camera on the day of the photoshoot, they would be allowed to take a few hours off to get it done.

And so the day of the photoshoot had arrived, and the two intrepid investigators, unaware of the chaos awaiting them within the production room, walked into a madhouse. The clothing brand was featuring their winter range, which meant the couple was fitted with so many different varieties of jackets and pants that soon they didn't know if they were feeling hot or cold; and by the time the camera team was finally ready to start the actual photoshoot, Ha-myung and In-ha had already had just about enough.

"Hey, when do you think they'll let us go home?" Ha-myung muttered to In-ha, whom the photographer had posed in such a way that one arm was draped around Ha-myung and the other rested on his shoulder. Ha-myung had to admit, despite his distress, that he was enjoying In-ha being so physically close to him.

"Not any time soon," she answered through clenched teeth. "These are only the first couple of outfits - have you seen how many clothes they brought?"

Ha-myung sighed as gently as he could, considering every time he moved even slightly, he was yelled at by at least three different people.

Still, at least this was the cuddliest they had allowed themselves to be since Harabeoji had given his consent to the marriage. In-ha and Ha-myung had agreed that it would be more respectful to their parents to wait until after the wedding before they got up to any ... shenanigans. (There was also the fact that, between being around people all the time at work, and going home together to their fathers living in the same house, there hadn't really been any opportunities for shenanigans.)

He brought this up later, when In-ha was yet again posed so that she was embracing him.

"Hey, tell the truth. You're just in this for the skinship, aren't you?" he whispered He wasn't projecting his own feelings. Not at all.

"What?! No, not at all!" she yell-whispered back, echoing his denial.

And then she hiccupped.

Ha-myung smirked, and she pulled her "Why Do I Even Try To Lie To You" face.

"Okay, maybe some of this is nice. But don't get all big-headed about it!"

Ha-myung's face broke into a grin, and he was scolded yet again for having a sense of humour (he had been instructed to "smoulder"). He ignored them and held In-ha closer, noting with delight how her breath got shorter with his proximity.

"I promise I won't get big-headed about it, if you promise to give me a kiss before we leave for home."

In-ha was just about to protest half-heartedly when -

"Yes! Just like that!" boomed the photographer's voice suddenly, causing them both to jump. "Closer! CLOSER! We want to feel that romance, that love, that overwhelming chemistry!"

Ha-myung and In-ha sneered at the photographer's cheesy direction, but moved closer nonetheless. They looked at each other and realised their noses were so close they were almost touching - and they both wondered how they were going to wait a whole month for the wedding.

"If it wasn't still snowing outside, I'd never want to look at another jacket again for the rest of my life," In-ha exclaimed passionately.

Ha-myung grabbed a hold of her hand and said, "Well, I don't know. You have to admit that it wasn't all bad." He smiled at her, and a small (minuscule, really) part of her heart melted. Unable to find coherence in the moment, she simply returned the smile and nodded at him.

They were halfway home by now, having decided to walk three stops earlier from the bus instead of going the whole way. They so rarely got time to themselves these days, that they took every chance they had to be alone with each other for even a little longer. Ha-myung suddenly remembered something, and he stopped them where they were.

"Hey, you promised me something earlier."

In-ha was confused, until she remembered the deal where she had agreed to give Ha-myung a kiss in exchange for his promised humility. (There was a bad trade, if you ever saw one.)

"I, what, h-here? I mean, th-that's - we're not even that far from hom-"

In-ha shut up, because Ha-myung had already leant forward and kissed her like he had been meaning to since that damn photoshoot had started.

(A month later, they kissed again, in front of their fathers and friends and colleagues. And it wasn't long before the stations were again contacted - this time by wedding outfitters - and the whole process had to be repeated. But they didn't mind, not really. After all, In-ha's face really was too pretty for just reporting.)